The “new normal” for travelers
“The New Normal”
Have you also been hearing this word a lot lately?
Whether the ways of doing business or conducting meetings, or general communication. Everything around us is changing, rather we are looking for ways to cope up with the current situation.
COVID 19 or Coronavirus Pandemic has disrupted the normal functioning of the world, thereby having a catastrophic effect on everything. Economies are shaking with financial losses in addition to millions of lives already lost.
One sector which is most impacted by this unforeseen crisis is the Travel & Tourism. Thanks to lockdowns, travel & everything related to it, has come to an abrupt stop. Airlines are going bankrupt, many other services like tour operators, hotels, restaurants etc are shutting shops.
As scary as it sounds, But people(especially travelers) around the world are eagerly waiting to resume normal lives. To start traveling and exploring the world once again.
The question is. Will the way we travel, ever be the same again?
Will we be able to overcome the emotional & psychological effects of this outbreak?
Honestly, I don’t think very soon.
Our world will change forever and so is the way we travel (at least for a long-time)
So what will be the “New Normal” for travelers?
Note: These are my thoughts as a traveler and not based on any reports or surveys
How Corona Virus will change the way we travel?
These are 10 ways in which our future travel will change because of the current situation.
Hygiene and sanitation to become a priority
Washing hands regularly, not touching the face, nose, etc are healthy habits everyone knew, But this outbreak has suddenly made us more conscious about following them religiously. Hygiene and sanitation will become all the more important while traveling, something which no longer can be ignored. In the future, travelers will pay special attention to cleanliness while choosing services be it the hotels, restaurants, cabs, or airlines. Cleanliness will be a big differentiator for businesses. I won’t be surprised if, in the future, we choose only those services which are certified as Clean & safe.
Preferred mode of travel: Own Vehicle/Rented cars over Public transport
Thanks to Social distancing, people will hesitate to use public transport. The discomfort of sharing common space with strangers will impact the choice of destination too. People would choose destinations where they can drive in their cars. While traveling to another city or country, rental cars and RVs will take preference over trains & buses.
Preferred Destination: Go Local
This year I planned to visit 2-3 International destinations. And then things changed!
Looking at the current situation, I don’t think I am ready to step into any foreign land for some time, even when things come to normal. Like me, for other travelers too, the travel goals are changing. People will now focus on exploring domestic destinations and experiences rather than exotic locations.
Preferred Stay: Air BnB/ Serviced apartments over Hotels/Resorts
3 Months back, we stayed in a serviced apartment in Goa. I remember cursing ourselves for making this choice when we could have booked a luxury hotel with room service at the same cost. Coming to think of it now, I will choose to stay in a serviced apartment or an Airbnb with minimal human contact. I may forgo the amenities like buffet breakfast spread, swimming pool, and spa therapy for safety. Especially when traveling with a family and a young kid.
Bespoke/Customised tours over group tours
As it is, the trend was shifting towards customized packages and experiential tours. Now, this shift will take place at an even faster pace than before. The word “group tours” will become a thing of the past. As anything related to “Group” sounds scary in times like this. People will hesitate to travel in big groups, and prefer individual or customized packages for themselves or their family. Probably time for Tour operators to provide innovative yet cost-effective bespoke solutions to the travelers.
Economical travel over Luxury gateways
Many companies are shutting down, people losing their jobs, pay cuts everywhere. During uncertain times of economic slowdown and global recession, travelers will think before spending every penny. Economic yet experiential travel will replace the super-luxury getaways. As a traveler, I would like to spend my money on exploring 2-3 destinations with budget options rather than just 1 luxury vacation.
Offbeat & Outdoor locations over touristy/popular destinations
At one point in time, my Wishlist would have included the most popular destinations across the world. Well ! not anymore. The sight of crowded places can freak-out even those with a strong heart.
This year, I would indulge more in activities like hiking and camping. After all, spending quality time with mother nature is much more rewarding, than putting ourselves into danger by visiting crowded places.
New Addition to travel essential kit
My travel kit included essentials like sunscreens, lotions, perfume, medicine, etc, But the definition of essentials has now changed. Mask, gloves, sanitizer, wet wipes, and thermometer are the new normal. I won’t be surprised if our markets get flooded with designer masks which can be used as the style statement in the future.
Cooking yourself over Eating out
Sounds cruel! Who cooks on a holiday? I feel the same too.
One of the most exciting parts of traveling is trying out new cuisines and delicacies. Given the situation, I am not sure anymore, if we would want to go all out trying new delicacies, especially street food. Or will we trust self-cooked or packaged food while traveling? Especially if traveling with young kids, I would prefer to minimize eating out.
Xenophobia. Well, not that extreme but to a great extent!
Dictionary meaning of Xenophobia is the fear of strangers or foreigners.
This should be the very first point in this article, everything else is a mere outcome of this phobia. But I didn’t want to start my article with such a strong negative word.With the rate of infections increasing, we have developed a discomfort towards another human being. Doubting if he/she is coming too close to us, can they infect us?
Once things get better, many of us may forget all this and move on, but many will reduce the frequency of their travel because of this fear.
To conclude, our science book describes a human being as a social animal. There is an inherent need within us to interact, communicate, and seek closeness with other humans. It may take some time for us to psychologically get over the fear of the unknown from our minds. Till then I think it’s better to replace the word “Carefree” with “Cautious”, especially when it comes to traveling.
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