How COVID 19 outbreak will change the way we travel

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

How COVID19 will change the way we travel
More of Road trips
  1. 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.

  1. 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.

How COVID19 will change the way we travel
Air BnB/ Service apartment over Hotels
  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

outdoor locations

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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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how COVID19 outbreak will hcange the way we travel


55 thoughts on “How COVID 19 outbreak will change the way we travel

  1. I hadn’t even thought about a lot of these but you’re definitely right. I agree with the one about traveling locally. I had sooo many international trips planned for this year but they were all cancelled (except for one so far but it will likely be cancelled too!). I’m definitely changing my plans a bit and hoping to do a lot more traveling in my own country whenever I’m able to again!

  2. You make some good points, we are definietly planning more local trips for the upcoming months whenw e can start travelling again and I reckon eating in will become the norm here in Bangkok where everyone eats out!

  3. Sadly I think these predictions will all be true! I had so many exciting travel plans this year, it’s such a shame, but could be so much worse off!

  4. To see it written out like this “group tours will be a thing of the past” breaks my small group tour guide’s heart. I agree that a coach packed with 50 people like sardines is no way forward, but I would like to believe that the new normal of travel will still allow for meeting new friends and interacting with strangers. On the other hand, I too believe that hiking, camping, driving in private vehicles and local travel will be more popular. Or, maybe, once they have invented the vaccine we’ll deal with it like any other infectious disease we prepare for when traveling. Only the future will tell.

    1. I totally agree with you on this, travelling with others n making friends with strangers is one of the best part of travel .I too really hope to be wrong about this point and wish group tours can resume sooner then we think

  5. Some really good observations here. I really hope we can continue with the same level of hygiene post-pandemic. A certain amount of social distancing would be welcome as well as my top travel peeve is passengers who cannot queue properly!

  6. Had done a instagram post as well on this. I was thinking about this too and thought about most of the points you stated as well.
    The pandemic will change a lot of things around people and also how people will treat others and their own health.
    Great post.

  7. Yes, I think xenophobia and racism will get stronger and stronger, unfortunately. We can already see that people are also less willing to help refugees (it was already a problem in Europe before, but now they can pretend it’s because of the pandemic).

    I’m not sure all travel will change drastically when restrictions are lifted. Already there are newspaper headlines in Germany asking if the pandemic will destroy people’s summer vacation. Maybe in warmer countries people will travel locally, but I believe those from colder regions that still have the means will continue traveling south as soon as it’s possible. I also believe that airlines will make flights so cheap that people will easily be convinced to travel.

    Here in Greece, there has been a big campaign to make it look as if the pandemic is under control, just so they can get tourists to come back (20% of the GDP comes from tourism). The people don’t matter, there is very little testing, so the numbers look low because they really want to look like it’s safe to come here in the summer.

    I’m very worried that people won’t take this seriously enough and will travel irresponsibly and too soon. 😦

  8. I agree with most that you say. The way we travel will change. My plans for overseas travel are on hold and I will travel more throughout my own country of Australia. I already was cooking while travelling and in fact wrote a cook book for travellers called Travellers Fare – Fast and Fabulous Meals for Travellers.

  9. Really insightful predictions. I’m glad and lookig forward to people being more conscious about sanitation and cleanliness while travelling in the future.

  10. Interesting points! I agree that as a result of this pandemic, people will prefer more private tours and modes of transportation to public ones. This is safer but on the other hand not that fun I guess 😦

  11. Great advice. It will be a while before we can even travel locally, never mind internationally, at least from South Africa but I long for the day that happens. I’m very grateful for our memories!

  12. Totally agree with all of these travel tips. Its definitely going to be about domestic travel more and safety precautions will be more and off course xenophobia.

  13. So sad that this will be part of the new norm. One thing I find disturbing about this pandemic is reading signs around places that say they are not being properly sterilized and cleaned more frequently. Like was this not happening at all before!? I hope that is one of the things that sticks around long after things resume back to normal.

  14. Interesting opinions here. I agree with some but not others. I think yes, Hygiene will definitely be a huge factor moving forward but I don’t necessarily agree that people will only travel locally. Initially I think this will the case, as well as prioritizing travel by car, but I think this time next year things will be back to normal and international travel will be back. After being isolated for so long people will want to go abroad. That’s just my opinion!

  15. On the flip side, I think we’ll probably be preferring hotels over the AirBnb thing. We’ve stayed in some sketchy properties off the site, and like the idea of knowing a hotel chain will likely have better cleaning protocols. For sure, the world will look a lot different though!

  16. You raise some really interesting points. I enjoyed reading this article. I definitely agree that sanitation and hygiene will be substantially increased.

  17. Great post! I have been in hot debate over the Airbnb vs hotel conversation with my family. My thought is that staying more isolated is best while they don’t trust the cleanliness of an apartment stay. The Wynn Hotels put out a massive document with new guidelines like hand sanitizer and masks provided at the desk and only four in an elevator. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

    Happy traveling (soon)!

  18. Love this post and totally agree. The way we travel in the future is going to change completely! I think we’ll see a huge surge in domestic travel.

  19. I’m thinking about buying a camper van so we can travel more locally and by road instead of getting on long flights! at least for the following year.

  20. Yikes, you do raise all good points. I guess that’s how things are going to be. In my home country, the Czech Republic, restrictions on travelling outside the country have been dropped. So we’ll be able to travel again soon. The question is where to. Strange times, for sure!

  21. I have been thinking about this too for a while! I wanted to see more of India this year and I really hope that I am able to travel locally sometime soon 💗

  22. You make great points! I can’t wait to travel again. I’m very interested to see the industry adapt.

    Amanda | averageamanda.com

  23. Interesting read, you make good points. I already see the the fear in people eyes when you cross them on the street. I’m not sure when we will be able to travel again but hoping for soon.

  24. I think this post is very interesting and I agree with the idea that travel won’t be the same. I have had to cancel my international trip and I have no travel plans for now. I think that when we can travel again, I will travel nationally for a while.

  25. as terrifying as your points are, i have to say that i sadly agree with most of them.. My dreams of exotic destinations will have to wait, and i am so sad about that 🙁

  26. This is an excellent article and yes travel will be forever changed 🙁 Great tips here!

    Thx also for sharing my Waikiki post – I could not comment back as the time has passed so letting you know I pinned yours , thus comment & Clicked around a few min

    Valerie 🙂 maple leopard

  27. Totally agree with all your points here. I personally already practise some of these as our normal but I think we will definitely be doing more domestic travel. Well I live in Australia so not like we’re short on places to go! Think we will also be a bit more careful and anxious when we first travel after all this ends.

  28. You make a lot of good points here – I hope that it doesn’t change travel too much!

  29. I am curious what travel will look like in the near future. You made some really good points about staying in an Air bnb. It sounds like the safer option for sure.

  30. you make a lot of interesting points and I agree. Hopefully the new normal wont last forever!

  31. It’s going to be very interesting to see how travel has changed. I home they clean the planes more thoroughly. I have always wiped down my seat though because they are nasty!

  32. You are so on the money for many of these. I am already eyeing up so many local spots to check out than international ones at the moment. Also true on the car rental than flying. I so not keen on airport security crowds as well as the many unsanitary airplanes that never do enough cleaning.

  33. Definitely agree with a lot of these expected trends! Personally I am already thinking that our next family trip should have lots of outdoors activities and less crowded tourist attractions.

  34. It will be interesting to see what will happen after this. I know someone that works for an airline and they also said there will be higher standards of cleanliness moving forward. I guess that is one good thing that can come out of this. I know so many people that will fly anywhere as soon as they can, but I kind of live or try to live in a travel bubble, haha. I’m sure other people will be more apprehensive.

  35. As a sustainably oriented traveler I have been doing a lot of this already – giving preference to Airbnb or small family run motels or homestays, spending a lot of time outdoors, cooking with local ingredients where we travel… So hopefully this shift will lead to more sustainable travel as well!

  36. Very well written Madhu and so very relatable and true. It certainly is going to be the new normal, well we should have been doing some of the things while travelling with kids because there are all kinds of viruses in the air. Hightime that we all get more attentive and accept the fact that the world is changing and need of the hour is ‘to adapt’.

  37. Nice written madhu. I agree with you with some points like hygienic, our own safety and people will prefer to travel local for few times. Rest are most of things we are already doing like Air bnb,own car.
    But it will be new opportunity people will travel local instead of abroad. It will be boost our local tourism.

  38. All travelers are requested to use this time to gather more information, to make people aware of unknown, but important historical heritage.🙏

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