With so much going on in the world right now, the one thing we can all use is a getaway. And with many countries announcing reopening plans, many Americans are considering what travel will look like under our ‘new normal’ and accompanying best practices.
Though the vast majority of travelers have canceled their plans as we shelter in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, others are weighing out their options on where (and when) they will be able to visit. Travelocity’s recent study predicts a new travel trend will appear this summer as a result — the “safecation.” This is an opportunity to travel to some of your favorite destinations, but implementing safe measures and protocols to protect you, because 72% of travelers say health & safety are their top priority when deciding where and when to travel post COVID-19.
With that in mind, we don’t know exactly what summer travel will look like, but one thing is certain: You can expect change. Here are a few tips for planning your safecation this summer.
Search for flexible change/cancel policies.
Because we’re all taking this situation day by day, it’s hard to plan out for an extended period of time. Thankfully, airlines and hotels are trying their best to be accommodating during this uncertain time. Travelocity is seeing low fares on major U.S. airlines like Delta, American and many are waiving normal change or cancel fees through the end of year. So if you do change your mind, you’ll only pay the difference in ticket price.
Consider the booking window.
Gone are the days where folks plan 6-9 months out for a vacation. For short-term, Travelocity is seeing an uptick in bookings 0-3 days out, as experts suggest travelers are waiting to book — even if it’s at the last minute. While for long-term, expect to see good values on airfare and travel this summer, and if you know where you’re headed, it’s advised to book those trips 60+ days out (keeping in mind that a lot may change throughout that time).
Look for cleanliness information on-site.
You’ve probably received emails from many airlines and hotels reporting that they are following CDC guidelines for sanitizing public interfaces — contactless check-in kiosks, ticket counters, among other frequently touched areas multiple times a day — but of course, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and check each policy before you book. For example, many hotels on Travelocity.com for instance can now highlight their cleanliness policies to show what health & hygiene amenities they offer such as contactless check-in/check-out, hand sanitizer for guests, enhanced cleaning practices, social distancing measures, etc.
Roam near home.
If you’ve been looking to hit the open road, this summer will be the summer of road trips and exploring fun within your own backyard. According to Travelocity, most hotel bookings right now are within a 100-mile radius of where people live. In addition, travelers are mostly booking domestic travel, within driving distance. This creates the perfect opportunity to make your “Backyard Bucket List” — a list of all those in-state trips to landmarks and places you’ve always meant to visit as a family. The CDC recommends that prospective travelers keep an eye on the number of coronavirus cases in the destination they plan on visiting and not traveling there if COVID-19 is actively spreading. The agency also recommends avoiding crowded settings while traveling.
Control what you can.
The important thing to remember right now, is that nothing is within your control. When planning your travel, be sure to consider non-peak travel times because weekends tend to be busy, and the goal should be to avoid larger crowds to implement social distancing measures. Try to shift travel to Saturday-Monday or mid-week, as an alternative. Also, revisit destinations you’ve been to before — there’s a feeling of comfort when we visit places we know well. Take this time to revisit those hidden gems you’ve enjoyed before.