You will agree with me that thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the year 2020 is literally a lost year in most aspects of life. Countries have closed their borders for the better part of 2020 and the movement of persons within countries has been limited thanks to lockdowns, cessations, and curfews. A large number of the world’s working population has been rendered jobless as businesses closed down and, generally, life has gone south for many people. These factors have been- and still are- a huge threat to the tourism and travel industry. Unfortunately, the World Health Organization is yet to find an effective vaccine for the COVID-19. The world still feels tense and uncertain.
When people get stressed and the world gets uncertain, one of the most effective ways of regaining your sanity is taking a vacation. So yes, even in the midst of a deteriorating economy, there is a necessity to leave the house, travel a bit to relax and unwind, and just have fun. Business travels should also resume after a long year of COVID-19 interruptions if the world is to recover economically. But then the question lingers: Will it be safe to travel in the new normal (2021)? If yes, how safe will it be?
Before we answer this question, please note the following:
• We are still in the middle of a pandemic- infectivity rates are still high in most countries.
• International Visa issuance and travel rules have been tightened around the world. Traveling in 2021 could be very complicated and tiresome.
• Your choice of destinations is very limited as most places you can travel to are not safe enough for visitors.
• Most hotels have been closed down and the operating ones are a bit high in prices.
• You will be required to surrender most of your details in case a need for contact tracing arises, and that is not a very nice experience.
• Not everyone is observing the set rules to stop infections and you stand a risk of being infected especially when using public utilities and transportation.
• The risk of being robbed or conned is high as many people are jobless, idle, and at their lowest economically.
• You might have to spend up to a month in quarantine, 2 weeks after landing in your destination and 2 weeks when you come back home.
Now to answer the main question, it will be fairly safe for you to travel in 2021. However, it is a must you put extra effort to enhance individual safety by:
i. Considering private transport
If you are planning to travel within your borders, avoid public buses and trains and instead use a private car. It is safer and you get to enjoy more since you can have as many stopovers as you wish. If you are traveling overseas consider a private jet and register for an international driver’s license for the clearance to drive yourself in your host nation. This way, your interactions with potentially infected people will be very minimal. Whether you are travelling overseas or a neighbouring foreign country, always beware of the travel restrictions in the specific countries you’re traveling to.
ii. Considering private accommodation
Many travelers choose hotels, lodgings, motels, bed & breakfasts, and hostels because of their affordability. It won’t be any different next year or the years after that, especially now that most travel enthusiasts are broke. There is also the likelihood of these accommodation options being overcrowded as many people will only get chances to compensate for 2020 missed trips in 2021. Hotels might also relax their coronavirus containment measures in 2021 in order to host as many people as possible and consequently recover the revenue they have lost during the lockdown.
Fortunately, there are vacation rentals available in most cities. Your privacy will be guaranteed because you will still be able to live just like you do in your own house. No sharing of bathrooms, dining tables, or elevators. There could be zero or controlled interactions with very few people who you choose to come in for housekeeping. You can still cook your own food to minimize expenses and to reduce the risk of eating contaminated food.
iii. Consulting travel and tour companies
Travel companies also offer travel advisories. They are in a better position to guide you on which places are safe for you and which ones are not depending on how a country is able to deal with and control the pandemic. They also would know which countries whose borders are still closed or still have curfews and lockdowns. They can still assist you to acquire a visa easily.
Whether traveling or not, safety starts with you. You need to observe the set preventive measures seriously in order to protect yourself and to protect others. Adjust to the changes of living the new normal and do not let fear keep you away from living your life as you should.