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The Future of Travel After

The Lockdown?

May 28, 2020

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It's probably an understatement to say that the travel industry has been hard hit by this pandemic, the various border lockdowns and nationwide lockdowns across different countries. It has been absolutely pulverised. With flight passengers at an all time low, flight cancellations at an all time high and so much uncertainty surrounding methods to curb the R, only one thing is certain - the travel world as we know it, will never be the same again. We're already hearing of some quite specific changes and modifications that seem set in stone and so we we thought we would summarise the most important shifts that we've heard talked about to date, in this 5 minute read.

Alice Ogeh

FOUNDER & EDITOR

A Lawyer in her previous life, the copious hours of scrutinising law text books, case law and wikipedia have resulted in the birth of a creature, whose capability to research into the paths less trodden, surpasses most seasoned travellers.

1. Digitisation

As airports and the like start to return to full operation, in order to maintain social distance and prevent as much human contact as possible, expect to see a lot more technological advances to be introduced into airports, hotels and similar. And this won't just be limited to gadgets that will help detect any signs of the virus before boarding, such as thermal detection screening and microbe blasting automated robots which many airports are looking to introduce into their spaces currently. More recently there have actually been talks about the use of technologies such as blockchain and similar to create verifiable digital means of confirming your identity instead of relying on a paper passport. Although actual uptake of such a scheme hasn't yet been developed, its closely related cousin - the e-passport - is likely to become an even more common feature of travellers at airports all vining to avoid as much human contact as possible and withstanding what will likely become even greater queues at the digital immigration checkpoints.

In terms of hotels, once travel restrictions have lifted globally or at least more or less in the west, expect to see a lot more self check-ins, contactless check-ins, deep cleaning promises and probably a greater demand for Airbnb lets as travellers try to stay from other travellers not part of their group. Electro-static sprayers are already in demand, as well as drone cleaning equipment.

2. More Queues

Even before the pandemic and the worldwide lockdown, it would have been likely that if you had flown out of the country at least 3 times in the last 5 years, you would have encountered at least one very long and daunting queue at the immigration checkpoints. Well as the world slowly starts to recover and as more millennial and gen-z travellers start to feel comfortable with travelling again, hoping to nab a great deal in what they believe to be a depressed market (we explain later why this might not be such an accurate assumption), expect to see a lot more of this at every point of the airport journey. Particularly for airports enforcing a 2 meter distance rule, the queues may look even more agonising.

3. The Cost of Your Holiday Is Likely To Increase

Although a lot of people may think that shortly after the lockdown would be a great opportunity to book some flights and hotel at a bargain price, while this may ring true in respect of hotels that will accept even a rock bottom payment to stay afloat in a competitive market, the same might not ring true for airlines. The first reason for this being the fact that many airlines have hinted or confirmed that they will be using social distancing measures on planes. If that is the case for a large majority of airlines, then what's likely to happen is a rise in flight prices to cover the loss from the empty seats. This is of course unless you are a competitor of Ryan Air who has flat out noted the "empty seat" recommendation as preposterous. The second reason is that running an airline is a costly business and it became even costlier to those airlines that had to ground their whole fleet for weeks on end. Any guesses where one of the first places will be that they look to recuperate their losses?

Another slightly hidden cost, especially for those who are older/elderly, is the cost of travel insurance. If you lucked out on a cheap annual quote before the pandemic, then at least you're covered for the rest of the year (although any corona virus related claims may not be - see why this by reading our articles explaining here and here). But for new quotes what you're likely to find is fewer policies available, more stringent policy terms on what is and is not covered and higher premiums for those who are elderly or have pre-existing conditions.

4. Health Certificates

Going forward, it won't only matter whether or not you have sufficient means to travel, but whether you are actually fit to travel. Fit to Travel Certificates or "Free from Covid-19" Certificates, despite raising questions of veracity for a virus that may not present with symptoms for days, is something that isn't so far fetched for the future, given that it was already used as a method of border control in the past by some other countries in the world, one including India. Apparently even the Madrid Association of Hoteliers (AEHM) are looking into a 'Covid-19 Free Hotel’ certification, which would guarantee both guests and staff don't have the virus. Currently the UK doesn't offer nor have they considered offering such certificates to travellers in the future, but if travelling after the lockdown this doesn't necessarily mean that you will be free from undergoing certain health checks. Emirates in fact have introduced on the spot 10 minute compulsory blood tests to determine whether or not a traveller is infected with Covid-19 before boarding a plane.

5. Domestic Travel Boom

While the international travel sphere may, for a while, look bleak, we think that as a result of this (and obviously the growing need for many to escape from the four walls of their house and local park while trying to avoid - as far as possible - busy or crowded places), we're likely to see a greater number of people start exploring UK hotspots as a holiday destination. We even said in our most recently fortnightly travel deals email (check it out here) that a number of British hotels close to sandy beaches were up to 90% booked for the August bank holiday already, yet we were still able to find a few remaining at extremely discounted prices.

To be honest it may actually be beneficial to many British travellers who might not have otherwise bothered to explore their own backyard, because the UK really does have some beautiful spots to explore. I mean would you believe that the below picture was from a beach in England?

What are some of your predictions for the future of travel? Let us know below 🙂


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