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The Future of Travel: What to Expect for 2021 and Beyond
By Molly Barnes, Digital Nomad Life
It’s always hard to predict the future. Who could have foreseen the pandemic or the effect it would have on travel?
Midway through 2021, we’re in a kind of no man’s (or woman’s) land. Some things are changing, some things are going back to the way they were, and some things are still very much up in the air.
So what does the future hold for travel in 2021 and beyond? Let’s take a look at some of the trends.
Even though airlines, businesses, and restaurants are opening back up, health remains an important concern, and it’s likely to remain so for at least the near term.
Regarding the pandemic, everything seemed to be going in the right direction until vaccination levels plateaued and the highly contagious COVID delta variant arrived on the scene. As of July 17, the delta variant accounted for a whopping 83.2% of new cases when it came to coronavirus.
Los Angeles County, which had lifted its mask mandate, recently reversed course: All residents are now once again required to wear masks indoors, even if they’re fully vaccinated. Anyone who thought COVID was going to go quietly into the night was obviously mistaken. So, if you’re planning to travel in the near future, it’s best to be prepared.
- Get vaccinated.
- Avoid COVID hotspots by knowing where they are and planning accordingly.
- Continue to take masks on the road with you, along with disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer.
- Monitor CDC recommendations for any changes.
Also, understand that the risks and requirements will vary when you travel abroad. Different countries face different levels of threat from the virus and have issued different mandates for crossing their borders. The CDC recently issued new travel advisories for the United Kingdom, Zimbabwe, Indonesia, and Fiji in response to rising COVID cases.
If you’re planning to travel overseas, research where you’re going to see if things like proof of vaccination, COVID testing, or health insurance are required.
Rising demand for travel-related commodities, ranging from gasoline to airline seats, has made it more essential than ever to prepare for any travel financially.
Last summer, you could count on finding low prices for a gallon of gas, an airline ticket, or a hotel room. Now, things are going in the opposite direction, and they show no sign of stopping, as inflation has become a growing concern.
Rapid price increases make it difficult to budget for a trip, especially since it’s a good idea to start planning months ahead so you can set a little money aside each month. As a result, it’s a good idea to give yourself more breathing room and budget for the highest prices you’re likely to face. Take into account gas prices if you’re driving or airfare costs if you’re flying.
Price out where you’re staying, whether it’s at a campground or a five-star hotel. If you’re renting a car, factor the cost of that in, too.
Many car rental companies won’t rent to you without a credit card, so if you don’t have one or if you’re struggling with credit, it’s important to change that. A secured credit card, which you can obtain by depositing a few hundred dollars in a linked account, can help you build credit as you use it and make payments, as you would with a normal card, every month.
Road trips remain a budget-friendly way to travel for individuals and families alike. With more people on the road, if you’re planning to travel by car, it’s important to be prepared. Download a reliable GPS app that shows you road conditions, detours, and traffic jams up ahead so you can avoid the most dangerous stretches of road.
Have your car serviced ahead of time so you know you won’t have to deal with an oil change, failing brakes, or a tire blowout in the middle of your trip. It’s also a good idea to have a full tool kit on board. Even better, make a road trip checklist so you have everything you need, and you don’t get caught flat-footed (or flat-tired).
Be prepared for seasonal road hazards, too, such as hot weather in the summer and black ice, heavy rain, and snowfall in the winter. Download a weather app to go along with your GPS so you can stay aware of conditions wherever you’re going 10-14 days in advance. And take along extra coolant, tire chains, and an ice scraper, as the weather dictates.
For comfort’s sake, take along an extra blanket and your favorite pillow so you don’t have to rely on what a motel may or may not provide. And be sure you can stay in contact with loved ones and friends by taking along an extra charging cord and adapter, as well as a cell signal booster if you’re headed too far from “civilization.”
Maintaining your health, safety, and finances are three keys to an enjoyable vacation. That much hasn’t changed and isn’t likely to, moving forward. The moral of the story is that, if you adhere to these general principles, you’ll be prepared for whatever the road ahead may hold.
Bio: Molly Barnes is a full-time digital nomad, exploring and working remotely in different cities in the US. She and her boyfriend Jacob created the website Digital Nomad Life to share their journey and help others to pursue a nomadic lifestyle.