COVID-19 has drastically altered the landscape of world travel since it gripped the world back in early 2020. Since that time, many countries have either shut their borders to travelers or imposed strict rules to stop the spread of COVID-19. Outside of that, many people have chosen to stay home rather than take a vacation in order to protect themselves and their loved ones. For those who love traveling, it’s been hard to cope with not getting to travel for months on end.
However, hope is on the horizon with the news of new vaccines being steadily approved by health agencies around the world.
While things will start to reopen as a result of the vaccines, many countries will most likely have some sort of safety measures in place for most of 2021: which is going to make planning ahead for your travels all the more important.
But since many people, including us, are antsy to get back to traveling, we thought we would do some research on how traveling will change in 2021. Without further ado, here are some of our top 5 tips for how to plan for your travels in 2021.
Tip #1: Do research on health regulations in your destination way ahead of time
The days of simply flashing your passport at a country’s border are most likely gone for a little bit. Even after a vaccine is widely available, many countries and states will most likely be requiring some sort of medical documentation to enter so that they can insure you don’t have COVID.
At the moment, our state of Massachusetts is requiring that travelers submit proof of a negative COVID test that was taken within 72 hours ahead of arrival. If you can’t provide a negative test result, the state requires you to quarantine for 14 days once you arrive or until you can produce a negative COVID test.
Morale of the story? Plan way, way ahead to have your vaccine documentation or a negative COVID test submitted to allow you to enter the country. If you are traveling before you get a vaccine to somewhere that requires a negative COVID test, plan to get tested 72 hours before you travel.
Travel Insurance Required to Enter
Many countries may also require that you have travel insurance to cover you in case you get sick with COVID-19 in that country.
For example, the Bahamas are now requiring all travelers to have travel insurance to enter the country; however, they are including insurance as part of their Travel Health visa for travelers at around $50 to make it easy for people wanting to visit.
Health regulations around the world will continue to be updated over the next year, so keep an eye on the news before you travel.
Tip #2: Look for flexibility and great deals
2020 was a nightmare for travelers all around the world as they found that many of their vacations were cancelled without any refunds. SO FRUSTRATING. We definitely dealt with it ourselves back in March with a sadly cancelled trip to Europe.
However, the travel industry knows how hesitant people are to book anything that might just get cancelled because of the pandemic. To answer this, many hotels and cruises around the world offered stays during Black Friday this year with crazy low prices and free cancellation to give travelers an extra peace of mind when booking their trips.
That most likely won’t be the last time we see deals like that, so keep on the lookout for some amazing deals to snag something up for next year. Finding cheap flights may be easier than ever with airlines looking to bring back demand. To really make sure you are avoiding any risk, look to book great deals for summer 2021 or later when the vaccines will be more widely distributed around the world.
Consider signing up for email lists on major travel sites like Expedia or Hotels.com to make sure you are notified when the next big sales happen.
Tip #3: When deciding where to travel in 2021, consider going off the beaten path
When China temporarily lowered their COVID-19 restrictions back in April, they saw an explosion of tourism at their major tourist sites, like Forbidden City and the Great Wall. If that happened in China, consider what it will look like when travel restrictions are lifted in other popular places around the world, like the Eiffel Tower, Machu Picchu, or Times Square. That’s why it might be a good idea to consider going to places off of the beaten path for your 2021 vacation.
Even if you do decide to travel to one of the world’s popular destinations, there are many new ways to avoid large crowds while you are there and still have a great experience.
For example, Sherpa Tours now offers augmented reality tours of cities around the world, which allows you to have a tour guide explain major sites to you simply by holding your phone in front of the area and having an avatar pop up on your screen to explain it to you. It’s pretty cool!
Tip #4: Really looking for an adventure in 2021? Consider working remotely in another country
With many companies now being used to fully remote work, many one-time office workers now have the flexibility of working anywhere that has good wifi and an outlet. While you may have created great work from home setup for yourself in your home, why not upgrade to working in a beach house in the Caribbean in 2021?
Many countries that depend on revenue from tourism are now incentivizing people to come and work remotely there to help restart their economy. For example, Barbados is offering a special 12 month visa for those who want to live and work there. Similar visas are being offered in countries like Estonia, Georgia, and Bermuda.
Tip #5 Even if you can’t or decide not to travel next year for some reason, try out virtual travel as an alternative.
Many companies have begun offering some unique experiences from around the world for people to enjoy from the comfort of their own home.
For example, AirBnB offers fun virtual experiences like
- Making Mexican Tacos with a Pro Chef
- Making Pasta with Italian Grandmas
- Harry Potter Tour in Edinburgh
Amazon just recently launched their virtual travel site as well, Amazon Explore, which allows travelers to have similar virtual experiences to those found on AirBnB and the ability to purchase items directly from local vendors in other countries, like a bowl of ramen straight from Tokyo.
So whatever you decide to do for travel in 2021, hopefully those tips can help you make the best decision possible about when and where to travel.
What do you think travel will be like in 2021? Feel free to comment down below with your thoughts – we’d love to hear what you have to say!
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