For most of us, traveling to distant places and exploring the world has always been just a matter of finding the time and the funds to do so. But since the onset of COVID-19, that all changed. Families and businesses across the world have been affected by the virus, and the travel industry was no exception. People in record numbers canceled trips. During the early stages of the pandemic, TSA reported a 96% drop in air travel and hotels witnessed an 80% drop. It was an unprecedented time for all of us and we’re still reeling from the effects.
Today, months after COVID first hit the world, countries are slowing starting to open their borders for travel. However, because the United States is still witnessing a surge in coronavirus cases, travelers from the U.S. continue to face restrictions. For those of us who had planned vacations and had to cancel or are antsy to book a future trip to continue quest for adventure, we’re forced to stand by and be patient, hoping for an end to the spread. Until then, we’ll wait, planning in our heads where we’ll go when it’s safe to do so.
Because the U.S. is currently in a holding pattern for travel, we thought it would be interesting to find out how you were dealing with the COVID restrictions. Our curiosity led us ask a few of our long-time clients how they were feeling about travel when it was safe to do so. We wanted to know about their concerns, requirements for safety and future travel plans. Their responses were thoughtful, hopeful, and full of interesting opinions. We were intrigued by what we read and felt by sharing a few of their answers with you might feel less alone in your own thoughts.
The following are some of the questions we posed and the answers we received.
What will it take for you to travel again when things open up?
- Confidence that the virus can be managed, and travel is safe
- When the CDC says it is 100 percent safe to travel
- Will not travel until “avoid unnecessary travel” restrictions are lifted
- Being vaccinated or otherwise knowing that I am immune
- Eliminate the possibility of being quarantined in a foreign country
- See a decrease in viral infection rates
- Know what the entry requirements are for wherever I’m traveling (COVID test within X days of arrival, quarantine on arrival, etc.)
What concerns do you have regarding future travel?
- Being infected while on long flights or by crowds and lines at the airport
- Being quarantined at various points of entry
- No concerns, it’s a risk I’m willing to take
- Balanced approach to being cautious – too much caution takes away from the travel experience
- Being stuck someplace if I become sick and what type of medical care is provided in foreign countries
What will be important for you to see a resort or live aboard to make you feel safe?
- For live aboard trips, I’d want to know the number of trips that have occurred with no infections for crew or passengers. I want operators to post that type of information on their websites for all of our safety
- For resorts and live aboards to follow CDC Guidelines 100%
- To know that I am personally immune
- To practice prudent, common sense cleaning procedures
- To follow COVID safety procedures and have a contingency plan in place to get someone to medical care should they become sick
Where’s the first place you want to travel to when travel opens up?
- Key Largo
- Any place tropical with warm water
- Turks & Caicos, Caribbean
What have you missed the most about not traveling?
- Traveling with friends
- Meeting new people and photography
- Scuba diving
- The stimulation of seeing and experiencing new things
- Immersing myself in the culture where I travel
- The inability to escape everyday life
- Adventures, seeing new places, new cultures, and sights, both above and below water
- The excitement and anticipation of adventure
One thing everyone seemed to agree on: When it’s time to do so, we’ll all get back to traveling again. We’ll all be a little more guarded and cautious prior to and during travel, but it’s not going to stop us from heading off on an adventure when it’s safe to do so. COVID-19 stopped us from seeing the world for a bit, but we’re still excited about discovering new places, meeting new people and checking new locations off our bucket lists. So, spend this time researching your next place to visit and know that when you’re ready, and when it’s safe to do so, South Pacific Island Travel will help you get there. Until then, remember, “Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions,” Albert Einstein.
What are your thoughts on traveling? We'd love to hear how you're feeling!