It’s no secret that millions of travelers have taken a hiatus on jet-setting over the past 12-14 months. The coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on pretty much everything. That fact is especially apparent in the travel industry. With lockdowns, quarantine requirements and so many unknowns, it’s not surprising that many Americans chose to stay home over the past 18 months or so.
As of late however, it seems that there may be some light at the end of this (long) tunnel. Travel is beginning to pick up speed. Airlines have stopped leaving middle seats empty. And people here in the United States are eager to start traveling again. As we return to traveling, what will our post-pandemic travel plans look like?
The Travel Numbers
For one thing, it sounds like we can all plan on busier airports this year, at least compared to recent months. Skift’s U.S. Travel Tracker January 2021 found that this past January was nearly the worst month for travel numbers in the U.S., with only about 21 percent of residents traveling.
The worst month for travel numbers was—unsurprisingly—April 2020, which was basically the start of the pandemic here. Only about 19 percent of Americans traveled that month.
What Travelers are Planning Now
When it comes to traveling in 2021, people are definitely making plans to get back out there. Skift found that 72 percent of Americans are planning to do some traveling this year. That’s quite a big leap from January, just a few short months ago. Furthermore, Skift’s survey seems to show that the rise of remote working is fueling post-pandemic travel planning.
Post-Pandemic Travel: A Look Ahead
So, how will these numbers impact post-pandemic travel plans? A number of trends seem to be highlighted from what Skift found with their travel research. It boils down to the location of travel, the number of remote workers and what restrictions are in place.
When it comes to choosing a destination for travel, some of our fellow Americans have some big plans. TripAdvisor released some figures that show about 45 percent of people in the U.S. are planning to travel abroad this year.
However, many people are scheduling more trips within the U.S. As many as 80 percent of Americans have plans for an overnight stay somewhere in the U.S this year. Just over one third will likely take three or more trips within the country.
Remote Work Flexibility
Another post-pandemic travel trend is a relatively new-found flexibility for workers. About 71 percent of workers in the U.S. are doing their jobs outside of the office. Skift’s survey found that 28 percent of them are planning some sort of a 10-day or longer getaway for this year. It makes sense considering that we’ve been working off-site for months. Why not take advantage of remote technology and work with a view?
Type of Restrictions
Various countries have differing levels of restrictions when it comes to COVID-19. The same goes for vaccine requirements. Travelers are definitely looking at these two factors as they’re planning when and where to travel in 2021.
Love it or hate it, the chatter around vaccine passports is still happening. TripAdvisor noted that about 30 percent of Americans would only consider traveling somewhere if vaccines were required there.
Global borders aren’t all open as of yet either. Kayak’s interactive map shows that over 100 countries have entry restrictions in place and another 100 or more are currently closed for travel. These restrictions do impact travel plans. It makes sense that more domestic trips are being planned since the fluid nature of border closings makes domestic travel much easier.
Putting Post-Pandemic Travel Together
With technology at the ready and months of working remotely under our belts, why not travel? It’s an amazing thing to wake up with a gorgeous view of the ocean or the Rocky Mountains. And while international travel may not be as easy, it is a possibility once again. Though if you’re like many U.S. residents, you may be planning travels right here domestically this year.