Top Considerations for Your Post-COVID Travel
At BDF, our mission is to help clients enjoy a full life. And for many, that full life includes travel. Unfortunately, we have been unable to travel over the past eighteen months as we did before the pandemic. Yet, as more of us become vaccinated and as the world gradually reopens, there is hope for a return to some normalcy in that regard. However, the new normal for travel post-COVID will not resemble the old normal for travel pre-COVID.
As BDF’s intrepid traveler, I want to share some insights on what travel will look like as we emerge from the pandemic. What will be the same? What will be different? What do you now need to consider that you had not otherwise pre-COVID? If you are itching to travel this year, where can you go? What does the travel landscape look like for 2022 and beyond?
Travel for 2021
If you are like me, your travel budget is just waiting to be tapped. What if you want to venture outside of the country? Where can you go? What do you need to consider?
- Flexibility is key. Travel conditions are changing almost daily. More countries are opening to US travelers, albeit in most instances, with COVID testing requirements, and for certain countries, only if you are fully vaccinated. When booking any travel abroad, you must stay on top of the ever-changing requirements. One helpful tool is Sherpa (apply.joinsherpa.com/travel-restrictions).
- Be prepared for flight changes, tweaking itineraries at moment’s notice, and remaining longer in your destination awaiting a COVID test or test results. And right now, single country itineraries are recommended because differing entry requirements country-to-country can make border crossings challenging, time-consuming, or not even possible.
- Air travel already lacked glamor prior to the pandemic, it is now even less glamorous. Expect fewer in-flight amenities (even in business and first-class), travel lounge closures, and the need to be masked in airports, and during flight. If you have not flown in a while, brush off the travel cobwebs by flying domestically before taking that long-haul overseas flight. Also, keep your travel documents (passports, TSA pre-check, global entry, etc.) up to date.
The good news is the world is reopening to tourism. Some European countries have opened to vaccinated travelers. Many African safari destinations are welcoming tourists with specific testing requirements. Beach destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, and the more exotic Maldives are open as well.
Travel in 2022 and Beyond
If you are waiting until 2022 to book your first post-COVID trip, do not hesitate.
- Demand is outpacing supply, and many destinations, like New Zealand, are already booked up through the middle of 2022, even though New Zealand has not even officially reopened to most tourists.
- Group travel, with whom we travel is also changing. It is increasingly common for multiple couples or large groups to travel together. After more than a year of being isolated from friends and family, there is an eagerness not only to get back out there and travel but to be with your friends and family. Bigger groups can open the door to exclusive-use vacation rentals, which may have previously been unaffordable before.
- Mask requirements as we move into 2022 and beyond, will likely remain.
- Proof of vaccination to fly may become standard. Qantas (Australia’s national airline) already has this in place.
Traveling can be an expensive investment and with so much uncertainty, protecting that investment by purchasing travel insurance is critical. Before you buy, make sure to use a reputable company and thoroughly check the coverage, which can vary from supplier to supplier. To cover potential disruptions due to COVID, “cancel for any reason” coverage is necessary. However, it is expensive and will not always cover 100% of your loss, so make sure to read the fine print. And if you want to make sure you can get the medical attention where and when you desire should you contract COVID while you travel, consider purchasing supplemental coverage through COVAC Global (www.covacglobal.com).
The Importance of Travel
While travel is certainly good for our mental and emotional well-being, it also has a tremendous economic impact. Global tourism is one of the largest industries in the world. The pandemic affected airlines, hotels, tour operators, and whole communities which rely on travel dollars for survival. For example, Africa heavily depends on safari tourism to support the local population and environmental and animal conservation efforts. So, get back out there and travel! You are literally changing the lives of people (and animals) for the better.
As a member of the Investment Committee, Matt is instrumental in developing BDF’s overall investment strategy. Matt received his Bachelor of Science in Economics with concentrations in accounting and finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and his MBA in finance and strategic management from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.