Could you have ever imagined that COVID-19 would still be a topic now?
Not me, but here we are.
Even though flight and travel restrictions have relaxed since the spring and early summer, there’s so much we don’t know about the looming prevalence of the coronavirus.
You may have upcoming travel plans or have purchased your plane tickets and reserved your accommodations, but I’m not convinced that worldwide travel will commence at the start of the new year.
If you haven’t checked out the previous video, do so now > Will You Be Able To Travel In the Fall?” Part 1.
In this post, I’ll help you think through the question, “Will You Be Able To Travel Soon?” offering the pros and cons, insight from my background as an international education advisor, and questions to consider.
The Pros and Cons of Traveling Soon
Maybe you’ve struggled the last few months through no fault of your own. The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough and it’s been hard to keep it together. I feel you.
So, if traveling brings joy, happiness, freedom, relief, relaxation, escape, fun, etc, then I get why you miss or want to travel even during this uncertain time. If I learned anything during the pandemic, these two words have been a priority:
While I advocate for health and safety, I also encourage you to do what’s right for you. Even taking a mini getaway in the safest way possible.
In a couple weeks, I will share why I decided to travel. Yes, even during COVID-19. I will share my whys and my need for taking a mini birthday vacation after five months of remote working and COVID anxiety.
Many of you are pondering when you can book your next flight speculating that 2021 could be the year to return to travel. You’re not the only one thinking it. Check out this article.
And, for most travelers this timeline seems plausible. Yet, when you look to Higher Education, it’s a totally different timeframe.
The CDC, at the beginning of the COVID-19 breakdown in late February/Early March, highly recommended that institutions bring their Spring study abroad students back home and cancel their programs through Summer. This means that students cannot study abroad until possibly the Fall semester. Some institutions, however, have decided to go beyond that period. In fact, “17% of institutions [have] made the decision to cancel all or some of their study abroad programs in the fall” (IIE).
Now, 60% of the U.S. Institutions are decreasing the frequency in which they are promoting study abroad for future semesters.
Some universities/colleges have begun making decisions about the next term:
Schools that have canceled Spring Programs:
- Illinois State University
- Towson University – Cancelled January 2021 Programs
- USC Annenberg – Through Spring 2021
In my office, my team and I have decided to cancel out Spring study abroad programs. Tentatively, we are moving forward with programs in May and summer.
This is a clear indication that there are some concerns about the ongoing impact of COVID-19, and prefer to defer until safe to return to “normal” programming. If institutions across the world are halting their travel, in and out of their countries, then we should probably take heed.
In place of in-person travel, some global institutions have already opted to expand their programs to include a virtual option. While in-person mobility has halted, institutions have considered approaching global exchange from a creative perspective, which includes reaching the world through virtual exchanges and internalization efforts.
Institutions are taking advantage of promoting “the mobility of students’ minds — minds engaged in confronting other cultures and worldviews that help overcome their biases. Education abroad has always used geography as a point of definition, but now we have begun to view it as an educational model that can be practiced in a wider variety of forms” (Inside Higher Ed).
As Henry David Thoreau says: “The frontiers are not east or west, north or south; but wherever a [person] fronts a fact, though that fact be a neighbor, there is an unsettled wilderness between [them] and Canada, between [them] and the setting sun, or, farther still, between [them] and it.”
In the end, it is your decision to travel or not. Just take notice of what’s happening in different industries and countries, so that you can make an informed decision about your health and safety.
If you’re still pushing to travel soon please consider the following questions:
- How many institutions will continue to cancel their study abroad programs [no international travel for students]?
- What other institutions abroad have or will prevent students from studying in their countries?
- Can virtual travel supplement my desire to travel until the end of the year?
- Air Travel not expected to recover until 2024
- The Case for Canceling your Vacation
- Students grapple with uncertain travel plans
- Did Europe make a mistake reopening?
- No more screening for International Travelers
How to Determine if You Can Travel to [Insert Country]
Before you book a flight to anywhere in the world, determine the travel restrictions for that particular country.
For example, do you have plans to travel to the United Kingdom (UK) soon? Well, the UK has implemented a new quarantine policy that includes:
Passengers arriving in the UK by plane, ferry or train – including UK nationals – will have to provide an address where they will remain for 14 days. There is a £100 penalty for anyone found to have not filled in this ”contact locator” form.
Surprise visits will be used to check they are following the rules. Those in England could be fined up to £1,000 if they fail to self-isolate, while governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can also impose penalties.
Passengers will be asked to drive in their own car to their destination, where possible. If they don’t provide an address, the government will arrange accommodation.
They must then not go to work, school, or public areas, or use public transport or taxis. They should also not have any visitors unless they are providing essential support, and should not go out to buy food or other essentials where they can rely on others. (BBC)
Other countries that are following the 14-day quarantine rules are as follows: Spain, Italy, Greece, Canada, the UAE, Australia, and New Zealand.
This list is likely to change or increase once countries finalize their own travel restrictions and open their borders to international travelers (if at all).
Can travel really be canceled for the rest of the year? It’s shocking to come to the realization. But, the world is ever-evolving, and it’s time to take a hard look at our priorities.
Questions to consider:
- Are there any travel restrictions to and from the United States?
- What will be the status of the US Embassies in my desired destination?
- Are there any travel restrictions traveling to other countries?
- Will I need a vaccine before entering another country?
- Can virtual travel supplement my desire to travel until the end of the year?
Resources for Your Pending Travel Plans
Here are the facts now:
It’s estimated that COVID-19 could eliminate 197 million travel industry jobs So, what does this mean for travel health and safety?
Although there has been a slight uptick in people traveling, how does the possible elimination of travel jobs suit passengers and customers? I’m afraid that U.S. airlines and companies might cut corners to save their bottom line, which is of course their money.
I’m not insensitive to the fact that many businesses have and face the chance of going out of business, but I hope that by their will to stay and serve customers that they do it by taking shortcuts on our health and safety.
Next month, I’ll spend time going deep on health and safety resources. In the meantime, check out these articles and resources:
- Travelers Are Ready to Book with these 10 Safety Measures in Place
- New rules for hotel and vacation rentals days after the pandemic
- Shhh! We’re headed off on vacation (I’ll touch on Travel Shaming next week)
- If 2021 becomes the year of travel, then this will happen
Let’s be honest, the Travel industry isn’t going to bounce back as quickly as any of us hope with the economic impact of COVID. Some predict that travel will recover in 2024.
Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed its health and safety issues, which will need to be resolved before deciding to travel again.
Such questions to consider are as follows:
- When will you feel comfortable traveling again?
- Will airlines risk health and safety to meet their financial goals?
- How can airlines keep passengers, flight attendants, and pilots safe?
- How will health and safety guidelines change post-COVID-19?
- What to expect when passing through TSA?
This is not an easy question to answer. It’s a personal decision (obviously paying careful attention to doing your part in this global pandemic). But, don’t feel shamed, pressured, or frustrated by what other people are doing or saying.
There are many factors to determine FOR YOU, what is the right time or not.
This post isn’t a blanket checklist made to fit all who wants to travel. Instead, this post is to help you make some decisions toward your health and safety and whether travel should or could be in your cards soon. Whichever you choose, please be safe and well.
And, as always practice safe distancing and proper hygiene care not just for yourself, but for others as well.
If you decided that you desire to go somewhere or want to keep your spirits up during this time, check out another one of my free gifts, “Three-Step Checklist to a Freer and Focused You!”