How lockdowns, quarantines and COVID-19 testing will change summer travel in 2021

Something is different when traveling.
Maybe you noticed. But what? And how will it change the way you travel this summer?
If you want an answer by the numbers, you can turn to the Deloitte State of the Consumer Tracker, which offers a monthly display of travel mood. It suggests that travelers continue to be reluctant to travel and wait for the pandemic to subside. In general, more than half of the country wants to stay at home - or at least they say so.
You can also search by yourself. Airport terminals and hotel lobbies continue to look like hospitals with all those masks and latex gloves on. And that will continue, according to experts like Rudy Dunlap.
"Even in travel destinations where vaccination is fairly widespread, masking, social distancing, and frequent disinfection will continue to be the norm," said Dunlap, tourism expert and associate professor at Middle Tennessee State University.
What should you expect when you hit the streets this summer? Travel will feel different. Americans will visit the same places, but for different reasons. Safety and reliable travel advice are more important than ever. And at least for the next few weeks, the travel scene will still be relatively calm.
Traveling is different for almost everyone
People think differently about travel. It has shifted from a short-term activity to a lifestyle during the pandemic. Nancy Charles-Parker, a retired diplomat from Denver, visited the Big Island of Hawaii during the pandemic and decided to stay. She has been on the island for seven months. Instead of attending cultural events and exploring new places, she has led a quieter life. “My friends were sea turtles, colorful birds and colorful fish snorkeling, and the occasional wild goat,” she says.
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Travelers plan to leave longer this summer and move on. "I've had requests for long stays - even months - to fill bucket lists," said Silvana Frappier, owner of North Star Destinations, a Boston travel agency. Private rental apartments are in great demand. Travelers use them as their headquarters and then explore an entire region or country.
Where to stay Travelers are flocking to Airbnb, Vrbo more than hotels during the COVID-19 pandemic. But why?
Most of the world is still closed
With most of Europe still under lock and key due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, many Americans are choosing to vacation in Caribbean destinations like Aruba and the Bahamas.
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Domestic destinations are big this summer. With the rest of the world struggling to reopen, Americans' options for international travel remain limited, said Christine Buggy, vice president of marketing at Travelex. "Most of the Caribbean islands have reopened to international tourists, and many Americans are traveling or planning trips to Turks and Caicos Islands, Aruba, Bahamas, and other popular island destinations," she says.
You can't do it alone
People discovered that a travel agent can help you in an uncertain time - and can help you when you run into obstacles.
Critics left travel agents for dead in the years leading up to the pandemic. Many experts had written them off as relics and replaced their jobs with more efficient websites. But COVID-19 has changed that. People discovered that a travel agent can help you in an uncertain time. "A travel advisor can listen to your fears and help you organize a trip," said Phyllis Polaner, a Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based travel advisor at Smartflyer.
Security is more important than ever
The post-pandemic traveler will be much more careful, experts say. "Travelers have introduced new filters for travel planning," said Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue. “Especially for international excursions. You choose destinations with a robust health infrastructure and stable pandemic protocols with reliable border management. "Richards says they are taking extra precautions, such as signing up for a month of travel coverage instead of seven or 14 days in order to avoid a possible quarantine.
It's not a rush (at least not yet)
It's not an all-rounder - at least not yet. Look at Katherine Stewart's situation. She is used to traveling several times a month as a trial attorney. After the shutdown, her Syracuse, New York law firm moved most of its sessions to videoconferencing. She spent the vacation at home. She is planning her first trip this spring to attend a friend's bachelorette party in Charleston, South Carolina. “What I'm most concerned about are the testing requirements,” she says.
Earlier this year there was talk of calling for a negative COVID-19 test for domestic flights, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ended up failing to do so. But people like Stewart say it's easier to stay home for now.
The lockdowns, quarantines, and testing requirements have changed the way we travel - possibly permanently. We'll know more in a couple of weeks.
How to travel in the "new" normal
According to Trawick International, 40% of vacationers buy travel insurance these days, as opposed to just 10% before September 11th.
Be sustainable, responsible - and slow. These are the three buzzwords you should know after the pandemic, says Ioanna Dretta, CEO of Marketing Greece, a non-profit that promotes Greek tourism. "More and more travelers are turning to slow-paced tourism and the top priority is exploring the destination with their senses rather than ticking off a list of must-see places," she says.
Consider travel insurance. As of September 11, only 10% of travelers bought travel insurance, says Bailey Foster, vice president of Travel Insurance Trawick International, a travel insurance company. "Today we see that nearly 40% of travelers who book trips take out travel insurance," she says. Why? Insurance is now required in many countries. And more and more travelers are worried about getting sick while on vacation.
Check your passport. If you are planning to travel internationally, make sure you have your passport ready. Mandy McKaskle, a luxury travel advisor at Embark Beyond, says yours should be valid at least until the end of the year. "The renewal time is 10 to 12 weeks, and even the expedited service is 4 to 6 weeks," she warns. "Planning ahead is critical."
This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: Summer Travel: How 2021 Will Be Different This Year Due to COVID

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