With the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19, the travel and hospitality industries stagnate. Sheltering at home, social distancing, and fear of contamination are keeping people at home. However, we can still embrace our wanderlust by planning our travel and taking advantage of some opportunities, right now.
- Travel deals: Many airlines, hotels, cruise ships, lodging, and more are lowering their fares to entice travelers to buy now. These opportunities are perfect for bargain hunters who are looking for a break from the claustrophobic effect of staying at home. While making your plans, be sure to keep up-to-date on providers’ cancellation and change policies. Airfare Watchdog has a great article with links to airline refund policies. Hotels, home rentals, vacation websites, and more have refund and cancellation policies, as well. While travel may be limited right now, planning for a future adventure is a great distraction.
- Sign-up for travel rewards: As you may be buying more goods online, utilize the options for travel points and rewards. If you have a credit card that links to frequent flyer points, hotel points, other points, make that your primary card to use. If you don’t have a travel reward credit card, choose one and sign up for their card. You can accumulate points quickly when you are turning more and more towards e-commerce. Then, start daydreaming about where you’ll go with these bonus points!
- Plan your budget: Many livelihoods are affected by COVID-19. If you are able, you can track your monthly spending and bills. Using one a free app or even a spreadsheet will help you identify where you can start putting money aside for your travel fund.
- Learn a language: You may have always dreamed of foreign travel, but were worried about the language barrier. Now is the time to work on learning a new language. You can access videos, download apps, or buy books to help you in your quest. If you have a family at home with you, make it a challenge to learn the language together.
- Listen up: Once you select your destination, or even if you want help learning about potential locations, you can learn more about the locale by listening to experts. Rick Steves has some great podcasts about Europe. If you want to learn more about National Parks, check out the Parklandia series. And the Travel Channel has podcasts you can download. Just do a quick search, and you’ll find so many podcast options.
- Read up: You can download borrowed e-books from your local library, download e-books to your tablet, or purchase books online. Sometimes the visual pictures are so enticing you may want to expand your travel, or you will learn about unique cultural wonders. Whether you end up traveling to your first destination, or making more plans for future trips, reading about these new places to explore will broaden your knowledge.
You may be wary of hotels and airports now, but we are starting to see pent-up demand growth during this lull, a quarter of all Americans (24%) are looking forward to traveling once things return to normal and business reopens. How will things look after the quarantine? The Harris Poll found that “one-fifth of Americans (21%) say they will stay in a hotel within a month and (44% combined) within three months. By six months, (65%) say they’ll visit a hotel.”
During this unique time, we can focus on the positive and look forward to opportunities to experience the world. Planning, learning, and saving are practical strategies that will help us, so when the time comes to travel again, we are ready to go!