Travel Tuesday: When Will We Travel Again?
They say that, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. That’s proving especially true in 2020 as a global pandemic has all but shut down economies around the globe. Needless to say, it’s also hit the travel industry especially hard. But are we getting closer to exploring the world outside of our own apartments once again? For today’s Travel Tuesday, I wanted to share a few thoughts I had about reopenings, “staycations,” and some of the travel questions that may be looming for the next several months:
Tourist Attractions Begin Reopening
Recent days have brought some significant reopenings or moves toward reopening. Most notably (at least in my biased book) is that Walt Disney World plans to open to the public starting July 11th, with so-called “soft openings” for Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club members, and other such groups. This news comes after the resort’s shopping and dining district Disney Springs has apparently seen success with their phased reopenings.
Of course, these reopened properties won’t exactly resemble their former selves. For example, Walt Disney World is not only going to be limiting capacity through a new reservation system but is also requiring temperate checks for all guests and mandating the use of face coverings or masks. There will also be plenty of signs and stickers reminding guests to keep their distance.
While the reopening of theme parks is significant to be sure, it remains to be seen how many people will be willing to travel to these destinations from out of state. Another factor may be whether or not a family can drive to Central Florida instead of taking a plane — an act that some travelers might find riskier than hitting the road. Still, it is a sign that things are slowly getting back to normal, even if they’re nowhere there yet.
Our upcoming “Staycation”
Speaking of theme parks reopening, this week Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri announced that it would welcome back guests starting in just a couple of weeks. I mention this not because we plan on hitting up the coasters or caves at Silver Dollar but to mention a small trip we’re planning to take down to Branson. With the city only about an hour away from our home in Springfield and due to my in-laws having some extra timeshare points to burn, my wife and I had them book us a few nights at the Wyndham resort.
Granted, we don’t plan on doing much while we’re down there. Instead, it’ll just be nice to spend the day working out of a different room than the one I’ve spent the last eight weeks in. Since these timeshare units have their own kitchens as well, the only human interaction we may encounter during this “staycation” is at check-in. In other words, we feel pretty comfortable that our mini-getaway won’t endanger our health nor have a negative impact on our community.
Big international question marks
Even if domestic travel is inching its way back, the international front is far more complicated. Not only have some countries locked down their borders to visitors entirely but others may require long self-quarantine times upon arrival. It’s no wonder then that, for example, Japan saw tourism decline by 99.9% in April (literally).
You’ve probably seen headlines projecting that international travel won’t reach its previous level for many more years to come. That hopefully doesn’t mean that travel won’t resume until then but just that demand will be soft for a while. With so many places I want to visit again and even more places I want to experience for the first time, I’m certainly wishful that a vaccine will arrive sooner rather than later.
Saving up in the mean time
If there’s a silver lining to this current lack of travel, it’s that we’re stacking our chips for when things finally do get back to normal. This not only includes setting aside savings we’ve seen from canceling previously planned trips but also take into account the credit card reward points that are still accruing. So, rest assured that, when we are eventually able to travel freely and without worry, we’ll be taking a trip of a lifetime.
When will you travel again?
Something that often gets overlooked when talking about reopenings and speculating about what’s ahead is that just because something is available again doesn’t mean that it makes sense for every individual to partake. As I alluded to when talking about travel to Walt Disney World, there may be differences for those within a few hour’s drive of the resort and those on the other side of the country. Other considerations may include your personal health or the health of your family members, the rate of infection in your area, and more. Basically what I’m saying is, if you don’t feel comfortable traveling, don’t feel like you need to.
Aside from our planned trip to Branson, we don’t currently have any travel planned for the next several months. However, incidentally, we do have plane tickets to Paris for the end of September — a result of rescheduling the trip we were supposed to take in March — but our hopes aren’t too high that this will actually happen. Instead, we’ll continue taking things a day at a time and determining what’s best for us and our loved ones as the situation develops.
Also published on Medium.