It feels like ages since COVID-19 first made its way into our lives, back when we initially prepared for the first few days under lockdown and learned about social distancing measures, somewhat hesitantly. These safety measures and restrictions continue to be the daily bread of our existence, 17 months down the road, but vaccines have slowed down the spread of the virus and helped increase flexibility around travel and certain outdoor activities in public spaces throughout the country.
Consequently, 90% of Americans said they now have plans to travel this Summer, and 64% said they were planning to travel during the upcoming Fall and Winter seasons, according to a recent study.
Travel Credit Cards
For those who want to wait a little longer before getting their feet wet, now might be a good time to start clearing off items from your credit report, save a few extra dollars, and look into rewards cards.
Although some credit card companies have tightened their application process during the pandemic, these last (hopefully) few months under partial lockdown are great to rack up rewards points or miles with everyday purchases in preparation for our trips.
The best travel credit cards reward cardholders for their spending—sometimes very handsomely in the dining and hospitality industries. General perks also include categorical discounts for groceries, home improvement, and retail stores. Shoppers can also enjoy a variety of in-travel perks such as checked bags, exclusive airport lounges, in-flight wi-fi, and more.
COVID-19 Travel Restrictions
Before booking flights, it is important to check what kind of restrictions are in place in your country of destination. Also, be sure to check with local authorities about space availability and special schedules. Be open to following suggestions from authorities at the airport to keep your mask on while travelling and to keep a safe distance between you and other travellers.
Three Strategies to Boost Your Post-Pandemic Travel
Tip #1: Start Budgeting Now
Even if you don’t plan to travel for the remainder of 2021—or well into the future—the sooner you start to plan and prepare for your trip, the better.
A few extra months of waiting can easily give you a couple of hundred dollars extra to play around with. You can also start racking up miles or points using a credit card with daily purchases.
It’s easy to find small ways to save when we look at our spending habits from a safe distance. Keep a small ledger or journal with all your weekly purchases. Then, decide if there’s anything you can do without—or find cheaper alternatives.
Tip #2: Plan Your Trip Carefully
The pandemic isn’t over yet. Social distancing measures and lockdowns are still common in many countries, cities, and states. Thus, it’s important to take all the necessary precautions when going abroad.
If you can wait a few months, you might depart during a calmer season, but COVID-19 Delta cases are rising in Western Europe and Asia, putting a tightrope around an already struggling travel industry that was just starting to see the light.
Those that do plan on flying during the next few months should pay heed to the World Health Organization’s guidelines for safe international travel.
Tip #3: Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
It’s easy for us to get upset about all that has happened during the past 17 months. COVID-19 was an unprecedented global health crisis and one that gave our daily lives a solid smack in the face.
A direct effect of the global pandemic on travel has been the rise of slow travel, where people indulge in their destinations by staying longer, getting to know the place better, and achieving a much more profound experience through education and presence.
Plan to take a little extra time to get to know and experience your upcoming destination. This may include cuisine, history, art, or cultural aspects you’d like to see or learn more of during your adventures.
Physical and Emotional Benefits of Taking a Vacation
Once travel restrictions ease, it’s likely we’ll see a resurgence in the tourism industry. And, with good reason! There are many physical and emotional benefits of taking a vacation. Among them are improved life satisfaction, reduced stress, and even fewer instances of heart attacks.
When you can’t swing a week-long vacation, a two- or three-day weekend getaway can give you just the mood boost you’re looking for. Seriously — science says so! Research shows that people who take more vacations, experience better life satisfaction, reduced feelings of depression, and even a reduced risk of heart attacks and all-cause mortality. In fact, even having a future trip planned is enough to bring most people some added joy!
Ready to pack your bags? To get the most bang for your buck, take a little time to plan ahead so you can take full advantage of deals on lodging, meals, sites, and events within a day’s drive. Consider teaming up with some travel companions to share the costs — and add to the adventure, then look at weekends that work for everyone involved. For more science-backed evidence on just how helpful even a short getaway can be, along with tips for making your weekend trek a success, read this graphic.