I don't know about you but I cannot wait to be able to travel again. I will of course use commonsense and caution when we are given the green light to move about the world again. Travel is something that won't go away but it will change after all of this. Just like after 9/11 some changes were made in order to keep us safer and most are still with us today. As we slowly start to reopen in phases we will start to see some of these changes and ideas come out and some will work and some won't. Some of these changes may end of being permanent while others might be just around until there is a vaccine. No matter what the key is to start getting back to somewhat normal.
Here are 7 changes to the way we used to travel:
#1 Face Masks
JetBlue was first to announce that as of May 4 all passengers will be required to wear a face mask in order to fly. I have a feeling other airlines will follow and Canadian authorities have already mandated that anyone flying through Canadian airports must cover their nose and mouth. As much as I am not a fan of the face mask I would wear it if it means I can travel. Here is a link to each airline's current policy
#2 Social Distancing
This one could get tricky at places like theme parks but there are already talks of how the theme parks could start using virtual lines and then when you do have to actually enter the attraction line there will be places marked on the ground showing you where to stand so that you are staying far enough apart.
Another way to distance will be allowing less people into the parks or onto cruise ships. I have heard that when cruising starts again the ships will be sailing with a lot less guests in order to give everyone more room. I have also seen theme parks talking about limiting the number of guests per day.
Airlines are saying they plan to do things like leave the middle seats open and try to keep passengers as spread out as possible. I have even seen an idea for how airplanes might change seating configurations so that the middle seat faces the other direction and there are some sort of plexiglass partitions. I don't know if I see that happening anytime soon but maybe flying will somehow become a little more comfortable after all this.
#3 Relaxed Cancellation and Change Policies
This is one I would like to see stick around but doubt it will. At least for now the airlines, cruise lines, and most hotels are offering much better cancellation and change policies. This way you are able to book now and if things are not better or you are feeling sick you can cancel or change without losing all your money. Cruise lines have already said that if a guest is not feeling well even the day the cruise is to start they can cancel and won't lose everything. They would rather people didn't travel while sick just because they don't want to lose their money. I really like this change because it allows us all to plan something to look forward to but at the same time know we are not going to be severely penalized if it doesn't work out.
#4 Temperature Scans and Health Checks
Before the cruises stopped sailing many had started to take guest temperatures at boarding and would deny anyone with a fever. I have heard that most will continue this practice when cruising starts again. I have even heard plans for the ports to be set up with a scanning feature that you walk through as you enter to check in for the cruise. Both guests and crew will be checked before boarding. I have heard this could be something that goes beyond just cruising but also to the theme parks and maybe even the airports. We might also have to fill out a heath questionnaire similar to what we had to do before boarding a cruise but that could now apply to all forms of travel.
#5 More Cleaning and Sanitizing procedures
Everything from cruise ships, airplanes, theme parks, hotels, and really anything where people will come and go needs to step up sanitizing plans.
I think we will see a lot of high touch points changed into something like guests using an app or something on their own phone to do certain things like check in and even opening their room door. Princess Cruise was already ahead of the game on this with their Ocean Medallion, which I tested out in December. It really allows guests to avoid a lot of high touch things and even avoid standing in line for food. I am sure we will start seeing new technology for other things too.
Airlines and hotels are already using things like electrostatic sprayers or ultraviolet-light technology to clean. Hilton has started placing a seal on room doors that will tell when a room was clean and that it hasn't been opened since. Hyatt is planning to add a hygiene manager to each hotel to oversee cleaning and make sure everything needed is available to both employees and guests.
#6 More Hand Sanitizer and Hand Washing Stations Everywhere
Let's face it a big key to this virus is we touch something that has the virus on it and then we touch our face so if both surfaces and our hands are cleaned often that is a big way to get rid of this. Hand sanitizer and hand washing stations will be much more readily available. I can see things like these popping up all over and can see many places requiring guests to wash before they can enter a line or something like that. Cruise Lines were already ahead on this one as they have had hand washing stations and wipes set up before any place you would eat or when you would return to the ship from port for a long time. I can already picture the sanitizing stations being added to Theme Park entrances just the way security bag checks were added. I can even see it added at airports in the same way TSA check was added. Who knows maybe someone is working on the new airport scanning machine that both looks for the bad things people might be hiding on themselves and at the same kills any germs that might be hiding too.
#6 Bye-Bye Buffets
I have never really been a fan of the way most buffets work where anyone and everyone is touching everything so I will be glad to see this change. In places that will still be sort of like a buffet I think we will see more servers taking over all parts for us so the only thing we do is hold our plate and food is placed on it.
#7 Immunity Passports
This is one I really do not agree with but some countries have started what is pretty much an immunity passport which says you already had the virus and recovered so they are assuming you are now immune so you are free to travel. I think there are too many variables in this one for it to make sense so I hope this one doesn't happen.
Some of these are already happening and others are my speculation. Some might stick around for good and others might not but either way I am glad to see us making steps to get the world back open!
It used to be that a staycation was something you did when you wanted a quick, cheap getaway without going far from home. So maybe you stayed within a couple hours drive from home and maybe got a hotel for a night or maybe it was just a day trip. Now that we cannot really go anywhere, a staycation literally means staying at home but trying to feel like you are taking a mini vacation.
Let's go with a beach or cruise theme for this staycation. Next week I will post ideas for a Theme Park type of staycation.
Let's get your 5 Senses involved -
1. Sound - check out spotify for sounds of the ocean or if you want more than just the sound tune into the live feed from one of my favorite island stops - Soggy Dollar Bar live.
2. Sight - If you want to go one step further, bring your beach chair or beach towel into the living room and if you have a smart tv search for something like ocean sounds on you tube and now you have your beachfront view.
3. Scent - Lighting a candle is an easy way to get a beach scent in your house. When I think of what the beach smells like I think coconut but there are quite a few other options for beach scented candles - check out amazon to find your favorite beach smell. If you don't have any candles but have a bottle of sunblock handy break that out and put some on even if you are staying inside since that usually has a beach scent or at least makes you think of the beach.
4. Taste - An umbrella drink totally screams vacation so check out this link for some Caribbean Cocktails. (Painkiller is the Soggy Dollar original so if you are tuned into their webcam might as well whip up some of those)
You cannot forget about the food - sorry but in this case you have to be the chef and server - check out this link for the Most Requested Cruise Recipes.
5. Touch - is a little harder since you cannot really bring sand or the ocean into your living room. If you have a yard, maybe a pool or sandbox will help. You might have to settle for pretending a fan is an ocean breeze.
A few extra touches you could add -
1. Do your own turndown service - add a little chocolate to the pillow and maybe even figure out how to make a towel animal. This could be a cute surprise for your spouse or kids.
2. Have a formal night - get all dressed up in your fancy clothes and enjoy a special dinner (maybe order take out from your favorite local restaurant).
3. Unplug! One of my favorite things about flying and cruising is that you are a bit disconnected from the world even if just for a little bit. No news, no phone calls, no emails. Even if you only do it for an hour I think it would really help. Grab a book or your kindle and find a "lounge chair on deck" (in other words your couch) to read or just take a nap.
Vacation is all about taking a break from reality so even though we are stuck at home doesn't mean we cannot do that for a little bit.
Share your Staycation to win!
Let's make this even more fun by adding a little contest to it. Take a photo of your staycation and post it to win a $25 Amazon gift card! Use #stressfreestaycation. Post your photos to instagram and tag me @coleentravel or on Facebook tag me @ColeenSwezey or @travelwithnostress. You can also email me your photo if you don't want to post it anywhere. This contest will run through April 30th and I will share the winners in the following week's newsletter. I will also offer $50 when you book your next vacation just for participating in this contest.
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