50 Million Americans expected to travel for thanksgiving might sound like a lot, but triple-A reports it’s the biggest anticipated drop since the great recession in 2008. So what are anxious Americans looking into and what are the trends as we head into an uncertain holiday season full of sanitizer and social distancing…
1. People are clearly planning on traveling. For many it might be their first experience since the beginning of the pandemic: what are some recommendations whether it’s a road trip or a flight?
Plan ahead. Have a strategy; think about exactly where you’re planning to go, how you’re planning to get there, and what you will do once you arrive. Pack snacks, drinks and an emergency roadside kit to minimize stops and reduce contact with others. If flying, minimize taking off your mask, clean your hands frequently and pack your own food. No matter your mode of transport, don’t forget your driver’s license, registration, and insurance cards. It’s also wise to bring face coverings, gloves, and disinfecting wipes.
2. Some people use the holidays to get away from the traditional hustle and bustle. They may not be with their families or may want a tropical getaway: are those happening this year? What are the options and what are some of the best deals you’re seeing? (Abroad? All-inclusive resorts? What about cruises? what measures being taken to keep travelers safe?)
For those who want to go abroad, especially to a beach, there are several countries open to Americans right now. Saint Lucia in the Caribbean, for example, has dozens of hotels with great holiday rates, and are making Covid safety a priority. All travelers are required to have a PCR test within seven days of arriving. What’s also great is that they have “Covid-certified” their hotels and dozens of activities from zip-lining to scuba diving to hiking. American Airlines is offering roundtrip fares there for around $500, now through 2021. Now for those who want to go further afield, Costa Rica re-opened to Americans on November 1, and people can explore the jungle, surf world-class breaks, enjoy beautiful beaches and lap up the outdoors with confidence. For example, you can find resorts like the Tierra Magnifica resort in Nosara, which reopened last week and is about to unveil eight new luxury suites that overlook the tropical jungle and the ocean – which is just what you might need from a vacation after Covid isolation!
3. What about staycations, or those who want to get away but also avoid major travel?
Right in North Carolina itself there are some really fantastic staycation options. For example just two hours away is the hip yet historic Winston-Salem area – it has a great downtown filled with breweries, restaurants and a fun arts district. And this is a great place to get into the holiday spirit, with tonnes of events like their drive-through Festival of Lights at Tanglewood (with more than 1,000,000 lights used in displays), and loads of Christmas shopping options. It’s also THE place to get a tin of those hand-rolled Moravian Cookies which make a great stocking stuffer!
4. Any big surprises in the travel outlook?
I don’t think it’s a suprise that people are going to start traveling again, however I would say that if you told people back in 2019 that their 2020 holiday plans would still be impacted by this, they wouldn’t believe it. Now depending on your mode of transport over the holidays, there are some silver livings to look out for. For example, airfares are said to be at their lowest in three years and I predict they will stay low for a while. I also think we will see people traveling again to ‘winter sun’ destinations like Costa Rica or the Caribbean as mentioned.