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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

How Travel Will Change After Coronavirus

We're all probably so tired of hearing about Covid-19 and Coronavirus. There's almost no other news happening and it can get overwhelming. It sucks. We're all stuck at home trying to stay afloat and figure out how to adjust to this new normal for the time being where we don't get to hug others and have to throw game nights via Zoom or Discord and can only see people from across the street. I hope some good things will come from this, including a lot more kindness toward people, a greater appreciation for the things we've usually taken for granted, and a safer/healthier world.

Thinking about this, I feel like when we return to travel, it's going to be different, but it's also going to be better. Not only is nature becoming a bit more wild and skies/waters are becoming clearer, but think of how exciting life is going to be when you can see a place for the first time again. Even your favorite destinations may change.

Here is some speculation on how travel itself will be different:

  • You'll see more people everywhere wearing masks outside and at landmarks and attractions.
  • There's going to be a lot more hand sanitizer everywhere you go.
  • Cleaning practices are going to be much more stringent.
  • There will be stricter limits on capacity, even at outdoor attractions, like the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas.
  • Credit card and contactless payments will be the new norm and more available in places like public transportation (all buses in the UK that we took last year had tap to pay).
  • Fewer people will be allowed in restaurants, and there will be fewer tables overall, to help with social distancing.
  • More virtual queues to allow for less standing around waiting at restaurants.
  • More places accepting reservations to space out visitors.
  • Employees everywhere wearing masks and gloves, especially in food service, where you may also receive your food covered to prevent germs getting to it before it arrives.
  • More airports may employ therapy dogs/animals to lessen the stress of travel for passengers.
I can't say that I'll be sad to see any of these changes if/when they happen. It's going to make crowd management a bit more complicated, but it's also going to make it easier to navigate places in my opinion.

How will the TSA change? 

Right now, there are approximately 90% fewer travelers at airports going through security when compared to the same time last year. When the travel bans are lifted, or if you have to travel for an emergency, here's what's going to be different:
  • Travelers will be allowed to bring a bottle of sanitizer up to 12oz with them on the plane. Any container over the 3.4oz limit will need to be scanned separately.
  • You'll be encouraged to put anything in your pockets into your purse or carry-on through security and not use a bin/tray at all.
  • Security will allow travelers to wear face masks, but may also be asked to adjust them in order to match you to your ID or passport.
  • If your ID has expired, you may still be able to use it to travel. If your license or ID expired on or after March 1, 2020. TSA agents will accept expired driver's licenses or state-issued ID a year after expiration or 60 days after the duration of the emergency, whichever is longer.
Travelers will be encouraged to wash their hands before and after going through airport security. They also suggest you bring the following with you when traveling: Aside from hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and face masks. They also remind you that you can ask TSA officers to change their gloves before patting you down or handling your belongings. If you have other questions about traveling during the pandemic, check out TSA.gov/coronavirus.

What do you think of these new travel precautions? And how do you think travel will change beyond the travel bans and shelter-at-home orders?

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