Traveling in Times of COVID-19: We Asked Our Community
Recently, we spoke to several travel bloggers (part 1 and part 2) to ask them how they are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic – as they basically travel for a living, they are now not able to or are only super limited in doing their job. Now, we turn to our travel-savvy community to hear their experiences and opinions of how the pandemic has changed their travel behavior, what their travel outlook is, and much more. To get in touch, we conducted a survey on our Instagram and Facebook asking our followers about their travel behavior in the last year. Read on to learn the outcome!
Interestingly, the number of followers who went on a trip since the pandemic broke out and the number of followers who decided to stay at home is almost equal. 49% decided to travel despite the situation, and 51% percent decided to stay home.
The majority of those who still traveled, 42%, felt safe while traveling because airlines and hotels adhered to safety measures. However, 17% argued that there could have been some improvements, and 16% didn’t feel safe at all.
We were also interested in hearing our community’s opinion if they think it is responsible to travel right now. 53% agreed under the premise that you take care of yourself and others. However, 47% felt that is more reasonable to wait before they’ll travel again.
Of course, we were also super curious to know if our followers are planning on traveling this year – while 45% are entirely certain they will, the majority (51%) doesn’t know yet. 4% even said that they won’t travel this year.
From those who are definitely planning on traveling, the majority (81%) still hasn’t booked a trip yet and will still wait before booking anything. Only 19% were “brave” enough to already book trips for 2021.
Another aspect we were interested in our followers’ next destinations. 39% said they will travel within their own country, 27% are visiting a more remote destination in Europe, 20% are going to a neighboring country, and 11% are even going overseas.
As the pandemic has definitely changed everyone’s travel behavior, we wanted to know what exactly had changed for our community. 32% told us that they are currently not traveling at all, 33% are traveling less, another 33% are still traveling when they get the chance, and 2% only go on business trips.
Outlook to the Future
Now that we found out what has changed for our community, we also wanted to know their opinion on how the situation will continue, what will change, and what will stay the same.
A striking 89% thinks that flexible cancellation periods for trips are going to stay essential beyond the pandemic. Only 11% are doubting that.
Another interesting question was if traveling is going to be cheaper or more expensive after the pandemic. Interestingly, 54% think that the prices for traveling will go up afterwards. Only 25% think that the prices will stay approximately the same, and just 21% think that they are going to be cheaper.
Our last and probably most important question was of course: “When do you think global traveling is going to be possible again?”. Here, the answers show that we will all still need some patience. 37% guess that everything is going to be back to normal by mid-2022, and 29% estimate that this will be the case by the beginning of 2022. Only 22% are more optimistic and predict unrestricted global travel by the end of 2021, and 12% believe this will already happen by summer 2021.
Personal Experiences – Diana
As we wanted to dig even deeper, we talked to two members of our community to share their recent travel experiences with us.
The first one is Diana – as a travel addict who loves to explore new places and countries, not being able to travel as much as usual has definitely taken a toll on her. However, she still managed to go on several trips since the pandemic broke out. When COVID-19 started to become an issue in March 2020, she was in Singapore visiting a friend. “I have to say, although the situation regarding COVID-19 was still rather unclear worldwide, I felt super safe in Asia because they have been well prepared from the start. They had disinfection dispensers on every corner, took temperature measurements before people were allowed to enter restaurants, etc., and even masks were already compulsory long before they were introduced in Austria.” She actually stayed longer than expected because her flight got canceled twice, and catching back the last regular flight to Austria was a hassle. “I was only on stand-by, but was lucky enough to get a seat on the last flight back to Austria”.
Over the next couple of months, traveling outside of Austria was not that easy, so Diana decided to make the best out of the situation and discovered her home country. “I basically shifted all my traveling to Austria for a while and re-discovered my love for hiking. Austria really has some amazing places to explore! For instance, I visited Hallstatt, the Green Lake, several castles, nature parks, went to my hometown Graz, and visited my family in Carinthia. Also, the area around Vienna, where I currently live, has a lot to offer such as Kahlenberg, Leopoldsberg, Neusiedlersee, and much more!”.
By September 2020, restrictions were eased for a short period, and Diana went to Mykonos, Greece, to Denmark, Copenhagen, and Rome, Italy. At the time, measures were less strict than they are now, and despite having to fill out a registration form for Greece and Italy, the travel experience was almost the same as usual. “In September, no negative COVID tests were required for the destinations I went to. In general, the trips didn’t feel much different than usual. There were, of course, fewer tourists, and you had to wear masks to enter restaurants, but apart from that, the travel experience was rather normal”.
Diana definitely wants to travel again this year, however, she hasn’t booked a trip yet. “I’ll just wait a little bit longer and see how the situation is going to evolve. I don’t want to book anything now and then have to cancel it last minute. I will further wait for the government’s decisions and for the entry rules for various countries by summer”.
Elly has also been able to travel since the pandemic broke out. She went to Turkey three times and visited Egypt, and she also stated that traveling didn’t feel too different than usual. “Of course traveling was accompanied by wearing masks, keeping a safe distance to others, and using hand sanitizer more often than before the pandemic. But those are all measures we had already been getting used to. Also, I love traveling, so those were only minor drawbacks”.
She has already made travel plans for 2021 – if everything works out well she is flying to Montenegro next week, and she hopes her summer travel plans will become a reality as well. “To me, there is no alternative to traveling. It was so hard for me to wait for novel traveling regulations last year. Nothing could help me to ease the cravings of my heart before I was able to go on my first trip during the pandemic”.
We hope your wanderlust didn’t get too bad while reading through our article. Stay safe folks, and as usual, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that you’ll be able to go on a trip in 2021!