Travel’s New Normal: Realistic and Optimistic

At Go Global, good planning has always been the key to worry-free, stress-free travel. Ability to be flexible is another instrumental ingredient in good travel experiences, even on the most carefully designed and researched itineraries. Local connections in the places that you visit are a must for both your travel budget and the quality of travel experience. These are time-tested and proven travel basics practiced at Go Global since 1992 to create authentic experiences.

 With the arrival of COVID-19 and post-pandemic practices and realities, new trends have emerged. The “new normal” of travel is now a challenge to our best, time-tested practices. 

Current realities:

  • Planning travel is very difficult right now

    • Airlines are offering fewer flights and that means schedules changes, aircraft swaps, fewer optimal connections.  
    • Some changes can take place within days of your scheduled flights.
    • Avoid smaller, regional airlines as their cancelations may leave you stranded for days vs. hours with larger airlines.
    • Hotel availability is very good right nowbetter than before the crisis—and you can find a great room even on the day of travel.  
    • I have adjusted my booking recommendations to less than two weeks for international flights and less than a week for hotels.  
  • Flexibility needed now more than ever  

    • My flight details, including travel dates, have changed 3 times within the span of a week. 
    • My flight to Rome was canceled less than a week before the trip was to start. 
    • Local COVID-19 restrictions have been changed less than 4 days before my trip. 
    • NOTE: As flexible as you need to be nowadays, I have yet to be denied entry to a country or stay at the hotel or booking a rental car or boarding a plane because of COVID-19. 
    • Travel is not good right now for those who want 100% certainty at every turn of their trip. I could offer that promise during the pre-pandemic days, and I hope to offer worry-free, stress-free travel in 2021.  
  • Local connections are still the key to a great and inexpensive travel abroad adventure. That basic of travel is unchanged. I still ask my local partners for last-minute deals, advice on where to stay, and what to see.

Forward-Looking Optimism:

  • Many people want to travel (we are getting new bookings for 2021 tours, including domestic trips).
  • Europeans want us back.  “Not much fun without visitors” is how one hotel manager in Berlin described life to me a few weeks ago.  
  • Expect low prices for hotels until at least the middle of 2021
  • Expect mid-range prices for international flights for most of 2021; domestic airfares will most likely remain low until the middle of 2021.  
  • Most of European countries have stopped collecting travel and business related taxes, from food to transportation to hotels to gifts, making travel right now less expensive. 
  • Travel (by air and/or train) has been very enjoyable as there are fewer people onboard, especially on international routes.  

    • Once you get to your plane, flying is actually again a pleasant experience
    • Trains have blocked half of seats so there is plenty of space between you and a stranger 
    • Unlike in the past, I now take time to get onboard my flights (I want to be one of the last ones on and there is never an issue with luggage space)
  • Interesting (?) international flights factoid: American Airlines flights have more people in the back of the plane (economy) while British Airways flights seem to have more people upfront (business and first class).  
  • Domestic flights seem to be more crowded (including some flights within Europe) than international flights 
  • Europeans are, by far, more observant of wearing masks at all times, especially when at the airport/flying, than Americans (British passengers are outliers and seem to break rules more readily and more frequently than other European nationals).