Travel Recovery and Lessons for the Future

The stock market is climbing back and has nearly regained all its losses since the pandemic-related drop in late February. COVID-19 infection rates are flat, yet hotspots continue in the U.S. and other locations.

The percentage of travelers passing through U.S. airports doubled from April to May, doubled again from May to June, and increased by another 50 percent in the first half of July compared to the same period last year. Death rates tied to coronavirus are steadily falling.

On the vaccine front, there are 17 potential inoculations in Phase 1 small scale safety trials, another nine in Phase 2 expanded safety trials, and three in large-scale Phase 3 efficacy trials.

The data is mostly encouraging, and it is influencing travel industry sectors to explore traveler inclination to return to the airways and roadways.

Airlines, hotels and online travel retailers are offering discounts and deals to fill airplanes and rooms. Priceline is currently offering July travelers a three-night hotel stay and round trip-flight from Boston to Miami for $219. In October, you can fly from Chicago to Los Angeles on United Air for $74 round trip.

“Reducing fares is the fastest way for airlines to entice customers to book,” said Adam Aronson, co-founder of travelhelix, a Global Rescue Safe Travel partner. “Taking advantage of low fares depends very much on your risk appetite—both financially and with regard to health and safety.”

“Domestic travel is re-emerging, gradually and steadily,” said David Barrett, CEO and founder of Expensify, the world’s most widely-used expense and travel management platform.

He has unique, data-driven insight from his business that affords him a compelling perspective. “Our data is showing that domestic travel is 30 percent back to where we were. It’s not jumping back, rather it’s gradually marching up,” he said.

Kimberly Franke, director of Kanna Travel Services, specializes in adventure and sports travel from scuba diving in Australia to fishing in Brazil to hiking the Himalayas. She said people are planning travel for later this year and into next year but admits it’s difficult to determine what the trend will be for international travel, especially with COVID-19 numbers in the U.S. steadily rising again.

“The original surge of people planning travel has slowed, likely because international travel restrictions have extended and people are weighing the pros and cons of shifting entry and exit requirements,” she said. “Travelers want to stay home now to help stop the viral spread in the hopes of once again getting back out and do what they love—traveling and exploring the world.”

The pandemic has pushed people to re-evaluate risk and travel concerns, whether they are planning an immediate trip close to home or an international excursion later on. Travelers are quickly coming to the realization that the protection services they want for international trips are also a benefit for traveling within America’s borders.

During a recent holiday weekend, a man traveled with his family 110 miles from his New York City home. Soon after, he requested help to identify local urgent care centers where he and his family could be tested for virus antibodies and infection. He could have spent hours searching online, calling to make appointments, and checking reviews. Instead, he called Global Rescue and the medical operations team investigated the area, vetted multiple resources, and provided the member with the needed information. Managing all the different resources, phone numbers, and contacts is a hassle that travel protection services can take off your shoulders.

Travel restrictions and changing quarantine requirements make a travel protection service membership a necessity, especially for medical advisory, evacuation services, and up-to-the-minute travel information. Travelers should look for a travel insurance policy with Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) benefits, which allows you to cancel your trip for any reason not included in your base insurance plan.

Bill McIntyre is director of communications at Global Rescue and an award-winning journalist.

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