We’re almost a year into a pandemic-induced cataclysmic shift in the way we live, and travel will likely never be the same. As vaccines begin to roll out in countries all over the world, we’re seeing a light at the end of the tunnel of this coronavirus hell. What does that mean for travel in 2021 and what does it mean for travel blogs like GnomeTrotting?
A lot of people are freaking out about the possibility of “vaccine passports,” even though this concept is far from new. American students are required to submit proof of vaccination like polio and tetanus to attend college. And if you’ve ever traveled to certain countries in Africa, for instance, some vaccines are not optional. You simply aren’t allowed in without proof of vaccination.
After everyone has spent the better part of a year scrambling to control coronavirus, you better believe most sensible nations are going to require a coronavirus vaccine to allow you in. Sorry, antivaxxers. Stop getting your “research” from Facebook and join the rest of us in the 21st century, or keep the hell out. Covid vaccine requirements are almost a certainty at least in the next couple of years.
Are travel blogs starting from zero?
2020 was like if a traveler used the monkey’s paw to wish tourist sites would be less crowded. Here we are a year later, and almost every bit of advice, itinerary, or even dining suggestion travel bloggers made before February 2020 is now potentially irrelevant or obsolete. Many popular bars and restaurants are now closed, particularly tourist hotspots whose business dried up with closed borders. Tips about visiting museums or even getting to the airport might no longer be useful considering new widespread testing requirements and capacity restrictions. It’s likely that we’ll be seeing a lot more travel experiences like Machu Picchu that have to be booked far in advance to avoid overcrowding and a lot less like the Vatican Museum, which used to look like a cattle farm most days pre-pandemic.
If you’re just getting into travel blogging this year, you might be in luck. People are going to want all the newest tips and advice, accounting for new restrictions and Covid measures. It might be a good time for experienced travel bloggers to revisit countries and update some of the information we’ve put out into the world. New travel restrictions might totally change the way we see certain places. I, for one, am looking forward to not seeing gigantic tour buses full of people in all of Europe’s popular capitals.
Travel restrictions galore
It used to be that international travel was only restricted by visa requirements. This made it easy to take off at the last minute and visit anywhere your passport is welcome with relatively little planning. Now travel has several layers of restrictions to keep track of. While some of those may drop off in the next year or so, some countries may choose to maintain testing requirements and partially closed borders to protect against the high cost of outbreaks and lockdowns. I mean, will New Zealand ever be open to mere mortals outside its borders?
When we plan travel in 2021 and beyond, we’ll need to account for the visa and health requirements of the places we visit and our own country’s upon our return. It’s going to make it harder to travel spontaneously, and it’s likely that regional bubbles will see the most tourism traffic from neighboring countries. Until the pandemic begins to fully subside after months of vaccination programs, most people will only have access to some small pockets of the world.
Digital nomads becoming standard?
This pandemic has demonstrated that almost any business can be run effectively from the comfort of our own homes. Some major companies have already announced that working from home will become permanent with others extending it indefinitely. Some destinations like Iceland and Costa Rica are capitalizing on this by offering digital nomads the ability to stay and work abroad. The trend is spreading all over the world, motivating people who work from home to upgrade their view for a while. All things considered, this is not a terrible byproduct of this awful pandemic. With dwindling travel revenue, the world is primed to welcome us with open arms in the next few years.
A rise in medical tourism
This year, people signing in on opening day and crashing websites are probably not there for an insane airfare deal or Coachella tickets, but to register for a vaccine. With sporting events still restricted to the public and concerts still postponed indefinitely, the hottest ticket in town is a spot to get vaccinated. As we welcome 2021, most countries are beginning the overwhelming logistical task of vaccinating their own citizens. But it’s only a matter of time before some countries start to pull ahead. If your own country is months behind on their vaccination schedule and you know you can take an extended trip south of the border and get the shot there, wouldn’t you?
I wouldn’t be surprised if countries with vaccine surpluses start offering travel deals that include the vaccine to boost the hurting tourism industry. It’s going to be a whole new world when we choose destinations based on the effectiveness of their vaccination schedule instead of traditional travel motivations. With 12% of the population already vaccinated, I would venture to guess that a lot of people will be discovering Israel in 2021 and beyond.