We don’t know about you, but all this physical distancing has our wanderlust index dialed up to 11. While we do the right thing, stay home, stay safe, work from home, sing from our porches, howl at the moon, and perfect our bread-baking skills, what we really want to know is when we can travel again. The beauty of our connected world is that we can dream and plan our perfect vacation from the comfort of our sofa. But when can we GO?
Truth is, we’re going to have to wait until our health experts say it’s safe, but here are some signs we can watch for that will signal things are getting better:
The World Health Organization (WHO) has been very clear about the importance of staying home. One of the first signs will be an easing of the WHO’s strict warnings. Along with that move, watch for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lift their current advisories for travel within the United States. These restrictions were a rare move for the health agency, so removal of those restrictions will be key.
Even if the pandemic in the U.S. is subsiding, risk of reinfection from travelers from or to other countries can pose a risk to recovery here. On March 31, 2020, the State Department issued a Global Level 4 health advisory warning Americans not to travel outside the United States. Rescinding of this advisory will be one of the strongest signals you should be comfortable moving forward with future travel plans.
Some other things to look for will be a resumption of “business as usual.” Restaurants will reopen. Schools will be back in session. Services related to travel will be back in business, for instance travel insurance will become available for purchase once again. And maybe we can all get a decent haircut!
Whenever the travel gates reopen, one thing is certain, things will have changed. Look for booking policies you’re comfortable with. Professional innkeepers were among the first to deal quickly and fairly with guests regarding cancellations caused by the pandemic and guests have noticed the difference between dealing with these small business owners and trying to change plans through an online travel agency or large corporate hotel chain.
Be sure your accommodations have a reputation for impeccable cleanliness and a spotless record when it comes to health and public safety inspections. Again, professional inns get high marks in this category across the country, generally because they comply with all legal requirements for licensing as transient accommodations providers.
Most importantly, make sure you’re comfortable with your decision and personally ready to begin traveling again. The national parks, the romantic bed and breakfasts, the dude ranches, the cottages and cabins will all be waiting for you as soon as the time is right.