How does an industry like travel pivot in the wake of COVID-19? You may be surprised just how creative humans can be, even in lockdown. From stay-at-home honeymoons to 100-mile road trips or less, here’s what travel looks like today and how it will change in the near future.
Honeymoons at Home, 2-Hour Road Trips & More: Here’s What Travel Looks Like Right Now
1. Virtual Experiences
Thanks to the internet, the world is at our fingertips and tourism boards all around the globe are making the best of it. That means a 36-hour (virtual) itinerary in Costa Rica, a panoramic view of Ireland’s land of Giant’s Causeway or a stroll through the Louvre. Seeking outdoor time? Peruse trails of the world’s most famous gardens from your couch. Craving something off the beaten track? Airbnb launched their own remote—and unique—experiences. From meditating with monks to cozying up with the dogs of Chernobyl (yep), the world is your oyster…even if you’re keeping it at bay.
2. ‘Ordering-In’ Destinations to Your Door
You’re sheltering in place, so why not bring the outside in? Order a wine flight to make you feel like you’re in Napa or a special to-go boxes from your favorite hotel—The Deerpath Inn of Lake Forest, IL, for example, is offering themed takeaway boxes for birthdays, anniversaries and more. You can even bring Michelin-star tasting menus to your own dining room. Spots like world-famous Alinea in Chicago are offering takeout. Chances are, the upscale places near you that you typically wouldn’t go to (unless you were splurging on vacay or a special occasion) are offering game-changing promotions.
3. Two-Hour Road Trips or Less
According to a survey from travel trend forecaster, Skift, 41 percent of Americans say their first trip post-COVID will be by car within 100 miles of their homes. That means an uptick in day-long road trips are on the horizon. Here’s what those routes might look like, depending on where you live.
New York City, NY to Catskills, NY
Boston, MA to Newport, RI
Asheville, NC to Bristol, VA
Atlanta, GA to Savannah, GA
Nashville, TN to Lexington, KY
San Antonio, TX to Fort Worth, TX
Detroit, MI to Grand Rapids, MI
Phoenix, AZ to Palm Springs, CA
Beverly Hills, CA to Sonoma County, CA
Sacramento, CA to Lake Tahoe, CA
St. Petersburg, FL to Cape Coral, FL
Miami, FL to Islamorada, FL
4. Hotels Are Collaborating with Big Name…Health Care Partners?
The trades used to sing out about famous chefs taking over the cuisine at boutique hotels or trendy wellness retreats operating out of dream resorts. Now, it’s all about safety. The luxury Four Seasons Hotel & Resorts, for example, just announced a global health and safety collaboration with Johns Hopkins Medicine International called Lead with Care, which focuses on enhanced cleanliness, heightened guest safety and empowered employees. On the ground, this means a “hygiene officer” at each property, rooms and public spaces disinfected with EPA-approved products, guests kits that include masks, hand sanitizer and sanitization wipes and overall employee education.
5. Honeymoons at Home
Weddings may be canceled or postponed, but not all couples are letting the pandemic hold back their joyous nuptials. (And with a recently signed order from New York’s Governor Cuomo, New Yorkers can obtain marriage licenses virtually.) So…what about the honeymoon? Resorts like Hidden Pond Resort in Kennebunkport, Maine and Isla Bella Beach Resort in the Florida Keys have each launched “Honeymoon at Home” packages. Basically, it’s a honeymoon in a box, delivered to your doorstep. Hidden Pond's newlyweds box, for example, includes its special house coffee blend, branded robes and slippers, a Maine-themed puzzle and more local delicacies (in addition to a gift card for a future stay).
6. Bucket-List Planning
A recent Skyscanner survey found that four in five American travelers are more likely to take off to their “dream destination” once restrictions are lifted. Jon Thorne, Director of User Satisfaction at Skycanner added: “We are seeing high level of pent-up wanderlust among travellers, who are eager to be able to explore the world again.” Although the rules of travel may be a bit different when we emerge from this, experiencing more of the world is definitely not off the table.