11Jan

5 Changes in Travel with the Vaccine

Vaccine approval that came in the tail-end of 2020 has left travellers wondering what changes they should expect this year.

And as many countries ramp-up vaccinations, the world is once again left in the dark with the new strain of the virus that led to more shutdowns and closed borders.

Given the current situation, what changes can we expect?

VACCINATION PASSPORTS

Qantas Airlines stated in November that it will require proof of vaccination from their passengers once a vaccine is approved. This serves as an onset of what other airlines will do to ensure health and safety.

Many airlines are currently testing technology to streamline the health documentation process, including mobile health apps like CommonPassICC AOKpass and VeriFLY to ensure travellers can show their health data in a secure, verifiable way.

it is important to note, however, that until the vaccine is widely distributed, rigorous screening and quarantining will remain a key part of the travel experience — before and after travelling.

SOARING TRAVEL COSTS

Depending on the destination, foreign visitors will still be required to quarantine for periods ranging between 14 to 21 days. The new COVID strain has pushed many countries to require extended quarantine which means added cost for food, accommodation and other miscellaneous expenses.

The tourism industry has also adapted to travel bubbles in which a set of tourist destinations agree to accommodate a group of while keeping doors to new visitors closed. As a result, a person or group that’s planning to stay for only five days in a country will have to stay the same number of days with the batch they with whom they arrived. As such, one can incur additional expenses.

REDUCED CAPACITY & SHORTED ITINERARIES FOR CRUISES 

Most cruises will return sailing at a reduced capacity with limited routes. In the US, initial trips will be limited to 7 days, according to C.D.C. guidelines. Masks will be mandatory in all public areas including outdoor decks. Screening and testing will also be mandatory.

Even with intensified safety measures, several cruise lines in Europe and the Caribbean that sailed in recent months were ordered to cut trips short after reporting outbreaks.

BUSINESS TRAVEL UNLIKELY TO PICK-UP IN FIRST PART OF 2021

Travelling for business is not expected to recover soon with many businesses moving operations online. Majority of airline recovery will be from leisure travel during the first half of the year.

Frequent businesses flyers with points have also been assured that they’d still be able to use their points for future flights. What’s more likely to happen is that there will be an increase in value in how flier miles can be used in the first few quarters of 2021.

Finally, in relation to cruises and air travel, agencies and transportation providers are expected to roll out more flexible cancellation policies to last at least through 2022 or longer.

TRAVEL INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS

An emphasis on travel insurance with repatriation and Covid-dedicated policies are also anticipated to emerge as Visa requirements. Expect insurance providers to offer new products that cater to these needs in the early part of 2021.

As it stands, there’s still a lot of uncertainty with international travel. Domestic holidays will prove to be the simpler and more cost-effective alternative for the lockdown-weary.

Need help with travel insurance? We help find the best policies for expats in Hong Kong.