In the span of two months, most people’s lives have been turned topsy-turvy. It seems that with each day, we hear of new challenges that we must conquer. And yet each day, hopeful news materializes that we are advancing in the right direction and will come out on top. Albeit with time. We at Down Under Endeavours are committed to our client’s dreams, the travel industry, and the health and safety of each and every one of you.
We are often asked: What does the future of travel look like? We have coordinated with the airlines, local lodges, and tour operators to provide you with some clarity for the future.
Yes, air travel has nearly ground to a halt. And yes, it will pick back up again. Based on previous regional and global pandemics, here is what you can likely expect to experience:
- Health screenings and requirements: Some countries may require an antibody test or immunization proof. Travel requirements will likely come hand-in-hand with borders re-opening, and we are here to advise you on what you will need.
- Plane requirements: The airlines have announced policies requiring both staff and customers to don a mask or face covering for the duration of their time both in the airport and on the plane. Precautions are being taken, including additional cleaning requirements, access to hand-washing or sanitizing stations, and overnight aircraft fogging.
- Seating configuration: For the near future, at least, airlines are blocking off seats and reducing capacity to accommodate for distancing between passengers where feasible. While this isn’t a viable long-term option, you may see some new and improved seating options in the future.
- Flexible booking terms: As many are hesitant to make new travel arrangements, the airlines are providing enticing offers such as zero change fees, extended use of credit, and additional loyalty perks.
So you have adjusted to the new air travel requirements and made it to your final destination. What does that look like?
Preventative Measures In Place:
- Tour operators have made plans to reduce guest numbers. When larger capacity vehicles can be rolled out again, each vehicle will likely see 30-50% capacity limitations at most. Private tours and private vehicles will be encouraged and requested more frequently.
- Small gatherings: While traveling abroad, you often visit historic and significant locations which draw large crowds. Moving forward, gatherings will be more intimate, limited in size, and more likely to include only your private party.
- Dining: Room service options are being expanded and encouraged for guests wishing to spend more time in their own suite versus gathering at a restaurant in the evening.
- Cleansing: Throughout your stay, you will have access to complimentary hand sanitizer and, most often, luxury brand soap and lotions to round out the experience.
- Screening/Isolating Staff Members: Often, remote lodges run with a 4:1 (or higher) staff-to-guest ratio. The lodges are prepared to minimize movement and isolate staff that you will be in contact with in order to create safe spaces. Testing will also be implanted regularly for those guides in regular contact with guests.
- Education: Tour companies and accommodations are acting now to ensure a safe future. They are educating staff members alongside a doctor on proper hygiene requirements for themselves and their guests.
- Daily Temperature Screenings: To ensure the safety of the other guests and the local staff, regular screenings will likely be a requirement of your stay. The team will work to ensure this is a non-invasive experience. Tests will be readily available should one be needed.
- Accessible Healthcare: All of the countries that we sell have a sufficient healthcare system available to you. We do suggest travel insurance with primary medical coverage to ensure a smooth experience.
I am prepared and ready to travel safely. But where can I go?
- Emerging Destinations/Off-The-Beaten-Path Locations: Our goal has been and always will be to give you a unique and local experience. We have been working with locally owned, small companies for 20+ years and believe in the character and unrivaled beauty of an untouched area. Visiting destinations that you have not previously heard of or traveling in the off-season means fewer people, private and genuine experiences, and relaxed timetables. Some of our favorites are Lizard Island, Royal Davui, and Azur Lodge.
- Train Travel: As production has halted and our emissions lowered, we are focusing on those ways that we can travel in a more green fashion. Train travel was considered palatial in its hay day and is making a comeback in several countries as a posh way to discover otherwise inaccessible routes. It is also more eco-friendly than the competition: airplane and vehicle travel. We love the TranzAlpine Train or the Ghan.
- Travel Responsibly: Now more than ever, we are reminded of the need to shop and dine locally. Boutique hotels often partner with local artisans, winemakers, and farmers to provide fresh and unique goods direct to you. It is imperative to support camps that work alongside the community and run projects with the people, wildlife, and land as the beneficiaries. It is these boutique lodges, camps, and hotels that collaborate to provide us spaces to return to safety, protection of endangered species, advances in technology, and preservation of the past.
We are all in this together. Your commitment to us, your kind messages, and your intent to travel have been extraordinary. We look forward to helping you navigate the new normal and plan that dream trip.