By Molly Barnes at Digital Nomad Life
As the stages and waves of the global pandemic proceed into the third year, travel continues to adjust to the changes. New variants and changing global hotspots are causing travel lockdowns across the world. And with no current end in sight, travelers will have to maintain the same vigilance in 2022 as they’ve had during the past two years.
Fortunately, many tried and true travel tips have emerged from these trying times. Not only can it still be safe and affordable to travel, it’s also a great way to get away from the ongoing stresses of the world. With that in mind, here are four key thoughts on the future of travel in 2022.
Every Stage Will Require More Preparation
Traveling in 2022 is all about preparation. From having proper vaccination records to setting up advanced boarding for flights, it pays to avoid as much hassle as possible. Plus, it is just as important to prepare for the inevitable hurdles that will pop up throughout the coming year. Staying mentally and emotionally flexible is a vital skill to have these days.
In other words, stay open to travel changes during these unique times. Plan for a backup destination if your primary trip takes you into a COVID-19 hotspot. Check for alternate lodgings, like Airbnbs, if hotels close or fill up. Also, always look after your own safety. For example, travel with the appropriate safety items, including:
- Vaccine documents
- Disposable masks and gloves
- Hand sanitizer (for when you can’t find soap and water)
Even with proper documentation and planning, be prepared for changes. For trips booked well in advance, keep your options open. Safe travel is still possible, but it requires vigilance and adaptation if you want to avoid extra stress. Be sure to use online tools for pre-booking and boarding needs. And if possible, be sure to have a list of alternative options for your 2022 travel plans.
Prices Will Fluctuate Industry-Wide
Over the past couple of years, travel prices have fluctuated as the pandemic has continued. Currently, with the Omicron variant raging and travel slowing, many prices are falling across the industry. Airlines are offering discounts and reduced prices across the board.
LIkewise, hotel prices could follow suit and offer attractive prices to entice travelers. If you’re planning on lodging in hotels, be sure you know how to save money on hotels. This includes:
- Visiting areas during off-season times.
- Visiting on weekdays.
- Joining hotel rewards or membership programs.
- Always looking for hotels with free cancellation policies.
At the same time, expect restaurant and other retailers’ prices to rise. Supply chain issues and business mismanagement has impacted prices on foods and ingredients. If you’re heading to a popular location, be ready for higher menu prices than you’re used to seeing.
Plan on paying more during the first half of the year, as travel conditions remain less-than-ideal.
No-Contact Processes Are Here to Stay
One way to alleviate some monetary stress is to focus on credit cards instead of cash. The travel world is adapting to this same thought through contactless processes. From no-contact and paperless booking and self-check-in kiosks to contactless card payments, the travel world is set up to avoid cash.
For added security, consider using a credit card for your travel purchases. Many hotels and car rental programs require a credit card for deposits. And most credit cards come with several means of keeping your finances protected. This includes fraud protection and easy card freezing.
Consider applying for a travel-based credit card for added perks, including airfare and bonus points. Even if your credit isn’t great, though, you can still use a card to stay safe. Consider a secured credit card for your travel needs. Secured credit cards help repair and build your credit. Additionally, they work well for traveling because:
- An initial secure deposit sets the credit limits.
- They replace the need for cash (or they can be used with cash).
- They can be used just like any standard credit card.
- They keep your main finances free while traveling.
Secured and standard credit cards can be a vital travel tool, especially for those that dislike dealing in cash. Also, as many of today’s cards support contactless payment, they will help keep travelers safe.
Close-to-Home Road Trips Are Still a Thing
Since the early days of the pandemic, many travelers have turned to staying near home for their wanderlust needs. Road trips to local attractions can be fun and safe for solo and family travelers, alike. As well, with the proper safety precautions, almost every destination across the country can make for a great trip.
If you’re looking to road-trip this year, make sure your vehicle is ready for the job. Visit a local mechanic to ensure you and your vehicle are road-worthy. When it’s time to go, get away to local areas with your close friends and family. Use safe driving apps to help reduce driving distractions while on the road.
When it comes to finding locations, look for destinations that offer an entire trip in one day. If not, look for alternative lodgings, including Airbnbs, or even camping destinations. And while you’re on the road, be sure to stay safe with the following tips:
- Wash your hands after entering and before leaving the bathroom.
- Opt for open-air dining if dining out.
- Check-in at hotels during off-hours, and request rooms that haven’t had occupants lately.
Staying close to home helps reduce the risks and stress that traveling brings. As there are travel options galore across the country, there is no shortage of places to visit. Doing so safely will help ensure each trip is rewarding and rejuvenating.
Traveling in 2022 is much like it was last year. With the future of the pandemic still uncertain, safety and vigilance are the traveler’s best tools. When on the road, be prepared for anything. Stay calm and be ready to adapt to new changes. Understand how to easily cancel or change hotel reservations, and reduce your potential stress. Finally, always remember: you don’t have to travel far to get away from it all. Sometimes, all you need to recharge is a short trip away.