The Covid-19 pandemic has put holiday plans on hold for most of us. While we might dream of sunnier climes, travel restrictions and quarantine have forced many to opt for ‘staycations’. While it’s been interesting exploring our own nations, we’re all ready to start expanding our horizons and travelling further afield.

With news of a vaccine around the corner, there is hope that holidays will return to normal sometime in 2021 or 2022. Indeed, if international air bridges can again be formed, travellers can book last-minute deals, without having to isolate. This summer we saw that many people were willing, keen even, to travel to countries on the exemption list. So as restrictions ease, business experts anticipate a rapid bounce back for the tourism industry. Indeed, a poll by Skyscanner of 2,274 adults found that a third of those polled want to travel ‘more than ever’ as soon as it’s safe and restrictions allow. This demonstrates how keen us Brits are to get travelling again.

But as we return to a new semblance of normality, what will our holidays look like? The aviation industry has had to adapt to ensure minimal transmission during the pandemic, but there will also be new routines at your destination. In fact, we expect certain behaviours will stay in place for some time.

Flying to your destination

Anyone who’s travelled since March 2020 will have seen many changes to the flying experience. Temperature checks, hand sanitisers, social distancing and masks are de rigueur. Contactless payment is preferable and your in-flight meal is pre-packaged and handed out to you on boarding. Post-pandemic some of these behaviours might well stay in place, especially the temperature checks and use of hand sanitisers, as well as proof of coronavirus immunity. Anyone displaying cold symptoms might also be required to wear a mask, when not eating.

The boarding process too could change forever. Where we would once board by cabin class, airlines now board from the rear of the plane, which actually makes a lot of sense. The cabins themselves could look very different, with design firms proposing changes that not only increase social distancing but also give passengers peace of mind. Ideas including a flipped middle seat, screens separating seat rows, staggered seat rows and upholstery that changes colour once sanitised have been proposed. Seat back pockets may also be a thing of the past, and customers may be encouraged to use their own devices rather than a personal seatback screen.

Transfers and accommodation

Social distancing will remain key here, and tour operators will have to ensure they have an adequate fleet of transport to ferry passengers to their ultimate destinations. Be this a cruise ship or resort hotel, the same rules will apply.

In terms of the accommodation, we can expect the check-in procedure to be very much social distanced. Rather than go to the front desk, where possible Apps and remote check in stations will be used for check-in. Also, instead of having bags delivered to our rooms, if fit and healthy we can expect to be in charge of our own luggage.

Hygiene will also remain apparent for some time after restrictions ease, with cleaning crews ensuring dining areas are sanitised between sittings, and pool areas kept as hygienic as possible. One major change will be to dining. It will be a while before we see the self-service buffet; instead, buffet stations will be fully serviced. Some hotels will move to set dining times, staggering guests in order to ensure that tables are properly spaced out.

Excursions in smaller groups

We may crave company, but on our holidays we like to get away from it all, so excursions will still take place. However these will be in smaller groups. It’s also anticipated that many will choose to explore holiday destinations under their own steam. Indeed, fly drives, as well as cycling, walking and kayaking tours are all expected to dramatically increase in popularity.

The future for cruising

Undoubtedly, the cruise industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. Going forward, advanced health screening, sanitisation of luggage before loading, touchless embarkation and staggered boarding can all be expected. Strict disinfection procedures will also be in place, throughout the ship and throughout the cruise, to ensure public safety.

Once on board, the same principles of social distancing and hand sanitisation will be mandated.  Passengers will also have to wear masks in public areas for some time to come. The dining experience will also change dramatically, with self-service 24-hour buffets suspended in favour of manned stations. As is the case for resort hotels, staggered dining times and more separate dining will also become the norm.

Shared areas such as gyms and libraries may have limited opening times. Spa facilities will also have limited availability, but over time these restrictions will ease.

Social distancing will be the norm

The main change for the cruise passenger is that traveller numbers will be reduced, to allow for social distancing. River cruises will definitely have an advantage here, as the ships tend to be smaller and more exclusive, with frequent excursions meaning you can easily get away from it all. One final note, when booking excursions you’ll need to make sure you can indeed disembark at each destination. Rules will be in flux for some time, so it’s probably safer to cruise within one country only in the near future.

We hope this article has helped put your mind at rest. The industry is doing all it can to ensure your safety, while giving you the holiday you so need and deserve. The new norm shouldn’t be daunting, but something to embrace. After 9/11 we quickly became used to the new security protocols; we quickly adapt to new procedures, and the same will happen with health regulations imposed post-Covid.

If you’re interested in booking your next holiday, and are keen to experience the wonder that is Egypt, then get in touch today. Here at Egypt Escapes, we specialise in cruise and stay packages. These allow you to relax in a sumptuous 5 star resort before heading on a luxury Nile river cruise, where you can take in the wonders of ancient Egypt. What’s more, there’s never been a better time to book. We have fantastic deals available, both last minute and into 2021-2022. Get in touch today and let us help you book the holiday of a lifetime.

***This blog was written on and from the perspective of 15th September 2020***

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