Your 2020 Holiday Travel Guide: Traveling During COVID-19
Traveling during the holidays has always been stressful. Throw a pandemic into the mix, and the thought of holiday travel can be downright overwhelming. This doesn’t mean that you should ground yourself in the weeks and months ahead, however. Instead, taking the time to get informed about what to expect and how best to prepare for your trip can ensure that things go as smoothly and safely as possible.
We’re all about helping you embrace your wanderlust here at Business Class. To that end, we’ve compiled this handy guide to holiday travel during COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
Booking Travel and Accommodations
We’ve all heard the expression, “The early bird catches the worm.” While last-minute deals and discounts are possible, they can also be accompanied by everything from lack of availability to unexpectedly high prices – particularly as your travel dates draw nearer. According to Cision’s analysis, booking early is the best way to go in these challenging times.
Specifically, data reveals that prices were lowest in September before starting to tick steadily upward in October. This doesn’t mean you missed your chance – quite the opposite, in fact. Not only are prices expected to continue to increase through the end of December, but they’re still lower than they were at this time last year. The takeaway? Book your flight as soon as possible – anywhere between 30 and 90 days out – for the best deals.
And remember, you can never be too careful: Whether choosing a rental car service, airline, or hotel, look into their cleaning policies and practices to ensure that they’re in line with the latest health and safety guidelines.
Crowd Control 101
To get the very best prices, travel experts recommend choosing your travel destinations wisely. For example, with more people looking to take warm weather vacations during the holidays, tourist spots may be in particular demand. Not only may this lead to higher prices, but it may also complicate social distancing due to crowding. Choosing less-traveled destinations can help you enjoy a destination along with the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re minimizing your exposure.
Speaking of crowds, you can also minimize unnecessary exposure to germs by booking travel at the right time. Typically, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is a high-volume travel day, so being flexible about choosing an alternate day is advised if possible.
Condé Nast Traveler reports that the busiest travel days before Christmas tend to be the weekend before. On the return end, the weekends following Christmas and New Year’s are also busy ones for air travel. Again, avoiding these travel windows can reduce your risk of transmission.
According to the New York Times, meanwhile, even with airline travel expected to go down during the pandemic, flights may be more crowded as airlines try to make up for the shortfall. Booking business class and first-class flights may not just be more comfortable but can also put more space between you, your neighbors, and their germs.
As far as accommodations go, hotels are considered safer than staying at family and friends’ homes for a couple of reasons. Not only are they more likely to have more stringent cleaning measures in place, but they’re also largely unoccupied due to the virus.
COVID-19 Testing and More
All this being said, know that airlines are going to new measures to keep passengers safe. One increasingly popular strategy? Offering free rapid testing to passengers on select flights. This has been deemed a viable alternative to quarantine restrictions by both the International Air Transport Association and Airlines for America.
And regardless of your travel day, be sure to get to the airport earlier enough to allow for these and other heightened safety and screening protocols.
Additionally, keep in mind that while destinations may be opening up, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still strongly recommends that precautions remain in place, including wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
Emory TravelWell Center director and associate professor of infectious diseases at Emory University School of Medicine Dr. Henry Wu told the New York Times, “You have to take into account all the steps of travel, getting to the airport, security lines, layovers. All of these things add to the potential exposure list.”
Lastly, keep in mind that there’s still a great deal of uncertainty regarding how the pandemic will impact travel moving forward, so opting for refundable rates may be an especially savvy way to go.
At Business Class, we want you to have the happiest (and safest) holiday yet. And we’re ready to help by connecting you with inexpensive business class and first-class airfare to premier locations around the globe. Contact us today to save up to 60 percent off business class and first-class flights.