Post-Pandemic Travel & Leisure: Seniors Facing Change

Retirement has always been viewed as a time in life one has the freedom to travel. With safety regulations tightening up around the world due to Coronavirus, traveling is one of those things that will continue to see more restrictions and changes in a post-pandemic world. Buckle your seatbelts! Here are some predictions from health experts on what is expected to change in regards to traveling and leisure. 

Be GPS ready!

Travel experts are predicting that trips of 800 miles or less (which is about 13 hours of traveling) will likely become road trips instead of flights, said Ed Perkins, nationally recognized travel reporter. Perkins, who is 90,, made it clear that he plans on road tripping, even after a vaccine. Read more of his traveling advice during a time of pandemic here

Less traveling abroad

Ken Dychtwald, 70, CEO of Age Wave, a global advocate for aging, said he will be much less inclined to travel abroad. Dychtwald ssid, “onetime plans with his wife to visit India are now unlikely, even if a good vaccine is available, because they want to avoid large concentrations of people.”

Each year only 25 percent of people 65 and up travel outside the U.S. annually, vs. 45 percent of the general population, according to a survey by Visa. The most common reason for traveling for seniors is visiting grandchildren.

Demand for business class 

When older travelers (financially able) choose to fly, it is predicted that they will more frequently book business-class or first class tickets for more space. “This way they won’t want to sit too close to other passengers,” Dr. Ronan Factora, a geriatrician at Cleveland Clinic, said.

Buying three seats for two 

Buying an extra plane ticket is predicted to become the new norm for senior flyers. With plan ticket prices decreasing, it will be financially feasible to buy more air space. “Older couples who fly together, and have the money, will pay for all three seats so no one is between them,” Perkins said.

Hotel packages include medical care

Oftentimes, a worry that is associated with travel is the absence of healthcare. Medical capability is predicted to become built into more travel options, Dychtwald said. For example, some hotels will advertise a doctor on-site, or even one close by. “The era is over of being removed from health care and feeling comfortable,” he said.

Safety theatre

“Expect a rich combination of health and safety “theatre” particularly on cruises that host many older travelers,” Perkins said. Frequent flyers are familiar with the speech flight attendants must give before a flight can take off. Perkins predicts there to be even more emphasis on health and safety regulations and well as, “Employees will be wandering around disinfecting fogs and wiping everything 10 times.”

Proof of vaccination to cruise

Sunscreen? Check! Passport? Check! Proof of vaccination? Check! As airline health guidelines continue to increase, so do cruise lines. “Passengers, as well as cruise employees, will likely have to prove they’ve been vaccinated before traveling,” Factora said.

5 star safety ratings

Everyone has searched for restaurant reviews before dining on Yelp or Urbanspoon, but health experts are predicting that those ratings are going to be based on more than good hospitality and tastiness. Christopher Muller, a hospitality professor at Boston University, predicts that, “To appeal to older diners in particular, restaurants will prominently display safety-inspection signage and visibly signal their cleanliness standards.” 

He added, “They will even hire employees exclusively to wipe down tables, chairs and all high-touch points — and these employees will be easy to identify and very visible.”

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