(BPT) - COVID-19 has changed the way we travel. When the pandemic began, many people put vacations on hold, shelving their wanderlust. As the pandemic continues, people are starting to travel again, but in different ways that prioritize health and wellness. This has led to some interesting travel trends, showing Americans' love for travel is still vibrant, it's just a bit different than before.
The top travel trends during the COVID-19 pandemic include:
Shorter vacations, including road trips
As people dabble with traveling again, many are choosing to forgo the week-long vacation and instead taking shorter trips. In fact, 55% of fall 2020 travelers are booking two to five nights when vacationing, and 36% are booking one-night stays, according to a recent Tripadvisor survey.
Worry and expense associated with airline travel also has many people opting for destinations within driving distance of home. The traditional road trip is seeing a resurgence as people are packing up their vehicles to enjoy the drive to nearby adventures, whether that takes them to the country or a metropolitan area — or anything in between.
Extra space to play and social distance
The ability to spread out and be physically distant from others while enjoying time as a family is a top trend. People are seeking destinations with room to enjoy and space to play, both indoors and out. This might be renting a cabin and hiking the great outdoors or booking a room at a large resort with ample room so you're not uncomfortably close to other guests.
Kalahari has four locations that fit the bill, with the new location in Round Rock, Texas, taking the title of America’s Largest Indoor Waterpark Resort, which has 1.5 million square feet of space to play, which means lots of opportunity for fun while prioritizing social distancing and safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found no evidence that COVID-19 is spread through recreational waters, so feel free to enjoy the 223,000 square feet of indoor waterpark that includes 20 pools, 30 waterslides and 3 acres of outdoor pools.
Enhanced safety procedures
Top of mind for all travelers, safety is essential. Many destinations and resorts are prioritizing keeping guests safe with new procedures, like contactless and cash-free methods of payment, offering remote check-in and implementing a wellness concierge to monitor and communicate safety initiatives to guests.
Research the offerings at different accommodations and choose the one that you feel most comfortable with. Ask about the option to forgo cleaning service for the duration of the stay if you prefer no one enter the hotel room, with the option of fresh towels and toiletries to be delivered safely outside the door for convenience.
Experiences and activities are priorities
Quarantine, sheltering in place, remote working and virtual learning: people have been spending a lot of time at home, so when they are traveling they want to prioritize unique experiences to make meaningful memories as a family. Because many theaters, sports arenas and tourist attractions remain shut down, people are looking at destinations that offer an all-under-one-roof experience with fun for the whole family.
Kalahari Resorts are a great example of this exclusive experience, with activities for kids and adults, dining options everyone can agree on and plenty of space to play and relax. From water slides and surf simulators to ropes courses and laser tag, you have access to all the fun you can handle without having to leave the resort. Plus, parents enjoy world-class spa services and an adult-only swim-up bar as well.
Dreaming and planning for the future
Some people are still not comfortable with vacationing, which is why dreaming of the future and planning trips is the final top trend during the pandemic. With extra time on your hands, it's ideal for researching new destinations, learning about unique opportunities and watching for discounts to help you save on advanced bookings. You might also ask for gift certificates and vacation experiences for holiday gifts so you are ready to roll when you're comfortable with traveling again.