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Question of the Month: June

What do you think travel will look like when we are free to explore the world again?

Posted on 6/30/2020 12:00:00 AM in Question of the Month

Someday, we’ll be able to add stamps to our passports once again—but how will travel need to change?


As countries are beginning to open their borders, travel is once again starting to feel like a reality. We asked our travelers what they think traveling will be like in the coming months.

Always a Risk

Well, I think it will look different but it always looks different. The world changes and moves forward and part of travel is not to see a static world but to see how we all are at this moment in time, how the past has influenced us, what the future may hold, and how our fates are intertwined.

On a journey to Morocco, we had a conversation with a young O.A.T. employee from Egypt about what Arab spring had meant to his country. On a journey to Africa, we saw how the “basics” that we take for granted are truly luxuries and that happiness does not depend on so many of these things. What is important is knowledge, health, and respect for what makes each of us unique as individuals and culture.

With travel, we get away from what we are told to think and see for ourselves. Experience.

I am looking forward to travel and would go tomorrow if the planes and trips were there. My curiosity is heightened by what the impact to the rest of the world has really been.

Those of us who travel regularly are not averse to risk. If we were, we wouldn’t travel. When this pandemic is over, there will be the next risk after that.

The best things in life come with some risk. We prepare and do what we can to mitigate it but the knowledge of the world is worth it to us.

Looking forward to traveling with you again. Hopefully soon

Thanks to: Amy Gau, 2-time traveler from Mazeppa, MN

Vaccine First

As for travel, I think travel—and the breaking of barriers that it brings—will come back in a tidal wave once there is a vaccine. I know I will not be comfortable flying until then. With a vaccine, I am poised for travel—to China, Patagonia, Bhutan. I have never traveled with O.A.T., but I have friends who would not travel with anyone else. With them, I am looking forward to my first O.A.T. trip!

Thanks to: Julie Allen from Springville, CA who we hope to welcome on her first trip soon

Citizens of the World

Travel in the future will be less crowded for at least a few years because some people will still be afraid of a second or third Covid-19 wave.

Those who do choose to travel will be the brave of heart and soul who consider themselves citizens of the world.

Nothing but travel gives us a gut level understanding of our common history as human beings on one precious planet. No reading of books can reach us on that non-cerebral level. It does more than break down walls of nationality, culture, and religion. It unites us as human beings.

Thanks to: Rochelle Kimball, 8-time traveler and 3-time Vacation Ambassador from San Francisco, CA

Bus Mementos

We will definitely travel again. And in the meantime we have some “liberated” bus back covers on our car. We brought them back from our 66 day back-to-back India trips last November and December! People ask about them, and we share about our O.A.T. adventures and encourage them to travel with O.A.T.!

Thanks to: Mark & Gay Tomlinson, 10-time travelers and 4-time Vacation Ambassadors from Fort Bragg, CA

Good Hygiene and Health

I believe that armchair travelers are more than ready to visit places that they have only been able to read about in past months. There will be some caution when venturing out in groups but as people become familiar with their itinerary and fellow travelers, I feel certain that they will embrace the experience and enjoy their adventures. There will undoubtedly be a ready supply of hand sanitizer and possibly a few masks, but I expect people to be surprisingly relaxed since the timid will most likely stay home.

We have all been reminded of good hygiene but in fairness to fellow travelers, the majority, in the past, have been careful about what they touch and eat. The heightened awareness of good health practices shouldn't spoil the wonderful trips ahead!

Thanks to: Sandrea Galbraith, 16-time traveler from Spring, TX

The Wonder of Travel Remains

We are 32-time travelers with O.A.T. and now have six more trips already booked. We are very much looking forward to our O.A.T. departure in December 2020 to New Zealand. The other five trips which are scheduled for 2021 include which two were postponed from 2020.

Perhaps, I am being overly optimistic, but I fully expect that travel in the future will soon return to what it has been in the past. Yes, it is likely that we will wear masks on the flights, have our temperature taken before departure, when we land, when we check into hotels, etc. We'll wash our hands more often, use hand sanitizer, and be less inclined to give 'air kisses' and shake hands. But, talking with local people, having great Trip Experience Leaders, visiting major sites and off the beaten path gems, staying in small hotels, sailing on beautiful expedition ships, trying new foods—all that will be the same when we travel.

That's why we travel with O.A.T. and most importantly, why we fully trust O.A.T. to guide us safely to faraway places around the world. We believe O.A.T. when it tells us, "We've done the research, the country is safe, the modes of travel to get there are safe, and we've planned the trip with your safety utmost in our minds." There are risks in getting out of bed and crossing the street in your own home town. We are prepared to accept those same risks to experience the wonder of travel.

Thanks to: Ilene Jacobs, 32-time traveler from Dartmouth, MA

Lots of Safe Practices

Travelers will remain cautious and will look to cooperation from the travel industry. This has to be a group effort. For me, enforcing social distancing, mandate masks, increased testing, and tracing. I hope sanitizer wipes will be wide spread so people can feel safe to use a restroom. Plastic visors for dining areas. UV sterilizing when spaces are clear of people like on buses/coaches. In ship cabins, an abundance of hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes for luggage, handles, etc. Disposable seat covers in the bathrooms. Temperature checks coming back on board. More thoughts later.

Thanks to: Mary Ellen Edington, 2-time traveler from San Francisco, CA

Extra Cautions to be Comfortable

I think that we will all be extra cautious about flying, hotels, etc. My husband, before he passed away, and myself loved to travel. We have at least 15 trips with Grand Circle and loved them.

I think we are going to see people wanting trips close to home rather than having to fly somewhere. I also, feel everyone will still be adhering to the idea of wearing a mask just to feel more comfortable around others.

Of course, with many people out of work, money will be tight and people won't be able to afford costly trips.

For us retirees with our 401K 's etc., falling in value so dramatically will also have to think about how much we should spend. I, personally, look forward to being able to travel. I will look for trips that are not too far from home and priced reasonably.

I hope this gives you an idea of how one of us older travelers feel.

Thanks to: Jean Van Tassell, 15-time traveler from Frederick, MD

Safety of a Small Ship

I have been thinking about what I am willing to adventure out to—I am still cautious and concerned about how I can keep my husband and I safe in a world where not everyone has my best interests at heart. I have actually thought that maybe a small ship or river boat may be a good compromise. This would limit the amount of exposure. I would trust Grand Circle to use extra precautions to keep the boat, kitchen, and rooms extra sanitized so we would only have to worry about the places we visit—and use lots of hand sanitizer on the days out. Even a smaller O.A.T. trip would still mean multiple hotels, food stops as well as sight-seeing venues. Don’t think I’ll be ready for that yet.

Thanks for taking your ‘followers’ safety as a prime concern. Hope to travel again next year.

Thanks to: Jana Maples, 16-time traveler and 14-time Vacation Ambassador from Largo, FL

Like a Delicious Meal

I believe that travel, once we can explore again will first start off slow and cautiously and then return to vigorously. It's like having a meal you were not sure of and then when you found that it was wonderful you jumped right in and had seconds and maybe thirds. That's how I see it.

But, I will be on road again in 2021 for Jewels of Bohemia. Can't wait.

Thanks to: Deena Riemer, 10-time traveler from Los Angeles, CA

More Beautiful Than Ever

I don't think, I KNOW the world will be more beautiful than it has ever been. Not being able to travel has been so demoralizing. I keep fantasizing that I got stuck in another country on lock down or even with the poor man in the airport for days on end. That would have been wonderful! Being closed up at home has given me more insight into how much I crave adventure and the exotic. I miss meeting other cultures and hearing new sounds and seeing new colors. My life would be drab indeed without travel, without something different around every corner. My fingers are crossed that my next trip doesn't cancel.

Thanks to: Jay Roberts, 9-time traveler from Greer, SC

Ready to Explore with Masks and Hand Sanitizer

I am so ready to go even if it means donning a hazmat suit! I have many cute masks and my hand sanitizer is filled to the brim!

Now it will be time to make my plans. I have traveled with Grand Circle twice and although I can't remember which day it is (they just blend one "teen" day into the next), I can remember almost every detail about Ireland, and Scotland. I thought Italy was heaven on earth until I went to Ireland. Then I realized there must be two heavens, and I would be happy in each one! I asked the Irish cabbie to please kidnap me as we drove to the airport for my trip back to the US, but to no avail!

I enjoy your emails so much and can't wait for my third trip with you. I am a single widow with the wanderlust of a vagabond. My suitcase is always at the ready and the whole world awaits.

Thanks to: Donna Taylor, 2-time traveler from Millsboro, DE

You don’t need to wait for a new Question of the Month to tell us a story. Email us any time at [email protected]. To read more stories from your fellow travelers, check out our archive of Traveler Insights from previous editions of The Inside Scoop.

See the answers to previous Questions of the Month here.

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