Travelling in 2021: Tips and insights from Scott Dunn on how to have a safe trip
Slowly but surely
With the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines arriving in Singapore just a week ago in December, we finally caught a glimpse of light in this dark tunnel, otherwise dubbed 2020. Going back to pre-pandemic days is probably too much of a stretch, but as least we are progressively moving towards some form of normalcy, socially and economically, with growing confidence to travel to a certain degree.
As countries move swiftly for the vaccine, talks of travel bubble are slowly emerging again between countries with little to nil local transmission. There's no question that the appetite of travel is growing especially those for separated from their family and loved ones, and of course, the travel bugs in us. Impetuous visits to neighbouring countries already seem like a distant memory and we are probably uncertain when leisure travel can resume — albeit secretly hopeful.
To answer the elephant in the room, we speak to Mike from Scott Dunn, award-winning, bespoke luxury travel operator, as he shares how travel will look like in 2021 and how we should approach catching a flight out in lieu of the pandemic.
"We're expecting that once details on vaccination programmes emerge and populations start to receive the vaccine, blended with successful travel bubble or corridor agreements, confidence to travel internationally will improve. It's hard to foresee what will happen in the coming months but we do expect that travel in the Asia/Australian region would be more popular as travel bubbles and corridors form between these nearby countries. And we do think guests would also be more comfortable travelling within a radius that is relatively close to home as leisure travel starts to resume."
Flexibility in travel bookings
"As you start browsing travel designations to visit, remember that flexibility is key. Ensure you have the option to move your holiday to another destination if you're keen to stick to the same dates, postpone your holiday with no additional fees for the same destination, cancel your holiday closer to departure dates to account for travel advice and potential disruptions, get full refunds on your tickets and deposits and keep a close ear to the local news for ever-changing border control and safety measures in the countries you'd be visiting."
Free and easy, shelved for now
"I think people will start to move away from taking a more D.I.Y travel approach and may start working with a travel specialist or operator, leaning on their expertise and enjoying the advantage of having a single contact point that does all the planning and booking of the various trip elements for them. From booking flights, transfers, accommodation, experiences and tours while ensuring the trip is still unique, customised to the guests' preferences, but with an added layer of protection. Should anything go south while on holiday or even prior to the trip, I think people feel safer booking a trip and knowing that a global team is working hard and doing their best to deliver holidays they deserve."
"One key thing people often overlook is accessibility to hospitals or medical care in the host country. In non-English speaking countries, seeing a doctor or getting medical attention at hospitals for foreigners may not be as straightforward and some hospitals may not accept foreigners. With expert travel consultancy advice, you won't have to fret as they'll have accessible hospitals identified before your trip."
Response to travel disruptions
"It's important to research up on and keep up to date of political and socio-economic developments in the country you're planning to visit. Stay up to date not just on COVID-related news but include risk management and evacuation plans while planning your trips."
Appreciating travel in a new light
"This past year has been incredibly challenging on multiple levels, both professionally and personally for so many people. It has offered the chance to reflect and re-evaluate what's important and whilst we start to move into the new normal, travel will be something that won't be taken for granted. COVID-19 has proved that many of us are able to work remotely and this will also influence the way we travel and take holidays in future. 2020 has seen some of our guests taking advantage of remote working/learning and opting for a change of scenery — by booking secluded hideaways and exclusive use properties to make themselves a home away from home."