Planning a summer vacation? Expert offers tips for post-pandemic travelers
Post-pandemic vacation goers might be eager to make travel plans this summer, but Virginia Tech travel and tourism expert Mahmood Khan says the greatest challenge facing summer travelers will be to resist temptations to go full-speed.
“Fully vaccinated individuals may be tempted by herd mentality prior to herd immunity,” says Khan. “Seeing friends, relatives, and colleagues travel may cause a psychological feeling of safety. Other temptations will be the many reasonable packages that are being floated to encourage travel and vacations this summer.”
In any case, Khan says that people deserve a break after a prolonged lockdown. “Select a destination that is not crowded and located in a natural, sustainable environment with access to fresh, nutritious, and safe food,” says Khan. “The hospitality industry is very sensitive to consumer needs, and several people are planning relaxed and leisurely vacations of a short duration, combining business with pleasure.”
Recognizing that we are still not out of the woods, Khan warns that careful planning is warranted with double masks, safe distancing, and handwashing.
“Travelers should avoid crowded places such as airport lines, hotel lobbies, cinema theaters, concerts, beaches, and sports arenas. Preference should be for touchless, contactless, or virtual services wherever possible. When selecting hotel rooms, preference should be for larger rooms with limited clean amenities and good air circulation. Prefer rooms away from elevators and ice dispensing machines.”
When it comes to international travel, careful planning and securing information about travel restrictions is a must.
“Things are still fluid in many countries and rules change based on the prevalence of virus or its strains. It is important to understand that airlines are testing passengers at the airport or onboard in planes,” says Khan. “Get the vaccination passport and keep all documents verifying the type of vaccine used and the dates. Also arriving passengers at many airports are subjected to checking or quarantines. It is not worth spending time in isolation while on vacation.”
“Although the regulations seem to be rather strict, there are numerous destinations which are still pristine and waiting for visitors both within the USA and abroad,” says Khan. “Planning short vacations with close family members will provide well-deserved relaxation.”
Mahmood Khan is a professor and director of the Pamplin College of Business Master of Science in Business Administration/Hospitality and Tourism Management program in the Washington, D.C., metro region. Major areas of his research include hospitality franchising, services management, customer relationships, food service and operational management, and consumer preferences in hotels, restaurants and institutions. More here.
To schedule an interview with Mahmood Khan, contact Shannon Andrea by email or by phone at (703) 399-9494.