Luxury Travel in the New Normal Era

Luxury Travel in the New Normal Era
As things start slowly to open and we all begin to travel again, it will be a different world from the one we once knew. But I predict that luxury travel will not only be the first segment to rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic closings but will also have the fewest changes. Here’s why.

By its very nature luxury travel does not consist of large groups of strangers traveling together and offers accommodations with more space, restaurants and lounges with well-spaced tables, freedom from long check-in lines, and other details that are consistent with new safe travel guidelines.

What to look for in hotels
The first accommodations to open in those states under lock-down will be those with the luxury of separate bungalows and cottages, where guests do not share any common areas. Those will remain the safest choices, followed by those with well-spaced suites and rooms that are not accessed by long corridors. Public spaces should have widely spaced seating areas. Hotels with room service provide alternatives to bars, cocktail lounges and restaurants. Ask what special safety, cleaning and sanitizing procedures have been established. Chances are good that the more luxuries the hotel offers guests, the more rigorous their cleaning regimen will be.

What to look for in a resort
When choosing a resort, look for those with private terraces or balconies for sunbathing and choose ocean- or lake-side resorts if swimming is on your list of activities. Avoid all-inclusive resorts with buffets and look for those with in-room dining options. Chose those with activities that lend themselves to social distancing, such as kayaking, sailing, walking and cycling trails, tennis and golf.

What to look for in restaurants
Upscale restaurants are less likely to crowd guests into small spaces, but you can’t always depend on this. Before reserving ask about table distances and assure that your table will be ready when you arrive; you do not want to wait for your table in an entrance area or bar. If the weather is cooperative, reserve a table on a terrace or other outdoor option (but tables should still be well spaced).

What to look for in packaged travel
Of course you would not choose a bus tour – and those will likely be the last to resume. Luxury operators provide guided tours with only a few participants or custom tours for family groups, so there is little random contact. They carefully vet all lodging and dining in advance, so you can safely assume the safest possible experience. But you should still ask what precautions they have taken and how they have adapted to post-pandemic travel.

What kind of trips are safest
Road trips with your family, with lodging arranged in advance, mean less exposure to crowded airports, planes, trains and other transportation. Or you can rent an outfitted RV and be completely self-sufficient. Road trips can take you to places like New Hampshire’s White Mountains, where you’ll find plenty of places for family hikes, or to some of the less-visited natural wonders in the western states, such as Utah’s Goblin Valley. Or choose a coastal destination away from resort areas, where there are long stretches of uncrowded beach, such as Cape Hatteras or Assateague Island in Maryland.

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