Travel In 2021: What To Know and Questions To Ask

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It goes without saying that travel has changed significantly all over the world in the last year due to the Pandemic.  And, while some people travel for leisure, others HAVE to travel for work or to visit or check on their family.  Some rely on travelers for employment.

Whether you are traveling anytime soon or are just getting out of your house for a socially distanced day trip, travel in 2021 and beyond is different than it used to be.




Travel in 2021 and Beyond

Since summer began, we have traveled on day trips, road trips, and on a plane.  And, one thing became clear – travel in 2021 and beyond requires an added layer of advanced planning and extra steps.  It is very different than it used to be with added steps to foster social distancing, touchless systems, added sanitation, and mask-wearing to name a few.

If you are planning to venture out, there are many questions you may want to ask and plan for in advance.


Questions You May Want To Ask For Travel In 2021 (and beyond):

Disclaimer: If you are thinking traveling on a plane, road trip, day trip, or even heading out locally, this post ONLY gives ideas for what questions you MAY want to ask and represents what WE DID. It in no way replaces any official recommendations of any government official or health experts. Refer to the experts for official advice. This is not advice or recommendations of any kind. Nor does it promote or encourage anyone to travel.  It solely represents our experience and what questions we asked and the research we did for our family. 

This post may also include affiliate links which means I receive a small commission at no cost to you should you make a purchase using this link.  See my disclaimer for more information.


What Are Travel Operators Doing Differently?

Not long ago, I attended a travel conference online.  According to the travel industry speakers, some trends are emerging on both the operators' side and the travelers' side to promote safer travel practices:


Travel Operators (Hotels, Planes, Rental Cars, Etc.)

Travel operators at this conference noted that many of them are doing the following:





  • Some airlines used the time they were grounded to update their fleets for safer air circulation
  • Requiring masks in public areas or during the flight on planes
  • Increasing cleaning/sanitizing
  • Leaving space in between seats on planes or in airports for social distancing
  • Limiting food service options or providing closed/single/serving foods
  • Some airlines are limiting flight attendant service to avoid passing by passengers
  • Airlines are changing how they load passengers
  • Planes are promoting the HEPA filtered air circulation (if applicable) on their planes
  • Communicating to guests in advance their new/increased health/sanitation/safety practices





  • Moving toward touchless systems for check-in/check out and payment
  • Limiting occupancy to allow for social distancing
  • Increasing cleaning/sanitizing
  • Not servicing rooms for housekeeping during a guest's stay
  • Leaving any requested items (extra towels/sheets) at the door outside the room
  • Requesting trash cans be left outside the room
  • Limiting food service options or providing closed/single/serving foods
  • Installing plastic partitions at the front desk
  • Communicating to guests in advance their new/increased health/sanitation/safety practices




Rental Cars

  • Many rental car companies are improving cleaning practices
  • Using touchless check-in/check-out/payment systems
  • Communicating to guests in advance their new/increased health/sanitation/safety practices
  • Communicating to guests in advance their new/increased health/sanitation/safety practices


What Are Travelers Doing Differently?

  • Many travelers are opting for socially distanced vacation options like booking individual cabins or vacation homes, camping, or staycations
  • Many travelers are opting for road trips over plane travel
  • Many travelers are opting to stay home
  • Many travelers are bringing their own masks, hand sanitizer, and cleaning kits with them on travel




How can someone social distance at the airport or on a plane?

Our family flew first thing in the morning when the airport was practically empty. Our check-in line was socially distanced, with stickers on the floor to show where to stand.  Very few people were in line at check-in and security.

However, when you book a flight, it would be important to find out from the airline what their practices are. You want to also note any requirements of both your departing and arriving airports, like masks, Covid test documentation, etc.




Other things to know about airports we experienced:

  • Masks were required in both our home airport and our destination airport, and 99.9% of the people I saw were compliant.  Some added face shields.
  • We were able to social distance both in the airport and on the plane, as seats were empty in between passengers.
  • Very few foodservice options were available at the airport.
  • We opted to try to avoid eating on the plane or using the tray tables.  You may want to bring your own food.


Things you may want to know about the plane travel experience:

  • We booked seats in the front of the plane, so we were last to board.
  • I had my own pack of sanitizing wipes, gloves, and hand sanitizer.  I boarded before my family to wipe every inch of our seats (seats, seat belts, tray tables, TVs, and any other high touch areas.) When I looked around, several other passengers around us were doing the same.
  • The airline we flew claims to have HEPA filtered air.  I also turned the air on above me for additional air circulation.
  • Because it was a short flight, we didn't move during the flight and didn't use the restroom.  Very few passengers were up during the flight.
  • The flight attendants handed out prepackaged snacks and water and noted they would be limiting trips through the aisle.
  • When we arrived to our rental car, my handy sanitizing wipes came out for me to wipe every inch of high touch areas (turn signals, handles, light switches, doorknobs, etc.)


A Note About Airline Refunds and Specific Travel Restrictions
Skyscanner is keeping up with a lot of very helpful information in regard to each airline's policies and refunds, which you may want to check in advance of booking travel.   They also have a very helpful page listing each state restriction in the United States, federal requirements, and country restrictions and quarantine requirements around the world.  Visit Skyscanner for details before you book your travel and again before your travel dates to get the latest information and where to look for additional updates. 



What Are The Safety Practices of Hotels?

You should contact any hotel directly to find out how they will be practicing social distancing, mask rules, sanitizing stations, and housekeeping prior to booking.  We recently stayed in a hotel, and here are a few things we experienced.

  • Glass partitions were in front of the front desk staff who were also wearing masks.
  • There were touchless keys, check-in and check out.
  • Social distance markers were on the floor to show where to stand in line.
  • Masks were required in all areas except in our room or when inside the pool or seated at the restaurant.
  • Some hotels will limit the capacity to things like pools or indoor water parks and indoor restaurants.





What To Know About Vacation House Rentals?

Many travelers are opting for camping or renting vacation homes through Air B n B or VRBO.  In fact, at the travel conference, experts expect this to be very common during ski-season for areas where ski-on/ski-off is available.  It is a great way to get outside, get some exercise, and avoid crowds.

We recently rented a vacation home in a beach town,  and I have to say it was great. While I did take extra precautions to wipe everything down with sanitizing wipes that were high touch areas before we settled in, our two weeks in a vacation rental were great for getting away while remaining socially distant.

If you are opting to camp at a campsite, you should call in advance for any of their requirements and safety practices for common areas.


Read 12 Essential Tips For Booking Vacation Rental For Families


What Should I Know About Road Trips?

We took a road trip this summer, driving from our house to visit family in the mountains of Pennsylvania. We didn't worry about the destination to where were arriving because it was remote. But we did take some precautions for the journey. Because we had to stop more for gas, bathrooms, and provisions, here is what we did.


  • Plot the route carefully to avoid driving through “hot spot” areas, even if it adds more time to the trip.
  • Communicate the plan. We told our kids in advance our plan for rest stops, which were to “get in and out as fast as possible.” We also made sure they wore their masks, didn't touch anything, and washed their hands.   I used hand sanitizer on them immediately following.
  • Bring your own food or make a plan to eat in the car if possible. We brought our own snacks, and if we did stop somewhere, we had the kids eat in the car.
  • Bring your own cleaning products, masks, and gloves. I had a pack of Lysol wipes at the ready in case I needed to wipe down the car handles or any surfaces along the way. We wore masks when we entered any rest stops and used gloves for pumping gas. We found most people also wore masks at the rest stops and many places required it.
  • Always call first.  Some restaurants require advance reservations in this current climate as they have limited seating. Be sure and call ahead to find out their process and recommendations.




What Travel Restrictions Are There?

You DEFINITELY want to do your research for travel restrictions before hitting the road. Each state and country is currently imposing different requirements depending on their location and current phase.

Some states and countries require a negative Covid test within a certain amount of time before arrival.  Others are requiring a 14-day quarantine (with significant fines for violators).

Some have rules specific for travelers from certain states or countries.  And, some locations are not allowing short term rentals (as in vacation homes) for travelers from certain areas. In some cases, rules are specific for a city, county, or region.


  • Do your research about where you are headed.
  • Do your research about the restrictions to where you are returning, and gauge how that may impact your life if you need to return to work or if your kids will return to school.
  • Consider looking into whether or not there are travel insurance plans that will cover any portion of your lost trip in the event of a cancellation or unexpected closure.
  • You also should also have a plan for what to do if you or your family get ill while on vacation.
  • You should be aware of the current health situation in your destination.  It may influence your decision on whether or not to move forward with your trip and  your behavior when you are there (especially if fyou are heading to a “hot spot.” )
  • Call ahead to restaurants to find out about seating, reservations, if they are open, and what is their process.
  • Check with your hotel, rental home, car rental service, and airline for any specific regulations they have travelers abide by.



Final Thought About Travel In 2021

Travel is definitely different at the moment, but there are options for getting out there. Whether you are taking a plane, road trip, or heading out locally, call ahead to know about any safety changes or requirements.  By being informed and prepared, and with some advanced planning, you can get out and enjoy a safer and socially distanced change of scenery.


Like This Post? You May Also Like These

12 Essential Tips For Booking Vacation Rentals For Families

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1 thought on “Travel In 2021: What To Know and Questions To Ask”

  1. You should be very careful while travelling outside these days. The covid-19 pandemic outrage has caused a major effect on the travelling sector. So you need to have proper information and knowledge about the area you are planning to travel.


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