The “New Normal” of Traveling: Trends in travel in a post-COVID-19 Era By Mallory Feeney, PRSA Colorado Communications Committee Member, Marketing Coordinator at Visit Aurora

    In this uncharted territory, travelers are looking for safer and more remote destination options. While we don’t all the answers in this uncertain time, here are a few of the sprouting travel trends in honor of the recent National Travel and Tourism Week (May 3-9, 2020).


    Road Trips to Nearby States
    A survey found over 80% of travelers have changed or altered their travel plans happening in the next six months, while half said they will cancel altogether. As summer is prime vacation season, we will likely see an increase of Roadtrippers hoping to salvage what was once an anticipated family getaway. Most destinations experience some road travel, but experts suggested the number to increase during the summer months as people begin to feel comfortable leaving their homes, but not traveling across the country via plane.


    Many destinations in Colorado, such as Aurora and Denver, were once a hotspot for Roadtrippers making their way west on the historic U.S. Route 40 (otherwise known as Colfax Avenue). Road travel might spark nostalgia among other generations and encourage a new wave of vacationing.


    Outdoor Adventures

    Stay-at-home orders have encouraged everyone to take in the fresh air. Colorado houses hundreds of parks, open spaces, and recreation trails often flooded by visitors in the summer months. In 2019, Rocky Mountain National Park welcomed a record-setting 4.6 million park-goers. During COVID-19 trails and state parks have remained open, making outdoor recreation possible. It is likely we will see more travelers pursuing hiking, camping, biking, and birdwatching activities as they are easy to do while social distancing.


    Mountain, Rural and Small Destinations

    The effects of COVID-19 hit major cities hard. Travelers might seek destinations off-the-beaten-path as major metropolitans feel less secure than they once did. Vacation rentals and hotels are expected to have excellent sanitation routines that travelers can see, and mass transit will probably see a dip in usage. Smaller destinations, especially mountain and rural towns, will likely see an influx in visitors as travelers are looking for casual, close-to-home vacations.


    The U.S. travel and tourism industry will be one of the first to bounce back in a post-COVID-19 world. It might just look a little different than what we’re used to seeing on Instagram.

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