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Why Traveling this Year Might Present Some Unique Challenges

Travelers Today       By    David Thompson

Updated: Apr 07, 2023 03:01 PM EDT

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Photo by Anna Shvets

(Photo: Anna Shvets from Pexels)

Some people love traveling. They might have travel blogs or enjoy meeting new people, trying exotic foods, or seeing unfamiliar skylines and empty places around the world. They realize that travel can broaden their horizons, and they relish that chance every time they get it.

Some travelers have not ventured outside their city or town since the pandemic started. This year, though, they may feel that wanderlust creeping over them, and they may think they'll arrange a lengthy trip in 2023.

If you're targeting some travel dates this year and planning out your trip, maybe helicopter tours of New York City landmarks might appeal. You may also travel across the pond and visit London or another desirable European city.

Wherever you're considering visiting, you might face some challenges this year. We'll discuss some of those right now.

Covid-19 Still Lurks

For one thing, you can still contract the coronavirus. Covid-19 has entered the endemic phase, which means it's still around, but it's not endangering our daily lives.

Still, some people haven't caught it yet. They've either continued wearing masks, or else they've stayed indoors, worked from home, or taken other extreme precautions. Other individuals simply have good luck, and they never crossed paths with someone who passed the virus on to them.

If you haven't had Covid-19 yet, you probably don't want it. If you travel, that could mean wearing a mask everywhere you go.

That's challenging. If you're traveling overseas, for instance, and you're on a plane for 15 hours, it's tough keeping a mask on that whole time. Masks aren't exactly comfortable, and they might feel so restrictive after all that time that you decide you simply must take yours off.

When you do that, you risk exposure. If you visit a sports venue, attend a concert while traveling, or anything like that, your exposure risk increases.

You may feel like you'll chance it at this point. You don't want Covid-19, but you might decide you can't live with the constant restrictions anymore.

If you catch the coronavirus while overseas or far from home, you might have a miserable experience. You must consider that when you think about traveling in 2023. The virus lurks even in the world's most remote corners.

Everything Seems More Expensive Now

You may also notice if you're traveling this year that virtually everything seems more expensive. Unfortunately, that's probably not your imagination.  

Inflation has risen sharply over the past couple of years. You will certainly notice it everywhere you go in America and in many other countries as well.

What causes it? To some extent, you can look at supply chain issues. During the pandemic, certain items became more difficult to obtain. That list included raw materials that went into making many products that people need.

That remains true at the moment, even with the pandemic's effects waning. Some factories and ports remain shuttered, while warehouses and stores have stocking issues with some of their most popular items.

Limited supply and surging demand might explain why eggs cost four times what they did a few years ago, but how do these shortages impact travel? For one thing, there's a labor shortage. Entities like airlines, bus companies, and train companies that you need for travel don't have enough employees, so they keep raising their prices.

Also, regarding airlines, more people want to travel right now, but you'll find no more airline seats available than you did a few years ago. If anything, you might find fewer seats since some airlines have closed down entirely.

It's simple supply and demand. Fewer seats and increased travel demand mean higher prices. The airlines know they can get away with it, and there's virtually nothing travelers can do.

Fewer Employees in the Travel Industry

We just mentioned fewer employees working in the travel industry, but it's worth expanding on this idea somewhat. 

At the moment, you will find fewer pilots working, but also fewer airport employees across the board. That includes baggage handlers, vehicle operators that patrol the runways, TSA agents here in America, and even fewer workers at the food courts in airports.

You will find fewer hotel employees, including front desk staff, workers in the kitchens, cleaners, etc. You'll notice fewer bus drivers and train conductors. You'll see fewer individuals available for airport shuttle operation.

If you look at that shortage, you might not understand how or why it's happening. Again, you must look at the pandemic.

When it hit, many airlines, bus companies, and other travel entities had to dramatically cut their staff. Even now, with the economy picking up, many individuals won't resume their former jobs. Often, they want more money and better benefits.

Some have found they can work from home and make better money. Others demand superior healthcare and other perks. Some want union benefits as well.

Airlines and other large corporations don't like paying their employees higher salaries if they can avoid it. These labor standoffs have dominated the news for the past couple of years.

This all means travel presents some challenges that weren't present before the pandemic. You can still travel, but these issues mean that you'll likely pay more money across the board. 

Flights cost more, hotels cost more, and virtually everything else costs more as well. You can travel to an international destination and expect to pay more for any activity in which you engage.

Travel might appeal to you this year, but if you take a vacation, expect higher prices, and you might also catch the coronavirus. You can wear a mask the whole time to mitigate your risk if you don't mind keeping one on virtually all the time.

You might also visit less appealing travel destinations, and you can go during the off-season. You might also try flying on weekdays when you can get slightly cheaper flights.

You can make travel happen if you want, but these particular issues might hinder you at the moment.

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

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