As the doomsday media likes to say on a daily basis, “We’re all in this together.” The restrictions, the cabin fever, the Zoom meetings, the same faces, the same four walls, day… after day… after day.
We’re all in a rut – and most of us are dreaming of getting back out into the world. We need a break before we all lose our sanity, and we’re dreaming of vacation and an escape from it all.
Experts have their predictions, no two alike, about when we can get back to normal. But all we want to know right now is… when the #@$! can we travel again?!
Every state in the nation currently has some sort of stay-at-home orders in place. Many run through mid-May, many into June — none of these “orders” making us feel anything but trapped.
There are the optimistic few who insist we will start getting back into our routines this summer – prime vacation time. Then there are the others spouting their doom and gloom predictions that we’ll have to maintain some sort of social distancing and be vigilant on public transportation well into the next year.
So who’s right?
When it’s all said and done, what’s right is what each of us decides is right.
Predictions and Models and Experts, Oh, My.
There are lots of opinions. State and federal officials know we are getting sick of being stuck at home — families want to get back out there and stay safe at the same time.
By now, you’re probably intimately familiar with Dr. Anthony Fauci, always at President Trump’s side in daily virus briefings from the White House.
He is the “expert to end all experts,” and says that we can probably have some semblance of a normal summer, starting with road trips and venturing short distances from home for a night or two.
But even this, he says, will be done with caution – and only if that ever-present new buzzword, the “curve,” stays flattened.
Airlines are still in business, but with reduced routes (and greatly reduced fares), they’ve seen a more than 50 percent drop in domestic flights. And no one is flying out of the country right now.
Analysts from OAG (their acronym stems from their first “Official Aviation Guide” of the airways, published in the U.S. in 1929) have plenty of experience in reading the data and trends of people’s flying habits.
They predict domestic flights will resume with fairly-close-to-normal schedules starting in two to three months. But these experts and other industry insiders think it will take up to six months to see manifests equaling pre-pandemic numbers.
As for traveling overseas? No one expects Americans to travel to Europe or Asia for the remainder of this year, probably extending into summer of 2021.
Just like the “we’re all in this together” mantra we hear nearly every day on every moment of televised programming, returning to travel normalcy in the U.S. really is all inter-connected for travel and service industries.
Once people start venturing out for short domestic flights, they’ll need to grab something to eat. They’ll want to meet a friend or relative at a local bar. They’ll take a brief detour into a museum. And they’ll need a hotel room.
Our eventual return to normal travel habits will happen far more slowly than the economic collapse of the industry, but all of these businesses are dependent on each other – and on us – so there will be a very positive ripple effect when things start up again.
As for the experts, we don’t know who’s right – and none of them truly know either.
With all the media fear-mongering going on, will ordinary Americans even want to get back out there soon, or will the hype and hysteria keep us close to home?
And that’s really the issue here. Despite all the government suits who think they have the power to keep us under their thumb forever, they really don’t.
You see, there are these little things called the U.S. Constitution and free will.
It’s your thing… do whatchya wanna do.
So returning to travel after restrictions are lifted is going to be – more or less – up to We the People.
Most of the nation has accepted media hype over COVID-19 as fact. “We can’t do anything we want until the government says it’s safe.” But most of us also know this: We hear what they want us to hear, and no one’s really sure what the truth is at this point.
In the end, it’s up to each of us to do what’s best for ourselves and our families — that is, once they tell us we can make our own decisions again.
Instead of consulting all the experts and their wildly differing projections, we can take a look at some numbers from real, live Americans on when they think they’ll feel comfortable enough to get back to normal.
According to a Harris Poll on how Americans are changing their travel routines due to the global pandemic, it seems many people are afraid to go too far away from their home bunkers.
The LA Times reported on the results, stating that more than half of Americans have cancelled travel plans because of the pandemic – or have at least postponed them indefinitely.
More than 70 percent of Americans say there’s no way they’d get on a plane right now, and probably not within the next month or two.
And even if dine-in restaurants were allowed to let us dine-in right now, well more than half of those polled said they wouldn’t even consider eating in a restaurant. You’ve seen the commercials – we may not be able to give up our pizza or Chinese food, but “contactless” delivery is an option, and Americans are eating it up.
And cruise ships? Fuggedaboutit! Liners like Princess Cruises and Holland America have cancelled all upcoming trips through the end of June – at least.
Now, as much as I enjoy bottomless drinks and a good buffet, I certainly wouldn’t consider taking a cruise anytime soon. Even when cruise lines do resume operations, will they ever recover from being labeled as floating contaminated prisons?
It may be also important to note that women are being more cautious about this whole returning to normal thing. Poll results show they are far more reluctant than men to resume travel by plane – or go far from home at all — in the near future.
This definitely doesn’t surprise me.
After all, we’re the ones nagging our husbands to wash their hands when they come home. I mean, how can you trust someone who tosses the baby six feet in the air because, “It’s fine. She likes it!” or always has to ask where the ketchup is, even when it’s always in the same place?
Before I go off on a wild tangent about the superiority of women, I’ll just end on a positive note.
Human beings do not like to be stuck in one place. From the beginning of our time on this planet, we’ve explored and roamed and traveled.
We need to see other places and meet new people. Humans are intelligent beings and we like to be challenged with new experiences and new opportunities.
We also don’t like to be told what to do. No one likes to be stripped of their freedoms. That’s why criminals go to prison as punishment.
So, things will get back to normal eventually. Until then, we’ll just have to do what we do best – adapt.
We can hear and interpret all the expert opinions we want, but in the end, I’m pretty sure we’re all smart enough to go about our lives and keep ourselves and our families safe.
It’s what we do. And it’s what we’ll keep doing, even if we have to do it a little closer to home for now.