With one eye on COVID-19 numbers and the other on the approaching holidays, many families are still planning to take some type of vacation this season, according to recent travel surveys.
The latest survey findings from MMGY Travel Intelligence’s Travel Intentions Pulse Survey (TIPS) and MMGY Global’s Travel Safety Barometer show increasing confidence in the safety of domestic and international travel, cruising, dining and entertainment, business travel and lodging. In October, for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Domestic Travel Safety Barometer score rose above 50, indicating travelers are increasingly confident about the idea of traveling. The barometer, which measures perceptions of safety on a scale of 0 (extremely unsafe) to 100 (extremely safe), rose to 52, which is 22 points higher than it was in April. In another TIPS survey, conducted in late September, 46% of respondents said they are likely to take a domestic leisure trip in the next six months. Delving a little deeper, the surveys found that people are still more comfortable participating in outdoor travel rather than indoor travel experiences.
Not too keen on boarding a plane yet? Amtrak is hoping you’ll hop on one of its trains this holiday season. The company is delivering a new standard of travel that includes enhanced cleaning protocols, contactless amenities, social distancing on board and in stations, required face coverings and sophisticated air filtration. Amtrak customers can avoid traffic and enjoy free Wi-Fi on most trains, plenty of leg room and no middle seat. If you want even more distance, trains offering private rooms are another option for customers seeking privacy and space on a short trip and added comfort and amenities when traveling overnight.
Amtrak is encouraging folks to book early to guarantee available tickets since bookings will be limited to allow for more physical distancing in seating areas. When searching for travel options, customers will see a volume percentage next to each route so they can get helpful insight into which trains are least crowded. The percentage displayed is available in real-time during a person’s search.
To reduce crowds at departure boards, Amtrak app users can receive gate and track information via push notifications at select stations.
To help put potential customers at ease about being on an enclosed train, Amtrak partnered with Reckitt Benckiser, the makers of Lysol, and germ-kill experts and microbiologists from RB will help Amtrak strengthen and reinforce its comprehensive disinfection protocols for trains, stations and metropolitan lounges.
All Amtrak trains are equipped with onboard filtration systems with a fresh-air exchange every 4-5 minutes.
Cassandra Lane is managing editor of L.A. Parent.