When it comes to COVID group travel, it certainly looks different than what the typical getaway used to entail, and rightfully so. Between new social distancing regulations, sanitization awareness, and the overall increase in demand for expensive private travel journeys to optimize safety, it illuminates the question of whether or not there will be affordable travel options again soon.
The Future of Affordable Travel
So, what does the future of affordable travel look like? Based on trends, current travel costs, and restrictions placed on hot tourist spots, it is likely to contain the following:
- Tours will be conducted in smaller sizes. What was once a 20-person tour will now become a 10 person tour.
- Instead of touring around to several locations within retreat packages, travelers will stay in one place for the entire duration of their trip. This reduces the spread and still allows for people to have a memorable getaway.
- More growth in private transportation, such as private mini-buses, jets, etc as well as in private tours. Growth is also likely within the outdoor travel and adventure sector. The less exposure to the public, the better.
- More and more people will be traveling with their social bubbles or "pods" to stay away from strangers, reduce cost, and open up exclusive group luxuries.
- Travel Suppliers and travelers will organize their trips remotely with online platforms to provide a safe, low-touch option for planning and management. Collecting payments, sharing itineraries, and returning forms and waivers online will be the new normal for group planning.
Affordable Travel Options for Your Pod
Though the majority of tour companies, as well as travel agents and advisors, have witnessed a massive spike in private trip requests, that doesn’t mean you have to spend an arm and a leg to enjoy safe travel. One of the top reasons for traveling in a group has traditionally been savings. Traveling with your pod will not only provide you with social safety on your trip but, it can be the key to unlock affordable experiences.
The Top 3 Travel Deals for your Pod to Consider
Before your pod pulls the trigger on booking, make sure you keep an eye out for incredible deals that can save you some significant cash. To help you get started we’ve pulled three of the top travel deals for small groups that would be perfect for your pod:
- Group Glamping - For a luxurious and stylish group getaway with your pod, glamping is a great way to go. There’s a large variety of glamping sites right here in the US that are great for small groups and available for under $100 per night.
- Traveling by Train - While group discounts for travel transportation are often reserved for groups, Amtrak’s Share Fares opens up discount opportunities to groups up to 6 people, making it the ideal choice for a budget-conscious social bubble. Plus they have a hub for COVID-19 policies, procedures, and updates to help keep you and your pod safe and informed.
- Outdoor Adventure Trekking - In the age of social distancing, trips in the great outdoors provide a greater sense of safety. While adventure tour packages are one of the pricier options, there are still great savings available to you. REI Adventures has a large variety of multi-day trips here in the US for less than $1000 per person. But the real deal bringing this entry to our list is that for groups of 4 or more, you can book any of these trips as a private adventure just for your pod at no additional cost.
The Top 3 Travel Apps for your Pod to Use
The savings don’t have to end with your travel packages. There are great options for affordability in terms of apps and online platforms to enhance the safety and efficiency of your pod’s next trip too. Here are the top free platforms for your group to consider:
- Best for Group Planning - GroupTools allows you to plan and manage your group trip from start to finish quickly, easily, and safely. From surveys to gauge interest or select details for your trips remotely to RSVP management, contactless payments, and more. GroupTools provides you with comprehensive tools and options that help you plan like a pro. GroupTools is web-based and fully responsive so you can use it on any of your devices whether at home or on the go, so it’s ideal for each of your pod members to use no matter what kind of device they prefer. Visit GroupTools.com to learn more or jump right into your planning by registering or logging in today.
- Best for Expense Sharing - While your main trip payments are handled and collected during the planning process, there are bound to be more expenses to navigate during your trip. From dining out to last-minute add-ons you can keep a running tally and easily track who owes what with Splitwise. Splitwise is available for download on both iOS and Android.
- Best for Keeping Track - If you’re planning downtime or splitting the pod into smaller groups at all on your trip, location-sharing is an easy way to tell your pod members what you're up to. Foursquare’s Swarm app, is a simple, fun way to do just that. Using their social features keeps location sharing fun while keeping track of where your pod is at. Foursquare's Swarm is available for download on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
By being part of a pod along with the above deals and tools, you will be able to go ahead with your trip, enjoy your time, and know that you and your group are taking all the right steps to #GroupForward on a stress-free, safe, and affordable escape. Whether your pod is looking to get away, enjoy a summer staycation, or just get guidance on pandemic group planning - however you choose to #GroupForward, we support you.