a sunset seen through a window

It’s true, you can really support the travel industry without traveling, or creating any extra risk for you or those around you. And if you can, you should.

Coronavirus, aka Covid-19, also known as the global pandemic, is grim.Like many of the worst things in the history of the world, the knock on effects of the virus may be as dire, and far longer lasting than the initial death tolls and immediate health risks.

People will lose jobs, families will lose houses and when these sort of greater trends happen, people run far greater risk of dying from things that have nothing to do with the virus itself. Lives are deeply impacted in one way or another.

That’s the grim part, but there are always silver linings.

boats in the water with boats in itCommunities around the world are banding together to help neighbors with provisions, to get people help when needed and to make sure the internet stays on, so if the world does end, we can all go out watching Netflix in peace.

I hear from people every day that they’re afraid to travel, but that doesn’t mean you can’t support the travel industry, and the millions of jobs around the world which depend on it. Yes – millions.

Recent statistics show that more than 300,000,000 jobs around the world are based on travel and services around travel, so don’t just think of flight attendants or hotel staff – think about your local restaurants, coffee bars, bars boutiques, taxi drivers, guides and people who work anywhere people congregate, from sporting venues to airports.

These industries are getting clobbered, but there are still things you can do to support them, while staying safe yourself. Here are a few you may or may not have thought of…

contactless credit cardUse Your Points

Sure, points aren’t cold hard cash, but they do have value. In a way, travelers can get lucky right now, because with demand down across the board, availability using points is incredible, pretty much whatever you’re looking for.

The key for you, is that almost all bookings with points have extremely flexible change and cancellation policies, so you pretty much get everything back, if plans change.

When you make a booking with points, you’re indicating demand and putting butts in seats, or hotels, which means that if enough people do that, airlines or hotels will need to staff people to look after you. This will then in turn take you to a place where you can support a local economy.

And spend!

On the flip side, keep earning points too! Using co-branded credit cards like an IHG Rewards Credit Card or Delta Platinum Amex provides a revenue stream to airlines through these times, without ever leaving the house. Just don’t carry a balance…

Buy Local, Buy Small

You don’t have to travel to support the travel industry. Social distancing is clearly important at the moment, but if you’re healthy, and in a low risk group, eating at a table feet away from others isn’t the worst thing you can do – depending on your specific governments current advice. Even if you can’t do this now, consider it when you can, or order take out.

You, as a local, can replace some of the business that a restaurant, bar, or shop may have relied on from the revolving door of travelers, and by supporting small businesses you’re supporting real people in your communities who may or may not really need that work.

If there’s something where you live that you’d be sad to see go, try to go out of your way to safely support it – even if it means take out.

a swimming pool with a deck and chairsMake Future Bookings

Even a pessimist could feel optimistic about travel in late 2020, or early 2021. The world is incredible, more worth seeing than ever, and the sooner we have faith that this virus won’t define humanity forever, the sooner we can start to think about where’s next.

I, for one, have travel booked to Los Angeles, New York, Hawaii and Japan for 2020 and can’t wait to dive deeper into 2021, as schedules open, with hopes to visit South Africa, Australia, South America, Oman and Lebanon – just to name a few, on the tip of my tongue.

With the flexible booking terms many airlines and hotels are offering, even the most pessimistic could say you’re effectively buying a voucher, which you may or may not use as initially planned. With some of the insane sales are having at the moment, there are enticing reasons to show faith.

If you can part ways with the money in a liquid way, you’re helping to keep the world moving by booking tickets or hotel rooms with these flexible terms, and in the best case – you’ll be able to use them as is. Worst case, you get your money back or a voucher.

a table with plates of food and a glass of wineHelp Connect People On Unpaid Leave With Work

Airlines have announced temporarily lay offs of up to 90% of staff. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of people around the world who need money, who won’t be getting paid for a while. Do your part in helping these highly capable people find gigs or opportunities in the meantime.

Getting forced out of a job in a non related industry brought me to travel blogging, and I’m eternally grateful. Whether it’s part time work, advice, contacts or just someone to talk to or cook a meal for, be with there for these people and put yourself in their shoes. Anyone in this position can start with me.

See An End

Even if only from boredom, the world will get over Covid-19. It will likely just become yet another thing to look out for seasonally, or with all the hope in the world – it will just die and leave us behind forever!

Due to the drastic measures taken, the countries which first experienced coronavirus outbreaks are already seeing daily drops in cases and a semi-return to normalcy, but with the added benefit of generally more sanitary people, which should prevent future spreads.

With any and all hope, the rest of the world will too, by mid summer. In the meantime, let’s create as much community as possible, even if its over the web, and try to support the businesses around travel which play an impact on our communities whether we travel or not. Don’t let the fallout from Coronavirus be worse than the virus itself for the world.

Please share any and all ideas to help the travel industry during this time in the comments section. Good ones will be stolen added to the post. Wink, wink.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

Join the Conversation


  1. Dear Gilbert,

    I wish I could be that optimistic. I’m in Spain, in my second day of forced home reclusion, with no end in sight. Last night I could barely sleep thinking about what is coming.

    I own and rent apartments in the Dominican Republic, and all my reservations for the next two months have been cancelled (but I still have to pay taxes, employees, insurance, etc.).

    I own and rent apartments in Spain, and I know a (big) proportion of my tennants are not going to be able to pay the rent, as they are not going to be able to go to work for months (but I still need to pay mortgages, taxes, condominium fees, etc.).

    We have just been thown into a vortex of unimaginable uncertainty. As from today I am going to start cutting back on all my expenses, as my economic future seems extremely grim. I am wondering how many months I can hold before I have to start selling assets to keep making payments (of course I will have to sell them at very low prices, as there will not be much money running around).

    The last thing in my mind now are plans for future leisure travel. I hope I am just being too tragic and this will only be a relatively minor bump, alas I am afraid I am just starting to realise how dire our situation is.

    God (and our governments) help us all.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *