Lockdown – Has it put people off travel and relocation?

Being in lockdown has affected everyone differently. With many people working from home, some people furloughed and others still on the front line, everyone has had to adapt. As travel restrictions have remained in place also, most holidays have been cancelled or postponed for the foreseeable future, but do people still want to travel after going through this pandemic, or has it put people off international travel and relocation completely?

Being in lockdown has affected everyone differently. With many people working from home, some people furloughed and others still on the front line, everyone has had to adapt. As travel restrictions have remained in place also, most holidays have been cancelled or postponed for the foreseeable future, but do people still want to travel after going through this pandemic, or has it put people off international travel and relocation completely?

Are people still determined to relocate overseas?

As Vital Consular serve the travel and relocation sector, we have started to see an upturn in those choosing to start the relocation process over the previous weeks. The amount of documents we expected to handle during this time has been greatly exceeded, which is a positive sign. Although some countries, such as China, still require a period of quarantine upon arrival at the moment, it seems that this isn’t expected to be a long term requirement.

We ran a poll and asked those involved in ESL teaching whether they’ve changed their minds about relocating overseas, or whether they still intend to make the move as soon as they can. Here are the results of our poll:

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It seems the figures are overwhelmingly positive that the current situation has not deterred those wishing to teach ESL overseas from doing so. The vast majority of people are willing to make the move as soon as restrictions are lifted, whereas a small number of people are still planning a move, but being slightly more cautious about when they travel after lockdown. The minority has decided to remain teaching ESL online and no longer wish to relocate.

Many people commented that they had job offers on the table, but weren’t able to get the paperwork fully completed due to government closures or travel to begin work due to quarantine measures. It seems that schools, at least in China, are being understanding of the measures and although many are trying to hire exclusively from the pool of teachers already in China, this isn’t always an option due to demand. We have been told that several schools who were due to hire from overseas are happy to wait for their candidates until the restrictions are lifted, despite their school having resumed. This clearly hasn’t deterred the candidates from hanging on to the offer either, and their dream to teach English overseas.

How has lockdown affected people’s desire to travel at all?

At Vital Consular, the majority of our staff has been furloughed over the lockdown period. As we are exclusively involved with the travel and relocation industries, we have a unique insight in how the COVID-19 epidemic has affected travel and how people feel about it going forwards.

We asked some of our staff how being furloughed has affected them and how they feel about travel after lockdown from a personal perspective.

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For me lockdown in general has been a experience that I can reflect on. I have tried to keep to a routine during furlough and been trying lots of recipes and cooking new dishes which seems to be therapeutic with some decorating here and there. Even though times are difficult at the moment, as a Legalisation Advisor I am still very much excited to travel once all the restrictions have been lifted. There are many countries around the world that have so much to offer and see and I am sure that things will get back to normal in time.

Nilem Patel, Legalisation Adviser at our London Office
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I’ll be happy to travel overseas for holidays again whenever it’s safe to do so. I think there will be certain measures put in place, like social distancing on planes and other public transport, and other public places. For me it would mostly depend on the prevalence of cases in the place I wanted to go, and if I had to take any special measures that would disrupt my enjoyment, i.e. quarantine on arrival.

Ashraf Vachhiat, Marketing Technologist at our Head Office
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As a family we didn’t travel overseas we stayed in the UK using our camper van and we are missing not being able to just book somewhere at the drop of a hat and go on a weekend. All this has made us appreciate how lucky we are.
All of my time on furlough has been taken up with my daughter Ella, with home schooling and keeping her occupied (which at times is quite difficult) I’m not going to lie; it is feeling very much like ground hog day now and I can’t wait to be able to return to work.

Louise Wood, Office Manager at our Head Office
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As someone who has her dream holiday to Florida booked for September this year, I am admittedly itching to get away! However, there are a multitude of things to consider such as what attractions are open and how they are dealing with social distancing measures if still required. Also, whether we would need to quarantine in our hotel for the entirety of our two week trip and even whether the borders are open to tourists at all. I think travel, especially for tourism reasons, will be impacted for a while and will have an impact on those who require visas to gain entry due to the likelihood of increased applications. This will also lead to much longer waiting times once the services are operational again, simply due to everyone trying to secure their visas at once. I hope that we are able to return to something close to normality again soon but only when the time is right.

Jess Petch, Consular Services Administrator at our Head Office
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We had a holiday booked for June this year which will be cancelled now because of the lockdown, and we are very disappointed, but accepting of it. We would much rather stay safe, no matter how long that takes. The virus has changed our view of travel, we are now thinking of holidaying closer to home, or travelling Europe in a campervan, rather than the previous simplistic 2 weeks in the sun of previous years. Travel for us used to be about managing children in the easiest way possible, but after 2+ months being restricted to your own home learning patience and tolerance, then managing kids on a plane, in an unknown place, or even speaking another language just doesn’t seem as daunting and we can’t wait to travel after lockdown.

Ruth James, Accountant at our Head Office
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When lockdown is lifted, I think I will avoid holidaying in those destinations which were most heavily affected, at least for a while. As for challenges of being furloughed, I have found that setting myself tasks to complete each day and making sure I complete them is the best thing to do. I’ve been keeping busy by volunteering for the Royal Voluntary Service. This was set up by the government during the first week of the crisis, which only took around 10 days to be verified to start work. Apart from that, I have kept busy around the house and doing jobs that need completing I have found that both of these things have really helped me stay active and keeps me sane.

Paul Fletcher, Office Manager at our London Office

What does this mean for the travel and ESL industry going forwards?

Travel is still happening, and airports such as Gatwick are already trialling measures to minimise the risks of COVID-19. This includes all passengers wearing face masks and gloves throughout the airport, but it’s unclear whether this will be a short term measure to allow travel to continue, or will remain long term after the lockdown has been lifted.

Whether the travel industry takes some time to fully resume to its previous capacity, or the uptake on foreign travel will be quick to increase again remains to be seen. It’s clear from our poll however that those wishing to move overseas for work still fully intend to do so as soon as they are able, without restrictions at their destinations.

Any holidays being taken in 2020 will more likely be staycations for a lot of families, who may have lost out on their foreign holidays. The desire to visit other countries will naturally be something that the majority will want to do again at some point, however. With so much to see and the call of a week in guaranteed sunshine, the foreign holiday will undoubtedly become a must for most families again in the future when safety returns.

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Melanie Clarke
Melanie is a Digital Marketer and TEFL Specialist at Vital Consular. Before taking up a Marketing role, she spent 3 years building up a rich knowledge of global legalisation processes on the operations team. When she's not working, Melanie enjoys attending music events and pursuing many creative interests including screen printing and merchandise design.
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