Have a virtual visit with Santa this year with Airbnb
Wanting to help the Christmas community continue to earn income during what would normally be their busiest time of year, it is calling all Santas, elves and reindeer to submit their idea for an Online Experience idea. It will also be partnering with Santa Visits USA to offer even more ways to meet Santa Claus and the entire North Pole gang this year. These include Christmas magic with Kris Kingle himself, a holiday-themed bedtime pyjama party, a visit with head elf, Buzz Twinkletoes, and even a murder mystery show with Mrs Claus.
"According to a new report by the Fraternal Order of Real-Bearded Santas, nearly a third of their members surveyed will not be taking part in in-person visits this year," says Airbnb. "As many of Santa Claus entertainers worldwide live on a fixed income and are reliant on their income from appearances during the holiday season, this new reality has created serious economic hardship for countless Santa performers."
Guests can also enjoy Santa Claus around the world, with special experiences designed for families of all backgrounds, including people with disabilities. These include a "Virtual Visit and Story Time with Santa," "Mama Claus Holiday Joy," "Sign Language Santa," "Meet Santa Claus in Lapland" and "Santa Storytime" with an award-winning author. In addition, hosts are sharing their own holiday traditions from around the world so people can feel festive from home, such as "How to Throw a Holiday Dinner Party," "Create recycled puppets for the holidays" and "Sing Holiday Songs with a Broadway Star."
Airbnb will provide additional support to Santa Claus entertainers who are interested in becoming Online Experience hosts, helping them to make a seamless transition to virtual visits. Further information is available here, and you can read about the holiday experiences already available here.
Holiday travel in the US might be cheaper and more last minute this year
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kayak's data indicates that travel interest for the winter holidays is seeing drastic declines. Domestic flight searches are down 81% and hotel searches are down 74% compared to the same time period last year. As the uncertainty around COVID-19 remains, it predicts a surge in travel planning won't be seen until much closer to the December holidays, and spontaneous trips will gain momentum.Its search data suggests that extended stays will replace short getaways this year. With the majority of colleges wrapping up the semester mid-November and offices continuing to go virtual, holiday travel can start sooner and end later. Searches for alternative accommodations, such as cabins, chalets, cottages or RVs, are on the rise compared with 2019. For those willing to travel, domestic flight prices are down nearly 16% year over year for the holidays. Cities in Florida lead with the biggest domestic flight deals. Major cities that typically lure US travelers are being replaced with warm weather destinations and ski towns. Denver, Salt Lake City, Cancun and Honolulu are among the top trending flight destinations compared to 2019. “We believe Americans will travel this holiday season, it will just look different," says Steve Hafner, CEO of Kayak. "Expect domestic instead of international travel, longer trip lengths and last minute decisions. For those who feel comfortable flying and are flexible on routes and dates, there are deals to be had.” For more information on Kayak’s trend forecast, please see here.
The rise of vacation shaming with COVID-19
Rediscovering America became the new light at the end of the tunnel for an uncertain COVID-19 world. The revival of road trips, camping, and van life changed how many of us see travel in 2020, but leaves many families and travelers unsure of the right move. Any travel outside of your home risks the spread of the novel coronavirus. This uncertainty sparks a new travel trend: vacation stigma. People seem wary to talk about their travel ideas during a pandemic in fear of backlash, despite the fact mobility continues to rise. In September, Budget Travel surveyed subscribers to learn about their feelings towards travel. Vacation stigma goes beyond one's personal feelings towards travel. Since the rise of cancel-culture, this phenomenon leads to travel shaming. Fidelity National Financial conducted a survey concluding that almost one-quarter of Americans took some form of vacation since March. Scott's Cheap Flights, a flight finder, recently removed posts from their online forum, a rare occurrence, due to hateful comments projected at people considering travel. Later, the creator issued a letter condemning any misbehavior or travel shaming. He said there is no one size fits all approach to traveling during a pandemic. According to respondents of our survey, the attitudes towards travel distribute closely across all four categories: open to all travel, open to national travel, only day trips, or not at all. Those not traveling took the lead at 27%, followed by national travel (25%). People open to all travel, including out of the country, fell last at 21%. The majority of people traveling believe in wearing masks, social distancing, and stay in separate accommodations. When it comes to quarantine, only 3% said they consider quarantining before their trip, and 14% would consider after their trip. The CDC still states the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home. Traveling poses a risk to you and your family for contracting COVID-19 or spreading it to your community. If traveling, the CDC recommends the following precautions before, during, and after your trip: wear a mask, socially distance, research, plan, and wash your hands. Above everything, if you suspect your health has been compromised, postpone the trip or stay home as much as possible after your journey for 14 days. No one knows when things will get back to normal, if normal even exists anymore, but some people are trying to think ahead. One-fourth of those surveyed said they are looking at trips early winter/spring of 2021. Not many people consider traveling in September or through the holiday season (about 10% each.) When it comes to travel shaming, the BT community does not seem to judge other people posting about travel right now; only 2% of respondents said they were. Alternatively, when asked if they were comfortable sharing their posts on travel, the answers were mixed. Most people feel comfortable sharing their frustration not traveling, but not about their personal travel. Budget Travel received 212 responses from readers all over the USA. While Scott's Cheap Flights put it best, traveling right now is not a one size fits all; it is essential to carefully follow the CDC guidelines and think wisely on your decision to travel. The survey concludes the majority (60%) feel unsatisfied with the way authorities handle COVID-19, but public concern should not turn into online harassment. Budget Travel is dedicated to providing socially distanced opportunities and inspiration for navigating this time. Kylie Ruffino is a senior Advertising and Branding student at the Savannah College of Art and Design