Traveling closer to home has often been the only possibility during the pandemic. This has hit international tourism hard, but it has also given us the opportunity to embrace the joys and home-grown wonders of a staycation, discovering cultural and culinary delights (as well as more adventurous expeditions) near to your doorstep – and supporting local businesses at the same time. Plus, it comes with the benefit of not needing to wait until your next vacation to enjoy it all over again.
Make meaningful commitments to sustainability
With a new-found greater appreciation of the freedom to travel should come more responsibility to make conscientious choices, too. We have longer to plan, which means more time to research the eco-credentials of a potential trip (sustainability-specialist travel brands such as Bouteco, Steppes Travel and Responsible Travel are excellent for trustworthy recommendations).
Purposeful, planet-conscious travel goes beyond lightening the carbon footprint we leave, though, offering trips where it’s possible to maximize positive impacts on the places and communities visited. More hotels and travel companies are now offering itineraries that link visitors to a local project, whether it’s volunteering with a conservation program while you are there or giving long-term support to a social enterprise in the area. The Safari Collection, for instance, invites travelers to contribute to the protection and preservation of the Kenyan landscape, wildlife and communities through hands-on and educational projects. And Nihi Sumba allows guests of its breathtaking Indonesian-island getaway to visit, volunteer and partner with The Sumba Foundation, which is dedicated to empowering its local community.
A renewed gratitude for the great outdoors will see travelers seeking secluded spots to reconnect with nature. From island getaways and safaris to walking tours and adventures in the wilderness, being at one with nature will be a much-needed antidote to so much time spent indoors.
Keep it flexible
The roller coaster of changes we’ve experienced over the past two years has necessitated flexibility when making plans. For peace of mind when booking, look for easily adaptable options in case you need to alter it at the last minute. In the event of not being able to go, consider postponing your reservation if you’re in a position to do so, rather than requesting a full refund. This can make a significant difference to businesses that are already struggling in the wake of the impacts to the travel and hospitality industry – and ensures that there’s something to look forward to soon.
Plan bigger for the future
The pause in globetrotting seems to have elevated our travel desires – more time to plan means more time to fantasize about those bucket-list, once-in-a-lifetime experiences the post-pandemic future holds. If it helps to have some visualization, soak up wanderlust in as many ways as you can get your hands on right now – via books, movies, documentaries, Instagram – and mull over the trips that would make your dream-destination shortlist. Take it a step further and start to piece together ideal itineraries and what not to miss while you’re there, too.
Slow it down
The movement towards a slower approach to travel has been growing for a while now. We know that taking a train, if possible, is better for our carbon footprint, but it also adds to the leisurely experience of a trip if you make the journey part of the adventure – plus, you get to fully appreciate the surroundings as you go. Scotland’s Gleneagles hotel, for instance, can be reached by the luxurious Caledonian Sleeper train from London, while Belmond offers a variety of European routes aboard the iconic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
The dramatic shift towards working from home has increased the number of ‘digital nomads’, meaning that travels of the future might not be so confined to a tight slot within our annual leave. For those able to, this can mean the opportunity to stay for longer – and to immerse themselves more deeply in a different destination (if necessary, Zooming into a team meeting while poolside rather than from your kitchen table).
Get a taste of travel at home
For when you aren’t there in person, order produce from a particularly coveted hotel or restaurant (The Newt in Somerset, for instance, delivers hampers – including a full Christmas lunch – direct from its gardens, bakery, butchery, creamery and cyder press) to keep travel tastebuds tantalized.