Chances are you’ve heard how people are traveling as we navigate through the pandemic. Some are choosing to take road trips, some are renting villas, some are flying by private jets…all driven by the need for social distancing. These are smart short-term strategies and great solutions for making sure you get away in the coming months.
But at Farewell Travels, we are seeing that there are big changes in the ways in which we travel. Here are just some already emerging.
The Wedding and Honeymoon are Getting Separated
Out of necessity, some of our engaged couples are moving ahead with getting married this year, but they’ve put off their honeymoons until 2021. What they are doing instead is taking a short post-wedding trip to someplace fabulous closer to home for three to four nights and planning a two-week-long honeymoon trip for six months to a year down the road.
In many ways, this makes more sense than rushing off for a big trip following months of preparing for a wedding. It also has the benefit of choosing to travel at a preferred time of year. For some this means getting married in June but heading to New Zealand in December or January (when it’s summer in the Antipodes). For others it might be tying the knot over the New Year, but chartering a yacht in Croatia in June when the Adriatic is at its sparkling best.
Separating the wedding and honeymoon takes a lot of pressure off couples and we see it as a preferred choice for our soon-to-be newlyweds.
Travel Will Not Wait for Tomorrow
There have always been people who have put off major dream trips, saving them for when their kids are grown, when they’ve finished the renovation on their house, or when they’ve retired.
What we’re hearing from our clients now that COVID-19 has messed up many of life’s plans is that they want to do “the trip of a lifetime” as soon as possible. The common sentiment is to “do it while you can.” Why wait and have regrets?
At Farewell Travels, we’ve always viewed travel as one of the most effective ways to educate children (and adults). By physically visiting places (whether the Grand Canyon, the Parthenon or a market in Central America), the doors of curiosity fly open as our children want to understand, want to learn more.
But the motivation to learn about a different place is triggered the moment you have a trip on the calendar—even if it is a year away. With more time at home, there’s more time to research the places you’ll go. There are books to read, maps to examine, movies to watch, local customs to learn about, languages to study, foods to look forward to tasting.… It’s a cornucopia of education before you even leave your house.
New Directions for Study Abroad
Over the last several decades, study abroad has become part of the fabric of collegiate life.
As a result of the pandemic and climate change, there’s a new enthusiasm for science, medicine and sustainable living. Students will increasingly be traveling to very modern countries where they can learn about progressive systems especially related to sustainability, farming and biosecurity.
Hiking: The New “It” Travel Pursuit
One of the takeaways from this pandemic is the realization that hiking is great medicine. With gyms and team sports on hold, many people have taken to the trails either alone, with their partners, family members or friends.
We see hiking taking off as the #1 active choice for travel in the years ahead. It ticks all the boxes—soothes anxiety, offers exercise, doesn’t require fancy equipment, provides access to stunning scenery, is often free and isn’t competitive. It also comes with bucket-list possibilities—bagging peaks around the world, following historical routes such as the Camino de Santiago or challenging yourselves by trekking the Inca Trail.
The great news is that one can hike pretty much anywhere in the world.
Meals Will Become Journeys Themselves
At first, it was kind of fun cooking and even baking at home. But months of lockdown and we’re all…um…hungry. Hungry for some outstanding meals prepared by somebody else.
There is going to be a whole new respect for restaurants and especially for chefs and especially when traveling. We are all going to seek out extraordinary food and wine experiences. We are going to look for the chefs who will dazzle us with their creativity, their brilliant use of local products, their progressive cooking methods and their pairings of wines.
When on the road, no meal will be left to chance—whether it’s a simple souvlaki in Athens or a molecular masterpiece in Copenhagen. All restaurants will be researched and selected in advance. We have all come to appreciate how much of a treat eating out is.
Anticipation: The Joy of Planning Travel Makes a Comeback
I remember when I first backpacked through Europe for six weeks, my classmate and I (both had just graduated high school) took a year off to earn extra money and plan our trip. We spent hours and hours poring over maps, combing through guidebooks and talking to everyone we ever knew who had traveled to Europe.
The anticipation of the trip was really exciting.
In recent years, many people have been so busy that that there’s no time for that anticipation. I’ve had clients tell me that the first time they really had a chance to go through the itinerary we designed was when the “Fasten Your Seatbelt” light came on for their departure flight.
COVID-19 has changed that. Now that the 3,000-piece puzzle has been assembled and interest in board games has waned, planning trips is a great at-home activity and is something all members of a family can get involved with.
Our clients are asking—What books should we read? Should we learn a bit of the language? Are there any films we should watch?
Music to our ears! The joy of travel planning is back. This amount of digging and learning about destinations maximizes the whole travel experience. It also pushes our clients to learn about new places, besides the obvious.
Our travel world is expanding.
Susan Farewell is the owner of Farewell Travels LLC (FarewellTravels.com, a Connecticut-based travel design firm). Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @FarewellTravels