Now that lockdowns around the world are in different states of being removed or reduced, travel is beginning to open up again. In the UK, where we are currently, the government has released a list of countries which, when travelling back to the UK from, will not impose a mandatory two week quarantine. From our research, we know that this is a similar situation in many other countries around the world. This is exciting and we’ve seen huge spikes in recent weeks for people booking trips.
We recently completed an extensive study into how you felt about travel now that restrictions are being lifted and overwhelmingly, from the 1000 people we surveyed, the vast majority of you wanted to get travelling and adventuring again as quickly as possible, but only in a way that feels safe and sustainable.
But what does safe and sustainable mean when it comes to travel now? We wanted to put together this article to go into more detail about our thoughts around travel as things currently stand/moving forwards and what that means, especially if you’re feeling nervous or on the fence about travelling.
We really feel like if you’re feeling uncertain, but also want to travel, that it comes down to a number of factors. Mindset, safety and precaution and being savvy and wise. We’ve broken this down through these areas to help you feel more comfortable with taking the decision to book (or hold off for now) a trip.
Anxiety and Mindset
It is pretty much the understatement of the year to say ‘it’s really understandable why you’d be feeling anxious’ about booking a trip at the moment. We get it! As travel is what we do for work and our industry, we have the starts of our first post lockdown trip upcoming. It did certainly take some thinking and planning to get it right so that we felt comfortable, though! We’re also pretty sure when we feel the anxiety leading up to it, that it will pass.
In some ways, because we haven’t stepped foot on a plane in about four months, it’s partly that thought around the unknown and not knowing how it’s going to be or if it will feel safe or like a ‘normal’ experience. But it will become normal again. We actually think that the purposeful nature that is likely to be adopted around travel moving forwards can actually be a good thing in terms of sustainability and environmentalism.
A psychiatrist friend said to us recently she felt that one of the most important things we can do for our own mental health moving forward in this crisis is to realise that some of what we are doing is protective behaviour – such as washing your hands more often than you need to (for example, washing hands repeatedly when at home and not having touched anything new or from outside). This is when we move from letting ourselves make informed, sensitive decisions with regards to a situation, to making decisions out of panic.
When it comes to travel, there are of course many concerns that could well be playing a part in your decision to travel or not right now. Writing a list of these worries can be really helpful. Once you have your list, you can start to work out whether these are anxieties about unrealistic events that will take some work on your mindset to settle or if the worries you have can be solved by making sure you have comprehensive travel insurance from a reputable provider, or checking what the airline’s refund policy is, as examples. Sometimes, finding the solutions to actual things we need to consider can take away massive amounts of the anxiety for us and give us a clear plan for how to cut through the worry.
Be conscious over your decisions whilst travelling
For us, when booking the necessary logistics for the project we’re about to head off on, we noticed we took extra precautions with the decisions we made. We we’re really conscious of this, for example, we were also really conscious of checking on the airline we are travelling with’s policy and hygiene standards. We even worked this in through to our decision with the seat allocation we took and the airport parking we booked.
This really needs to flow through to your accommodation on the other side, too. We know for a lot of you that wilderness experiences are really important and form the basis of most of your trips, so you’ve already got a head start there. It was really clear from our survey that you guys are changing your travel preferences towards adventure and spaces where you know you’ll be off the beaten track. With the project we’re about to head off on, we specifically decided to stay in the mountains so that we would not have much contact with others. We’re of course not trying to suggest that you cannot enjoy city breaks and bigger hotels, but check in to see what the hotel you have in mind is doing to make things safe (most hotels have comprehensive literature about this available either on their site or on request and are undertaking extra precautions to make sure they can work sustainably moving forward).
This should also flow through to how you act when you are away. Accept that it might feel strange, but there is no reason to not enjoy the world- just remember that we are living through a pandemic. So be sure to research if your destination has certain requirements and how they differ from those at home – for example, if a face mask is mandatory in public, how far you should distance from others, etc. If you find it helpful, write bullet points around these things and keep as a note in your phone so that you can refer back.
Taking into account what you’ll do with regards to food is also important, and researching into how easy it will be to eat out/shop at the supermarket and cook at your location should all be things taken into consideration.
It also goes without saying to take into account the current risk factor of infection in the country or place you want to visit and how you feel about that.
Don’t be pushed into it just for FOMO
We get it, it has been hard to not have the kind of life changing experiences we’ve become so used to having over the past few months. It’s understandable to want to get out there again as soon as you see other people getting out there. But now is a perfect opportunity to look at exactly why you’re wanting to go, and if it is for you, or because you’re experiencing the fear of missing out. You also don’t have to book an experience if you don’t feel ready just because you received a marketing email about a good deal. From our research, it was really clear that the pandemic has really changed some of your thinking away from just ticking off items from a bucket list, to more enriching experiences that feel right to you. Try to remember why it is that you had that revelation and keep that in mind when making the decision to travel. We promise you that mind altering travel experiences can be yours when you create an experience around something that genuinely lights you up when you think about it.
Take it slow
It may feel a little overwhelming to think about the extra things that need to be taken into account, but like with everything, take it slow, break it down and work out what you need to think about and go through in a way that is manageable for you. It might just take you a little longer than it would have previously to book something and to feel safe with that, and that’s ok. Perhaps that extra time spent allows you to put more time into where you want to go and what you want to do. Perhaps you spent a little more time working out the perfect boutique hotel in the mountains or go for an adventure experience you wouldn’t have thought of before.
If this is your first adventure, or your first time travelling like this, be mindful of what you want
As you know, we are massively behind the idea that adventure and the outdoors should be for everyone – but it doesn’t always ring true. We have a strong disbelief towards the idea that you have to look, do or be a certain way to have an adventure or a wilderness experience. We know from researching that as our readers have increased over the past few months, a lot of you have found us because you are new to the idea of hiking, adventure and travel as a mental and physical wellness mechanism. You might have enjoyed walking, hiking and being in nature during lockdown and want to experience this further with regards to travel experiences. It might even just be that you factor in more time for exploring places you visit now that are wilderness areas or off the beaten track. However, it can feel utterly daunting when you’re just getting into it, especially when you read some reviews of things online that seem to hark on to this particular idea that you have to be a certain size or look a certain way to enjoy nature. Our take is that it’s all about being prepared – or as much as you can be, for what you might experience, and we’ve linked here some other articles that you might find useful around planning and developing adventures and travel in this way.
Also, most of our guides and location experiences contain information on hikes and experiences relevant to all abilities.
It’s ok not to
Lastly, it is also completely OK if you still don’t want to start travelling again yet. If you don’t feel comfortable, that is OK. If you can’t afford to right now, there will always be other opportunities. The list goes on. If you just don’t feel comfortable when you’ve weighed up all the odds, then that is OK. The world will be waiting for you when you’re ready.
It’s also perfectly OK if you want to keep it local for the time being. If you’re finding yourself wanting to stay closer to home, why not look into areas that are within a couple of hours from your home that interest you as an alternate idea? You could also look into short breaks to hiking destinations that you can easily get to. If it is air travel that bothers you, perhaps you could look at how possible it would be to drive to where you’d like to visit (and make the drive part of the experience) or look into international rail travel as an option?