Welcome to 2021: a new year, a new hope.
With Covid-19 vaccines being rolled out to the people all around the world, the travel industry, grounded for the most part of 2020, can now anticipate a rebound or an explosion of trips.
Here are some travel resolutions wanderlusters can make as they plan ahead:
Do it for yourself
How many of us have found ourselves standing in line for an “iconic” photo, only to realise we’ve fallen for the Insta Repeat? Let’s face it most of us are not travel influencers so why are we choosing to experience travel through a gadget? Resist the urge to check-in everywhere or to geotag your Insta stories. No ones says you aren’t entitled to take some photographs but do it for memories’ sake and not just to flex for the ‘Gram.
Give back on the ground
The Covid-19 pandemic has knocked more people into the poverty cycle and some may never rebound from it. Ahead of your trip, do some research and find out which groups are experiencing increased hardship. Be it donating to a local on GoFundMe, helping out at a soup kitchen or handing out food gift cards or cash to the homeless, every little bit helps.
We have nothing against Amazon but it’s raked in billions in 2020 due to the global pandemic. Inadvertently this means business has been taken away from local shops. Seek out farmers markets, homegrown designers, local co-op businesses or even the neighbourhood grocery store to give your business to. Your custom will keep a small business afloat and contribute directly to the local economy. Plus, this way you know you’ve purchased a truly local product.
If you are fortunate enough to have travel in 2021, spread some love around by tipping generously for any services rendered. With many service and travel hospitality staff out of work in 2020, getting a little extra in the pocket will help make up for months of lost earnings.
Remember the days you used to travel on a shoestring budget? A trip away doesn’t need to cost the equivalent of a month’s pay, a good time can be had even if your accommodation costs just $20 a day. Not only will you be challenged to get creative – self-guided walking tours vs. expensive ticketed excursions – but you’ll likely create very unique experiences and memories.
Let’s face it we all travel with too much stuff. Even if your ticket entitles you to check-in baggage, resist the urge to pack more than you need and go with just carry-on luggage. There’ll be less to sanitize upon landing and it’ll also mean you’ll have much more flexibility to move around should there be a sudden change of plans.
Seek the outdoors
If 2020 has given you a new appreciation for Mother Nature, keep your newfound appreciation going in a foreign land. Opting for outdoor activities can be as easy as doing a hike in a national park overspending the afternoon shopping, choosing to rent a kayak over a sunset cruise, or embarking on a spontaneous road trip to a nearby town – all options that’ll allow you to explore a destination more fully and bring you opportunities to bond with your travelling party.
Go with the flow
Having a detailed itinerary is great but it takes a lot of the spontaneity out of travel – which is really where the fun is. Ditch the planned routes dished out by guidebooks and instead settle on exploring a few different areas, be it by foot or bike. You’ll be surprised at the myriad of discoveries you can make in one afternoon when you’re not sticking to someone else’s experience.
Plan that big trip
2020 has shown us that life can be unpredictable and if you’re been putting off travelling to a faraway destination, visiting a cherished loved one or embarking on a big adventure, make 2021 the year you make good on this long-awaited travel goal. While travel restrictions are currently fluid, it doesn’t hurt to have a skeletal plan in place and a working budget so when the time is right, you’re ready to jet off.
Purchase travel insurance
Travel insurance should never be an afterthought but for many of us, it’s a hastily added travel essential, if at all. Even if you’re not planning to do any adventurous activities – skiing, rock climbing, diving – having travel insurance takes care of flight delays/cancellations, lost or delayed luggage and even emergency medical needs. If you’re primarily concerned about Covid-19 coverage, look at AIG’s travel insurance policies, just be sure to read the fine print and familiarise yourself with what’s included and what’s not. As a rule of thumb, Covid-19 benefits are excluded from countries that the World Health Organization deems as high risk for Covid-19 at the point of purchase.