I know, you just laughed so hard at the title of this post you spit out your coffee! Now? A good time for travel? Surely I am joking with you? But no, I’m not. Here’s why I think that now is a great time to think about travel!
Firstly, let me clarify what I stated – now is definitely not a good time to actually travel, and quite possibly won’t be for quite a few months, particularly for those of us in Australia and New Zealand where our governments are talking perhaps even more than a year before opening our borders. But it’s a fantastic time to be thinking about your next trip, researching, even planning certain aspects of it.
Why? Because if you think about it, right now we possibly have more of the two things that often hold us back from travelling – time and money.
You Now Have Time to Research
Every trip I have been on I’ve muttered to myself “if only I had researched that a bit better!” It could be about something that has gone wrong and I don’t know the alternatives to fix it, it could be as we are standing in a street and trying to decide where to eat, or it could be after having a conversation with other travellers who have just told me about a great attraction I have missed.
So while we are at home, now is the perfect time to get stuck into the research for your next trip – or even next two or three trips. I personally have five trips in the planning stages, even though it’s likely that at least one of those won’t happen.
But what if you don’t know where you want to go once the world opens up again? Now is the perfect time to sit down and work out what is on your bucket list. Put that Netflix account to work and get stuck into travel documentaries and shows located in far flung locations. Watch some of the big name travel gurus, like Anthony Bourdain or Rick Steves. I loved a series called Departures too. It’s a few years old, but still has some great travel inspiration. You could also look at some series that are a little bit more, well, off the beaten path. How about “Dark Tourism”? I wasn’t even sure what dark tourism was before I watched this. Don’t worry, it’s not too dark.
Now is the time to finally read those Lonely Planet or Rick Steves books that are lined up on your bookshelf. Take notes for each city or country, and soon you will have a list of the things YOU want to do in each place. You can also change your reading from the latest chick lit or fantasy novel to travel bios or books set in other countries. My love of the Middle East came from reading (and it hasn’t disappointed me in real life).
And of course I have to mention blogs too. Go to Pinterest and do a search for your location, attraction or some other key words, and up will come hundreds of pins linking you to blogs that contain all sorts of information.
While you are out doing that daily exercise we are all allowed, download a travel podcast to listen to. Some of my favourites and Zero to Travel and The Thoughtful Travel Podcast .
If you have a particular destination in mind, now is a great time to start learning their language if it is not the same as your own. A few months of daily learning on an app such as Duolingo can really help, even if it is just with greetings and reading menus, it makes a huge difference.
The best part about all this research, is that there is no deadline. It doesn’t have to be finished in two months before you go, you can keep on learning about your chosen destination until such a time as this virus gets under control and borders open up again. I have always found that the best holidays I have are the ones where I know the most about the place I am visiting, whether just how to get around, or the history or the language and culture, even the best foods to try. I don’t believe you can ever know too much about your next destination.
You Now Have the Chance to Save More Money
I know, unfortunately, that not everyone will be in the position to book their next trip right now with all the huge issues with unemployment around the world, but there are some opportunities to save now that we don’t usually have.
While we are spending all our time at home, we are not spending it out doing things, and it’s likely that these things would normally be costing us money. By putting aside that money you would usually spend on going out with your friends or on buying a new outfit, you can save for your next trip.
This could give you the opportunity to travel longer, include a luxury experience on your itinerary, or perhaps even plan a second trip. It also gives the opportunity to have all your trip expenses covered up front with no need to rely on your credit card and pay it off later.
This is also a great time to stock up on all those essential items you need for travel. Need new luggage or packing cubes, for example? There are likely to be some amazing deals around at the moment as demand for those items falls.
As we start to come out of the current lockdown situation, you will already have the savings set aside to book great deals when you see them – and thanks to all your research you will know that deal really is a good one!
So it’s not all doom and gloom in regards to travel in this time of COVID-19. Instead think of it as an opportunity to make the next trip you take bigger and better than any that have come before.
Take care, and get planning!
Looking for more places to start? These posts might help
Essential Items for Long Term Travel
A Step By Step guide to Planning Your Trip
How to Plan Your Gap Year Itinerary
Think You Are Too Old for Hostels? A Gen Xer’s Guide to Budget Travel
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Josie is a forty-something budget traveller. She only discovered travel in her late thirties, but since then has travelled extensively including taking an adult gap year. She is now based in Australia and loves sharing all she has learned about travelling on a budget but with the comforts a Gen Xer requires.