Ah, travel! Those words and the concept haven’t left my lips or touched my brain for a good 3 years. And in all honesty, the confidence I had as a traveller seems to have dwindled as the crisis of Covid-19 arose. However, here I am 3 years later excited to begin looking at the prospects of an adventure again. Like most of us brave enough to crave normalcy, I feel anxious and a bit unsure as to what taking a trip may look like for me.
I have had the confidence to travel on my own since I was 16. However, there is something about going outside again post-pandemic that makes it all feel rather surreal. But the adventurer in me longs to get back out there and see what this incredible world still has to offer. Fear as I have come to know locks away that freedom and my goodness, I am not going to let fear stand in the way of the opportunity I have to explore. So pack your bags, dust off your passport, because honey we’re going on an adventure!
Staycation or overseas travel?
If I look at my own country I can see the effects that the pandemic has had on our spirits, culture and economy. Think about countries whose main source of income is tourism and with the vaccine rolling out globally these destinations are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The choice as a traveller lies with you and what makes you feel safe, for most of us we do not know what the new normal is. If you are not ready to step onto a plane and fly for several hours, the answer may lie in a staycation.
Personally taking a staycation alone empowered me to realise what I value about travelling alone. I value my company and the lessons I learnt about myself, I value the friendships I made and the connection with individuals like myself. I found that I saw so much more of the destination of my choice because I was alone. Food was an experience and something that I came to treasure.
My best tip for those looking to start small with just a staycation is to choose a destination that is completely different to your current lifestyle. For me, that meant getting out of the city and into the bush or wilderness of any kind. Take something to document your trip that is not your phone, sure taking selfies at all the attractions is a must but for me, I found that having a travel diary or journal allowed me to reflect on what the trip meant to me. A girl I once met on a trip would take a polaroid of the most unusual thing she saw on a trip and frame it, thus she has a collection of pictures of unique moments from trips that mean something unique to her. Doing this did unlock my inner explorer.
Did you know that per year 18% of travellers are solo women, like myself? The main thing that I would be worried about when I travel is my safety and as a woman finding the right destination was of the utmost importance. Yet today what I am concerned about is not only finding safe destinations, but destinations that make me feel protected from the virus.
Feeling protected may be a different thing for you based on what kind of adventurer you are, however for me post-pandemic safety looks like a destination that implemented vaccine rollouts and has a reliable health care system just in case. For me, this meant destinations such as Greece, Portugal, Turkey and Japan were my first choice. The most important thing is to prepare meticulously not only just to ensure that I am safe, especially at this time but that I can enjoy my trip without the stress or need for things that I can be aptly prepared for. Three things that have helped me prepare for travel again post-pandemic are:
1. Budget, Budget, Budget
Herein lies the best part about travelling solo. You have so many options to stretch your buck and find the best solution for you. Whether it is backpacking, group treks, a sabbatical or if you chose to use a company like Travel talk to book guided tours, finding a destination and trip for your wallet is much easier . What is important is making sure that you have enough to spend to cover food, accommodation and any potential disaster that could happen, I call that a doomsday fund. Travel insurance is likely the best way to make sure you have a doomsday fund that will protect you with some extra benefits such as if your stuff gets damaged.
With your budget remember to keep it realistic, have enough to enjoy yourself but enough to ensure that this adventure is the start of many not just one and done.
2. Destination defines relaxation
Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. Choosing the right location as I have highlighted is important for many reasons including your safety, your budget and what makes you feel secure from the virus. However, even more so than that, the destination does determine what kind of trip you ought to have. What the destination has to offer determines so many factors for your trip.
Ultimately the destination, its people, and economy determine the preparation that you will need. I find researching and reading informative blogs allow me to aptly prepare for the place that I will visit. Sit down and think about what ought to make you feel richer, is it perhaps escaping the city and being surrounded by nature that you need or is it a spiritual trip full of cultural wonders and history. The destination defines what your relaxation will look like. For instance, some destinations such as Greece can have it all from cultural places to explore, vibrant nightlife, and great food. Just like your budget, your destination speaks to what you are looking for. Do your research, challenge yourself and find what works for you.
A top tip and something I always research is the local customs and laws for the destination. In a representative case, if you are travelling to Japan or Thailand, there are certain temples and places that require you to follow specific customs in terms of dress code.
3. Packing light makes the journey easy
Personally, I realised the importance of what you pack later. In all honesty it doesn’t matter where you go in the world, we all need the bare necessities. I have had to tell myself you do not need 50 pairs of jeans, it’s possible to buy items, wash and repeat outfits instead of lugging around a heavy suitcase. I realise that what you really need is a few basic necessities to last you for about half of your trip and then purchase items from places you travel. These will not only become souvenirs but tokens that immerse you more into your destination. A great tip is that even should these pieces wear and tear over the years you could turn them into a blanket or trinket that can join you on future adventures.
All in all, I am so excited to travel and see the world open again. Even though things may seem different there is still an adventure awaiting us, hope for normalcy and something to discover and that defines what it means to travel post-pandemic.
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