I was always adamant that nothing would stop me travelling – not terrorism, riots, bombings, poor exchange rates, airline strikes, nothing! And then came the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.
In the early stages, I was still planning to take my well-organised, eagerly pre-booked trip to the south east Asian country of Laos. I figured I would be fine – I’m fit and healthy and I would just take all the necessary precautions. If worst came to worst, I’d have travel insurance to fall back on. Boy, was I wrong.
In the ensuing weeks the travel advice went from ‘recommended not to travel overseas’ to the Australian borders being closed and a complete ban on international travel. My keenly planned trip was no longer even a possibility. I went about cancelling all the arrangements which proved to be quite simple and I managed to get credits and refunds for most of it.
Despite feeling utterly disappointed, I now see this ban as an opportunity; a chance to be uber informed about my future travel plans, and to hunt out incredible, unique experiences that lie beyond a quick Google search or TripAdvisor review.
Instead of wallowing in the disappointment of not being able to travel for now, I’m going to use this time of self-isolation to dream about the exotic locations I want to visit, to research far-away destinations, and to thoughtfully plan my next trip.
Here are some tips on how you can do the same:
Dream about your next destination
You may have a specific place in mind for your next trip, you might like to return to a favourite spot, or perhaps you’re open to a completely new destination. Either way, now is the perfect time to fully indulge in dreaming about when you’ll travel next.
Give yourself the chance to imagine and fantasise about what your next trip will look like. Will it be an adventure holiday, or will it be more about slowing down? Are you considering travelling solo for the first time or do you want to take a holiday that fulfills a mission?
Remember, half the fun of travelling is visualising it and getting excited about the possibilities, so use this time to dream about the kinds of experiences you’d like to embark on.
Do your research
Once you’ve dreamt about the next destination you want to travel to, begin your preliminary research.
Consider alternative modes of transport for getting to the destination, how to make your next holiday more environmentally-friendly, or look at a few different locations that may offer similar experiences to ensure you’ve weighed up the best options.
Investigate surrounding towns and regions which may host events, activities or experiences that could add value to your trip.
You may even like to do some visual research – drop some of the keywords about your destination into the Instagram search bar and see which images catch your eye.
While most airlines have adjusted their flight schedules for the time being, there’s no harm in doing a few searches to get an idea about the available flight routes, times and costs. You may want to consider a stopover and visit other places along the route.
It’s also a good time to thoroughly research accommodation options. Will you opt for an Airbnb or a hotel? Consider the space you’ll need, including the rooms required, facilities such as a kitchenette or work desk, and, of course, the location. Proximity to the attractions you wish to see can be key to securing the most suitable accommodation.
Plan and prepare
Once you’ve decided on the destination you want to travel to, you can start making plans.
While I don’t recommend booking anything until the situation with the coronavirus has improved and travel bans have been lifted, you can plan other aspects of the trip.
Think about how long you want to travel for and look ahead on your calendar to see when you’ll have enough annual leave or when it might be suitable to travel.
If you need to start saving for your next holiday, now is the time to create a budget and work towards that goal.
You can also read books and watch movies to inspire your wanderlust, as well as follow the writers, artists and chefs that are synonymous with your chosen destination. This helps to set the scene for your future travel and provides a basic understanding of the culture you will visit.
While you have extra time on your hands, you may want to learn some of the local language, cook authentic dishes, or listen to music from the region you plan on travelling to.
These times are unprecedented and unknown but while we wait for travel opportunities to be available once more, it is the perfect time to dream, research and plan for the wonderful adventures that lie ahead.