Do you remember how travel changed after 9/11? Suddenly security was much stricter and we were made to put all our liquids into clear plastic bags. Then there was the shoe bomber incident shortly after, which meant everyone was taking off their shoes and various other items of clothing to be scanned.
That was back in 2001, and granted I wasn’t travelling that much as was still in school. However, I do remember older family members talking about how annoying it was.
Travelling during the pandemic was different, and travelling after it will also be different.
We have already got used to the sanitisers and masks, and I dare say those will be in place for a while yet, then there is the need for a negative Covid test and mandatory quarantine for most destinations at this stage.
Thinking about all these changes I wonder if I will ever get to travel overseas again?
I am sure I will.
And when I do, I know that I will also be travelling differently. Here is how:
. More intentional travel .
For the majority of my travelling career (it really has felt like a career with the amount of travel I did in my 20s). Travelling for me was about ticking off a country. I’d boast about the number of countries I had been to (52 I think at the last count), and about how many flights I had taken in a short space of time. I did the whole ’30 before 30′ thing, execpt it was 40 before 30, when I travelled to Croatia as a 40th country for my 30th birthday.
What I didn’t mention in my post of reaching 40 countries by the time I was 30, wast that in order to do so and one week prior, I booked a flight to Gothenburg in Sweden, and was there for just 36 hours. All to ‘tick off Sweden’ as country 39. It was a nice trip, and it seems like a nice country, but did I feel like I really got to know Sweden? No, not really. Not in comparrison to countries I have been to mulitple times, or spent longer periods of time in.
Pre-pandmeic, I would spend many an evening on skyscanner. I would look up flights from London to ‘anywhere’ and find the cheapest place to go. I would pair this with some equally affordable accomodation and that was it – I was off! Often without much planning, I would go as it was a new country to see and again, ‘tick off’.
When we can travel internationally again, once all this traffic light system with testing and quarentining is over, I want to be more intentional about travelling. Going to a destination because it is a place of interest, not just because I want to tick off a country, or it is cheap. Although cheap is good too, though I fear travel will not be as affordable as it used to be.
. Slowing exploring .
Following on from intentional travelling. I want to be able to travel slower and actually see and experience the place I am in.
After getting married, my husband and I had a fast paced honeymoon. We visited 6 countries in Asia in 3 weeks. Some of the destinations we spent just 2 days in – we had an incredible time, don’t get me wrong. It gave my husband a flavour of that part of the world, and got me excited about revisiting places I had backpacked around 4 years earlier. However, we just felt that a lot of the time was eaten up in airports.
On a trip, I would usually try and cram in as much as I possibly could to experience it.
This time, I want to take my time to really see a country and get to know it. This will include much more planning than I normally do for sure, but I think I am up to that challenge.
. Family travel .
After finding out we were expecting a baby, the traveller in me was excited. I had all these grand ideas of travelling during my maternity leave. My husband and I discussed a big trip to New Zealand, stopping in the Middle East, perhaps Asia and Australia. The cost of it however was quite a lot, and we decided that perhaps more frequent but shorter trips around Europe would be better, espeically with a baby so young.
That obviously didn’t happen, as our little one was 6 months old when lockdown happened. In the year I spent off on maternity leave, we went to the South West of England, Northern Ireland (twice), Spain (three weeks before lockdown) and Cornwall. All which were amazing and enjoyable trips, but didn’t really live up to my expectations of trotting around Europe with a baby in a sling.
Over one year on, we now have a 20 month old and travel will look very different for us.
Having been on a flight when our baby was just 5 months old, when all we really needed was milk, and a few simple toys. That really was the dream, and was easy in comparrison to what it will be like with a toddler.
Now we will need to plan, with military precision. We will need snacks, and more sophiscated toys and things to keep her entertained whilst on a flight for however long.
Gone are the days we pushed her around in a buggy and went where we wanted, ate when we wanted and did anything we liked. Travelling will have to take into account family friendly places to eat, actitivies, nap times and all the snacks.
Travel will be different after Covid-19, but I am looking forward to embracing this new difference when we can travel again.