How Will We Travel Now?
There is a phenomenon I’ve noticed about travel. The more places you go, the more places you want to go. So now, with more than a year of uncertainty and lockdowns, the list might have grown even longer. But, perhaps the way you travel and what you want from it has evolved since you were last able to take an adventure. How will you travel next? Here are some thoughts:
Nature has become our friend: A lot of people reconnected to natural areas this last year, where they could easily stay 6 feet apart and didn’t have to worry about sharing the air. A crowded city may not sound as appealing as it once did. Luckily, most eco-friendly accommodations and tours happen to be in, or near, natural areas (go figure), with plenty of space and without the sight-seeing frenzy. If your desire to explore nature has been ignited, this is a great focus for your next trip, whether it’s close by or to a far corner of the world.
Transformation and connection have become more important: So, keeping away from crowded areas doesn’t mean people want to distance themselves from everyone. In fact, craving connection is one of the prominent emotions from this pandemic experience. It’s just that you might want that connection to be deeper and longer, like the kind of connections you make sitting at the same table each morning, with the same same travelers at an ecolodge. Or the kind of connection you make with a guide who shows you the hiding places of wildlife each day. A trip that leaves you feeling hollow is not going to do. Now people are looking for a feeling of lasting transformation from travel, connecting with local people and local guides, engaging in a genuine way, understanding the culture and learning about what you are seeing. These are all things that are easily attainable with ecotourism experiences.
This might be uncharted territory for you?: Are you overwhelmed with the idea of planning a trip that’s a little different than you have done before? Or maybe you’ve been travel-savvy in the past, but now the world has changed in ways that seem unclear. It is daunting. I designed EcoTripMatch.com to help people with that “I-feel-overwhelmed-feeling” even before the pandemic. You can use the filters on the Travel Style Quiz to narrow down vetted, ecotourism providers that are easy to reach or more of an adventure to reach, ones where you spend your time independently or ones where you join a small group of like-mined souls, or you can find places that are luxurious or places that are more rustic. You can even search by your favorite outdoor activity or find a short day tour in case you just want to dip a toe into something new.
You want to check, and recheck, safety issues: As a policy, I was doing this before the pandemic. Spending time in nature (or closer to it) on a trip brings up other issues of health. I have always visited the Centers for Disease Control website if I’m going off the beaten path (this even goes for some urban areas):
If the recommendations are complex or it looks like you’ll need other vaccinations or medications, you may also want to find a travel clinic to help you sort it out. And in terms of keeping track of other possible safety issues, the US State Department Travel Advisory website is useful:
You don’t want to get burned by cancellations again: Some of us spent the spring of 2020 unwinding multi-step itineraries and begging for refunds and credits. We learned that the improbable list of exclusions that few actually read (did they say zombie apocalypse and alien invasions?) included things we thought would never happen, like pandemics. And we never want to undo so many dreams again. This is all to say, that travel insurance might be a good idea for certain trips, because, really, anything can happen. But be sure to read that small print. A lot has changed.
Terry Lawson Dunn, Founder