Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed us all, and especially how we will bounce back from it. Days and weeks spent in lockdown will influence where we intend to travel and how we will do it.
In many ways, this will reflect the experience you have had during the lockdown. What have you missed? How have you changed, and what you have found?
So many grandparents have isolated from their grandchildren for months, and some, over a year.
What have you missed?
It is heartbreaking that so many families have lived apart. So many grandparents have isolated from their grandchildren for months, and some, over a year. There is now a pent up demand for ‘multi-generational holidays. Grandparents will love to spend a few weeks where they can reconnect with their grandchildren and children. Therefore, this might mean taking a large summer villa in Tuscany – spending days by the pool and alfresco dinners with the whole family. We have seen a particular demand for villas on the south coast of Sri Lanka, bringing together all strands of the extended family to one place.
It will be over a year since many of you have had the chance to travel and possibly celebrate an important milestone. There are countless birthdays, anniversaries, and even honeymoons that came about when you couldn’t do them justice. 2022 will no doubt be the chance to rectify this. Imagine having a private dinner set up perfectly on the ramparts of a rural Indian fort? Maybe an exclusive dinner on a remote sandbank in the Maldives?
Everyone’s Covid-19 experience has been different. For instance, if you spent months stuck in a one-bedroom apartment in, say, London or New York, you will be desperate to escape the city, breathe in the fresh air and find a sense of wilderness. ‘Remote Holidays’ are indeed growing in popularity – a drive through the Sahara or trekking in the Himalayas come to mind.
We have seen a steady demand for those wanting to experience colourful festivals in 2022, such as in Bhutan.
On the other hand, those who spent lockdown in a remote house in the back-of-beyond will naturally be craving social interaction. This might take longer to realise, as the natural remedy for this is to immerse yourselves into the beating heart of a vibrant city – with all restrictions lifted. We have seen a steady demand for those wanting to experience colourful festivals in 2022, such as in Bhutan. Furthermore, just the sound of background chatter and laughter in a buzzing restaurant seems like a distant memory.
For some, your cultural heartstrings need the real thing. There are only so many times you can go online and visit a virtual art gallery or a streamed theatrical production. Nothing replicates the scent of spices and the sounds of a bustling local market in full swing. You need to be immersed in the moment.
What you’ve found?
We’ve become a little more health-conscious for obvious reasons. For many of us, we always had a selection of holidays we took each year: winter-sun, culture, summer, ski and possibly a few short-breaks. Now, a holiday designed around being healthy has come into the mix. A week or two of detox in a destination spa allows you to rebuild, sort out your diet and lose a few pounds. Places like Ananda in the Himalayas, Chiva Som, Kamalaya, COMO Shambhala are a few examples.
Not only do you have the chance to mend your body, but they also increasingly cater for those looking to soothe your mind. Lockdown and Covid have been incredibly stressful. Ananda in the Himalayas, for instance, offers a 7 to 21 day Dhyana Meditation programme to rebalance your mind and put a smile back on your face.
Now, a holiday designed around being healthy has come into the mix. A week or two of detox in a destination spa allows you to rebuild, sort out your diet and lose a few pounds.
During the first lockdown, the great outdoors became a saviour. The cold, dreich days made way for a sunny, glistening spring. Some decided to get out on long walks in a park or the countryside.
You had all the kit, waiting for a moment like this. At the corner of the house sat shiny never-used trainers, the finest headphones purchased with intent from Amazon, and a collection of athletic garments of great expense. The first few runs or walks caused aches not experienced since youth. Now the idea of a trekking holiday in Morocco, Jordan, Oman, Nepal or Bhutan became something enjoyable and, dare we even say, desirable.
Without the option of a tempting takeaway or nipping out to your favourite restaurant, we have all, in some ways, become better cooks. Cookbooks have been dusted off, and viewing numbers of recipes on Youtube have sky-rocketed. In the UK the number of people cooking their own dishes rose dramatically. Internet searches for recipes rose like a fast-rising Yorkshire Pudding. Some of those recipes can only really be experienced in person, from where they originate.
Internet searches for recipes rose like a fast-rising Yorkshire Pudding.
To be honest, the finest French cuisine is best savoured with a chilled glass of Rose in Provence. It all seems to taste better. Travellers will look out for itineraries where they can continue to learn new techniques. In Sri Lanka and India, in particular, you can often head to a local market to buy ingredients before cooking up the best perfect curry. For more avid chefs, you can stay in hotels that specialise in cookery courses.
The world slowed down during lockdown. Out went the dawn-to-dusk helter-skelter of urban living, and in came a sense of time and space. ‘Slow Travel’ should define the style of your trip rather than trying to rush through a destination too quickly. This means enjoying spending an afternoon with your feet up rather than running through a tick box of ‘must-sees’.
The Bucket List
Hours and hours of time in Lockdown has allowed us to fine-tune our bucket lists. We’ve found the experiences that we’ve been craving. That might be an epic hot-air balloon flight, seeing an eclipse, ice-fishing in the Arctic, the great migration or just wanting to experience over-water luxury in the Maldives.
We live in a world that has shown to be incredibly fragile, and whilst we want to explore, we have also realised we need to preserve it.
Furthermore, we have also found time. Our holiday allowances have built up, and we can now look to do a three or four-week trip that we never had the time to consider. The idea of a long sabbatical allows you to really go about seeing a destination in-depth, rather than skimming the surface.
We live in a world that has shown to be incredibly fragile, and whilst we want to explore, we have also realised we need to preserve it. As a result, there will be a shift away from areas and experiences that have been affected by ‘over-tourism.
Sustainable travel is all about the traveller experiencing a destination at its most authentic. This means that on the one hand not seeing a lot of fellow tourists. In addition, those who live and work in the places you travel don’t want to see ghastly hotel construction and too many people affecting their daily communities and landscapes. Indeed, low-scale private immersive travel is very much a win-win for both travellers and locals alike. Furthermore, boutique hotels using the latest conservation and ecological practices have become the go-to for the top-end traveller. On the other hand, those hotels that focus on interaction with the local community along sustainable and immersive lines have proved to be the most popular. After the pandemic, this will be more of what the traveller will be seeking.
We don’t have a crystal ball and can’t tell you when and how the world of travel will open up. No doubt there will be twists and turns, but your desire to travel and experience the world will be as strong as ever. Pent up wanderlust will mean that it is crucial to plan a trip earlier rather than later to secure availability. We have put in place a really flexible booking policy and low deposits, so you can pencil in trips and have bookings in place. That way, you can at least have something amazing to look forward to when the world emerges from the pandemic.