Like a butterfly emerging from hibernation after a long winter, the world is taking small but hopeful steps towards reopening the travel industry. Melan helps you consider what your first post-lockdown trip could look like.
While we recognise that not everyone is feeling confident enough to start booking flights just yet, here at Melan, we are keeping an eye on developments and will be sharing travel trip tips, suggestions and recommendations to give you ideas for when you are ready to go exploring again.
Most people travel vicariously through imagery, slowly building their aspirations before finally giving in to wanderlust and visiting those destinations they have dreamed of. The first half of 2020 has given us ample time to visualise and heighten that feeling of escapism in ways that we may never have imagined before possible.
A small dose of reality however; available data from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) predicts a tourism decline of 60-80% over the whole of 2020 as a result of pandemic-driven lockdowns across the world. It is worth remembering that these are still uncertain times for the travel industry.
However, whether you decide to travel again in 2020 or not, the world is slowly reopening and many destinations are keen to see visitors return. From Grand Anse in Grenada (reopen planned for July) to Galle in the south of Sri Lanka (reopen planned for August), national, local and regional governments are at different stages of implementing phased reopening programs. Many of those programs are aimed at restarting tourism.
While it may be somewhat ambitious to make an international travel trip (due to changing infection rates leading to entire cities entering, emerging from and then reentering lockdown again), for those keen to get out and about in the coming months, here are some ideas for planning your first post-lockdown trip.
Staycations are the new normal
Since many Brits are unlikely to make their usual escape to warmer climes in 2020, there is no time like the present to discover (or in some cases rediscover) the attractions on offer closer to home – in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
With hotels, B&Bs, caravan parks, campsites, hostels and boarding houses reopened (as of July), in 2020, staycations are likely to be the new normal.
Where should you go? We recommend exploring the outdoors as much as possible.
The UK’s many national parks offer a chance to reconnect with nature while maintaining safe social distancing. The good news is that national parks such as The Lake District, The Peak District, New Forest, Snowdonia, and The Cairngorms are all welcoming visitors again.
When planning, keep in mind that not all local attractions will be open and the local tourism boards may still have some restrictions in place (check their websites).
However, if lockdown has made you crave to travel again, there’s no better way to heal your mind than to be out and about in nature…just don’t think too much about the British weather!
Fly away but go far from the crowds
There is just no keeping some of us in the UK for holidays is there?
The UK governments recently announced “travel bubbles” or “corridors” with a selected list of countries. This allows residents from those countries to travel to and from the UK (and vice versa) without a requirement to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival at either side.
Countries such as Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal have welcomed British travellers for the summer and are keen to emphasise that they are open for business. Airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet have slowly begun to ramp up capacity to match the tentative but growing demand for a post-lockdown trip to these destinations.
If vacationing outside the UK is your preference, this is a good time to consider visiting out-of-the-way destinations where tourism footfall is likely to be low. We recommend avoiding places that have traditionally struggled with overcrowding and over-tourism such as Venice, Barcelona and Prague.
In Europe, regions such as La Rioja (Northern Spain), Salzburgerland (Austria), Trentino (Italy) and Alentejo (Portugal) are rich in culture and offer breathtaking landscapes and lower tourism numbers compared to the more popular cities in those countries.
This could also be a good time to indulge your desire to visit the Caribbean. Island nations such as Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda have announced the reopening of their air spaces to commercial aviation traffic.
With the pandemic situation in their key market, the USA, still in flux (as at the time of writing), travellers from Europe might be able to enjoy unusual deals on flights, accommodation and local activities when visiting that region.
Take an island vacation closer to home
Not keen to be confined inside an aircraft for a long-haul flight to the Caribbean? It is 2020 afterall so we don’t blame you.
The idea of an island break in the British Isles is likely to raise a few skeptical eyebrows. However, in these times, perspective is everything. Islands such as Jersey, with its unique blend of seasons, challenge the narrative that only far flung destinations offer world-class gastronomy, a dose of culture and attractive beaches.
Open your mind to the possibility of a short flight or ferry trip across the English Channel and you could have the beginnings of a surprisingly decent post-lockdown mini-vacation without straying too far from home.
Try post-lockdown glamping
Being confined to our homes and living sedentary lifestyles for almost four months has most of us craving to spend time outdoors. However, not many of us are made for that camping life of sleeping in tents and surviving on bare necessities. Enter glamping, the practice of outdoor camping without sacrificing home comforts.
The UK glamping industry had enjoyed a steady growth before the pandemic struck. According to PR Newswire, the UK was Western Europe’s stand-out growth market from 2011 to 2016, growing at an average of 7.3% annually. According to the Great British Glamping Report, there are over 3,000 glamping units in the UK in 2019 to choose from.
While some still consider glamping a bit of a mystery, with post-lockdown holidays looking more like staycations for many, perhaps 2020 might see more people exploring this type of accommodation as an alternative.
Give in to your desire to spend time outdoors while satisfying your curiosity about “sleeping under the stars”. If camping is not your thing, consider spicing things up with a glamping staycation in a luxury treehouse, cabin, igloo, yurt, or pod nestled in the woods somewhere near you.
Rediscover the joy of road trips
Although some of our readers may not consider the idea of driving for hours their idea of an ideal holiday, road trips have never lost their appeal.
Forget flying altogether and indulge your independence and imagination. Pick a destination, or maybe three, convince a few friends or family that this is a brilliant idea (good luck with that) and then hit the road.
Top UK road trip recommendations include hopping between castles in the Scottish Highlands, beaches in Cornwall, and picture-perfect villages in the Cotswolds. If Europe is calling your name, consider taking the ferry across to France and exploring to your heart’s delight.
Remember to get your vehicle serviced, plan your route in advance (both RAC and AA have excellent route planning tools), pack with sanitisation and safety in mind, take precautions at rest stops, and check hotel or local accommodation listings for their enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures.
You can dream about post-lockdown travel
Some things in life hold a powerful ability to heal the mind and nurture the soul. Travel is one of them.
You may not yet be thinking about a post-lockdown trip, but you can still dream about what that could look like for you. Like the butterfly emerging from its winter hibernation, a time will come again when we will boldly fly where we want to go without thinking too much about it.
“This plague season too shall pass… When we get to the other side, we will need travel to heal… “
Jesse Ashlock, U.S. Editor of Condé Nast Traveler puts it beautifully when he says, “This plague season too shall pass… When we get to the other side, we will need travel to heal. We will need the joy it stirs and the empathy it nurtures.”
From us at Melan, we give you permission to dream about that future.
Writer’s note: The key word for us here at Melan Magazine is safety. While we want to help you visualise what travels, we also want to highlight the importance of following health and safety guidelines issued by your local authorities. It is important to keep yourself safe and to help others stay safe by following those guidelines.
Omoruyi (Omo) Osagiede is a London-based writer, travel blogger and digital content creator. Omo’s work has been published in Lonely Planet, Culturs Magazine and House of Coco Magazine. As a blogger and digital content creator, his work can be found on heydipyourtoesin.com (travel, food and lifestyle) and protectme.blog (digital security).