One key lesson that Covid has taught us is that life can be short and there is a new urgency to dig out the bucket list and make definite plans.
Travel agents are talking about a shift in attitudes and bookings among their clients, moving their “someday I’ll do this or that” to “I need to make it as soon as possible.”
Reports show that in 2022 there has been a growing appetite among post-pandemic travellers to visit new, alternative destinations, rather than sticking to the familiar. One in three have larger travel budgets than pre-Covid and looking for new experiences such as once-in-a-lifetime trips.
Certainly 2022 has seen a trickle grow into a river of travel addicts enjoying a long-waited measure of freedom.
Travellers’ preferences and behaviours have changed now, especially around health and safety requirements. Being in crowded areas or transportation is a concern. In those circumstances, masks and hand sanitisers are recommended when traveling, whatever the local official requirements are.
You have more room around you when flying, cleaner bathrooms and dedicated spacious airport lounges as well as priority boarding lines. My personal experience is that I come off the aircraft feeling human instead of a scrunched-up, constipated lump of flesh.
If your body doesn’t like standing in lines or walking long distances to your gate in huge airports, then consider the ‘handicap assist’ complementary service with the airline. These days they often use golf buggies to get you from check-in to the gate, keeping you away from crowded lines and walk-ways. Another form of social distancing.
Checking in online and using the ‘bag drop’ method can avoid or minimise the wait time. I went to Melbourne recently to see my son and managed with just carry-on luggage.
Usually, I struggle with far too much luggage, especially if it’s a work trip. I take not just one proverbial kitchen sink but two! It was liberating to have so little luggage and know it couldn’t get lost.
You need to have trust in the healthcare systems of your destination. A good travel insurance company will place Covid-19 under the medical section of a policy, instead of classing it as a pandemic, which made it unclaimable three years ago.
You may be desperate to see your family or friends when they return from a trip, but it could be a sensible idea to keep away from them for a week to see if they develop Covid-19 or any other foreign bug. Have a Zoom meeting to share their vacation memories and admire their tan.
Recent research showed that customers are booking on much shorter lead-times than previously: 80% of bookings in our new world are within a fortnight of departure, as opposed to 36 days before departure in pre-Covid-19 times.
As the owner of a niche tour company EasyIsraelTours.com, I have learnt to adjust health and safety standards. We use larger buses to allow social distancing, have dedicated tables in the hotel dining rooms and inspect the rooms for cleanliness. By now we are all trained in personal hygiene.
My clients are seniors and this year some are waiting to see what the new variants are doing before booking into our fall tours. Others are excited to be going on their once-in-a-lifetime trip. Our 2023 tours are filling up faster than pre-Covid, so you will need to book your vacations for next year sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment.
We can’t count on being able to do what we want when we want. Especially in our ‘maturity’. Let’s travel and experience the world. Being excited about working through our bucket list dreams, being as safe as we can, but maybe venturing into ‘calculated risks’ territory!
What bucket list dream are you going to book right now? Have you been somewhere exciting already this year?