As we write this, COVID-19 is sweeping around the globe. Borders are shut. Travel is prohibited. Resorts and hotels are closed. As we struggle to come to grips with the pandemic, both individually and as a society, the chances of holidaying in the immediate future are next to nothing.
And that’s not a bad thing. We’re sacrificing our vacations to help flatten the curve, to protect not only ourselves, but also the most vulnerable members of our community.
There will come a time, though, when COVID-19 ends and the borders reopen. When planes begin flying again. When resorts can start welcoming back guests and helping them create those incredible holiday memories.
But we get it: the thought of travelling post-coronavirus is scary, especially if you’re in a vulnerable demographic. We don’t know how long this crisis will last, or what the world will be like afterwards. But we do know that travelling (once it’s safe) will be beneficial.
So, whether you’re fighting the virus by staying at home or you’re an essential worker on the frontlines, take some time for yourself. Read this article, and find out why it’s important to holiday once the dust settles. Because if you’re a wanderer like us, you won’t let COVID-19 kill your love of travel. The world is out there, and we will explore it again.
1. Help rebuild local economies
Regardless of whether you’re reading this in Australia, New Zealand or some other part of the world, your national tourism sector has probably been devastated by the fallout from coronavirus. Everyone from local attractions to hotels to experience providers have had to close their doors, which has been devastating, both from a financial and economic standpoint.
When you go on a holiday, every dollar you spend boosts local businesses and, in turn, stimulates the economy. Going to restaurants, staying at accommodation, paying to visit attractions … every little bit helps.
You probably know that a lot of our resorts and hotels are located in tourism regions, which means those areas rely heavily on holidaymakers visiting to survive. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), roughly 80% of the global tourism sector is composed of small- and medium-sized enterprises. Even with government and NGO stimulus packages, many of these businesses will be struggling to survive following COVID-19. Tourism has also been proven to help rebuild national economies, with consistent tourism growth being cited as a leading factor in helping countries recover from the global financial crisis.
So if you’re thinking about going on holiday post-coronavirus, here’s our advice: do it. You’ll make some amazing memories, and you’ll be helping out local businesses.
2. Get out of the house
If you’re not an essential worker, chances are you’ve been mostly housebound for the past few months. A weekly trip or three to the supermarkets and a daily exercise routine are all the opportunities you’ve had to blow off steam. No gym, no yoga classes, no Friday night dates … your social life has gone down the drain, and you’ve been spending way too much time with your partner.
Staying at home and practicing social distancing is essential, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for your physical or mental health. As we’re writing this, many of our top scientists and psychologists are calling for increased scrutiny into the effects lockdown laws could have on our mental wellbeing. Australian mental health service Beyond Blue has seen its inbound call volume jump by over 30% since social distancing came into effect, and other places like Scotland have begun channelling funding into mental health initiatives. Increased anxiety (known as ‘lockdown anxiety’), depression, stress, loneliness and heightened OCD are all effects people are experiencing.
We’ve written before about the positive mental effects holidaying has, and that remains true, even today. Once it’s safe to travel, getting out of the house and visiting a completely different country or region is a great way to hit the reset button, both mentally and physically. Even a short break can help you refocus and clear your mind.
If you feel depressed, emotionally overwhelmed or are experiencing mental health issues, talk to a mental health professional or contact a mental health hotline.
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36
Lifeline: 0800 543 354
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865
3. There will be lots of great deals
When the coronavirus is finally over, airlines, accommodation providers and tourism councils will be desperate to attract holidaymakers, which means there’s going to be a lot of great-value deals on offer. We’ve already seen future flight prices slashed by 30-40% across the globe, and there are plenty of great experience bundles available at cutthroat rates.
If you’re spending your time in isolation to plan future holidays and map out itineraries, try scouting the Internet as well. When you come across a deal that matches your plans, purchase it. The vast majority of airlines and hotels have generous cancellation terms that protect travellers if the coronavirus prevents them from visiting (although always make sure to read the fine print).
4. Remind yourself that the world is an amazing place
COVID-19 has changed the world radically, and perhaps permanently.
We no longer shake hands to greet each another. Working from home is fast becoming the norm. Our roads are almost empty, and traffic jams are a thing of the past. Social culture is practically dead.
At the time of writing, there are over 2 million confirmed cases worldwide, and over 158,000 fatalities. These statistics will probably increase as more countries experience a peak in infections. Many of us know someone who has lost a loved one to the virus, and it’s hard to look towards the future when we’re trapped in such darkness.
But we will come out the other side of this. Just because the world has changed doesn’t mean it’s not the same amazing place it was before. When restrictions are rolled back and health authorities confirm that it’s safe to travel, don’t give in to the phobic mentality inflicted by COVID-19. Get out there. Satiate your wanderlust. Explore every beautiful horizon. And never lose your curiosity.
Stay safe, and stay hopeful.