Given the choice, who wouldn’t love to travel? While in years past, our ability to experience new and unfamiliar destinations was restricted by factors such as our work schedule or disposable income, the pandemic has changed that. Most of us can’t travel freely, even if we suddenly have time and money to spare.
However, there’s a reason for hope. Some countries have shown that they can bring the spread of disease under control through sound measures for public health and safety. With a clear path to recovery, people will no longer live in fear of disease. They will once again embrace going out as long as the necessary precautions are observed.
Eventually, the travel industry will emerge from the pandemic and search for its new normal. For many people, the best adventures might be local outdoor explorations. Here’s why you should prepare hiking clothes along with the modern essentials of face masks and disinfectant as you gear up for domestic travels soon.
Learning from China
No single previous experience in human history could have prepared us for the impact of Covid-19. We’ve had outbreaks of coronavirus in previous years, but they were limited in severity and speed of transmission. The closest parallels can probably be drawn to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. But the world was a different place then; far less globalized and inter-dependent.
Our best source of learning from previous experience in dealing with this unprecedented event has always been China. It’s the place where the virus first originated and was closely studied; the first to suffer from its effects on a large scale; and the first to begin recovering.
And when it comes to travel, China is particularly instructive. Tourism is a big industry in this nation of over a billion people. The latest trends to emerge after they managed to flatten the curve? Rural tourism is on the rise, demand for homestays has gone up, and RV rentals are more popular than ever. The Chinese were highly active international tourists before the pandemic; this shift in preference towards local experiences could easily foreshadow our own.
Focusing on enrichment
Given what we know about Covid-19, it’s easy to see why domestic travels are a more attractive option in the short term. We understand that anybody can be a carrier, even without symptoms. The disease can be transmitted easily to others. And it has disproportionately severe outcomes among the elderly, or people with poor health or pre-existing conditions.
By going out on a road trip to a local destination, you can manage the risk of exposure in several ways. You can limit the party size to people you personally know or have been able to observe or test for weeks. Popular tourist areas can be avoided in favor of less frequented ones, allowing for effective physical distancing. And you’ll be able to bypass crowded, high-contact facilities such as airports or hotels.
But we all seek to travel and enrich ourselves through experiences. That can’t happen if you allow your trip to be dominated by considerations of fear. The great thing about traveling to local outdoor destinations is that it provides tangible benefits to go with safety measures.
It allows you to sample off-beat, unique experiences. You get a good measure of physical exercise, exposure to nature and sunlight; altogether a great combination for physical and mental health. And keeping travel closer to home allows you to be more flexible and spontaneous.
What the future might hold
Of course, many people still yearn for international adventures. But we still don’t have a timeline for the vaccine for Covid-19, much less a projection for how international travel will resume on a large scale. Different countries implement various restrictions for public health and safety. And even with a vaccine, experts predict that we might have to deal with the coronavirus in the long term.
Technology offers an alternative solution to people whose wanderlust can’t entirely be fulfilled by local experiences. While the outlook for travel remains uncertain, we can still visit other countries through livestreaming platforms and interactive tours. In conjunction, e-commerce ventures can help boost the sales of local products and tourist merchandise.
Overall, the way we travel can benefit from a positive transformation in the wake of the pandemic. We can place greater emphasis on sustainable tourism as we focus on family experiences and isolated destinations. Mitigating risk can allow us to save our biggest trips for true bucket list experiences. But until those changes happen, we can all scratch the itch by going on more local outdoor adventures.