I’ve been hosting travel shows for 21 years. In that time, I had to go back to work a week after 9-11. There was the financial crisis of 2007, H1N1, floods, fires and volcanic eruptions. All of these events abruptly changed my immediate course of travel. They also threatened to change how we travel as a whole.
But one thing I’ve learned in two decades?
Travel comes back.
Clearly, travel for most is on hold. And travel to certain parts of the world will be on hold for a while. But what is unclear, and therefore most difficult to take, is how unpredictable all our lives have become. I’ve learned that when I watch the news, it feels like the world is ending. However, when I head outside in my community, as well as travel abroad, I know it is not.
Staying home, limiting social interactions, and cancelling trips are just a few of the ways our lives are changing due to COVID-19. Even if we know it’s for the greater good, we’re allowed to be disappointed about cancelling a trip.
I know this sounds all doom and gloom, BUT! Did you know that the act of PLANNING travel puts us in the same psychological, happy-go-lucky place as BEING in a destination.
So in this time you’re stuck at home, take some time to dream and PLAN your next trip. Right now, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. What makes us happier makes us healthier.
Ideas for planning that next great vacation:
Create a Pinterest board of all the places you want to go. Or compile a board highlighting dream vacations—from the bucket-list worthy to quick-and-easy road trips you could take later this summer, I promise you’ll feel better just thinking about these adventures.
Get a travel agent. It’s their job to navigate this world and be your advocate. AAA travel agents are a great source of knowledge and peace of mind. Full disclosure: they help fund my travel series on PBS and I feel so fortunate for their support. I love the work they do!
Did you have to cancel a trip? Call the airline to see what their current policy is for changing your flights. Though most airlines aren’t offering refunds, most are waiving change fees and allowing the value of the flight to go toward a future flight. And you know what that means? Your trip isn’t cancelled, it’s just postponed. It’s worth noting most airlines are asking passengers to wait until 72 hours before their flight to cancel—it helps alleviate the pressure put on airline call centers, who are fielding thousands of calls a day.
Call cruise lines, hotels, and travel outfitters. Talk to an actual person about their cancellation fees, and any upcoming offers. They want to hear from you, and are doing a lot so you’ll come.
Watch a movie that will inspire you to travel. Here are a few of my favorites.
Through all of this, please remember: Travel comes back. Soon, you will want to go somewhere—anywhere—to prove that as human beings, it is impossible for us to keep our social distance. In the words of Steve Perry (who I once had a dream we hosted a travel show together), “Don’t Stop Believing.”
What are you doing to stay positive during COVID-19? Share in the comments?
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