Will We Travel Freely Again?

Travel is something we previously took for granted. Booking a trip whether it was 2 hours or 2 years in advance, it was something that was highly likely to happen. Now, it’s pretty impossible to plan anything as even 24 hours in the future is unknown or things could change at the very last second. Staycations are a challenge, never mind overseas travel. Will cruise ships ever return to the waters? It seems so out of reach right now. 

I had 4 trips booked at the start of 2020 with only two of them going ahead as they fell before the pandemic was declared. I would also have squeezed in my annual visit to Paris however thankfully I hadn’t yet gotten round to booking the flights. The two trips I didn’t make were rescheduled into 2021, one as late as September and both have already been cancelled.

While we didn’t expect the trips to go ahead in any case, it would have been reassuring if they could have as it would indicate that we’re on the right trajectory with the virus under control. Realistically the vaccine roll out is going to take time and I don’t simply mean here in the UK, overseas too. It’s an important point and one that I think the minority of people who have continued to travel for what they are labelling as ‘essential’ purposes have failed to take into account. Travelling not only puts the traveller at risk as well as anyone they may come into contact with on the way or on their return but it also puts innocent people at risk in the countries they visit. The staff working in hotels, restaurants or even local shops are at risk and likely have no choice but to continue working to provide for themselves or their families. The new variants further complicate matters and had travel been put on hold completely and from the outset, it would have reduced the potential for these more infectious mutations to spread so widely. A negative test only confirms you don’t have the virus at that specific point in time. The incubation period means a day or a week later, the result could be different which is why a common sense approach suggests travelling is not appropriate at this time.

The only places to successfully get on top of the virus are those which have had firm border controls in place. In the UK, this is something we’re only implementing (& only for certain countries, not a blanket approach) after more than 100,000 deaths and 11 months after this all began. Had it been implemented at the time, we could have saved thousands of lives and be in a similar position to Aus and NZ right now with a resumed sense of normality. 

As much as everyone else, I can’t wait to wander and get lost in a new city or return to my favourite and familiar places once more. I gain so much from travelling, it gives me the biggest buzz and fills me with inspiration and admiration. I learn so much from even the shortest of trips while I’m eager to have that experience again, I’ve accepted it won’t happen in 2021.

The preparation and the build up, making an itinerary or opting for spontaneity, sussing out the best place to stay and of course deciding on what to wear – I love it all. My adoration for travel started a long time ago however it grew stronger following my time at Emirates. Travelling for work isn’t quite the same as travelling for pleasure and I vowed to soak up every second of it when I had the opportunity. 

Brexit further complicates matters however the virus takes it to a whole other level. Insurance companies won’t cover for COVID19 therefore future travel comes with the risk of having to pay for healthcare should you need it in the destination you’re visiting. In Europe that might not be as much of an issue however in the States and beyond, it could be problematic and extremely costly. 

It’s safe to say going forward, travel will require even more planning and preparation than ever before. It’s also something we will value and cherish dearly following this crisis.