Festivals off, holidays postponed, worries about venturing out at all. Our plans may have seemed off-calendar for 2020, but now that summer is back on, where are we going with it? Should we stay or should we go?
It’s the time of year many of us are looking forward to a sunny break, but, let’s face it, with travel restrictions, availability, costs, more rules and regulations, risk, uncertainty, recession… this is not turning out to be the holiday we hoped for! Maybe it just doesn’t feel right when so many are still suffering. Travel bans remain in some areas but not others, then there’s the threat of further quarantine. This is affecting not only where we want to go but whether we want to go at all - just when you thought things couldn’t get more complicated.
Whether you are planning a staycay or a trip when restrictions ease fully, or just staying home, the need for that feel-good factor is still there, just in a different way.
The great weather in many places has helped get us in the mood. Maybe a reward for braving lockdown so religiously. The summer vibe is back - for now. UK holiday hotspots are taking bookings again and are going to great lengths to reassure us with their sanitization plans. Some of us are venturing out, others are not. The fear factor is a thing: instead of hanging out, carefree, chatting on a beach, we are confronted with making memories through a facemask, or getting familiar but at a distance.
So what are the alternatives? We are looking again at our home holiday destinations and appreciating what we do have. Whether it’s the coastlines, cities, hills or even spas. We may choose to pass on the queues at airports, uncomfortable heat or expense of going away, although some countries are accepting UK holidaymakers after a gruelling time coping themselves with the coronavirus (and those are just the businesses which have survived).
Lockdown is easing, but the threat of another spike is a worry, and is preventing some of us from making concrete plans. Add in the uncertainty, the insurance dilemmas and you have a cocktail that is maybe not worth sipping - even if there’s a free sun umbrella thrown into your glass to try to make it picture-perfect.
With so much uncertainty, committing to holidays abroad or other major spends is not really a thing. We are closer now, we know each other’s stories, and are therefore more invested. So a staycay has become a realistic option for many. It is going to be a difficult time but the energy is real.
Brands get this and are switching their marketing strategies accordingly. Resorts are finding new ways to reach us. You would think prices would be cheaper, but with the holiday industry feeling the strain, some things will be more expensive. There are exceptions obviously. For example Sicily is offering incentives to visit, but some may question at what price?
We’ve so far tie-dyed, bandana-d, baked, shuffled, watched puppies, cried-laughing at pranks, pew pew-ed our friends, revealed our homes like never before, installed pools, hot-tubs and new garden furniture to get through the lockdown. This new normal is set to go into overdrive with summer finally kicking in.
So if we are going away, where are we off to?
Home or away, with travel bloggers generally grounded for a time, we have turned to those still active online (many in new and innovative ways). The more successful have found us new places to visit when the time is right. Our digital appetites have let us watch smog clear over our favourite cities and clear waters emerge at our beach destinations.
The true cost of this pandemic is becoming clear too. Travel is feeling the effects. For example, Venice is open again but there is something missing: people. Closer to home, Wales, with borders closed for so long, will slowly begin welcoming tourists back to the hillsides but we can't help but wonder, where will they eat and how much will they be able to do?
We have come a long way on our journey from braving queues for loo roll. We have arrived in so many ways and have new choices, including where to holiday. We may surprise ourselves with those choices. Wish you were here? Maybe you already are.
Written by Cerys Jones