Why I Will Never Take Travel For Granted Again
I am writing this post for two reasons. Firstly, as a reminder to myself in the future of the current situation that we are living through in the world and secondly to share my thoughts on the ability to be able to travel so freely - or at least, we used to.
The ability to be able to travel on a British passport has never quite hit me until now. I suppose before the impact of the current lockdown I had never really given the time to fully and wholeheartedly appreciate exactly how much travel I have done in my life, but especially in the last year.
Currently, users of a British passport can enter 184 countries visa-free or visa-on-arrival. That is most of the world that is freely accessible to British passport holders without much of a second thought given. So far, I have taken advantage of entering 20+ of those countries and planned on visiting many more - that is, until Covid-19 hit and changed the world as we know it.
How Covid-19 Has Changed My World
In 2019, I took 11 trips abroad. That is a lot of travel in one year, for someone who also has a full time job. This year so far, I am one of the lucky ones who has already taken two trips but hoped for more. Now, on reflection, this makes me feel kinda bad. Not bad for travelling so much, because I work hard to be able to do it, but bad in a way where I have fully taken the ability to be able to travel so frequently as a bit of a given.
For example, I visited Valencia last year as part of a work conference so only had one full day to explore the city before attending the conference for the next 3 days. My attitude at the time was "...ahh it's OK, I can always come back". Because of that attitude, I probably didnt push myself to make the most of the leisure time that I did have there. Because now - who knows when we will be able to travel again, or just 'nip' over to Europe because, well - we can!
Don't get me wrong, whenever I visit a new country, I always try to do at least one trip during that holiday (I'm talking about beach holidays here, not city breaks) to try and get to know the local area, culture and history. There has been times though where all I've wanted to do is sit around the pool and lounge around. At the time, this satisfied me and being in a luxury hotel with good food and sun is all I needed, but upon reflection I feel like this may have been a wasted opportunity, because now, I don't know when I will be able to see that country again.
In the past, I have always fully taken advantage of cheap air fare and that has been my ticket into Europe, even only for 24 hours. However, as we progress through the pandemic, there have been several airlines that have had to make redundancies, reduce their routes and ground their aircraft. I have found myself often wondering if the cheap Ryanair flights I would usually take are now not going to be so accessible anymore? Maybe not just for me, but for a lot of people. Never mind the more far flung locations I have been lucky enough to visit where the price of the flight was already more than the price of the accomodation pre-covid, are these places now going to be completely off the radar for me?
Who knows what is going to happen to the travel industry in the future.
My Predictions and Plans for Travel Post Covid-19
I honestly do not know where this pandemic is going to leave the travel industry, but it's not looking good at the moment.
As for my plans, I suppose it all depends on a few factors. If the travel restrictions are lifted in the UK but not internationally, then I will take that as a little sign and explore more places in the UK. Dispite being British, there are only a handful of places that I can say that I've been to in my home country, which is shameful, really.
If international travel restrictions are lifted before the end of 2020, I may take one more long haul trip. Again, this does depend on the safety measures that are put in place for travellers, if any, and the country that I plan on visiting.
Otherwise, I think 2020 will officially be the year that gets written off... But here's to having loads of time to create a bucket list :)