2021 Travel Planning During a Pandemic

Finally, some good news: 2020 is almost over, we have a couple of vaccines being rolled out and hopefully, we will be closer to normal by the middle to end of this year. Having this news has helped me do something that I haven't been able to do all year - look forward to travel planning again.


While many found solace earlier this year dreaming of where they would go next, I found it hard to do this year. Without a vaccine, our health at risk, routines disrupted, no end to the pandemic in sight - it was just too much.


In the January 2021 issue of Parents magazine, the editor said that this year she was not going to write resolutions. She wrote, "That doesn't mean, of course, that we've given up on self-improvement or ambition. But for now, it's clear that we all need to rest, reflect and recharge more than we need to relentlessly strive." I understand the sentiment but I also had a polar reaction. Most years have started hopeful to me, with habits that I hoped to make routine. But I quickly derail, because of all of the outside activity that is not well tracked and quickly and quietly erodes my time. In 2020, we got rid of all of our structured activities and spent most of our time at home. I have the best insight that I've ever had in how I want to spend my time. My biggest realization? Once my commitments are met, I have very little time for what I want to do so I need to be vigilant in planning and managing my time. Travel is important to me and it's something that I want to do with my time.


For 2021, I believe that it will be at least mid-year before the vaccine will be widely available. Until then, my family will continue to camp near home and we will consider doing one or two driving trips where we can get to our destination with minimal stops should COVID case numbers in our area and destination area go down significantly. In short, I am ready to start planning travel again.


Whatever your situation or comfort level, below are some ways to plan your future travel:


Review your travel bucket list

Hopefully, you already have a list of places that you want to go. If not, now is a good time to create one. Find inspiration on Instagram, Pinterest, travel magazines, travel shows, books, and friends to get started. Here's how to make and organize a bucket list

Spend time learning about new places

Grab a physical map and take some time to really study it. Go beyond the places you know and get lost exploring places that you don't know anything about but interest you. I have a world map on my wall with push pins of all of the places that I've been and I look for gaps to figure out what region I want to go to next. And related...

...Go beyond destination highlights and learn about the culture and history

Order takeout or learn how to prepare a dish from the country you selected. Understand their holidays and traditions. Ponder how nearby countries may have influenced their culture. Discover major historical events, holidays that they celebrate, major figures in their history

Listen to songs that tempt you to travel

Bob Marley makes me wish that I was on a catamaran, John Denver takes me to the mountains. Here are some ideas to get you going

Watch Movies and TV Shows that Inspire You to Travel

It's funny how a movie can take you to a place even when you don't feel safe getting on an airline to go in person. I'll never forget seeing Waking Ned Devine for the first time and absolutely falling in love with Ireland. Fortunately, when I actually got a chance to go there, it did not disappoint. Need inspiration? Check out these 75 movies to inspire wanderlust.


Learn How to Make a Dish and a Cocktail from a Place You Want to Visit

Once I made a morroccan meatball dish in a red sauce. It was out of this world. I was brave enough to try it for the first time in front of guests and everyone RAVED about it. Alas, I have no idea what I did with that recipe. I do enjoy looking up dishes to make from other countries and then pairing them with a drink that is also popular there. I found this site that has lots of fun ideas for international food and cocktail pairings.


Learn a new language

As soon as we feel that it's safe enough, my extended family hopes to travel to Italy and Greece. This week, I am adding Italian and Greek to my Duolingo profile. I hope to learn the basics in Greek and spend more time on Italian. I have studied French and Spanish (both Romantic languages), so I am hopeful that it will help me

Grab a calendar and put your plans onto it

Whether it be an actual trip or preparing for future travels, put it on your calendar and then do it. Whether you decide to travel this year or not, you will be ready to go!


Happy travels!

Chrissy