What Will the Travel Landscape Look Like in a Post-Coronavirus World?

What Will the Travel Landscape Look Like in a Post-Coronavirus World?

Though hit hard, the travel industry will bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet the way we journey will be changed forever – and for the better. Delving into staycations, off-grid vacations and conscious travel, we look forward to the positive impact of changing habits.

the coronavirus crisis and strict social distancing measures
have taught us anything, it’s that travel influences everything we
do. Since the world went into lockdown, our thirst for adventure
has heightened, and we’ve been seeking out ways in which we can
quench our desire. We’re whipping up
Brazilian-inspired caipirinhas
as we settle down to Friday
drinks. Garlic-laced
give us a taste of past summers spent in the South of
France. The high-achievers among us are using extra downtime to
learn a new language.

Despite being one of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic,
the travel sector has a history of resilience. Visitors trickled
back in the wake of 9/11, the SARS epidemic and the financial
crisis of 2007/8; just last year, more of us were travelling than
ever. While
is a different, much bigger, beast, we will overcome
it too. Flights will resume, restaurants will reopen and hotels
will check us in. Yet when we travel again, we will do so

How so? It’s likely that our journeys will be made more
thoughtfully and with much more purpose. We’ve shown great care to
contain the spread of the virus and, as our ability to travel
returns, we’ll strive to adopt the same sedulous mindset in our
travels. We’ll travel smarter, probably a bit less, but for

It now seems somewhat frivolous that we were aimlessly racking
up air miles in a race around the world – especially when there’s
landscape ripe for exploration on our doorsteps. Our daily
allowance of exercise around our neighbourhoods has been a lesson
in discovering new-found lands that lie just outside our windows.
Running routes have been unearthed, wildflower-filled fields
explored for the first time and examples of striking architecture
have caught our attention. Being forced to slow down has forced us
to pay attention and, in turn, treasure our surroundings.

Climate change is beginning to reverse, too. Oceans are clearer,
the air is cleaner and carbon emissions are at record lows. With
such positive effects in plain sight, it’s harder than ever to
ignore the need for planet-friendly travel habits. In a bid to keep
our carbon footprints as low as possible and to alleviate any
lingering anxieties about travelling – particularly flying – it’s
likely that we’ll be staycationing far more.

Our post-coronavirus world will be one travelled more
consciously, with purpose and mindfulness. The pandemic looks set
to change the travel landscape forever – and for the better.

Padstow, UK | Photos by Issy Croker
Padstow, UK | Photos by Issy Croker

Get ready to staycation

Our stay-at-home mantra is transitioning to staycations
and, as a result, domestic travel is likely to bounce back quickly.
Long weekends spent road-tripping will replace the need to jump on
a plane for a quick sangria in the sun. City dwellers are
desperately dreaming of exploring green spaces and swapping their
state-sanctioned 5k for coastal jogs and countryside picnics
supplied by local farms. Besides, the lockdown has proved that a
DIY negroni can be sunk almost anywhere – not just in the piazzas

Svalbard, Norway | Photos by Benjamin Hardman
Svalbard, Norway | Photos by Benjamin Hardman

Going-off grid

The great indoors has accelerated our love for the great
outdoors. The sight of four walls and a few (slowly wilting)
shop-bought plants? Sick of it. Micro-living is out and maxi-space
is in. Off-grid hideaways with roaming sheep for neighbours will be
the de rigueur and
cabin fever
– the remote, flee-to-the-mountainside kind – will
soar. After spending an as yet undetermined number of weeks cooped
up, we’re itching to be free.

It’s likely that post-lockdown travellers will shun densely
populated areas in favour of back-to-nature experiences and
expansive spaces. Instead of cramming themselves into queues to see
a cathedral or take a selfie at a well-known (and over documented)
monument, they’ll be searching for Edenic escapes with few faces.
Keeping apart two metres? Two miles from the nearest town and
settlement suits us just fine.

Is going off-grid a post-coronavirus travel trend?

Travel with purpose

During the lockdown, we haven’t cold-shouldered travel and shut
it away in a box filled with last summer’s souvenirs. Instead,
we’ve explored the world through different mediums: podcasts, books,
, filling our homes with scents, smells and memories of
other destinations and cultures. This isn’t something we’re
expecting to dwindle as soon as we’re back exploring again. There’s
as much fun to be found in the planning of an epic trip as there is
in experiencing it. Living in a constant state of travel –
metaphorically – is the new norm.

In our new normal, ticking off a list of countries and
populating our social media as evidence of our feckless
globe-trotting will have a bitter taste. Lingering longer is a more
meaningful way of travelling and ensures that the experiences we do
have will be deeper. It seems that the way forward is one or two
extended trips each year, rather than the “collect-them-all”
overconsumption that has bombarded beautiful spots with
over-tourism and contributed to our staggering collective
carbon footprint
. More than ever, accommodation, restaurants,
local tour operators and modes of transport should be picked on
their sustainability practices and

Has coronavirus helped us change our travel habits?

Protecting our planet

The Earth has had a much-needed rest for the first time in
generations. We’ve been able to see first-hand the importance and
benefits of slowing down, and it’s made us reflect more than ever
on the impact we’re having on our environment – we’ve sat on the
bamboo naughty step and been forced to think about what we’ve

It’s hard to drown out Greta’s forewarnings about irresponsible
and unnecessary travel. When
, it’s not just been our collective health
that has reaped the benefits, but the planet’s ecosystem too.
Carbon dioxide emissions from China were reduced by 25 per cent,
fish were spotted in Venice’s waterways and coral started to regrow
in Jamaica. It’s all evidence of what can happen when mass
consumerism stops, tourist boats are no longer needed and
overfishing ceases.

A global pandemic isn’t the answer to fixing our carbon
emissions, but it does give us the chance to
consider the way we travel
and how we can limit the effect of
human activity on the planet. Taking fewer flights and eating
locally won’t reverse the damage we’ve done alone, but allowing the
planet to take a breather evidentially does help.

Scottish Highlands, UK

Smart spending

With a global recession looming, it’s likely that, for some,
personal budgets may be smaller, but that doesn’t mean we should
focus on bagging bargains at the expense of supporting the
businesses that need – and deserve – what money we do have. We want
to look to our local and home economies first, and help to get our
communities back on their feet before going on to favour
family-run hotels
, independent restaurants and local tour
operators over big brands. Thoughtful travel might not be cheaper
in terms of cold, hard cash, but its value has the potential to be
richer than anything money can buy.

St. Ives, UK | Photos: Issy Croker
St. Ives, UK | Photos: Issy Croker

Our current landscape

We may be grounded, but we haven’t stopped travelling. We’re
dreaming, planning and researching more than ever, taking the extra
lockdown time to labour over our future trips. While journeying
around the world has been paused, many of us have discovered that
the act of travel goes far beyond the physical. We’re focused,
considerate (of our surroundings and one another) and connecting in
a more meaningful way than ever before. The bottom line? We will be
back out exploring the world as soon as we can, and when we do,
we’ll do it more consciously and with a refreshed sense of

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