In the past two years, have your travel plans been upended? If you’re like most people, travel plans for business or pleasure have been rearranged, postponed, or flat-out canceled since the beginning of 2020 ushered in the COVID-19 pandemic.

And even now, as people have resumed travel in fits and starts, coronavirus variants are keeping us all on edge and bringing more precise precautionary measures to our lives once again. If the thought of traveling easily seems like a far away impossibility right now, planning for the days when we can get back to exploring the world offers a ray of hope.

Eventually we will get back to venturing into the world using caution, common sense, and careful planning. Travel after the pandemic will be different, and anyone who has already taken to the skies, hopped on a train, or taken a long bus ride can attest that it might never be the same. As 2022 dawns, planning for future trips offers a good distraction and also hope for change.

Connect with History

The pandemic has placed us squarely in a time of history that future generations will learn from. When you have the chance to visit a new place, connect with the history of the people, land, and culture by adding one place that gives you historical perspective. Visiting a spot that bestows a sense of time’s passing–whether it’s the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, or a stop along the multi-state Civil Rights Trail–brings decades and often centuries to life. Connecting to those who came before us, and survived through challenges and hardships, is reassuring when the world feels out of control.

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Find the Future

If connecting with the past is grounding, then finding something new brings you to the future. Interested in a new view? Manhattan’s Edge sky deck offers the highest outdoor observation deck in the western hemisphere and a new perspective on change and possibility. If you’re looking for fun, try out the newest ride at a water park or an amusement park. Find an up-and-coming band or simply stop into the newest coffee shop, yarn market, or brewery in your area.

Start Small

If you haven’t been far from home since the beginning of 2020, adapting to some of the pandemic-imposed requirements when you’re traveling can be exhausting. Navigating the new rules, even in familiar places, takes more energy than you might expect. Start out with short trips–day trips to an outdoor spot or a quick overnight to visit friends or family. Map out some definite places you want to visit, and find places to eat that meet any personal safety standards you have.

Plan More

Even travelers who never planned beyond getting to a place are reevaluating where they go and how they get there. Because things can change so rapidly, it’s a good idea to think about how you approach travel. Know your risk acceptance level; those with a higher acceptance of risk will plan differently than those who prefer a lower-risk travel experience. Travel insurance (a full plan that includes coverage for COVID-19) is helpful. Bringing medications with you (prescription and those in case of illness) is essential as you can’t assume you’ll be able to get them. Pack extra masks and consider investing in reliable KN95 or N95 masks to give you needed protection. Understanding your healthcare options at your destination is important so check out what’s available and contact your own insurance provider to understand the rules.

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When travel plans resume and begin to fall into place, the switch likely won’t be seamless. If you expect the unexpected and plan for a few roadblocks, you’ll find a new sense of gratitude that getting back into the travel groove brings.

 

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
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