In 2021 We Must Focus on How We Travel, Not Where
B Corp Intrepid Travel Sees 5 Factors Redefining the New Era of Travel.
This year has made us all think deeply about what really matters most to us and what we want our future to look like.
Regardless of where we are in the world, we’re all facing common uncertainties and anxieties. We’re rethinking our health and wellness, and what sustainability and resilience really mean.
This period has also been an opportunity to reflect on what a privilege travel truly is — and what sort of travelers we aspire to be in the future.
According to the UNWTO, there were 1.5 billion international arrivals in 2019. Humanity was traveling on a scale never seen before. Those days have gone and they’re unlikely to return any time soon.
As travel gradually restarts, I believe travelers will start to wonder where they should go and what they should do — but one of the most important considerations is how we travel. I believe these five foundations will underpin how we travel in 2021 and beyond:
During the pandemic many of us have felt dislocated and disconnected. Families, friends and communities have been forced to stay apart. This isolation has made us yearn for connection, which I believe will stay with us long after the pandemic subsides.
When travel returns, travelers will seek a deeper connection with the places and people they visit. It won’t matter where — or how far — they travel, they’ll be going more slowly, more mindfully, and more responsibly.
I believe travelers will swap rushing to tick off “the sights” for a slower, more immersive style of travel. They’ll choose to stay in one place, take the time to participate in local experiences, and really get under the skin of a destination.
We may see fewer things along the way, but I know we will experience a whole lot more.
Go into the Wild
A global pandemic has proven to be an anxious and uncertain time.
We’re all grappling with different types of stressors — from the health emergency to financial concerns or simply being in our homes and adjusting to more screen time than we might have ever imagined.
Confined inside, away from others, the call to connect outdoors with Mother Nature has never been stronger.
It’s no coincidence that in time like these, we crave nature. Research shows that spending time in natural surroundings has many positive health benefits, including lowering stress and increasing feelings of positivity.
The appreciation for natural, wide-open spaces will stay with us. When we can again travel, more people will seek great outdoor adventures, both near and far.
In the photo: A great way to de-stress is to connect with nature. Photo credit: Unsplash.
Go on Your Own Terms
Like many other companies, the pandemic has shown Intrepid that most of our staff can work from pretty much anywhere. We now expect a certain level of flexibility at work — and we’re seeing this trend translate into travel, too.
We’re individuals — and we want to live, travel and pursue our passions on our own terms and on our own timeline.
So, I believe the future of travel will be forever flexible.
Why shouldn’t we have the option to tailor tours — where we go, what we do and who we travel with — exactly as we desire? For a travel company, this is exciting and we’re already able to offer personalisation on hundreds of trips.
Go to Regenerate, Not Just Sustain
The pandemic has highlighted contradictions and imbalances in our societies around the world.
On one hand, travel and tourism support some 10% of global GDP, and the halt to global travel has left communities and environments vulnerable.
On the other, we’ve all felt the environmental benefits of quieter, clearer skies and waterways coming back to life.
I believe travel can balance both — travel can be clean and sustainable, and it can build stronger, kinder, more resilient communities and environments. Travel can — and should — be regenerative, to give back more than it takes.
In the photo: Cycling has increased as a healthy way to spend time with friends and family, or commute. Photo credit: Unsplash.
Go on a Human-Powered Adventure
During 2020, many of us have had our physical activity limited to a handful of approved pursuits — usually just a walk, run, or cycle — or maybe, if you were lucky, a hike.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve found you love your new or rediscovered hobbies and activities. And now that we’ve started to move, we don’t want to stop.
I’ve run marathons in the past, but my busy lifestyle meant it was hard to stick to my routine. After months of pounding the pavements as the only way to stay active and get outside the house, I’m not about to give up walking and running. And I know I’m not alone.
Sales of bicycles in countries, including the UK and Australia, have soared. In April and May, bike sales were up as much as 60% as people sought new ways to commute or stay active and families take to cycling to get outside together.
The future of travel will include a healthy dose of walking, hiking, and cycling. Travelers will once again rediscover the world under their own power — slowly, quietly, and cleanly.
Personally, I can’t wait to get out on my own human-powered adventure.
So, as we look ahead to restarting travel safely — whether it is a trip closer to home or a tour further afield —we understand that travel has changed forever.
We shouldn’t miss what we had before.
As travelers, we must go into 2021 more mindful of how we explore the world: creating deeper and more meaningful connections — with communities, nature, and ourselves.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com. Cover photo credit: Unsplash.