The last two years have been difficult in many ways, including the restrictions placed by the COVID pandemic in relation to travel. Many have been trapped at home for months on end with only our families, partners, or roommates to keep us company, while some of us have endured living alone throughout the pandemic. Now that we seem to have the pandemic under control and countries are opening up their borders again, it’s time to get traveling. We look at why you should make 2024 the year you see the world.
Embrace the New Normal
The possibilities for international travel during 2024 are looking much better than they did during the first two years of the COVID era. As vaccination rates increase, consumer confidence increases too, and some countries are now easing restrictions or even waiving the necessity for a ‘COVID passport’. Tests and mandatory quarantine periods have also been dropped, so you can visit countries without the risk of spending your vacation in a quarantine hotel or even being refused entry to the country completely.
Of course, there may be some minor restrictions in place at your destination and mask wearing may still be a necessity in some countries, but don’t let this spoil your plans. One way to embrace the new normal is to practice slow travel. Instead of scheduling a demanding itinerary that has every minute of your time away accounted for and could mean that you fall foul of restrictions, take a more measured and immersive approach. Choose a single destination and immerse yourself in their way of life. Eat in the local restaurants away from tipsthe tourist track. Support local producers. Take opportunities to meet the people who live there. Slow down and just enjoy the experience of being somewhere new.
Fund Your Plans by Lowering Your Monthly Expenses
If you’ve spent the last few years trying to study or work from home, you’re no doubt ready for an adventure. Travel is a great way to broaden your horizons and get a new perspective on life. It’s one of the reasons why many students decide to take a gap year before they settle down to their studies. Whether you choose to backpack or stay in 5-star luxury hotels, you will need money.
Whether you’re a newly qualified graduate or you finished a few years ago, if you’ve got the travel bug but feel you can’t afford it, there are ways to raise the finance you need to fund your plans. One way to lower your monthly expenses is to refinance your existing student loans into a new loan. Companies like Earnest can enable you to transfer all or some of your borrowing into one new loan with a longer repayment term to allow you to lower your monthly payment.
Broaden Your Horizons
Many of us have spent the last two years in the same location. Even if we’d wanted to go away, restrictions have kept us at home and any holidays or breaks have been limited to our local area or home country. Now, that countries are opening their borders, we feel the need to go exploring again and rekindle the excitement of visiting somewhere new. Don’t forget how important it is to keep track of your travel memories along the way. After having put travel on hold you are going to want to remember all these new moments.
Even if you can only get away for a week or two, it will give you a different perspective on life. Travel provides a learning experience like no other. It inspires you to visit the places you’ve seen on Instagram and seek out new places and new experiences. It’s an amazing way to learn new things, see things first-hand and immerse yourself in a new culture. You’ll get to see how other cultures have diverse values and view the world in different ways. You may even learn a language or two along the way.
Branch Out and Make New Connections
During the pandemic, opportunities to meet new people were extremely limited. We all know about the rise of the Zoom meeting and even Zoom dating, but Zoom can never replace meeting people in person. Many would-be travelers cite meeting new people and making connections as some of the main reasons why they want to go abroad.
Even if you’re with friends or your partner, you will have the opportunities to meet people that you wouldn’t necessarily engage with at home. Somehow, it’s easier to strike up a conversation when you’re away in a new environment. There’s a certain camaraderie among people when they’re away from home. They understand each other and are used to talking to strangers. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself chatting and making friends with people from all different backgrounds and walks of life.
Get Much Needed Rest and Relaxation
There’s no doubt that the pandemic has been a stressful time for many of us, especially as the feelings of stress have been exacerbated by political and economic uncertainties around the world that are totally outside our control. Being stressed places our body and mind in a high state of alert and this in itself is stressful. Taking time to travel and visit new places can offer some much-needed rest and relaxation away from your usual routine.
As the saying goes, a change is as good as a rest. Getting away from your usual 9-5 schedule is liberating and whether you choose a cold or hot destination, getting out into the fresh air is a great way to reinvigorate your wellbeing. Spending time in a different destination is one of the ways to relieve stress by removing you from the activities and environments that you associate with stress and anxiety. The change of scenery and an alternative pace of life enables you to disconnect and recharge to give both your body and mind a much-needed break.
Plus, all these new experiences are key to forming new neural pathways in the brain, which, in turn, can help you to become more creative and accepting of new ideas. Travel can make you happy – which must be the best reason for making 2024 the year that you finally decide to see the world.