Travel in a time of COVID
As another cancelled departure date passes me by, my attitude toward travel is changing.
After losing money on AirBnb cancellations on two trips now, and with vouchers piling up for cancelled flights and car hire, I am feeling significantly less optimistic.
I was very much in the mindset of going whenever it was possible to go, but now I feel like there’s so much risk involved with booking anything in advance, and booking things last minute is so exorbitant that I can’t actually afford it.
Do I care if I never stay in another hotel when I have become so damn comfortable at home?
I have been watching Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown and his travels through difficult terrain are bringing back memories that I would rather forget, starting with the state of the toilets on overnight sleeper trains in Asia.
Because let’s be real. For all the Instagramming that goes on, travel can actually really suck. Trying to sleep in airports on those chairs with the in-built metal arms, transport delays, jetlag, the travel ‘flu and accompanying stomach disturbances, the terrifying food options in some places, the cigarette-infused soft furnishings of cheap hotels and the scary taxi drivers that take you down back alleys full of hungry looking stray dogs.
I definitely don’t miss that stuff.
And I definitely don’t want to keep losing money on cancelled bookings.
So where to from here? Will travel ever go back to being affordable, reasonably reliable and mostly pretty fun? Or are we going back in time to when travel was wild, unpredictable, poisonously expensive and available to a privileged few?
Things went way too far in terms of cheap travel. The environment couldn’t cope and the short-term cash grab was as destructive as it was gross.
But will it go waaaaay back in the other direction where we’ll all be camping at the coast again unless we’re filthy rich?
And do we care? Do we need to travel? I know some people will say yes (and I agree up to a point – I think travel is critically important for certain reasons) but are we confusing ‘want’ with ‘need’?
I don’t know the answer but I would love to hear where you’re at with travel.