Travel in 2021 won’t look like it did pre-covid. But it still has the potential to look incredible! Here are a few ways to reframe travel in 2021.
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you have any questions about this, just click here! All images copyright Teaspoon of Nose.
If 2020 has taught us anything about travel, it’s that we can’t take it for granted.
We’ve all cancelled trips, put off plans, and mourned the loss. Whether it’s for adventure, connection, or relaxation, travel moves us, and it sucks to be without it!
So while we’re still in the middle of this season of not traveling, I want to offer a chance to reframe our definition of travel.
The traditional definition of travel goes something like this: I go to another place known for something. Whether its art, food, history, nature, or peace and quiet, it’s known for a thing and you go for that thing.
I’m confident there’s going to be a season where we can sort-of travel. Maybe we live in an area that gets cleared of COVID before major travel is possible. Maybe you get the vaccine and feel safe to move around again. Maybe your country allows you to travel domestically way before international borders open again.
My point is, local “travel” will become an option long before planes are.
Italy’s ever-shifting lockdown requirements have reinforced this: even when we’re technically in lockdown, the restrictions have been loose enough for us to drive an hour and go hiking. Other times we’ve been able to eat lunch at a random trattoria, sitting outside and socially distanced.
There’s so many benefits to this! Selfishly it helps feed my travel bug. It also helps me see the opportunity to enjoy my local area in a way that I didn’t prioritize enough pre-lockdown.
It’s also a huge gift to the many small businesses struggling to stay afloat, especially shops that can’t naturally translate to switching to delivery or virtual offerings, like small-town hotels or rural restaurants.
I know some of you may be thinking, “all well and good for you to say – you live in a beautiful country packed with historic buildings and local food culture around every turn.”
And that’s true, but it doesn’t mean it’s not true for you as well! I can prove it: our previous assignment was rural Oklahoma. We would drove to a crummy Army town an hour away just to get things like a movie theater, Target, or restaurants that weren’t fast food. But we still found ways to fill our weekends, both locally and traveling further.
When we lived in Altus, we:
- made an Oklahoma bucket list
- tried to hike every trail in the closest wildlife refuge
- tracked down random historical sites: some of ours were Geronimo’s grave and the wacky kitsch along Route 66
- pick a random town on the map and drove or walked around
You can still do most of those things now with safe social distancing.
Here’s the important thing to remember: please be smart about exposure. I can’t speak to the safety or wisdom of what you should do in your specific area. Doing things where you can stay in the car or outdoor activities with no other people involved are still the best plan.
That being said, when you feel like it’s safe to begin to do some moving around, it’s a great idea to start small and local! Want more ideas about how to embrace local travel in 2021? Try a few of these:
Pick a city on the map for a day trip. It can be random. Spend no more than 30 minutes seeing what’s good to do and see and eat, then just walk around and soak it up!
Have a staycation where you get takeout from all those local spots you’ve been meaning to try but haven’t tried yet.
Stay in a locally-owned b&b or cabin and hole up for a few days. Bring a hobby or a book you’ve been wanting to read and relax with zero responsibilities! (Pro tip: if you live near a wine area, this is clutch at a vineyard.)
Is there a local producer or farmer that offers tours? Doesn’t have to be wine, of course. I fell in love with olive oil tastings this year, but find whatever’s local! Maybe a dairy farm, or even a local bakery may offer some kind of tasting experience if you ask!
Spend a little time on Atlas Obscura’s website for some great local finds that are truly random. From minor historical sites to bizarre art to abandoned buildings, it’s a great place to start when you don’t know where to go.
Stalk your local tourism board or state/regional website for local ideas of things to do and see! You may be surprised what you can explore without going very far. Pinterest and Instagram can also be great sources for this.
Travel in 2021 will still be a thing, I’m sure! But if we start local, there’s so much we may discover even before planes become normal again!