Early on, before Covid-19 was merely known as the “novel coronavirus” and seemed confined to China, one thing became certain: travel would be affected. For a while, it seemed to many of us that the effect on travel would be limited to the immediate future. We had questions like, should I cancel my trip to Asia or Europe for next month? Should I hold off on buying these plane tickets until this lets up?
But now that we’ve been living with the pandemic for weeks—our movement limited even within our own communities, and the science and impact on communities across the world are becoming clearer—we wondered how our community is grappling with their long-term travel-related questions. We wanted to know how you are reflecting on what it means to travel amidst and after a pandemic.
For that, we asked Club Bébé Voyage members to complete a short survey about your thoughts. We received 69 responses that helped us understand how you’re processing this upheaval in our world and to your traveling way of life. Because the nature of life-with-coronavirus is ever-evolving, we see these reflections as a snapshot. Many of you who answered may respond differently today. For that, we plan to send out occasional surveys to our community to understand the evolution of your thoughts and plans.
Here’s what we’ve learned from the snapshot of 69 respondents between April 4th and 19th, 2020:
Your Idea of Travel has Changed
Over 46% of respondents answered in the affirmative that their idea of travel has changed. And around 32% of respondents weren’t quite sure yet if their ideas have changed about it. In these early days, so many of us were trying to make sense of what this means. Is this something that will affect us in the short-term? Or is this with us for the long-term? These are questions that many of us are still grappling with.
Your Idea of How You Travel is Changing
Over 52% of respondents answered that they still plan to travel around the same amount in the future. This suggests that our community isn’t necessarily seeing a modification in how much we travel, but in how we travel.
BBV Managing Editor Kelly Wright noted that she’d like to focus on travel that helps the country she’s visiting. BBV Co-Founder and CEO Marianne Perez de Fransius says that she and her family plan to travel for longer periods of time focusing on a few locations rather than going on many shorter trips, something they have already started doing.
And even in the changes in the amount of travel some respondents plan to do, it shows a refocus on how they travel. 26.4% answered that they’ll travel close to home, 17.5% will focus on “staycations,” and 21.1% will travel less often, which could possibly mean longer more intentional vacations.
Short-Term Travel Concerns Vary
The most variable answers came in regards to more immediate travel plans. When asked, “How do you think you’ll focus your travel energy in the immediate future especially if social distancing practices are still in place?” this is how you responded:
- 44.9% responded: Will start planning vacations once Covid is behind us
- 43.5% responded: We likely won’t do any travel until we know Covid is behind us (notably, this question is quite similar to the previous, so it will be interesting to understand this more in future surveys)
- 39.1% responded: Still considering travel for late summer/early fall
- 27.5% responded: More outdoor adventures (e.g. hikes, camping, etc.)
- 15.9% responded: Will focus on “staycations” / travel at home
The near future is still a challenge for many of us to plan for. If we don’t have answers about aspects of our everyday existence (e.g., when can I eat at a restaurant again?), how can we have answers for plans we’ve made a few weeks or months out?
Your Desire to Travel is About Connection
In so many of the narrative responses, BBV members expressed the desire and sadness around missing family. This is a global community, and many of us are separated from our loved ones.
Respondents live all over the world including Argentina, China, various countries in Europe, and all over the United States with families scattered all over the world. Seeing them requires travel. You want to be able to see them. You want your children to be able to see them. While you’re eager to see the world again, the desire to be close to your family and friends is even more palpable.
You’re Focused on Taking Precautions
It’s clear that regardless of how much we travel in the future, the nature of travel will be different. Many of the respondents mentioned being cautious about what modes of travel they’re using (a few eschewing plane travel altogether at least in the short-term), using copious amounts of hand sanitizer, and wearing face masks.
Reality has, indeed, set in. While we need to confront fear, caution is important to you. And not just for our own safety and health, but also for that of the people in the communities we visit and with those we come in contact on the way there and back.
You are Steadfast in Overcoming Fear
Being cautious can go hand-in-hand with overcoming fear.
For some of you, this has been a reflection about fear and how it holds space in our lives. Ashley Smith and her husband, both healthcare providers on the frontlines of this crisis, know and understand the seriousness of this pandemic. While they won’t travel until Covid-19 is over, it has given them an important perspective on fear. “There will always be something to be ‘afraid’ of when it comes to travel, but C19 has given us enough stress in this house,” Ashely wrote. “It doesn’t get to occupy anymore fear when this is behind us!”
And some are looking for ways to move past the fear eventually.
“I’m worried I will find it difficult to take a chance on visiting certain countries again where responses were inefficient and medical care found deficient,” says Aoife. “[I’m] hoping in a year this fear will have faded.”
This Pause has Given You Perspective
In March, we all were collectively forced to hit the pause button. And this pause has helped many of you see your world and your habits differently. Many of you reflected on how this pandemic has done that for you.
For some of you, it presented an opportunity for more sustainable travel. “The pandemic has shown us what a change it makes to the planet if we slow down,” writes Features Editor Marta Conte. “We will focus much more on eco travels in the future, possibly flying less and looking for sustainable places to stay.”
Increased empathy also comes up.
“The world will be incredibly different and vulnerable,” writes April. “Travel will need to be more empathetic. The grief that follows this time will shape culture globally.” She sees travel as being a way to cultivate that empathy. “It’ll be a pivotal time to show children the world. We are all being shaped by a very real common struggle.”
Travel is Part of Your Identity
What will not change for so many of us is that we are travelers to our core. While travel at the moment looks like globally-focused homeschool activities or global recipe exploration or creative neighborhood adventures, it’s clear that your heart will always be reaching beyond your borders. We’ve seen in so many of the Club BBV posts and blog contributions that you’re rolling with it. You’re thinking outside of yourselves. And that came through in the survey responses. Travel will be different for a good long time. Many are still grappling with that. But it will still be there in some form.
We are a global community. We are a community that wants to be in and see the world. We are a community that is committed to transforming the world through connection.
Stay Tuned for the Next Survey
We are aiming to send a second survey out in the coming weeks. To ensure you get the information to complete it, subscribe to the Bébé Voyage Newsletter!
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