Planning ahead keeps hope alive for renewed travel

I don’t know if you are anything like me, but I love to look forward to things. It’s pretty much human nature and what keeps a lot of people going through the drudgery of the day-to-day. The next celebration, Birthdays or Christmas and in particular holidays. These are things we eagerly anticipate, and we like to prepare for them too, just to make them more special.

Particularly after our extensive cocooning during the pandemic, I think one of the things we are all now most looking forward to is being able to spread our wings and travel to wherever we desire. I am so smitten by wanderlust, that were it not for the fact that South Africans are so ‘persona non-grata’ right now in terms of international travel, I would just hop on a plane and go to one of my favourite destinations tomorrow. Well, that may not be possible but what we can do is prepare for when we can travel again, and a year-end vacation looks like something that could be on the cards and well worth planning for.

Keeping hope alive

According to a very interesting American Express survey, just planning the holiday is good for you too! The survey was taken only last month and conducted amongst 3,000 participants. The result according to them showed that “87 per cent of respondents said that having a trip planned in the future gives them something to look forward to, while 63 per cent said that planning future travel makes them feel excited, and 53 per cent said it makes them feel hopeful and happy.”

I have absolutely no doubt that a similar survey taken in South Africa today would show the same so why not take the plunge? After all, right now the water is perfect to do so. Airlines have never been more flexible in their approach to cancellations with long lead times and no penalties, as they understand this is the only way bookings in advance are going to happen. The deals they are offering are great too, so planning ahead will not only keep the hope alive for you, but it has significant monetary advantages too.

So where will travellers go?

I think health and safety will still be a big issue for people and possibly people will opt for more remote destinations to avoid crowds. This is not always easy to find in peak seasons, but some parts of the world are in at peak season at that time of the year, and these could be favoured, as well as really out of the way places offering wide-open spaces. It’s encouraging to note that South Africa has several such places and I believe this will be advantageous to us in terms of rekindling our international tourisms.

If this safety aspect is an issue for you, or you like many others are also now taking to coupling leisure travel with sporting activities and events, I strongly suggest chatting to a Travel Advisor and being guided to the right destinations to suit your needs.

Travel Advisors have a significant role to play

To our TMCs I say let’s be cognisant of the safety issues and guide travellers accordingly but let’s also encourage the long-term planning of vacations by being as flexible and open to change of plans or cancellations as possible. Let’s always have a plan ‘B’ available for travellers and make sure we are the ones that are keeping them enthused and making the future planning of travel a positive experience for everyone.

One of my favourite quotes of the late President Mandela was “May your choices reflect your hopes – not your fears.” I think we have feared enough. Now it is time to look forward to the things that matter to us and keep our hopes alive!

LIDIA FOLLI

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

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