Countless backpacking adventures had to be cut short over the last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As countries tightened their border control, implemented travel restrictions, and imposed emergency legislation to close their hospitality sectors, travelers had to end their journeys. Although some have been able to continue their travels, options have been severely limited.
Despite the planned vaccine rollout in 2021, the world remains a long way from a pre-COVID normal. It is unclear exactly how long lockdowns and restrictions are set to last, which is down to the virus’ progression and mutation. Travel as we know it may be challenging over the next few years.
While backpacking is still possible, flights, public transport, activities, and accommodations are all areas subject to change in virtually every country. If you choose to begin or continue your backpacking journey during the pandemic, it’s vital you take every precaution and remain vigilant. Here are some important things to consider over the next five years.
According to many experts, lockdowns and travel restrictions may continue for several years. Depending on the success of current measures and the vaccine, there may be intermittent spikes that lead to lockdowns and travel restrictions in various countries.
Social distancing remains a priority until the risk of spread has been reduced significantly or nullified. The perceived threat of COVID-19 and future travel avoidance is not yet clear, as the landscape continues to shift.
Budding travelers must be aware their backpacking situation can change overnight as governments continue to adapt to the pandemic.
The concept of slow travel has been around for some time. However, COVID has made it even more popular.
Slow travel is taking trips that involve prolonged stints in certain areas. Rather than a weekend break or a two-week action-packed vacation, slow travel is geared toward those looking for a more authentic experience. Travelers immerse themselves in communities and cultures, ensuring they get the most from their trip.
With extensive travel and multi-destination backpacking trips proving tricky to organize these days, travelers are looking to slow travel to satisfy their craving for adventure.
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An unfortunate circumstance brought about by COVID is the closure of businesses and the pressure being felt in certain industries. Hospitality sectors everywhere are experiencing unprecedented hardships that put a serious strain on all businesses.
With hotels, hostels, restaurants, and other hospitality-based businesses being forced to operate below capacity, prices are likely to rise. Cheap eats, bargain stays, and budget travel could prove difficult to find for backpackers.
One of the biggest appeals of backpacking through somewhere like Central or South America is the value for money. Traditionally, backpacking has been a cost-effective way to see the world. It may transform into a luxury experience over the coming years.
Quarantines have been recommended or mandatory upon entry to several countries throughout the pandemic. As efforts increase to suppress the spread of COVID, more countries may adopt a stricter approach to mandatory quarantines.
This will slow down your travel, as you may be required to spend up to two weeks in isolation before exploring your new destination. Spontaneous trips and short border hops may be impossible if this is the case.
Many of the global workforce have been working from home throughout the pandemic. Businesses and employees are realizing they can operate without workers coming into the office. It has been a cost-effective measure several organizations are benefiting from. What’s more, it’s estimated 56 percent of employees have jobs in which they can work from home.
Those who are working from home are taking advantage of their remote possibilities and are taking workations. This involves spending several weeks or months working in an alternative location. Sunny coastal destinations are popular hot spots for working holidays.
If remote working continues over the coming years, workations may replace backpacking trips. Instead of spending months solely traveling, backpackers can work as they move.
If you plan on traveling over the next few months or years, it’s crucial to consider your safety. As well as remaining COVID-free, you must also think about personal security. Backpackers and tourists are often vulnerable to muggers, thieves, and scammers.
Before visiting a certain location, travelers should research potential dangers in their destination area. Traveling over long periods increases the likelihood of encountering an issue. Learn how to avoid being an easy target for muggers, with an emphasis on the place you’re visiting.
Besides research and awareness, you should also purchase one or more personal protection devices. Nobody wants to come face-to-face with a thief or attacker, but, if you do, you need something to defend yourself with. While a physical confrontation is a last resort, it is sometimes necessary.
A self-defense keychain is a discreet tool that can be easily disguised among your regular keys. It can come in various forms, including a pocket knife, an alarm, or a small pepper spray canister. Any of these options can come in handy if an altercation arises.
For backpacking culture to survive and thrive beyond the COVID era, the community must come together. The traditional method of planning trips through online recommendations and travel agents is no longer viable. The backpacking community must bond together to advise and guide each other on where to go and what to do.
Although the future is unclear right now, there is no need to worry about your backpacking dreams being dashed. While the next five years might prove difficult, there is hope of a return to normality soon.
Planning and preparation have never been more important. Travelers must prioritize their safety now more than ever. From personal security to hygiene awareness, backpackers must be disciplined and vigilant to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.