Traveling today is not like it used to be. So here are a few ideas to help you decide what to do if you have not ventured outside yet.
Have you been peering out your window wondering what the outside world is like? Has traveling reduced itself to a needle poke appointment or to your door for Grubhub? Or has traveling been on your mind, but you are not sure how to do the one thing you saved all year long for? Most folks have already jumped that hurdle and are getting to their destinations by plane, train and automobile. And some even took a spaceship. So if you have not done any of those fun things yet – this article is for you.
On October 1, 2021 – 2,011,794 people decided to travel by air, as compared to 857,186 in 2020 and 2,526,835 on the same date in 2019. It looks like travel has ramped up and folks are ready to get on with it. Either for career or leisure, COVID put a boost in the travel landscape that no one saw coming.
As travel trends unfolded in 2021, the impact of COVID-19 continues to make us change our minds about traveling and adjust our lives.
Some of these traveling trends included; glamorized “staycations.” One very cool way to plan a staycation is to explore your surroundings with a road trip. Elevated luxury road trips, require getting into a new car (aka a rental), booking gorgeous luxury homes, and seeing sights you have never seen before. Road trips also force you to do touristy things that you once thought were corny like stopping the car, getting out and ask for directions. Instead of booking restaurant reservations, luxury home rentals is the preferred way to experience something new. You can even try out your cooking skills in a chef’s kitchen with loved ones and friends.
These close-to-home rental alternatives allow you to drive up to a wrap-around driveway instead of a parking lot. Staying closer to home also feels a bit more safer than being surrounded by strangers in an indoor or crowded outdoor event.
With some states pushing for strict curfews, mask mandates and other travel restrictions, travel during a global pandemic doesn’t seem to be the best option to take. However, if you do have the urge to “get out” then why not explore what’s around you and stay close to home and embark on the open road?
According to AAA, road trips continued to dominate this past summer. Despite the highest gas prices in seven years – more than 91% of holiday travel will be by car. An expected 43.6 million Americans will drive to their destinations.
Taking a road trip (albeit luxury or on a budget), is one of the safest ways to travel if you are concerned about social distance, mandates and crowds. Get your friends together or throw your kids in a minivan or SUV and put on some theme music you can cruise to! Driving to your destination won’t seem so bad after all.
And with the crazy flight cancellations that have plagued 2021 and recent months – your best bet to gain a memorable experience might be to rent a car and get there yourself!
Reserved for those who serve the frontline during the height of the pandemic, this new category has now become the only way to travel – as needed. Essential travellers were often quarantined to hotels for long extended periods of time. Some had to go from one hotel or airline to another. And some frontliners worked long hours living out of one suitcase.
Staying home forced us to rediscover the newness in traveling; with essentials only. Waiting for the world to reopen, we nonessential travellers were learning and preparing to pack light. Pack only what you need and to pack with efficiency for unforeseen circumstances like cancelled flights or change of hotels on the fly. No more toting around large suitcases with an outfit for every daily occasion with shoes to match. The best accessory for this kind of travel is your bag.
We also discovered that there was something “safer” about the carryon option.
Nahid Bhadelia, the medical director of the Special Pathogens Unit at the Boston University School of Medicine wrote to Washington Post in an email;
“If you carry the bag, you have a better sense of where it’s been and who has touched it, so one could say that’s slightly safer.”
Being the only one that knows where your stuff has been is a big relief, especially since its the #1 question asked at any TSA checkpoint.
Getting through the check point can be a breeze with the right luggage. Tony Dennis aka The Stitch Doctor and CEO of luxury luggage brand, Tote&Carry probably didn’t know that the travel industry would be in need of a simple, well thought out carryon collection.
His “vegan leather” line of crafted pieces are perfect for skating through any airport drama.
Designed in Atlanta, “travel with luxury” has elevated the style and demand for the perfect TSA approved accessory. Tote&Carry travel sets make it easier to focus on what fits in the bag is good to go. Plus, every collection coordinates with its mate and looks amazing so there is no need to try to match this or that. You will not be upset at how many people compliment your luggage choice.
Each collection has a matching backpack and overnight duffle. There are also clutches and wallets, as well as masks, to add to your theme of choice. With no limit of fashionable fabrications; from sleek and simple to exotic and high shine – your essentials will be well kept. No waiting in line at the carousel – just walk right out of the airport with less stress looking smart and effortless at the same time. If you decide to become a T&C fan, you’ll also get some travel advise in your inbox from their latest newsletters.
Having the right size carry on luggage is essential and probably the most important travel piece you will purchase. And with inflation on the rise, buying a set that can survive a “mad dash”is key.
Camping, Say Wha?
Before the mask era, there was a big trend in outdoor experiences called glamping. But that became overly saturated as people were finding it hard to always carry 10 different instagrammable organic cotton, hand-knit, swinging hammocks that matched the #modeforever! COVID made us go back to basics and plain ole’ camping became a thing again. We had to figure out how to have these same amazing experiences while being safe and practical.
“The work that Black Folks Camp Too has been doing is so important for the outdoor community to help welcome in new hikers and campers of all backgrounds,” said Rich Hohne, Oboz Director of Brand + Consumer Experience. “We hope that through this collaboration we can elevate the awareness of this great organization and encourage more people to get outdoors.”
BFCT founder Earl Hunter got the idea for the organization when he was introduced to camping for the first time in 2015. Hunter was serving as Vice President of Sales for Sylvansport, one of the world’s most innovative outdoor industry companies. The idea didn’t fully form, however, Hunter and his son, Dillon, went on an epic camping road trip across the USA and Canada. They traveled for 3 months visiting 49 campgrounds in 20 states/provinces and saw precisely ONE other Black family camping.
Camping has long been an American pastime that was largely enjoyed by those who were, well… not “colored”. High automobile purchase tickets made it difficult for those with no credit, a low-median income and a particular set of demographics, to travel outside of their hometowns.
The “great outdoors” movement did not really happen until auto prices dropped and loan profiles became more relaxed.
However, no matter how many times we see references to fishing and camping in the new “Wonder Years” tv show, camping has not been on the top of our travel list. Plus the (probably true, but culturally enabling) stigma that Black folks DON’T camp, bike or hike is because Jason Voorhees is out there!
But there are some pluses to camping that include making outdoorsy purchases like a wax canvas tent with a stove pipe opening. Or getting one of those fire pits with a charging station at REI. Cooking on the open fire outdoors with the twinkling stars in the sky would make for a better evening atmosphere than the blinking lights of Las Vegas.
To be transparent, my family love the outdoors and since the pandemic, we’ve have gone hiking, trailing, camping, all of the above trying to create new family experiences and adventures. Seeing the Redwood Forest was one of our highlights. People like Hunter and organizations like Goombay Adventures are on a mission to also change that mindset and get more Black people outdoors and enjoy the pastime. Make memories and discover the wonders of sitting by a campfire and waking up to seeing deer fresh off the morning fog.
Whatever your travel plans are for the remainder of 2021 and beyond, be safe, travel with confidence and make heart-felt memories that last beyond a lifetime. And don’t forget to get pictures printed like back-in-the-day, because storing them in your phone is not the best way to keepsake memories.