How to support the travel industry during the COVID-19 pandemic
The Coronavirus has impacted travelers all over the globe. Here's how to support the travel industry and Worldpackers community even while social distancing.
The Coronavirus has traveled swiftly across the globe. The world is a drastically different place than it was a month ago, a week ago, a day ago, and the travel industry is one of the most changed for it.
There is no denying that the Coronavirus has, and will continue to, disrupt the way we think about travel, plan for future travel, and support the travel industry.
Countries are closing borders. We're all (hopefully) social distancing and avoiding unnecessary mingling. Discretionary travel is, simply put, very risky.
Before we jump into how to support the travel industry, please read this recommendation for the Worldpackers community on what to do during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Here are 5 of the best ways to support the travel industry during the Coronavirus pandemic.
1. Don't travel to, from, or through areas with evidence of community spread
For most people in the world right now, that means avoiding unnecessary travel and socially distancing from places where you'd interact or come into contact with other people.
The truth is that the best way we can protect the health of the people we'd come into contact with is simply not to come into contact with them.
Even if you plan to travel to remote locations like campsites or parks, you'd need to travel through small towns or regions that generally don't have the resources to handle a community outbreak well.
I know that hearing the words "don't travel" makes us travelers feel like the rug is being pulled out from under us. The rug is being pulled out from under us, but there will be a day when we can shake hands with our tour guides and wander through a crowded, local market and debate who gets the middle armrests on the plane again.
That day is not today, but it will come.
2. Write reviews
The tourism industry lives and dies by reviews. Reviews are one of the biggest ways other travelers find great accommodations, restaurants, and experiences around the globe.
If you're anything like me, you've been meaning to review the places you've been, but haven't had the time to. With time on your side, you can review all of the amazing places you've traveled to and experienced.
A great review will make someone's day, regardless of how many miles or closed borders are between the two of you. Reviews will also pay off later, helping other travelers find hidden gems when we're able to safely hit the road again.
3. Consider every dollar you spend to be a "vote" for what you want the world to look like
Now more than ever, put your money where your mouth is. The reality is that if you don't, the world might look differently than you want it to at the end of this.
If you value small businesses, purchase from or donate to small businesses. If you value creativity, support creative projects and artists. If you value the travel industry, buy gift certificates for future travel.
Every dollar is a vote for what you want to last in this altered world.
4. Learn skills that will make you a better traveler in the future
Now more than ever before, we have time. We have the time to learn, practice, reflect, move, breathe, and dream.
Use your time to become a better traveler and steward of the travel industry.
Here are a few ways that will make you a better traveler one day.
There are many online language learning resources, many of which are running free trials right now. Use the time you have now to practice for when you can have meaningful in-person conversations with others when you travel later.
The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted our global health, but it's also had a major impact on our financial health. Budgeting isn't glamorous, but it does help you travel farther, longer, and more often. Practice budgeting techniques and start saving aggressively for the day you can safely buy that plane ticket.
Get more fit
Now is a great time to try a free trial of an online fitness app. How does that make you a better traveler for the future? You'll be able to lift your bag, walk farther distances, and confidently adventure in new ways at the end of this.
Stay calm in chaos
In addition to being a very real concern for physical health, this pandemic is testing mental health. Practicing mental health strategies now, in the most uncertain of times, will help you handle uncertain travel situations later.
Read about your dream destinations
Support bloggers, writers and publications in the travel industry by visiting their websites, commenting on their posts, interacting with them on social media, and staying curious about the world around you.
The Worldpackers community blog is a great place to go if you want to daydream about your next adventure, whenever it will be.
Get your gear in order (or purchase some)
Now is a great time to clean and organize the gear you need for your next adventure, or purchase new gear if you need to. Research what you might need for your next trip and buy from small businesses and smaller outfitters when you can (many of them are taking online or over-the-phone orders even if they've closed brick and mortar locations).
Learn a skill that will make you a better Worldpacker someday
If you know the type of Worldpackers experience you'd like to have someday, start cultivating those skills in your own backyard. Learn about eco-friendly activities, improve your handiness, take an online bartending class.
Follow your passion! You can daydream about future Worldpackers opportunities here.
Check in with your travel friends
We might be socially distanced, but we don't have to be socially isolated. Keep in touch with friends you've met while traveling (and encourage them to support the travel industry as you check in with them).
5. Plan for the day when we can safely travel again
You know what doesn't cost a penny and still helps the travel industry? Planning for future travel.
You may not travel this month. You may not know when you'll be able to travel again. But that day will come. So create dream itineraries. Research where you'd stay. Make bucket lists and record future travel goals.
One day, this pandemic will be over. You'll be able to book a flight and get on that plane and travel to a new place. You'll be able to meet new people without worrying who they've been in contact with. You'll be able to see the world for yourself.
One day, you'll be able to be travelers in the traditional sense of the word again. For now, travel in your hearts. Travel in your minds. Travel with your wallets. Travel without leaving your home. Just keep supporting travel with your words, your social capital, your dollars, and your future.