Our house is the quietest it’s been since last spring’s rushed switch to distance learning and our admittedly weak attempt at ‘summer camp with mom’ here at Casa Schlegel. Since the beginning of the new distance learning school year, the whole family is now distributed around the house, each of us in our own little online world. My husband and I are in separate home office spaces, kid one is in the reading loft, and kid two has commandeered the entire dining room (which we now refer to as ‘middle school’). It’s going to be like this for a while yet, and I’ve made my peace with that, though I can’t say I love every moment.
While there are downsides to WFH (work from home) and SFH (school from home), there are also upsides. For one, it opens up some travel options that we didn’t have before, so long as we make our travel plans in a way that is mindful of the current travel and health environment.
Imagine if you would have gone to your place of business or your child’s school at any time in the past and suggested, ‘I’d like to just dial in remotely this year. You know, to have some more time with the family and cut down on the commute.’ Cue the baffled looks. But now, we suddenly have a potentially golden opportunity. Let’s reframe our WFH / SFH perspective: if our situations allow us to, we may just be able to work from someplace else entirely. Why not try it?
We have entered into a new phase for travel. Airlines, airports, hotels, resorts, restaurants, destinations, and we as individuals have advanced in our ability to navigate the situation smartly and responsibly. It can be done. The cruise lines, too, are moving mountains as they innovate for even greater guest health and ship-shape cleanliness for when they welcome us onboard again. What’s more, the Department of State has removed the worldwide travel warning (reverting to the previous system of country-by-country travel advisories), and the Centers for Disease Control have changed their COVID-19 travel recommendations for many countries. We’re not in the same spot as we were last spring.
Sounds promising, yes? The thing to remember is that it’s a different travel world, and the way we approach travel plans needs to be different, too. Here are some of the ways to travel now so you can make the most out of WFH / SFH, while still respecting the moment the world is in:
1. Take the show on the road. Road trips are hugely popular right now. Traveling with your crew in the comfort of your own car certainly has its appeal. The classic road trip also taps into our desire to reconnect with family in a low tech way. Many families are opting to travel within a 3-5 hour driving distance to rent a vacation home for a long weekend or extended stay, while others are doing a multi-stop road trip to see more of our American travel treasures. Be sure to make your reservations in advance and plan out your comfort breaks wisely.
2. Create a travel bubble. Some of us may be foregoing visiting family over the holidays this year, but are still looking to enjoy vacation with someone outside our own four walls. If you’ve spent most of the summer with just a few close friends or families, you may already have the perfect travel bubble or pod set up. All you need to figure out now is the where and when. (Check out my quote on travel bubbles in this Real Simple article.) As you plan your travel together, be open about your travel preferences, how you’ll handle details like mealtime and online work hours, and any ground rules you want to have in place for a healthy and happy vacation.
3. Cut it out with the Zoom backgrounds already. Back in the early sourdough-baking phase of WFH, a cool simulated video conferencing background was the cat’s pajamas. Folks, it’s over. Swap out your artificial South Pacific background image for the real deal and WFP--work from paradise. The Islands of Tahiti, for example, have beautiful opportunities for social distancing in an overwater bungalow, and have clear protocols in place for everyone’s health and safety. There are some Caribbean islands as well that stand out with thoughtful protocols and welcoming hospitality. I know it’s not possible for everyone, but if you are truly able to work remotely and your situation allows, well then it’s sure worth considering.
4. Take advantage of off-peak dates and consider longer stays. Perhaps you’re less anchored to specific holiday break times: take advantage of off-season or shoulder travel dates and think about staying longer. Again, if you are doing WFH / SFH, you may have greater flexibility in when and how long you travel for, so long as there is good WiFi. A longer stay also means greater opportunity for cultural and natural immersion. In Saint Lucia, for example, you can learn chocolate making, go for exhilarating mountain hikes, and bliss out on the beach.
One thing is certain: travel has changed for all of us. Wherever you stand in your comfort level with traveling again, the world of travel has entered a new phase. Dusty throw pillows in a hotel reception area? No more. Tightly packed restaurants? A thing of the past. Sitting next to a feverish, sniffling passenger on a plane? Not likely. Ship’s muster? Reimagined.
When we venture out into the world again, we can look forward to more clean, airy, open spaces, greater caring for travelers’ health and well-being, and an increased ability to be flexible in our travel plans. These are all good developments. That said, we need to be smart about where and how we travel, as well as how we book our travel. There is much to navigate for international travel especially, so don’t go it alone.
For our family, we’ll be trying out remote work / school for an extended weekend by the beach, then later this fall we'll be heading to a luxury island resort - just firming up those plans has given us a mood boost already. The joy of anticipation is half the fun, and I’m looking at our future travel plans now, too.
Are you seeing some upsides to WFH? How are you feeling about travel these days or in the future? I’d love to hear your thoughts, or let me know how I can help you now. You can reach out to me right here. Whenever you’re ready to plan, I’m here to be of service. From a premium / luxury resort stay to a future cruise to a custom travel itinerary, let’s get you back out there smartly, together.
Happy Travels Always,
Get your free guide to create your personal travel dream list in three fun, easy steps. Click on the photo to learn more.
Photo credits, all from Unsplash: cover photo by Austin Distel, woman with computer by Andrew Neel, couple with bubbles by Khoa Pham, Saint Lucia by Daniel Oeberg.