Travelling. Just the word sends a thrill through my body. Discovering new places. Meeting amazing new people with completely different perspectives on life. Discovering new surroundings. Tasting the traditional cuisine. Allowing yourself to encounter new possibilities, experiences, and adventures, and giving yourself the freedom to seize the day and see what could possibly happen in a whole new place! But COVID-19 has definitely changed things in the travel industry and left travellers all of the world feeling trapped and angsty. Nonetheless, there are so many ways to get out and about in your own town or city and safely explore!
During the summer of 2020 Canadians all over the country have embraced our current situation and took advantage of locally travelling while safely obeying covid restrictions. Local travelling is a great way to get to know your own country and support their tourism industry. Many people disregard their experiences travelling in their own country since they don’t consider it as much of an adventure as travelling to foreign countries. Some may even feel ashamed that they were not able to travel to foreign places like others do. But our home country is right in front of us and there are usually numerous hidden gems nearby that we would have never even thought to look for before Covid. So the time to travel locally is now! These local trips can possibly even make you feel as if you are returning to your roots! Travelling locally is also tremendously cheaper. Just a short drive through downtown can allow you to discover new and exciting things. When you travel abroad you need to pay for travel insurance, flight tickets, a visa, and so much more. Exploring your home country also gives you a chance to use all that helpful knowledge in your head, such as how much a meal would cost or what would seem like a good deal at the farmers market. In addition, exploring our immediate surroundings allows us to reduce our carbon footprint. By staying close to home or by walking or biking to nearby locations it is much more eco-friendly and we can afford to stay longer and not rush between locations.
Local travel trips also give us the freedom to travel more often. The usual pattern is to work all year and then take a week or two off for a foreign vacation once or twice a year. Although by staying close to home we can take more mini-breaks by taking off Monday or Friday and using the lovely long weekend to drive to a place only hours away from home! After these short trips, we feel motivated to work and rejuvenated for the week ahead. These quick trips also give people something to look forward to, which is truly favourable for anybody’s mental health. Moreover, local travelling significantly supports the local economy and local producers. The tourism industry produces billions of dollars in every economy and employs millions of people worldwide, however when you travel locally you know exactly where your money will end up and that it will support your own economy. You also see the face behind every product, meet the local producers of the market, and learn more about your country’s economy. Although foreign tourists do bring in more money for one’s country, this method is much more sustainable and beneficial for both customers and service providers. Besides, only a small percentage of travellers return to the country they have already visited, but local travellers will explore their favourite locations over and over again.
Some other reasons to travel locally include having the freedom to change your schedule spontaneously, having the knowledge of the country’s culture, background history, and local language which makes exploring new locations fairly easy, being able to create the perfect itinerary, you don’t have to make compromises to your sightseeing plan since you can always come back, it is easier to travel to different locations, road tripping is much cheaper (you can use your own car!) and you already know all the road rules, unnecessary to purchase travel insurance, and it finally open your eyes to how fascinating and beautiful your own country is!
Whether you decide to discover your own backyard, snuggle under the blankets, or take a risk and travel to foreign lands remember to have fun, be open to new things, stay safe and wear a mask! Your country is waiting to be explored, don't make it wait any longer!
Before travelling here are a few things to consider…
Is Covid-19 spreading at your destination?
Are you as an individual at high risk for catching and spreading the virus?
Do you live with someone who might be at increased risk from the virus?
Does your destination have requirements and or restrictions for travellers?
Furthermore, if you do decide to travel please make sure that you wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when in public settings, including on public transportation and in transportation hubs such as airports and stations, avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet apart (about 2 arms’ length) from anyone who is not from your household or are your travelling companions, wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol), avoid contact with anyone who is sick, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
For more details on Covid-19 restriction please check out https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html and if you do decide to travel abroad, check CDC’s COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination before planning your trip.