There are many reasons to start planning for travel

Is anyone’s head in a spin about the thought of going on their next holiday? When will it be safe to travel? Will I need a vaccine passport? What countries will I be able to visit?

Although we keep as up-to-date as we can with all the latest guidelines, unfortunately, we can’t answer these questions.

But that doesn’t mean that you should wait before starting to plan your next big adventure. In fact, there are a lot of reasons why you should be using the time you have now to do your research, have conversations with tour operators and look to secure your bookings. Here’s why:

1. Anticipation creates much-needed joy

The NY Times recently spoke with Elizabeth Dunn, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia who studied anticipation and happiness. The fact that we haven’t been able to travel means that we will savour the next opportunity even more, so the article suggests booking a trip long enough in advance to build excitement and expectation. Last-minute bookings mean you miss out on this source of pleasure. Furthermore, even if you have to delay or cancel these travel plans, you won’t lose the anticipatory pleasure in the meantime. The final interesting point that Dr Dunn made was that this is not limited to just you. Sharing this anticipation with other people and allowing them to be part of it may be particularly welcome amid the isolation. Whether this is talking to people about a trip you have planned and they have been to the place before or using it as an opportunity to interact with the friends who will travel with you, it will be a welcome respite from the constant conversation around the pandemic.

2. Demand will likely exceed supply

Under normal circumstances, securing high-season availability at the most desirable villas, cottages and hotels can be an issue. Factor in, limited capacity, pent up desire and a reduced travel window and the result is that many people will find themselves not able to travel where they want when the time comes. The surge in demand for cottages and rental homes in the UK for the next few months is proof of this. With refundable deposits and flexible cancellations (see below), now might be the time to get your name down so you don’t miss out.

3. You have nothing to lose

You have nothing to lose by kicking off the planning phase. Travel companies are anticipating answering many questions about flexibility to change or cancel your booking, with most operators having made their T&Cs much more customer-focused. This might depend on the country you are visiting and the specifics of your trip but there is much more transparency on the fine print. If you are talking to an operator and they are not forthcoming with this information, then we suggest finding one that is. Most airlines are still offering refunds and flexible changes so if the worst-case scenario becomes a reality, you shouldn’t be out of pocket.

4. Contribute to the positive impacts of travel

Responsible travel operators have not been sitting around for the last year waiting for demand to return; they have been using this time to look at how they deliver their services and what can be done better. Although the lack of tourism has provided much-needed respite to some destinations and natural areas, the positive impacts of travel have been greatly missed around the world. The past year has shed a light on the important role that tourism plays in education, conservation and partnerships with local communities. When done right, with people and planet in mind, your continued desire to explore will help drive the industry forward in the positive direction in which it strives to return.