For many of us, the two and a half years of the pandemic was “lost time.” The pandemic disrupted life as we knew it. It was time away from friends and family. It disrupted educational and leisure pursuits, and exacerbated fear and uncertainties. As COVID-19 restrictions have started to ease, travel, once highly restrictive and prohibitive, has become possible again. As defined by Rory Boland, editor of Which? Magazine, this desire to travel again after a static and dreary period is at the heart of revenge travel.
While some find the word “revenge” negative, I, along with millions of worldwide travelers, rejoiced at the thought of being able to travel once again. The month I spent reconnecting with friends and family, visiting favorite places, and exploring new places was part of my healing and recovery. It almost felt like awakening after a long hibernation.
If you, too, want to embark on revenge travel, these three tips can make your trip a chance to create beautiful memories.
1. Plan — I started dreaming about my June trip to the US in March. When I googled airfare, I was pleasantly surprised to see that airfare was lower than it had been during pre-pandemic days. Unfortunately, I did not buy my ticket until a month before I left. By then, fares had increased, but I still found a good deal with ANA. It was my first time flying with them, and I fell in love with their lavatories; they had bidets! Another reason to plan early: my cousins are planning a Christmas trip to Japan now that it has opened up to independent tourists, and airfare is expensive. Their advice? Move your revenge travel to 2023!
2. Get travel insurance — even when it is not required, I have always gotten travel insurance. As with most insurance policies, I buy it and pray I never get to use it. Unfortunately, one of the new experiences I had during my revenge travel was a trip to the emergency room. After I tripped on a boulder in Boulder, Colorado, my friend insisted on bringing me to the ER. Once I had provided my insurance details, I did not need to shell out a penny for my medical care, which included a CT scan (another new experience).
3. Travel light — my over-ambitious itinerary involved flying to seven cities across the US. Most US airlines now charge for checked-in luggage. While trans-Pacific travel allows for two free suitcases, domestic travel is pretty restrictive regarding weight and luggage size. I traveled with one bag that maxed out at 20 kg, and tried to discipline my shopping urge until my last stop, where my second suitcase was waiting for me. I had lent this giant bag to a friend a year ago, and told him I would pick it up when I visit him (again, rule No. 1: plan).
Concerned friends asked me if I did not fear for my health and safety during my trip since there were times when I traveled alone. I experienced some concern and even culture shock. The first time I saw people walking maskless in a mall made me feel like a country mouse visiting the city for the first time. But I tried to be as careful as I could. I had been double-boosted here. I flew with a mask on, even if I was one of the few passengers who did. I washed my hands, and used alcohol and hand sanitizers obsessively. Still, I had my accident (which serves me right for walking while texting) and needed hospitalization to treat my wounds when I arrived home. Yet for all my caution, I got community-acquired pneumonia!
But will I travel again? Yes, in a heartbeat, although I may stick to domestic travel for a while (and since my arrival from the US, I have gone to Surigao and our new favorite weekend place, a resort on the banks of Taal Lake). One of the benefits of revenge travel is the flow of tourist money into the economy. So, this time, in addition to the urges to commune with nature and to be with family, my battle cry is: Para sa ekonomiya! (For the economy!)
Dr. Seuss’ “Oh the Places You Go” can be our mantra to build our confidence in venturing out into the world again:
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.
Pia T. Manalastas is a faculty member of the Department of Management and Organization of De La Salle University. She teaches Sustainability Management, Integral Human Development, and Lasallian Business Leadership with Ethics and CSR.