The anticipation of future travel can buoy mood.
It’s been a year since the start of COVID-19, which has caused a lot of stress in our everyday lives. Many of us thought that 2021 would bring a fresh start, yet anxieties are still at an all-time high as the pressures of remote work persist. For many individuals who lack separation in their lives between work and home environments, one of the best ways to boost mood and mindset is by looking ahead. More specifically, dreaming about and planning future travel can give a huge dose of happiness, especially as the months get warmer.
When reminiscing about “happier days,” I always think back to my family vacations. The act of traveling is more than simply visiting a destination away from home. Instead, travel has the unique ability to transform lives by creating invaluable experiences that allow us to reconnect with loved ones, immerse ourselves in new cultures, and gain a deeper understanding of our personal values, which can lead to a greater appreciation of life in general.
Traveling creates lifelong, happy memories that people treasure and revisit often. In fact, a recent survey from Hilton found that 95% of Americans are missing travel right now, and 89% agree that their travel memories are some of the happiest ones of their lives. However, with the pandemic putting a stop to travel plans due to countless travel restrictions, millions of people all over the country are missing the chance to plan their travel and create more new memories, leaving a majority to feel that we are experiencing a travel memory deficit.
Hilton’s survey found that 188 million Americans believe we are facing a travel memory deficit and 85% agree that it will have a lasting impact. And to many, the memories they are making now during the pandemic do not compare to sightseeing, family reunions, stress-free beach days, and the other beloved travel activities that we all cherish and enjoy – especially as the weather warms up and we welcome a new season of possibilities to get away and explore.
As the COVID-19 vaccine continues to rollout nationally and consumer confidence in travel begins to slowly return, now is the perfect time to gather the entire family (virtually, of course) and plan that spring or summer vacation. From grandchildren to great aunts, travel provides the perfect opportunity to reconnect and make new happy memories.
The decision when to travel again is a deeply personal one and while not everyone is ready to hop on a plane just yet, here are three ways to help you create new travel memories and get you excited to jet set as soon as flowers start to bloom:
1. Throw a “Virtual” Vacation Planning Party: Invite your family and loved ones to a Zoom happy hour to talk about future travel plans. Whether it’s a spring staycation or long weekend road trip before the summer heat takes over – there are plenty of safe travel options you can already plan to go on. As an expert in the field of happiness, and someone who is currently planning a future vacation with my family, I can speak firsthand to how researching, planning, and anticipating a future trip can increase your happiness.
The recent Hilton survey discovered that almost one in three travelers’ favorite travel memory stands out because they felt like they were their “best self.” With that in mind, during the call have each person share one of their favorite past vacations to both remind everyone of happier times and to get them excited for their future trips.
Each person can also share travel destinations they are eager to visit with the group because according to Hilton 72% of those surveyed will spend more time traveling with family, rather than friends, once the pandemic is over. Plus, once your family and loved ones start to travel again, you’ll have a full list of must-see destinations.
2. Make a Bucket List: After nearly a year of vacation deprivation, globetrotters are starting to optimistically dream about traveling freely again. Two thirds (66%) of Americans who plan to travel once travel restrictions are lifted agree that they will quit putting off special trips they’ve always wanted to take. If you’re missing travel a little extra, sit down and write a list of all the places you want to visit – let’s call it your post-pandemic bucket list. When you make a list of all the places you’d like to visit, this activity could act as a springboard to help you be more aware of what’s truly important to you and what will provide you the greatest joy and happiness in your life.
3. Book Your Next Vacation: The thought of finally packing your suitcase and walking down the jet bridge at the airport or packing up the car for a road trip is the adventurous feeling we are all craving right now. While most of us aren’t ready to physically travel yet, now is the perfect time to book a future trip. Knowing you have a great trip already planned, booked, and paid for provides instant gratification and something to look forward to, whether it’s as early as this spring, later this year or even in 2022. Counting down the months and weeks to a new trip helps the time fly by, so even if the thought of booking a vacation now feels hopeless with the current restrictions, you’ll reap the benefits come travel time. Brands like Hilton are committed to providing maximum flexibility and value to its Hilton Honors members and guests who are booking future vacations.
Staying positive about travel in the midst of a pandemic can be a challenge, but these three activities will help boost your happiness and provide an opportunity to create the new travel memories we are all desperately craving. So, grab your family and friends and start planning your next travel adventure!
Amy Blankson explores the modern challenges of finding balance in the digital era. A graduate of Harvard and Yale School of Management, Blankson is a