Wishing You Were Here …
After a year of quarantine, a travel pro shares some getaway ideas.
Warm sand and world cities might have been in our minds through 2020, but they haven’t been under our feet. While COVID has cooled my heels, it certainly has not extinguished my drive to explore the world. Like most of us, I’ve been at home for almost a year, but I’ve started to fantasize about my next trips, while also asking myself what post-pandemic travel might look like.
Over the last year many of us have become accustomed to lives that are a bit slower and more spacious. That roomy attitude is how I imagine many of us will be most comfortable traveling in the nearer future. Bypassing major cities and big events, here are some ideas for slow and spacious travel that might satisfy our cabin fever, wanderlust and adventurous spirits.
If you do start making plans I’d encourage you to keep them as flexible as the COVID situation is dynamic — starting with careful consideration of travel restrictions and the cancellation policies of all your trip’s components. In the meantime, even if your trip is just to the kitchen, I wish you Bon Voyage!
A weekend in someplace like Newport, R.I., might be a great re-introduction to getting out of town. The energy of a bigger town with the ocean breezes blowing through, it could be easy to fill a few days with the Cliff Walk, tours of Gilded Age mansions and long lunches on bayfront decks. Farther afield, a trip up the coast of Maine and all the way to Nova Scotia would be a greater shift in atmosphere with the rugged coast punctuated by fishing villages, eating lobster all along the way. (Hint: Taking the ferry across the Bay of Fundy would both shorten drive time and offer an on-the-water perspective.)
From the Scottish Highlands to Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, Europe is covered in paths and trails that offer exploration that’s active but not strenuous. Walking 5 to 10-plus miles each day between towns, you’d cross vistas and valleys while connecting the dots between villages and towns.
More rugged travelers might carry everything on their backs, but luggage transfer services are available on many of these routes, allowing us to arrive at the next inn with our suitcase awaiting.
And if it rains one afternoon, just catch a cab — no one is keeping score.
Before the advent of railways, England and France built extensive networks of canals to move supplies and products around their countries. Many of these waterways are now used mostly for recreation. Renting a self-piloted boat is like a floating AirBnB, allowing you to putter through the towns and countryside along the canals’ path, stopping where you please. This trip idea doesn’t even require a flight or a passport — there are boat rental firms on the Erie Canal, crossing upstate New York.
If a relaxed beach vacation appeals but you still want opportunities for exploration and adventure, maybe Central America is your destination.
Costa Rica stands out for its mix of resorts and surfing villages on the coasts, with lush rain forests and the majestic Arenal Volcano inland. Go for a hike with a naturalist guide to see monkeys, sloths and toucans — or visit a zip-line park for a thrill amongst them all.
Ed Stillman is a travel professional based in Millerton, N.Y., exploring his post-pandemic role in a recovering industry. You can follow him on Instagram