In Uncertain Times, Planning a Trip Provides a Psychological Lifeline

With a few successful vaccine candidates for COVID-19 now being deployed, people are hopeful that life as normal may resume sometime in 2021. However, as scientists have cautioned throughout the global pandemic, there are no certainties in anything.

It may be three months until vaccines are widely distributed enough that travel is embraced again, or it may be a year – or perhaps longer. Even if one country vaccinates its citizens broadly enough to achieve local herd immunity, there are no guarantees that its citizens can hop on a plane to another country safely. This is all to say, again: no one knows when things will completely return to normal.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t plan for normalcy. As this article will discuss, planning isn’t just a practical undertaking; the process itself can be a powerfully positive psychological lifeline. Whether or not your dream trip comes to fruition, you can – and should – plan that vacation.

When it Comes to Travel, Anticipation Is Just as Enjoyable

According to a study from Cornell University, the “anticipatory consumption” of “experiential purchases” provides “enduring happiness” for people. In layman’s terms, that roughly translates to this: planning a travel experience can bring you lots of joy.

Think of the last time you planned a trip. You probably cracked open a travel guide, perused the streets of your destination on Google Maps, dreamt of different wardrobes to wear, salivated over what local delicacies you might try and visualized the sights you might see. Even thoughall of those anticipatory activities were looking forward to exciting experiences ahead, they were still bringing you joy in the moment.

Even before you boarded the plane, your trip had brought happiness, comfort and excitement into your life. If there’s a compelling case for why you should plan a trip during a pandemic, it’s that.

How to Plan a Trip During a Pandemic

If you are looking to reap the benefits of travel planning but don’t want to commit to purchasing a costly plane ticket just yet, here are a few ways things you can do:

  • Research Destinations: Explore travel guide websites like Lonely Planet or Rough Guides and see which destinations pop out at you. Part of the fun here is choosing – think of it as window shopping for experiences!
  • Pick Your Outfits: Buy that travel hat, those new sneakers and that merino wool underwear for your upcoming trip, and daydream about what outfits you can wear. As the pandemic has made clear, shopping online can be every bit as fun as shopping in person.
  • Have Fun Researching Activities, Restaurants and Sights: Whether alone or with a partner, look through all the activities, sightseeing and eating you can do on your planned vacation. Not only is it a diverting way to pass the time while indoors, but it mimics the sense of discovery you feel when travelling.

There is no worst-case scenario in travel planning. If you end up realizing your travel plans, that’s great. If the pandemic gets in the way of you and your destination, at least you will have had fun planning it. And you can set about planning it all over again for a later date.

If you are looking for a positive psychological lifeline as the world waits for normalcy, break out the travel clothing, crack open the guides and plan that dream trip.

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