As countries begin to emerge from local lockdowns, more people are feeling the urge to get back out into the world. While international travel restrictions may be in place for some time, that doesn’t mean that you can’t explore your own country.
Right now, there is no better time to start exploring your own backyard. Not only will travellers get to reconnect with the world starting with their own history, culture and nature, but the increased support for local businesses will be invaluable in reviving local economies. So, if you want to travel the world after COVID-19, the best place to start is at home.
What happened to travel?
The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought the travel and tourism industry to a near standstill. At least 91% of the world’s population, or 7.1 billion people, were living in countries with COVID-19 related travel restrictions in April.
Although we may not be able to travel internationally, a new trend is emerging – domestic travel. As countries like New Zealand, Australia, Denmark and Finland begin to emerge from local lockdown restrictions, more people are thinking about travelling again – but in their own backyards.
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As such, we’re starting to see the formation of ‘travel bubbles‘. Regions will create special zones in which people can move between borders without having to go into extended quarantines. Australia and New Zealand are creating a travel bubble, while Greece, Israel and Cyprus are in talks to open an eastern Mediterannean bubble. Meanwhile, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have already created a ‘Baltic bubble’.
With hyper hygiene practices and physical distancing measures becoming the new norm, more travellers will be seeking out less crowded places in their own backyards.
A recent study showed that more than 50% of Australians want to travel domestically when restrictions lift. They mostly want to travel to coastal, country and regional areas and their main motivator is to support Australian tourism. We’ll begin to see this travel trend emerging across the world.
Explore your own country and boost your local economy
First, we battled a global pandemic – and now we’re facing a global economic crisis. COVID-19 has left millions of people around the world struggling with illness, unemployment and business closures.
We don’t know how long it will take for the economy to recover. But we do know that recovery starts at home. One of the best things we can do to get the economy going is to ramp up the tourism industry. Tourism brings in billions of dollars and hundreds of millions of jobs, along with improved infrastructure like roads and parks. There’s also the social advantages like protecting heritage buildings and natural wonders and creating space for locals to showcase and preserve their traditions.
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You’ll contribute to that booming industry when you explore your own country. Get out there and spend money in small local businesses like restaurants, lodges, shops and farms, especially in regional areas. When you travel locally, you know you’re doing your part for the whole country.
Explore your own country for you
You don’t always have to hop on a plane to get your travel fix. Too often we get caught up in dreaming of faraway lands and forget about all the wonderful adventures that our own country has to offer. Every country is filled with its own natural wonders, historic sites, cultural traditions and delicious cuisine. And it’s just waiting to be discovered by you.
There’s also something extra rewarding about exploring your own country. Not only will you likely be surprised by all the treasures that are right under your nose, but you’ll find yourself forging a greater connection to your local history, culture and communities. You’ll see it in a new light and perhaps gain an important sense of belonging and pride in your country.
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing us to adapt to a new world so quickly, exploring your roots in your backyard can also help to bring a sense of comfort and grounding. If you’ve been feeling the urge to reconnect with the world after spending so many weeks in lockdown, now is the time to explore your own country and take a journey of self-discovery.
How to explore your own country
Whether you’re from a tiny nation like England or a massive one like Australia, it can be hard to know where to begin when travelling locally. If you’ve only got time for a weekend trip, we suggest looking at destinations that are within a 200-kilometre radius of you. If you’ve got a few weeks, you can stretch that radius a bit further and hit a number of local destinations.
The main idea is to avoid travelling thousands of kilometres to an overcrowded tourist attraction and instead explore the lesser-visited gems closer to home. There’s something extra exciting about exploring places that aren’t often visited. You might even get a whole viewpoint, monument or walking trail all to yourself!
In such a widely explored and densely populated world, we don’t often get a chance to really discover something new. Not only will you get to scratch that travel itch, but you’ll also get to know your local heritage, minimise your environmental footprint and support your local community.
Whether you explore a new state or a new neighbourhood, there’s an adventure around every corner in your country. Now is the time to find it.
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Are you planning to explore your own country? Let us know in the comments below!