I’m waiting until 2022 to plan my next big trip — and not just because of COVID-19

Aug 1, 2021

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After being cooped up in my apartment for more than a year, I was perched at the edge of my seat for the first opportunity to travel. But now? I’ve decided to wait until next year to start planning my next big adventure.

I took a few personal trips last year — mostly small road trips near Charlotte, North Carolina. And when work travel returned, I jumped at the chance to visit Hawaii soon after it first opened, Mexico earlier this year and most recently Orlando to check out Disney World and Universal Studios.

For months, I’ve been mulling over where I wanted to go for my first big personal trip since the pandemic began. Greece? London? Italy? The Maldives?

But now, I’m planning on waiting a while before hopping back on the road for personal travel.

Open suitcase with clothing
(Photo by Willie B. Thomas/Getty Images)

Yes, part of this decision is because of the continued risk of COVID-19. While I feel personally protected with the vaccine and indoor mask-wearing, I don’t want to risk spreading it to others if I were to catch a breakthrough case.

The other reason, however, is over-tourism that the pent-up return to travel demand has caused in many popular destinations.

Take Hawaii, for example. Visitors have flocked there in recent months — hitting pre-pandemic 2019 numbers — and it’s caused a strain on resources and local communities. So much so that Maui Mayor Michael Victorino even asked airlines to help curb the number of visitors to the island, according to a news conference in July.

Popular national parks have campgrounds booked through Labor Day, and many top hiking trails require a pre-dawn wake-up if you want to avoid massive crowds.

(Photo courtesy of Jake Garbelotti)

My recent trip to Orlando only solidified my decision to hold off on a large trip this year.

Disney World was slammed with visitors and is now requiring guests to wear masks while indoors and throughout attractions regardless of vaccination status — which will hopefully make the experience safer. But even with mask mandates back in action, waiting in three hours lines for rides puts a damper on the Disney magic.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Even the experience to get from home to my next destination would quite possibly come with crowded airports and delayed flights.

American Airlines canceled hundreds of flights in the course of just one weekend in late June. Airlines and TSA are pulling desk workers to help with airport crowds. Jet fuel shortages in the western US could mean lengthy delays.

I love to travel — both for work and as a hobby. And after over a year spent only traveling for work, I’m excited at the prospect of taking my first big personal trip somewhere far away (and hopefully beachside). But that trip will have to wait.

When I plan my next adventure — whether it be to the Philippines to visit where my dad grew up, to Greece to lounge next to the Mediterranean, or maybe even to South Africa to cross “swimming with sharks” off my bucket list — I want to be able to experience my destination to the fullest. And I want the local community to be at a place where resources aren’t stretched.

That means closing out my Notion planning tab and ramping up my earning strategy for the rest of 2021. Come 2022, I’ll take the time to plan out my next grand trip (with the points and miles stash I will have accumulated over what will be two years at that point).

In the meantime, I’ll continue traveling for work as needed and scratching that travel itch with smaller weekend getaways to nearby places — with my vaccine card and masks in tow.

Featured image by Madison Blancaflor/The Points Guy.

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