Longer, Slower, Farther: Savoring the Prospects of Future Travels
Beth Warren, a middle school history teacher in Lookout Mountain, Ga., had been looking forward to a much-anticipated trip this summer to Egypt, a country she vowed to show her husband and friends after her first visit several years ago. She was deep into organizing the trip with High End Journeys when the pandemic struck, and has since shifted the visit to summer 2022, in part to make sure the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza is open.“2022 sounds really far away,” she said. “But once I saw Egypt, I couldn’t get enough of it.”People have always planned big trips months or even a year ahead of time, but now many are extending that timeline even further. In the travel stasis induced by the pandemic, future travelers have taken to tackling their bucket lists with big trips that are more distant and longer than usual — and planned further in advance. Optimists are targeting 2021. For others, their next big trip will be in 2022.Before the pandemic, according to the American Society of Travel Advisors, most travelers booked trips six months or more in advance, on average, and longer for elaborate honeymoons or very special events like the solar eclipse passing over South America in December. Some travel companies say longer term bookings have recently rebounded. For instance, Red Savannah, a British luxury travel agency that organizes custom trips, says it is up 160 percent over bookings this time last year.These days, even spontaneous types have more time to think about where they want to go and put a plan in place.
“I’m trying to go big with my trips,” said Rayme Gorniak of Chicago, who is currently laid off from his work managing fitness studio franchises.Anything short and normally easy to plan might bring disappointment as the pandemic continues, he reasoned, but a far-horizon destination — he’s considering Jordan for June 2021 — offers hope. The trip also represents a personal conquest for Mr. Gorniak, who is gay and worried about the persecution of L.G.B.T. people in some Muslim countries.“Jordan’s been on my radar because of the rich history, and off it because of the potential risk I would have,” he said. “But I’ve been doing research on Amman and seeing, as strict religious standards go, it’s a little bit more lax on tradition,” he said.For Lori Goldenthal of Wellesley, Mass., changing plans meant changing the destination. She had originally planned a trip in and around Vietnam for her husband’s upcoming 60th birthday. But after the pandemic hit, she worked with the agency Extraordinary Journeys to book a two-week trip to Namibia for 2021.“Namibia was on my bucket list and it seemed like a better idea than going to all these big cities in Asia,” she said.
“I believe we will go, but who knows,” she added, noting generous cancellation policies that made her more comfortable booking the trip. “Having something to look forward to is fantastic.”