Kia Opinion revenge traveling to the fullest. Photo: Courtesy of Kia Opinion
Have the last two years of lockdowns given you a bad case of the travel bug? Well, you’re not alone. People are ready to get sweet, sweet vengeance.
“Revenge travel” is a buzzword that refers to the travel fever following years of being land- or even house-locked. But with COVID-19 restrictions easing, more people are now booking spontaneous trips.
“[My wife and I] have been to five rock trips this year,” Dane Policarpio, a 35-year-old IT manager who lives in Manila, Philippines, and who is currently in the town of Igbaras, Iloilo, told VICE. Policarpio and his wife are rock climbers and have been traveling to different parts of the country on climbing trips. In two weeks, they’re going further south to the province of Bukidnon.
“Book first. Think about the details later,” Policarpio advised.
Kia Opinion, a 30-year-old law student who is currently vacationing in Bali, Indonesia, echoes this sentiment. After two years of lockdown, she’s willing to spend more than she usually does just to see the world again.
“Normally, I would never force a trip or book an expensive ticket, but after two years of not really traveling abroad, I was like ‘Oh, who cares,’” she said. “It’s been really great to finally be out again. I feel so light. I feel so relieved.”
Travel has always been essential to both Policarpio and Opinion’s lifestyles. Meanwhile, others are just discovering it.
“I realized that there are a lot of things to do outside of your home,” said Mark Steve Samson, a 33-year-old software engineer from Manila, Philippines.
Samson didn’t travel much before the pandemic but following job-related travel opportunities, he has vacationed in Turkey, Spain, and Hungary in the last six months. He plans to visit Singapore and Costa Rica as well.
If you, too, are in the mood for some revenge travel, here are some tips from these three.
Integrated travel with life
For an office worker like Policarpio, the new normal of remote work was a boon. It gave him and his wife the chance to develop some work-life balance by getting the job done while enjoying nature. Whenever he would book a trip, he would consider the internet situation—which internet service providers had strong network connections in the area.
“I would bring a dongle for both Globe and Smart,” Policarpio said about the two major service providers in the Philippines. “If you work remotely, make sure you have connections for both.”
Knowing what resources are available to make remote work possible helps Policarpio plan out how he would spend his day. “I would need to go down from the crab at 2 or 3 pm,” he said. “In Igbaras, there’s really no signal, so I took work leaves for this trip.”
Take note of COVID-19 restrictions and pandemic-related details
Policarpio said that COVID-19 is not as much of an issue for him because he travels to remote provinces and climbs with a small group of people, but he still always follows protocols like wearing masks in public and taking regular antigen tests. Look up the travel restrictions at the place you want to head to and make sure your paperwork is in order for a smooth entry and exit.
For leisure trips, start with the vibe
For those who are looking to vacation but don’t know where to start, Opinion suggests considering your travel goals.
“At this point, I do have goals when I travel. By goals, I mean if there’s no surf, wildlife, [or] underwater stuff, I tend not to gravitate towards it,” she said. “If you’re like me, who’s really here to check out the lifestyle and get a feel of really living in a certain place, I’d be more ‘go with the flow.’ And definitely, if you have a lot of time, going with the flow [as opposed to having an itinerary] is, I feel, a better option, just because there’s more opportunity to surprise yourself and meet new people.”
If you’re going abroad, consider Visa-free countries first
“[Visas are] such a huge issue for us Filipinos. For spontaneous traveling, an option without a visa is the way to go,” Opinion said. “From a practical point of view, that was really [the] number one [consideration].”
Create a budget but add some wiggle room
A lot of revenge travel has to do with spontaneity—following the call to travel without care or restraint. However, this may come with repercussions for your wallet.
To protect yourself from going too far, Opinion suggested planning things from the start but also acknowledging that you will probably be financially imprudent.
“What I’ve done to keep me on a North Star of sorts is I made an Excel sheet of all the expected expenses,” she said. This included how much money she was willing to spend and how much wiggle room she would allow herself.
“I’ve been shopping a lot, that is true for this trip, but at the same time, because I did a bit of due diligence at the start, I don’t feel very guilty about it.”
For long-haul flights, wear a comfortable mask
Now that border restrictions have been lifted in many parts of the world, long-haul flights are possible again. Just like wearing comfortable clothes is a must, wearing a comfortable mask is important because you’ll be donning it for at least six hours, which can be difficult to get used to.
“Wear a comfortable mask especially if you’re going on a long-distance flight, like to Europe, because some airlines require you to wear it all the time except when you’re eating,” Samson said. “It’s very uncomfortable to rest or sleep if you’re in a mask.”
Check if establishments are open
When it comes to planning your itinerary, you can’t just rely on information from Google anymore.
“A lot of things changed throughout the pandemic. Some places closed, others weren’t able to update their website,” Samson said, adding that it’s best to message or call establishments you’re interested in before landing.
Prepare for mishaps
The airport industry isn’t what it used to be and surging demand for travel amidst understaffed airports leaves more room for mishaps. The Air Travel Consumer Report released in April revealed a 135 percent increase in mishandled bags compared to the previous year. Prep for the possibility of the airline losing your bag, and make sure you have some clothes and underclothing stuffed in your hand baggage too, just in case an irresponsible airline staffer is on your side instead of luck.
There’s also the chance that your flight will get canceled.
“I’ve had a lot of roadblocks, I’m not going to lie,” Opinion said. “A lot of my tickets got cancelled.”
Now might not be a bad time to consider some sort of travel insurance.
You could also get COVID-19 on or before your trip. Samson suggested booking seats close to the exit, avoiding crowded areas, and, if in doubt, getting tested at airports since most international airlines have those facilities now.
In such cases, it’s best to manage your expectations and be prepared. This is the new normal.
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