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When we last hosted a frequently asked questions episode back in March—recorded before most of the country began to lock down—we had far-flung adventures on our mind. Now, after a summer staying near home, we’re looking with the same level of bated breath at 2021, with a few bright spots of hope for travel this winter. It seems you are too, as many of the questions we received from our listeners were focused on the future, from how to work around a cancelled study abroad trip or move someplace new, to the best ways to support the travel industry responsibly. So, we tapped Traveler‘s articles director Stephanie Wu and associate editor Megan Spurrell to come back and offer even more advice for your travel plans. As we mentioned in our summer travel episode, travel right now is all about mitigating risk and staying within your comfort zone, whether that means you’re exclusively planning 2021 travel or looking for a nearby getaway later this year.
Thanks to Stephanie and Megan for sharing their advice and thanks, as always, to Brett Fuchs for engineering and mixing this episode. As a reminder, you can listen to new episodes of Women Who Travel on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts, every Wednesday morning.
Read a full transcription of the episode below.
Lale Arikoglu: Hi everyone, and welcome to this week’s episode of Women Who Travel, a podcast from Condé Nast Traveler. I’m Lale Arikoglu, and with me, as always, is my co-host Meredith Carey.
Meredith Carey: Hello.
LA: We kicked off the summer, a very weird summer, with a frequently asked questions episode. But a lot has changed since then, so we’re back to answer even more questions about travel, COVID, and COVID and travel together. We’re joined by Stephanie Wu, Traveler’s director of articles, and associate editor Megan Spurrell, whose voices I’m sure you’re all very familiar with by now. Hi, guys.
Stephanie Wu: Hi.
Megan Spurrell: Hi.
MC: So our first question this week comes from @globalexposuresphotography, a.k.a Molly. And it’s actually a question that we got from a number of people. It’s: What strategies or steps do we recommend for planning future trips?
SW: I can’t be the only one, but I’m greatly looking ahead to 2021. Not that I think some magical switch will be flipped, but I think the ability to look ahead and anticipate, and know that at the very least, next summer will hopefully be very different from the summer that we’ve just had, is very much something that’s keeping me afloat.
But my number one tip for planning future trips is really to think longer term, if you can. We’ve all been cooped up so much that I think it’s really beneficial to try and take longer trips. Not only does that work in the favor of the place that you’re visiting, they always appreciate when visitors stay for longer, but also, frankly, you’ll save money if you can take a longer trip.
So, many hotels are offering, “Stay a third night free or fourth night free,” which you can take advantage of booking now. And also, really just think about not just booking flight and hotel in advance, but working through the logistics. Are you going to feel safer in a rental car? Are you going to try and go to different destinations or cities on one trip? And what are some of the must-do’s that, maybe in next summer, will still require advanced reservations? Should you be adjusting your dates, for instance, to kind of make sure that the things you really need to do, will have availability at that point.
LA: Steph, this sounds like a really obvious question, but when you say longer trips, how long are you talking?
SW: At least a week. I think if you’re getting on a plane, try and aim for two. It just will make, I think, everything easier if you’re not trying to hop around and be in a lot of destinations for short amounts of time.
MS: And I think also, as we talk about what we’ve been doing this year, it’s been a lot of shorter trips. Maybe staycations or small drives, things that feel a little more doable. And so next year, when you look at planning out your vacation days, it also might be really healthy and good to take a full week off of work—or maybe even two weeks if that’s an option for you—just to really get a break, beyond what will happen in the destination.
Something I would suggest when you’re looking at travel for next year, is trying to plan a trip that is either mostly refundable or rescheduleable. A way to do that is working with a travel specialist that might have better interpersonal relationships with the hotel or tour operators, and might be able to get you a little bit more wiggle room than you would have if you were booking straight through an online travel agent like Expedia or something like that, which has pretty strict non-flexible rules as far as refunds and rescheduling. And I think a lot of tour operators are going to be a little more flexible with rescheduling—maybe not the refund—but if you do need to push your trip, I think what we’re seeing is a lot of people might be more flexible in doing that, knowing that you will be going with them and will be spending your money with them, eventually.
LA: I think that’s also an interesting point, avoiding using third-party platforms like Expedia, which is that, when I think of them I think of using them when I want to be spontaneous and I’m trying to find a last-minute cheap flight. And looking ahead to 2021, I don’t think it’s going to be the year of spontaneity. It’s going to be the year of planning. So reserve, maybe, looking for those deals for 2022 or onwards.
SW: I think my rule of thumb is really that, if it’s something that you can’t figure out easily on the internet, go to an expert. They will be able to keep tabs on ever-changing rules and regulations and keep you posted as opposed to you having to theoretically set a Google alert for every single activity you want to do.
MS: And I was just going to say, I think for me, planning has been such a hard thing, even though when you’re taking a trip now you have to think through so much of it, actually committing to it, even when it’s refundable, is just like this mental block that I’ve had. But I think because we’re not traveling spontaneously now, it’s such a great time to just at least start really reading about the places you know you want to go when we can travel again. I have just read up on destinations in a way I never did before. I think even that feels like an active way of getting ready to take a trip before you commit to anything. That’s really productive.
MC: And I think there are ways you set yourself a timeline. We have one on the site, that we’ll link in the show notes, for planning a trip, maybe a year out, so that you can really think through and make sure you’re not missing any major steps or forgetting anything because we might all be a little rustier when it comes to planning trips next year, especially big trips, since most people will have not done one in the past year.
LA: Okay. So, moving on to the next question. Akila sent us a message saying that her study abroad had been canceled. She’s graduating in 2021, and she’s not quite sure what to do given that study abroad is probably off the cards for her right now. And I’m interested to know, especially given that a few of us on this episode have done study abroad themselves, how she can try and recreate that experience for herself after graduation or find other ways to kind of get the benefits that she had hoped to get from studying abroad?
SW: First of all, I just want to jump in and say, Akila, you’re definitely not alone. We just did a huge story about how COVID-19 has shifted study abroad and all of the students who kind of lost out on this semester long opportunity that they were really looking forward to. So first of all, take solace in the fact that many others are feeling this way. What I would consider doing is traveling the summer after graduation. Whether that means a longer multi-month train trip through Europe or two week trips to multiple destinations. Think about what part of study abroad most excited you. Were you looking forward to learning a new language? Were you looking forward to meeting new people or immersing yourself in a new culture or eating baguette and cheese everyday like I did? And use that to really recreate your own trip with or without guidance from the university. You could theoretically take your original study abroad plan and use it to modify it a bit, if that educational element interests you. But I would go back to the priorities and use that to rethink your summer after graduation, which I think we can all agree is a really ideal time to travel. And for those who didn’t, probably a source of regret.
MS: I studied abroad and it was so rewarding for me that I ended up after graduation wanting to do another stint living in another country. And I choose to teach English, which I think is a thing that a lot of people do. One of the easiest ways to kind of get to move to another country for a few months and live there, create a routine, be working. So I’d also explore programs like that, if you feel like the structure of something you’re kind of signing up for and being guided through is what you’re looking for.
MC: Something else that Ashlea Halpern, who reported that story that Steph mentioned, wrote about was that a lot of schools are pivoting to classes that are online or maybe in-person that have a travel component. So you wouldn’t be traveling and doing a study abroad through the whole semester, but you might be able to do a class that has two-week, three-week, four-week end segment that is traveling, depending on what is safe to do at the end of the semester. So as you get into your second semester of your senior year, which usually is a little lighter on your schedule, you might want to look and see what classes, maybe even outside of your major, offer that travel component, because that might be more feasible and may be a little more reliable than going abroad for a whole semester.
LA: I think also, just, it’s hard right now when it feels like our entire lives are somewhat on hold. But study abroad when you’re at college is not the be all and end all. It does not mean that you won’t get lots of opportunities to travel in the future. I applied to a study abroad program that had very limited places when I was in college, and I did not get onto it, and I was absolutely devastated and felt like I had lost out on this once in a lifetime opportunity. I’ve ended up spending so much of my life, since I graduated, traveling and seeing new places. I even moved abroad. So remember that, this isn’t the be all and end all. Think about how you want to incorporate travel into your life post-graduation as you’re starting to think about what that life could look like.
MC: So, there wasn’t a name attached to this, but @nkrich asked, where would you recommend for a pet-friendly getaway this fall? And she wants to go on a road trip. My first thought is… I don’t know where you live, so I cannot give you a very specific place, but there are tons of amazing hotels, ones that you probably wouldn’t expect to be pet-friendly, like The LINE, which do offer special amenities for your pets. And then when you’re also looking at, maybe getting outside, not staying at a hotel, Getaways and Collective Retreats, which are probably two separate ends of the glamping spectrum, are both pet-friendly and there’s probably one near you because there are Getaways pretty much everywhere. So that would be where I would start if I was planning a road trip with my pets.
MS: And it really depends on how outdoorsy you’re feeling. I feel like this time has pushed a lot of people to camp and do things that might have not been something they were interested in before. But we also just put up a story about camping with dogs. And there are a lot out here, you can find lodges, if you want to camp, you can camp at a national park. You just want to make sure you look up the restrictions beforehand on which allowed dogs. But you can also, like Meredith said, kind of find something that’s a little more in the middle like Hipcamp. They have campsites, but they have a little more amenities than like your standard tent on the ground situation.
And in the story, one of the places we talk about is, even though most national parks don’t allow dogs, Acadia National Park in Maine, which I know at least two of us on this call have been to in the past month and loved, has over a hundred miles of pet-friendly trails. So you can kind of… If you do your research, you can find a lot of places that you can take your dog with you.
LA: And to that point, I was in Acadia National Park with a couple of friends earlier this summer, and we took their nine-month-old puppy, Dolly, who got to go on the trails for the first time. It was very momentous and we stayed in a pet-friendly Airbnb. So also when you’re looking at where to stay, remember that Airbnb lists places that are friendly and you can just put the filter on and research it that way. So that’s always an option.
SW: If you’re like me and need something a little bit more full service, I would recommend looking for a Kimpton hotel, which has many outlets spread around the country, and they’re incredibly pet-friendly. They welcome you with a little pet amenity kit. They have quite a few new hotels opening, including one in Deep Ellum in Dallas, which I know Meredith is super familiar with, but those will provide a little bit more service than, of course, your camping or outdoors focused types trips.
MC: And I will say additionally in the Texas realm, naturally have to shout out one more place in Texas. Austin has tons of outdoor dining and outdoor activities. Lots of places are very dog friendly, lots of businesses, restaurants, bars, things like that and there are also tons of trails around the lake. So if you’re looking for a more urban destination, that’s better in the fall because right now, as we record this, it’s probably too hot, but maybe in a month you will be good. Austin’s a great place to take dogs.
So when we were doing outreach to figure out what questions we wanted to ask during this podcast, a dear friend of mine, Aria, reached out to me, who recently lost her dad. She shared that her mom was recently widowed and she loves to travel, but she’s scared now to do it on her own. And she wanted to know what advice she could give to her mom to get back out and do something that she really enjoys by herself. Megan, I know that you have written about this in the past. What advice would you give to Aria’s mom?
MS: So this is something my mom went through nearly a decade ago. And I think after losing a partner, especially one you’ve traveled with a lot, it can feel intimidating to do anything by yourself, whether it’s having dinner or going to events. I think that was something she really struggled with. And I think what helps her—and what we talk about in the story—and what could help your mom is first of all, speaking to people who have gone through similar experiences and understanding that there are some common experiences there.
I think knowing that other people do move on from these losses, by getting back out there, trying to regain confidence, and kind of establishing a new sense of self and doing things like travel that can be really empowering, and kind of show you that there’s more ahead. So I think the story can be a start for her to hear from women who have done things like this and gotten back out there. And I also think if there are other people in your community or that you know of, or friends of friends, especially friends of friends’ mothers, who have done this kind of thing. Putting her in touch with those people to start talking about how she might want to get back out there is really helpful.
And in the story there are some examples, but I think maybe it starts with you guys doing a trip that’s you and her going somewhere, and that’s sort of her transition to starting to do trips on her own. Or maybe you do a family trip, and then the next one is just two people, and eventually she’s more comfortable doing her own thing.
But another way to tackle it is by having her join a group trip when that becomes the thing that we can do again. It’s a great way to feel like you’re not totally by herself. I know like small cruises can be a way to do that, but there’s some really good ideas for women in that story that I would definitely recommend her looking into as a way to start thinking about travel again.
LA: And Megan, I think the point you make about easing yourself into, whether it be solo travel or a new way of traveling, is really important. I think on this podcast, we have used the example of taking yourself out for dinner alone more times than I can count at this point.
But I think allowing yourself to just kind of dip your toes in and see how you feel and find your comfort level is really important. And Megan, your suggestion of the two of them maybe taking a trip together is a really good one. Perhaps if your mom feels up to it, suggest to her to tack on a day, either at the beginning or the end of the trip by herself, so that she can get that experience of traveling alone, but know that it’s not a full commitment and that if she doesn’t enjoy it, she knows that you’re going to meet up after 24 hours, 48 hours. And who knows, maybe she’ll get to the end of that first day and think, wow, I wish I had like another week by myself exploring. So yeah, baby steps.
SW: Yeah. I agree with what you guys are saying. So much of travel can be so intimidating and it’s not just the air travel portion of it, which can be anxiety inducing even when we’re not in a pandemic, but it’s getting to a potentially foreign destination or a new, a completely new place. So some trips I would think about are, “Are there family members or friends who live elsewhere in the country that she can go and visit as a first step?” That’s certainly a type of travel where once you get there, the comfort level comes back because of who you know in the destination. Or is there a place where she used to live that she’s interested in revisiting, or potentially you know of a destination she visited before she even knew your father? So I think coming up with the destination is just as important as the baby steps that your mom will be taking to get there.
LA: Moving on to a question from Johanna, who got in touch with us to say that she is considering something that I think quite a few people in the U.S. might be thinking about right now. She’s a single woman in her late twenties with no kids, and likes the idea of moving somewhere new. And with that in mind, wants to know if we had any suggestions for a country that is relatively safe, and she also specifies a good public health care system, and gender equality, for her to move to. She’s particularly interested in the European Union.
MC: I can tell that she’s already spent a lot of time thinking about this. And like Lale said, I’m sure there are a lot of other people who are thinking more seriously about relocating, whether that’s because they would like to go somewhere new, are able to do so through work, don’t feel comfortable being here anymore, which is also a fair reason to want to move out of the country. I know we did the Digital Nomad episode earlier in the summer, which has some tips on just kind of figuring out what might work for you, but one place that I will recommend, even though it is not technically in the European Union is Georgia. They have always had a year-long visa-free program where you could stay for a year and you didn’t have to worry about getting a visa to be able to stay there. But they, like a lot of other places in the Caribbean, are going to be offering a remote working visa, starting, I think, at the end of this year, early next year, which is going to make it really easy for people to relocate there and be able to either keep their current jobs, or find a new job that lets them work remotely, and post up in Georgia. I would say the key factors that would make me want to tell you to go to Georgia beyond just the visas is that it’s absolutely gorgeous. There’s amazing wine. There’s amazing food. You have easy access to all of Europe. You’re also at the crossroads of Asia. So you can go literally every direction and find an amazing weekend away. And to me, it just seems like a great place to park it.
LA: It sounds like an adventure.
MC: That’s exactly right.
MS: Another thing a lot of people are talking [about] right now is getting a second passport. Depending on where your parents or even your grandparents are from, and I think in some cases, your great grandparents, you can apply for either residency, a passport or even citizenship in different countries that will allow you to live and work there, based on your heritage. It obviously varies a ton by country. But I think if you know what your heritage is, you can explore those. And even if you are one of those people, like me, who doesn’t really know exactly where people are from, all I’ll say is 23 and Me, and those companies are up and running again, even though it feels wild to send your saliva to someone these days.
And I know of people who have done one of those found out they’re like Italian enough to apply for an Italian passport, and that can open a lot of doors. I think in a lot of, in parts of Latin America and Europe, especially. If you are able to get your hands on one passport, for one country, it opens doors to several countries in that region. So I would look into things like that as well, because I think one of the hardest things about moving abroad as someone who’s done it before is that it is just so hard to get a visa and to have the right to work there. And I think now, while a lot of us are working from home, maybe you can keep your same job and go there, but there are time limits. So when you can be there and I think… I mean, Georgia sounds great to me, but also if you want to just have more places to look, I would suggest that.
But some countries even have, I know in Peru, for example, if you just live there for two years, you can then apply for a passport. So it’s the same if you’ve married someone or if you have heritage or if you just show up and you are there for two years. So I think, look at the places you’re really interested in being, and then take it from there.
LA: Johanna, you asked about healthcare systems and gender equality within countries that we might suggest, and I’m not going to speak to countries that I have not lived in, in terms of their sort of quality of life, but I would also think about whether this is a longterm move or a short term move. Because I think you’re going to have to weigh up those things differently. I moved to the U.S. not necessarily thinking I was going to be here for as long as I have been, and I don’t know, maybe I would have thought a little bit more about the healthcare system.
So I would really take some time to think about whether it’s a long-term trip or a shorter one. If it is a shorter one, maybe then it’s about thinking more about geography and where you want to use as a home base to then explore other parts of the world. Especially if you are going to be working remotely, you can kind of hop around a little bit more.
SW: Yeah, I think doing that research on visa limits is going to be really helpful in the case that you can’t get a work visa and do need to, instead of moving permanently to one place, spend three months in one place and then three months in another. Having that information about where you’ll be allowed in with your American passport, assuming you are an American, is very helpful.
And then my other tip is, if you are thinking about this so strongly right now and clearly having the research, I would start thinking about languages and either practicing, taking online courses now or perhaps you feel an affinity to Spanish and therefore want to go to Spanish-speaking countries, things like that can the trip a little bit easier to plan as opposed to all of Europe as your oyster.
MC: In our second to last question, Maria on Instagram asked how we are all balancing the desire to travel and support the travel industry with staying safe, both for ourselves and the community that we’re traveling to, and keeping the spread of COVID-19 at Bay. What are you guys thinking about that?
MS: I mean, I think that’s the question right now. I think I don’t have an answer and I’m not sure who does. Like the sweet spot between, doing the things you want, which is traveling, and making sure everyone stays safe, because even when you do your best to prevent the spread, I mean, people get sick or pass it or whatever. So I think what I can say is that, we did an advice column this week actually about feeling guilty for wanting to travel. I think the first thing I would say is just that, if you want to travel, you can find a way to travel and to get that escape that you need and just try and be as safe as possible while doing it.
So obviously there’s certain things that the CDC says not to do or states that you cannot do, and there’s many international travel restrictions and you need to follow those. But I think beyond that, it’s about figuring out what exactly do you need? So is it just that you really need a break from your routine, which is stressful or is it that you’re trying to see a new place because you’re just craving stimulation and newness. Figure out what it is, and then I think just try and find the safest way possible to do that.
For that advice column, we spoke to an epidemiologist who just basically said, ultimately, if you want to travel, if that’s the thing you need to do, it’s just about finding a safe way to do it. There’s no, yes, you can. No, you can’t, you can travel this much. There’s no definitive answer and there’s not going to be, and this is going to probably be the case for a while. So you kind of have to navigate within that with all the information you can find and make your best judgment and the choice you feel good about.
SW: Honestly, I think one of the hardest things for me personally this year has just been the lack of guidance and the lack of overall messaging around safety, and what it means, and how you can be safe, and keep others safe. So one of the things I’ve really been thinking about when planning future travel, is kind of just coming up with my own personal code of conduct, essentially, that helps me make decisions based on that. So whether that means voluntarily quarantining until you get a negative COVID test when you get to a new destination, or whether it means, I mentioned earlier in this podcast, staying just in one place and not moving around too much. There are a lot of ways that you can kind of mitigate risk and stay comfortable with your own decisions while, like Megan was saying, getting to do the things that you want to do, especially when it comes to travel.
LA: I think that phrase “personal code of conduct” is really important because it’s not a one size fits all. Everyone’s personal circumstances are different. You may be living alone, not high risk, and able to really kind of go anywhere—or you may be having to think about elderly family members or young children in your life or a high risk partner. So everyone is going to have to assess a different set of factors. So I think really thinking about what’s right for you and the people around you and cutting through the noise is really important right now.
MC: And I think specifically when you’re talking about supporting the industry, obviously taking a trip and spending the amount of money that you would spend on a vacation, is going to be different than what you can do if you’re at home. But if you have a favorite hotel, a favorite restaurant, a favorite bar that you visited before that you would like to exist for you to visit again, I would look and see if they have any staff GoFundMe’s or if they have merch, or if the restaurants are shipping meal boxes and things like that, ways that you can spend your money from home and maybe wait on the travel part, and really focus on using your money to best support the industry, support the human beings that you would love to see when you travel and make sure that they’re still around when you feel comfortable, whether that’s tomorrow or a year from now to travel. I think there’s a lot of ways to check in with the places you love to make sure that they are supported.
SW: Or even a combination of that, right. Where you can purchase a gift certificate that allows them to have cash now, but you can spend that gift certificate at a later time on a future stay. I think that’s a wonderful balance and a good way, frankly, to know that your money is going exactly where you want it to go.
LA: And I think to that point, we launched our Ethical Traveler column of a couple of weeks ago. The first piece we ran in it is all about how to be a mindful hotel guest. And one thing that stayed with me was a quote from a hotel owner, who said, just knowing that they have guests who are booking for 2021, or even just inquiring about trips in six, 12 months time is a real boon for them to know that they will have that business coming back. So to go back to how to plan for travel, if you are thinking about traveling for a big trip in a year’s time, or for some time next year, that’s a really good way of showing your support already, even if you’re grounded for now.
MS: I think as the holidays come up, that is going to be such a great gift too. Something I’m thinking about giving people is those gift cards to their favorite restaurant in their hometown or a place they loved. Because I also think a lot of us are anxious or uncomfortable with the fact that we don’t have trips planned, so that can be a way too to help the people around you start having something to look forward to.
LA: And I think kind of like supporting your own city, if you happen to live in a tourist destination, is helping the travel industry, because while for you it may not be traveling, for lots of other people in the future, it will be travel. To make sure that those cities are thriving in the ways that they can bounce back after this, this is really important too.
MC: So speaking about holidays, this is not a specific question that we’ve gotten from a listener, but it’s something that basically our whole staff has been talking about, which is, what does traveling for the holidays look like this year? With Thanksgiving and Christmas being so close together, what are people doing? How are they safely traveling? Seeing their family, who they might not have seen in a year, or waiting for a later date? What do they look like?
SW: So I think that just based on what we’ve seen from Labor Day Weekend, travel interest is essentially at an all time high since the pandemic began and more people than ever were thinking about traveling during Labor Day and theoretically, future holidays. So that to me says, it’s safe to assume that, frankly, we’re going to see a holiday rush this year.
It might not be as big as last year, but there’s no doubt in my mind that there will be a spike in travelers. There will be a spike in air travel. There will be a spike in TSA numbers. So some tips I’ve been thinking about as I plan my own holiday travel are, how can I fly on weekdays or fly on off peak travel days, to kind of not be there on the busiest day with the most amount of people in a small indoor space? Planning ahead, maybe going really early or coming back really late are all things that you can do to make sure that you aren’t kind of essentially crushing the crowd, which is really, to me, the hardest part of thinking about holidays is just the amount of people that will be moving around. As always, if you can drive that tends to be the safer bet during this time of year but we don’t know how crowded the roads will be either. So I think my biggest takeaway is start planning now. Labor Day just ended right now as we’re recording this episode, but it’s not too early to start making concrete Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s plans.
MS: And someone on our team when we recently spoke about this, brought up an idea that I have fallen in love with that I keep suggesting to everyone. But it’s this idea that we are so bound to this, end of November, Thanksgiving time, that we all rush home and compete for the same, very expensive flights, which is all in a normal year just ridiculous. And then we do the same thing less than a month later. Does it have to be that way? First of all, Thanksgiving, the date, do you have to celebrate on that day, as a reason to get together with family? You don’t. So maybe you go home at the beginning of November and that’s the time that you get your family together. I know we can get caught up with our lives and it can be hard to make everyone come to one place and kind of snap out of their routines for a minute. But you could use those times this year as a reminder to plan something like, maybe, your December holiday is actually in January or February this year. But I think we don’t have to be so bound to it, especially since many of us are not working in person these days and probably won’t be, through the end of the year. Take advantage of that flexibility. You can try and avoid the crowds, I think. If going home and being with people is important, that could be another way to do it.
LA: I think on that note of flexibility, while we’re all kind of working from home, go back for longer. Don’t just go home, again, everyone has different tolerance levels with their families, so it’s very personal, but maybe it’s go home for three weeks, go home for a month, if you feel like that’s feasible. When are you ever going to have that opportunity again? So I say, grab it.
MC: I would also say, when you’re looking at going home for that long and maybe you aren’t comfortable staying with your family for that long, a lot of Airbnbs, hotels, like Steph said, are offering discounts for longer stays. So you might be able to find relatively cheap accommodations during that time as well, so you might have a little bit of space from your family, if you are staying for a longer amount of time. It’ll also give you a workspace so that you can work there as well.
I am planning to go home for much longer this year than I would have otherwise. Both in an effort to make sure that I have time to quarantine and all of those sorts of things, but also, so that I’m flying less, because like Megan said, that’s four flights in basically a month, when we’re trying to stay home as much as possible right now. So if you can make it a flight there and a flight back for the whole shebang, see what you can do.
Obviously, like Steph said, we’re at the end of our main holidays for the summer, and those are our next major upcoming holidays. So start talking to your manager now about what options you have for taking vacation days or just working remotely so that you’re not trying to get in with everybody else in November who’s like, “Oh shoot, I want to be gone for a month.” As we said, years ago on the podcast, talk to your manager early.
SW: And start talking to your family now, because maybe you’re all thinking the same way about why does it have to be the same five, six weeks that everybody’s traveling in? And maybe there is a preference for early November—or maybe your family celebrates Lunar New Year and therefore there might be interest in getting together around February. So if the key of the holidays, which it certainly is for me, is to see family members that you haven’t seen in a long time. If everybody’s in agreement about moving it to some other time, then there’s really no reason not to.
And can I just say something that I was thinking about earlier today: frankly, I’m already looking forward to a much, much more low key New Year’s Eve than usual. I think it’ll be a really nice break from kind of the big parties and the huge crowds that gather no matter where you are. And I think it’ll just be a really nice, slower, quieter way to close out the year.
LA: I have to say, I think I disagree. I’ve had slow and quiet since March. I just want to go to a big old party.
MS: I made the mistake of doing slow and quiet last year. And I was like, “You know what, I’m not going to do that again”. But oh well, we’ll get our rest.
MC: Well, we would love to hear how you are planning to travel through the end of the year. So please let Lale or I know in our DMs, we’ll share our social media in a second or contact Women Who Travel on Instagram because we’re super curious how everyone’s moving around.
So let us know. Megan, where can people find you on the internet and ask you questions for the advice column if they want to?
MS: Please do, I’m @spurrelly on Instagram. You can find me there whenever. Please send me all of your questions, your thoughts, your genius ideas for the holidays, I want to hear it.
MC: Steph, how about you?
SW: You can find me at @bystephwu.
MC: I’m at @ohheytheremere.
LA: And you can find me @lalehannah and I want to clarify, I will not be attending a big old party at New Year’s. I will be having a slow, quiet one, but I’ll be dreaming of the ones to come.
MC: Just watching Great Gatsby and imagining yourself, imagining yourself there. Be sure to follow Women Who Travel on Instagram. Join our Facebook group, if you would like more advice from amazing women and sign up for our newsletter, which will all be in the show notes, and we’ll talk to you next week.