Sadly, it looks like our dreams for international travel are on hold again in 2021. We were hoping for a UK and Ireland road trip in May, but have now pushed that back to September. We anticipate Fall as the earliest international travel will return.
Some destinations, like our own country, Australia, are talking of keeping their borders closed until 2022. Kinda scary for a country so dependent on international tourism.
Time moves too fast and there are still too many unknown, high case numbers, and slow delivery of vaccinations – which really don’t even have the reassurances we need, like long-term protection and the prevention of passing on COVID.
Let’s get through the winter, and see what’s on the other side.
This week, we shared our top 11 travel trends for 2021 over on our global site, yTravelBlog.com
But here on our Raleigh site we wanted to share a path for making that possible for you in your own Raleigh, North Carolina bubble.
1. PRIORITIZE TRAVEL
Travel has always been a priority in our lives, which is why that’s all we’ve done for 23 years. It takes a lockdown for many to realize how it feels to be disconnected from the joy, growth, and adventure that travel brings us.
How are you making it a priority? Let’s look at some ways you can do that now following this year’s travel trends.
2. Travel Local / staycations
Raleigh is such a liveable place, you can easily do this. Back in 2010 we went through a huge financial crisis which caused us to lose two houses ($500,000 in assets) and landed us in $30,000 of credit card debt and living with Craig’s parents back in Australia.
Our souls died with it as we “thought” our travel life was over!
We decided to put on our traveler’s eyes and explore our own backyard instead. We soon discovered travel was always available from wherever we are no matter our circumstances. It’s just how you choose to see things.
It was amazing what happened. We fell in love with the wonder of where we grew up, but we also greased the wheels and suddenly our circumstances began to change, and travel further afield happened.
Our travel blog grew and travel once again became our full-time reality. All because we made travel a priority and choose to do it in our own backyard first.
Embrace Staycations. It’s a fun and affordable way to live the travel experience. Choose a new fun activity to do in the, make use of the hotel amenities, and eat at a new (outdoor) restaurant.
- Here are 8 fun day trip ideas from Raleigh
- Staycation at the State View Hotel in Raleigh
- Weekend getaway in Downtown Cary
- 1 Day itinerary for Wrightsville Beach
3. TRY camping and rv travel
There is so much opportunity in North Carolina and nearby East Coast states for camping and RV travel.
It might seem a little cold for it right now, but trust me, we traveled across the western part of the USA in a travel trailer for nearly 12 months – it was cold most of the time! We actually camped in Asheville with snow flurries and had a great time!
You can make it work. Let’s face it, North Carolina winter is pretty mild. Give it another 10 weeks and it will be warmer and more enjoyable.
Start planning now.
- One of our favorite places to camp is Kerr Lake, only an hour from Raleigh.
- Tips for tent camping
- Pros and Cons of RV Travel
4. EMBRACE Domestic road trips
One reason we love living in Raleigh is its accessibility to so many other states. We’re halfway between New York and Florida – opportunities abound. Even though the East Coast is highly populated, you can still find areas that are undiscovered.
Now is a fantastic time to be enjoying road trips as it’s not as busy. You can rent a house on the beach for far less than the summer months. A beach vacation is WONDERFUL at any time of the year.
We are planning to drive the full length of the Blue Ridge Parkway after having done a portion of it near Roanoke last year!
- 20 Essential Things to do in the Outer Banks
- 25 Airbnb Vacation Rentals in the Outer Banks
- What to do in Myrtle Beach
- Roanoke and Virginia Blue Ridge Mountain road trip
5. seek Seclusion and simplicity
Hasn’t 2020 given us a taste for that? So we wouldn’t go insane we looked for ways to exist in our own bubble while staying connected to what was important to us.
Zoom connected us to each other, and hobbies in the outdoors kept us connected to freedom and well being. Travel in 2021 will follow this theme of simplicity and seclusion with nature at the center.
Which is why camping, road trips, and RV travel will be hot. It allows us to keep our safe and familiar seclusion bubbles.
Seek lessor known destinations. Head to state parks over (currently crowded) national parks.
Rent apartments and homes with those in your bubble. You’ll have less touch points with outsiders and more of the comforts you have gotten used to.
Travel will be less big name bucket lists and more simple moments, like stand up paddle boarding and chilling on your deck with a beer and a BBQ with those you love most.
Keep exploring trails in the Raleigh area. Jump on your bikes and kayaks, and perhaps your paddle boards. Exploring in nature always gives you that simple seclusion you crave.
Find seclusion and simplicity here:
- Lake Johnson
- Sal’s Branch Trail, Umstead
- Ride the Art to Heart Trail
- Back in September we had a fantastic family getaway at the Blockade Runner Resort in Wrightsville. We maintained our own space easily and focused on simplicity with outdoor activities.
6. immerse yourself in travel
We are so itching to return to the UK. We lived in Dublin for one year back in 2003 and haven’t returned to Ireland since. We miss it so much!
While we wait for borders to open again, we are completely immersing ourselves in the Ireland and UK experience. We’re watching Samantha Brown’s European Travel series, reading our Lonely Planet guides and mapping out our journey while we drink Irish coffees and pints of Guinness. We’re teaching Savannah some Irish dancing moves after a few of those pints.
Coming back to that traveling from wherever you are mindset. When we do all of the above, we feel like we’re traveling. We’re ready to go when we get the green light.
How can you visit places like France, Greece, or Ireland in Raleigh?
Down a pint of Guinness at the Hibernian Irish Pub. A bowl of moussaka and a glass of Retsina (2,000 year old Greek wine) at Taverna Agora will take you straight to Greece! Learn a foreign language or some salsa moves online.
We have blog posts planned for how you can visit other countries in Raleigh, where to eat and drink and experience their things right here!
As one of the trends this year will be a return to authentic inspiration – that is purposeful travel that is about connection, not about hashtags, staged photos and how many likes someone can get after lining up for 2 hours for the grammable picture – seek out the stories from those who put the experience and gift of travel first.
Let them show you what is possible.
7. embrace work and travel
This is by far our favorite strategy for traveling more. It is what we’ve been doing for 23 years. Going back to the point above, follow those who show you what is possible and who have truly lived it.
Yes. Shameless plug for us. The only way we could travel was to work in other countries. I started when I was 21 in 1997, teaching in London. Craig joined me in 2002 after we married. We had a five year honeymoon living and traveling the world.
We then did it when Kalyra was 9 months teaching in the USA. And now, since 2010, we’ve been doing it with our travel blog.
All we need is our computer and internet connection. We can travel wherever and whenever. Our kids currently attend an online school and can do the same.
The biggest gift from 2020 was opening the door of awareness for so many. Wait a minute – I can still earn money working from home? My children can still learn, doing school at home? Does this mean we could rent a beach house this week, work for a few hours a day and then play for the rest.
Does this mean, I can craft my life around what is really important to me: joy, fun, connection.
Hell yes! Let’s do it more in 2021.
Read all our tips on
8. Get ready for SAFE TRAVEL & deals
Lastly, let’s get you ready for when you CAN travel further afield. Competition will be fierce as every country in the world will need you to come visit.
Be ready for the deals. The most popular destinations may go the other way and be more expensive as demand will be hot.
But, there may even be less people traveling as 2020 smashed their savings and disposable income. We don’t know for sure how it will look, but get yourself ready for it.
We’ll have a post with specific steps on how to prepare for travel in 2021.
- Evaluate your spending and make some cuts
- Start saving as much as you can
- Capitalize on credit card bonus offers (really big right now) to hack into free travel with mileage points
- Choose 2 or 3 booking platforms you trust. Avoid overwhelm by following everyone. Choose transparent companies who are clear on their cancellation policies. Sign up to their newsletters and follow them on social. Jump on the deals you spot.
- Get travel insurance – read the fine print to ensure it covers you for COIVD related cancellations.
- Make sure your passport is up-to-date and know the visa conditions (and COVID related requirements) for entry into the places you want to visit.
- Decide on 2- 3 places you want to visit, start researching and immersing yourself in that experience!
Have a clear understanding on what safe travel looks like for you. Know all rule and regulations and be sure to follow them.
Research how companies are following guidelines to ensure your safety. Because health, safety, and hygiene will be a huge trend in 2021.
You can read more in our in-depth post on travel trends for 2021.
Let us know in the comments how you are planning for travel in 2021?