It might seem a long way off at the moment, but the world will travel again. So why not use the time to plan and prepare your next adventure? Don’t get frustrated, get ready…
How many times have you left your holiday plans to the last minute, grabbing what’s available rather than what you want to do? The current ban on travelling offers the chance to have a good look around and find the trip you really want to do.
A great place to start is Wanderlust’s useful Trip Finder. It does exactly what it says on the tin, helping your find the kind of trip that suits you. Importantly, they are all offered by Wanderlust-approved tour operators.
The interface is easy to use. Just chose your destination and enter the dates you want to travel. Click on the ‘Inspire Me’ button and you’ll be presented with a selection of suitably inspirational trips.
You then have the option to filter the results according to your favourite operators, or even your particular interests and needs. Whether you’re a solo traveller or a cyclist, a trekker or a culture vulture, you can find the right trip for you, quickly and easily.
Previously, the demands of the modern workplace probably saw you working right up to the moment before you left on your trip, giving you very little chance to research the place where you were going.
You may have arrived wishing you knew more about the things to see and do. Or perhaps had a few local tips on the best places to eat and drink.
This current enforced travel sabbatical offers an unparalleled opportunity to really research your destination and make sure you get the absolute most out of your first post-coronavirus adventure.
A good guidebook is a great place to start, especially if it’s one of the brands rated best by you in our Wanderlust Reader Travel Awards. As is the Wanderlust website. Most countries have their own destination pages with links to in-depth features, lists on what to see and do, as well as Insider Secrets from experts sharing their tips on the destinations they know inside out.
Of course, if you book your trip through Trip Finder, you’ll have the services of a guide to really uncover your destination for you. You might even be lucky enough to travel with one recognised by our Wanderlust World Guide Awards.
Speaking the local language, even just or few words or phrases, can transform a trip. Not only does it make life on the road easier, it’s guaranteed to open doors – quite literally – and lead to truly unforgettable experiences.
You’ve probably always meant to learn another language, but just haven’t had the time. Well, you don't have that excuse anymore, so jump to it.
There are plenty of tools right there on your phone. Free apps like Duolingo, Memrise and Babbel offer easy and fun ways to learn another language. TripLingo, as the name suggests, focuses on the phrases and words you’ll need most as a traveller, and offers cultural and travel safety tools as well.
Of course, there’s more to learning a language than just downloading an app. Benny Lewis, the author of Fluent in 3 Months, shared his top five tips for learning a language with Wanderlust, including an online language exchange that meets the government’s social-distancing advice!
With plenty of time to prepare for your next adventure, why not take the opportunity to get the gear you need ahead of time, as well?
Last minute purchases can be stressful and expensive. And wandering around a new city looking for something you either forgot or didn’t realise you needed isn’t much fun either.
It’s also a great opportunity to support your favourite gear company. They’re hurting too, with many having sales, or continuing their New Year’s sales, in the hope of keeping their businesses ticking over. Help them out – and save yourself some money – by buying the gear you need for your trip now.
Have a look at our gear guides for our expert picks, make a list of everything you need and start shopping!
Top tip: Browse their official website before you buy, and check their updated delivery policy. One silver lining with working from home is that you’ll be in when the delivery guy rings the doorbell!
Having to press pause on your travel plans is a terrific opportunity to tick off all the tasks you’ve been putting off – like pulling out all your old gear and giving it a good clean.
It’s also a chance to repair and mend older gear, giving it new life and helping the planet at the same time.
Get a bottle of Nikwax and reinvigorate the waterproof qualities of your favourite Gortex coat. Repair that strap on your backpack that annoys you every time you go away but you never get around to fixing. You could even change the ratty shoe laces on your best pair of boots.
Or maybe just take the time to air a tent that got drenched on a camping trip to Wales last summer. Or organise and store your gear so you know exactly where everything is.
Imagine the joy of being able to put your hands on that walking pole straight away, instead of having to turn the house upside down looking for it?
If your love travel, chances are you love taking photos. You’ve probably got a pretty good camera, too. But, be honest: are you really getting the most out of it?
To be fair, you can leave most modern cameras on the full auto function and still get excellent photos. But when the light is low or the light source is mixed, the results can be disappointing. Photographing the Northern Lights, for example, demands a very particular set of photographic skills.
Why not take this chance to get to know your camera better and acquaint yourself with all its functions and abilities? The instructions that came with it are a good place to start. But if you jump onto to YouTube and search your particular model, there are plenty of enthusiastic professionals and amateurs keen to share advice.
The Wanderlust website is also a terrific resource for more general travel photography advice, with the world's greatest travel photographers sharing their expertise on how to capture truly breathtaking images.
You could even set yourself a photographic assignment to polish your newly acquired skills. Pretending your home is an exotic travel destination and your family friendly – or maybe even hostile – locals. Your cat could easily stand in for one of their bigger cousins on the Serengeti, especially if there is a mouse to be caught.
As it has become easier to take photos on your journeys, it has become just as easy to ignore them, letting them gather digital dust on your phone, on a hard drive or in the Cloud.
Stepping back from travelling for a while gives you the chance to finally sort them out and keep your travel memories alive.
You could start by simply organising them into albums on your photo app, sorting out the dross from your favs.
From there, you could create slideshows to delight your homebound friends and family. Or turn the best pics from each trip into a beautiful scrapbook, or a photobook using an online service like Cewe. That way, your travel memories are always within easy reach on your bookshelf.
You could also share them on social media, creating an Instagram account to show off your favourites to the world. If you do, remember to use the hashtag #WishIWasThere, part of Wanderlust’s online campaign to celebrate the joys of travel and support the fantastic companies that help us experience it.
Sorting through your photos is guaranteed to bring back great memories and rev you up for your next trip. And who knows, you might find a few good enough to enter into our annual Travel Photo of the Year competition!
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