Some retirees are already planning their “journey of revenge”
Retirees are officially starting to plan their first “big” travel plans after staying home for over a year.
For Rick and Jojo Norris of Cape Coral, Florida, next February will mark the start of what the two are calling their “journey of revenge,” which will consist of 90 days in different parts of Greece, Italy, Switzerland and France. .
“Our plan was to travel. Never get stuck in one place again. Get rid of all the trash and clutter and travel until they put us in the retirement home, ”Rick explained. “If you want to know our mantra, it’s a one-way ticket to somewhere.”
Many Americans say the pandemic has changed the way they live, but for this couple, that feeling is literal. Rick and Jojo had lived in a different country almost every month since their retirement began in 2018, having sold their home and promised to explore the world, jumping from one Airbnb to another.
When the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11, 2020, the two had to cut short their stay in Lisbon, Portugal, to return to the United States a day before it took effect. of the first travel ban in March. 14.
Just days before their flight, the two thought the pandemic would last for a while, so they bought a house in Cape Coral.
“We each came here with a backpack and hand luggage. This is what we had. That’s what we had to go to in Europe, ”said Rick. “The first night here, we slept on the floor. The next day we went to buy an air mattress and slowly went online to Wayfair and Overstock and now we have a house which is again furnished.
The pandemic has forced them to stay in one place for over a year – and although the two have been eager to return to their European dream lives, the decision to travel came recently, and with a lot of planning, as the both know that the pandemic will not soon restore the world to the state it was before.
There is no doubt that the travel industry has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Transportation Security Administration, the highest number of travelers passing through U.S. airports in a single day in July 2019 was nearly 2.8 million. During the same month in 2020, the highest number of daily travelers dropped significantly, to just 755,000. But now, as people feel safer to travel, the numbers are almost back to where they were. were before the pandemic, with more than 2.2 million travelers flying on July 18, 2021.
Toni Mallott of Juneau, Alaska is also determined to pack a suitcase again. Retired in 2003, she loved to travel and take cruises. Now she says she plans to visit Barcelona with her son in September. Although she has planned her trips, she says everything is tentative and that she is still concerned about the theft.
“I feel a little uncertain about things, especially because you just don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said, referring to the emergence of new coronavirus variants. “I have this plan right now, and I was looking forward to the trip, but you just don’t know.”
And while public feelings towards long-distance travel remain mixed, short trips appear to be the route many Americans take this summer.
RoadScholar, which runs educational travel programs for seniors, says their trips are booked, especially to destinations in national parks.
“Overall, we are seeing a lot of people who had plans before the pandemic are eager to continue their journey of discovery with us,” said Chris Heppner, senior director of corporate communications. “They didn’t give up on their dreams, they just delayed them a little bit.”
Recently, Heppner said the state of Utah is a travel hotspot, since Zion, Arches, and Bryce National Parks are located there. Zion National Park was the third most visited national park in 2020, with 3.6 million people entering the site, according to the National Park Service.
It seems that more and more people want to see the great outdoors. In fact, camping was so popular last year that the number of first-time campers in 2020 was five times higher than the year before, according to the Kampgrounds of America’s annual North American camping report.
But for many veteran campers, the pandemic has posed some drawbacks. LuAnn Beringer, who bought a motorhome right after retiring 14 years ago, has always been passionate about motorhomes and road trips. She said the growing popularity of camping made it difficult to find available campsites as campground reservations filled up faster than ever.
“It was really competitive,” she said. “Some campgrounds were not available for months. She added that the convenience of her motorhome has made the last year much easier and safer.
Beringer feels lucky to have already owned her motorhome before prices skyrocketed due to the high demand caused by the pandemic. “I think a lot of people have figured out that this is a really good way to get away from it all and not spend a fortune,” she said.
Last year she and her husband used the motorhome a lot. So it makes sense that after a year of camping and road trips, Beringer is ready to go on her first post-pandemic international vacation with a small group of friends, on a European river cruise that begins in Romania and ends in ends in Budapest.
Although cruising during a pandemic seems like a risky decision, Beringer says his group is still cautious and will take all necessary precautions such as wearing masks and wiping down surfaces. She also explained that the cruise line is taking measures such as installing infrared thermometers on board the ship and will provide frequent COVID-19 testing to minimize the risk of the virus spreading.
“We all had the hits. And yes, even then you can still catch the virus. So of course we have some concerns, but most of our concerns have been resolved and we are ready with what we are going to do, ”she said. “I think it will be good and I can’t wait to see some friends again.”