In year 2020 travelling suddenly became impossible. For me the corona crisis was however not a temporary obstacle but rather a culmination of recent difficulties in travelling. Already before the corona crisis society had informed that climate anxiety and concerns about the future of the planet put flight travel to blame. How do we travel without burdening the society?
My recent travels have been full of stress. My flights were threatened by strikes, financial crises of the flight companies, changed flight times which reduced my transfer time to its limits, changed political circumstances or extreme storms. Suddenly the difficulties in travelling weighed more than the pleasure I received as a tourist. As an independent traveler I had not paid extra charges for the special insurances that the travel agents had marketed along with their tickets. Every time there were difficulties described above, I had to consider lost money, impossible flight transfers in large airports, lost vacation days and crashed timetables. To my disappointment the difficulties started to infect hotel bookings as well. I have used one of the biggest hotel booking sites in order to make use of their VIP program. When the corona struck it was suddenly not possible to cancel a prepaid hotel room anymore with the possibility of a refund or returned VIP points. Once before I had arrived to my destination just to notice that the prepaid hotel did not even exist! The hotel booking giant did not agree to pay for the extra charges I had to pay in order to in hurry arrange another hotel room for the night. Although the original hotel does not exist the booking site does not remove it from their listings – maybe because they pay for the opportunity to be on the site?
I have visited 97 beautiful and interesting countries. What pleasure would I feel if the number rise to the magical 100? Hardly any. When I reflect on the factors that urge me on a trip, lots of thinking lead on to alternative measures in order to feel the same satisfaction. If I wish to experience exotic cultures and people, I could as well get acquainted with immigrants and refugees in my own country. If I wish to feel warmth and light during the dark seasons, I could as well buy bright lighting solutions or go to a sauna. If I wish to taste exotic food, I could as well visit a theme restaurant or buy foodstuffs and spices from a shop and prepare an exotic dish myself. If I wish to admire beautiful scenery I can do that using the Internet as well by watching a photographic series of the destination or watch a travel tv programme, sometimes even three-dimensional experiences. Why move your body cells over time zones and thousands of miles when it is tiresome?
Both hotel and flight companies must be able to offer trustworthy services. Timetables should be kept and the service offering should be well described in advance, for example in Internet. To cope in the future the marketing of these services should emphasize the factors that cannot be easily and comfortably experienced simply by staying at home. Otherwise no-one will want to pay anymore also for the inevitable stress and strain downsides of tourism. These are starting to weigh more when you consider the pleasure of going far away. Some say that the body is old but the mind is young. Those are virtually young. In the same way you can say that in your mind you have visited Patagonia or even Shangri-La without having transported your old body to those destinations. Or is there a good compromise between the choice of travelling or not to travel?