If 2020 was all about hyper-local travel (*cough* travelling to our backyards) what will 2021 bring? If the past year has taught us anything, it’s to cherish every second spent travelling because you never know when it might be your last budget flight or bumpy bus ride. With that in mind, here’s what our travels are going to look over the coming months because halle-fucking-lujah, travel is BACK baby!
In 2021, we resolve to see more of Australia
Picture this all too familiar scene. You’re in a hostel in a remote village in the High Tatras Mountains of Slovakia. You’re a few beers deep and talking to some Texan bloke. Turns out, your new mate spent a year in Australia and saw more of the country than you even knew existed (there’s no reason to let him know you’ve only seen a smattering of the East Coast, or about that time you flew all the way to WA and never left Perth.)
Most Aussies have only scratched the surface of the big cities, wild bushland and little beach towns that lie somewhere in between Hobart and Far North Queensland. If you don’t want to be the person forever saying, ‘wait, where’s Kangaroo Island again?’ 2021 is the year to finally see our glorious country.
Despite constant pleas to ‘pack an empty esky’ and ‘holiday here this year,’ in 2020 many of our state borders remained firmly closed. Now those borders are finally open and international travel is so tantalisingly close but still out of reach. It’s time to think - do you really need to make the annual pilgrimage to Bali for the seventeenth time? Even when the borders reopen, I challenge you to stay in the land of Vegemite. Support small local businesses who need your help more than ever. See the secret spots that other world travellers whispered to you. Because we’ve really got it all. Rainbow-bright coral reefs, mountains to fly down on a snowboard, delectable wine regions and tiny foodie towns, hippie surf hamlets you’ll never want to leave. Who needs to get on a plane when you have all that goodness to explore?
To travel slowly
Say goodbye to those whirlwind trips around Europe. 20 countries in two weeks? Pass. This year, we want to spend more time exploring a destination and less time city hopping and burning fuel.
The way we used to travel is not sustainable, nor is it responsible. Zooming through towns to see the big sights but not stopping to spend money in the corner stores. Flying across the country to spend just a mere two nights away. Instead of ticking places off your bucket list, it’s time to go a little deeper.
Instead of taking a hectic, caffeine fuelled one day trip down the Great Ocean Road, make it into a week-long affair. Or better yet, two! Or a month even! Plod along at a pace that allows for curiosity. When you’re not on a time crunch, you can say yes to opportunities. You can get to know the local barman (he’s guaranteed to know the best spot for sunset photos, Mexican food, skateboarding or whatever the hell it is you’re into.) You can sign up for those surfing lessons you always said you’d take and have the time to get better (well, a little bit better… you’ll still get pummelled by a lot of waves!)
To use up every bit of annual leave
DO NOT finish 2021 with any days of leave built up. Who knows when a pandemic or other world disaster could strike? No one wants to be told to take mandatory leave when you’re already locked in the house. That’s all for this one. Leave no day behind. Period.
To appreciate all the little boring bits
More often than not, travellers traverse the world because we have itchy little feet that can’t wait to walk the paths of new cities where new people and experiences await. So when the impediment to that goal is a 12 hour stopover at the airport (and not even a good one like Changi) you better believe they’d skip this bit if they could.
But after not wheeling my bag down the travelator (at top speed because I’m late for my flight yet again) in almost a year, I’m kind of looking forward to putting all my toiletries into a wee plastic bag before knocking elbows with the strangers sitting uncomfortably close on either side of me. Heck, I’m even a dash excited for waiting in line behind a family of twelve who’ve decided to redistribute the entire contents of each of their suitcases while at the front of the line.
There’s so much joy to be found in the moments in between travel. Flight got delayed and you’re famished, sweaty and quite frankly just a damn wreck? See if you can blag your way into an airport lounge! Waiting in line? People watch! (Do you think that girl knows she has a hickey on the back of her neck? Should I tell the lady doing the crossword that Bratislava isn’t in Slovenia? Are those two dating or siblings?) We’ll be appreciating these slow moments so much more now that we can travel in Australia again.
Do you think he's killing time on Tinder?
To get outdoors
COVID safe? Tick. Beautiful scenery? Tick. Serenity? Ahhhhhh. You better bloody believe it! There's no better way to travel in 2021 than to leave all the people and the mayhem behind and just get out under the stars.
After being cooped up for so many months (Melbourne, you guys are tough as nails!) can you blame us for wanting to get out into the wilderness? We can’t spend one more day on our couch (no seriously, there’s an indent that once we sink back into we may never get out of.) Instead, you’ll find us at the beach, doing nothing other than enjoying a change of scenery, the sound of the waves crashing and the smell of the salt air. Isn’t that better than another Netflix episode?
What are your travel resolutions for 2021? If they involve a visit to the Great Ocean Road, be sure to come visit us! You can stay at Bells Beach Backpackers in Torquay from just $26 a night. (Although we hope you stay longer!)
Written by Rachel Wagner.
Bells Beach Backpackers Content Writer.
CONNECT WITH US: @bellsbeachbackpackers
Rachel Wagner is a freelance producer who writes about the good things in life - travel, culture, creativity and how to tread lightly on our Earth along the way.
She previously flexed her creative muscles as a Podcast Producer for the Mamamia Women’s Network before she gave up the desk life to travel the world. Over the past three years Rachel has found her home in Melbourne, Scotland, England, Mount Buller and the Bellarine Peninsula. And now? Torquay baby!
Her top travel tip is not to be afraid of exploring a new place alone. You’ll be amazed at how many locals and other travellers you meet along the way, plus you’ll never have to say no to a spur of the moment adventure.