Coronavirus has taken a lot from our lives.
For many, the restrictions on our freedom have been the hardest to swallow. In the months since the first lockdown announcement, people have understandably grown tired of their surroundings and want a change of scenery.
Since the EU travel ban came into place in March 2020, the U.S. has suffered a $3.4bn visitor spending loss, with a potential $925bn loss in hotel business sales predicted for the rest of the year.
The travel and tourism industry alone added $9.25tr to the global economy in 2019, making the case for governments wanting to restart the holiday abundantly clear. But is it as simple as getting people out and about?
As travel restrictions continue to change on an almost daily basis, it can be hard to keep track of whether you’re allowed to travel at all, let alone whether society thinks it’s ‘right’ to do so. In fact, social pressure, rather than government advice, seems to be driving many travel trends, including the trend in secret vacations.
But what is a secret vacation and are people really going on them? Let’s find out.
Damaging industries reliant on travel
Travel restrictions aren’t all cancelled holiday plans… social media influencers in the travel sector are also feeling the sting – but where it hurts most: in the wallet. Without the means to globetrot, their content has all but dried up.
According to Forbes, some influencers are enjoying the slower pace of life and used it as an opportunity to reassess their old working habits and see where their schedules have been unsustainable. But, a newfound love of the slow lane hasn’t helped pay the bills and many have found themselves losing followers and those all-important content-driven affiliate sales.
The influencer travel industry has been eagerly awaiting a return to the pre-covid travel days – but with only a slight easing of restrictions so far, most have faced divided opinions. Do they risk posting new travel content only to be rewarded by moral outrage? Or do they sit this one out and hope their bank balance holds?
Split public opinion
Pre-pandemic, it would be customary to post about your holiday all over social media. Typically, there would be no need to hide your adventures, unless you skived off work and have one too many work acquaintances on your Facebook Friends list.
But, over the past few weeks, social media influencers have taken to their online channels to post about post-coronavirus trips. Most have been rewarded with a cold reception and interactions that leave a bitter taste in the mouth. Even posting pictures of local parties has drawn scorn from followers and friends on the grounds that social distancing rules weren’t upheld.
With so much moral policing doing the rounds on social, many – influencers and regular folks alike – are increasingly indulging in secret vacations. Ones where they avoid telling friends and family, don’t post updates on social profiles and generally keep hush-hush about their travel.
The rise of ‘secret vacations’
In an atmosphere of social judgement, people who feel the need to travel for their mental wellbeing, motivation, productivity or just to have some long-awaited fun, are doing so in secret.
The public response to travellers unexpectedly subject to mandatory quarantine on return from countries across Europe, confirms the need for a secretive approach. Rather than expressing sympathy for the many people left stranded by the sudden change in rules, are instead showing anger that they were there in the first place.
So, it’s easy to see why a secretive approach has become the norm, since tensions are high and confusion and uncertainty are rife.
The future of holidays
While tomorrow is always an unknown, a recent report by the Telegraph indicates that 70% of people would cancel an upcoming trip if they knew they would need to self-isolate for ten days upon return. This may be less about the inconvenience of a period of self-isolation and more about the signals the message sends to people and their networks.
As opinion on whether travelling during a pandemic is a good idea is still divided, we can only hope for a future where our choices are made clearer, either by a reduction in the rate of infection or clearer government guidelines.
For now, it seems the public’s view on travel will remain at either end of the spectrum, and we can expect to see (but not literally) the continuation of ‘secret vacations’ as people try to scratch an itch without incurring the wrath of the online mob.
If you’re off on vacation and want to document your travels on the hush-hush, create a simple website using a website builder like Wix, add content during your trip and keep it archived until the judgement has blown over. Just update it as you go and only hit publish when your content will be well received.
Author bio: “I’m Lucy Farrington-Smith, a 28-year-old freelance writer. I started as an actor before I put the scripts down and chose to write my own words instead of saying someone else’s. One Master’s in Creative Writing and many coffee cups later; you can now find my bylines on HuffPost, Metro.co.uk and my website www.lucywrites.co” | Twitter: @ukwebhostreview