Bucket-list trips? Some holidaymakers prefer going back to what they know
This is a crazy summer.
Anyone expecting a return to “normal” travel has been left reeling by airport delays, rising costs, Covid concerns and the threat of strikes.
Coming on top of basic travel skills we’ve had to relearn, from passport renewals to security rules and the maze of airline seat and baggage fees, it doesn’t exactly add to the joy and anticipation of planning a holiday.
Irish holidaymakers have so far been spared the worst of the disruption (in the UK, multiple airports are struggling and BA alone has axed almost 20,000 flights from its summer schedules). That’s worth repeating. But still, it’s peak-season turbulence, no matter how you look at it.
One way to limit risk and anxiety is to go with what you know.
Sticking with tried-and-trusted places rules out many unknowns, removes the stress of decision-making, involves a journey you can visualise and — though it may not have the excitement of a bucket-list trip — could tip the scales by providing priceless peace of mind.
Think of that hotel you love. The reliable pool, the familiar faces serving breakfast, the play areas where you know the kids are safe. Or that sun-holiday resort that clicked. The buffet was good, the beach within walking distance, the staff friendly, the shops close by.
Rather than starting from scratch, what about simply pressing ‘repeat’?
What about a ‘copy and paste’ holiday?
A recent survey of British holidaymakers by Norwegian cruise line found 73pc had returned to the same hotel abroad several times. In Ireland, though many of us of course look forward to seizing the day with new and exciting trips, it seems there is a lure to familiarity, too.
Stephanie Frame of Tour America says it has seen “a huge return to familiar holidays this year”, with customers spending “a lot more” on trips — upgrading and treating themselves in places they know, rather than rushing to spend pandemic savings on new adventures.
Similarly, Martin Skelly of Navan Travel says 80pc of his clients want tried-and-trusted holidays like campsites in France or sun in the Canaries, Spain and Portugal.
“There is less risk,” he says. People are choosing holidays “they know will run smoothly”, and he echoes the point about us being prepared to spend more. “Family holidays with all the bells and whistles are what is in demand.”
For people already anxious about Covid and cancellations, a holiday without ‘what ifs?’ could provide a calming predictability to look forward to, as well as ruling out added hassles like visas and connecting flights.
I wouldn’t underestimate nostalgia, either. In the worst months of the pandemic, confined to our 2km, I wondered whether we would ever travel again. I took some comfort in memories of past holidays, and I want to return to those places. Maybe that familiarity could reconnect our pre-pandemic past and our present, however fleetingly.
Of course, I still want new adventures. But sometimes, there’s a joy in sticking with what you know.