Why Revenge Travel Is the (Actually Surprising) Feel-Good Travel Trend of the Summer

Remember spring 2020, when you were sitting in your house, wishing you could go somewhere (anywhere!) as the height of early quarantine boredom set in? (One can only do so many puzzles.) Well, with travel restrictions lifting and borders re-opening, now you finally can—and that pent-up wanderlust may be hitting with a vengeance.

Some experts are calling the phenomenon "revenge travel" (the idea that by booking a trip, you're taking back some of the control that COVID-19 had over your life in the wake of so many forced cancellations in 2020), and it's the driving force behind why you feel like everyone on your Instagram feed has been jetting off to somewhere new lately.

And it's not just Instagram—travel data backs up the revenge travel trend, too. International airfare prices rose 17 percent between April and May 2021, while domestic fares were up nine percent, according to reporting by CNBC. Increased demand has driven the increase in prices (which are continuing to rise), and that demand has grown out of the emotional and psychological toll of the pandemic, according to travel coach Dylan Grace Essertier.

"Travel is my favorite therapy," Essertier says. "We've experienced so much heartbreak over the past year that crossing time zones and immersing yourself in different cultures can be a form of healing."

"We've experienced so much heartbreak over the past year that crossing time zones and immersing yourself in different cultures can be a form of healing."

Anecdotal evidence (both on and off the 'gram) shows the trend is taking hold as well. Once both the vaccine rollout and summer were in full swing, Well+Good editorial projects associate Saanya Ali traveled to San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Cabo, Mexico within weeks of each other, and already has a trip on the books to Machu Picchu in Peru.

"Traveling has always been my escape or coping mechanism," Ali says. "Now, it feels like less of a way of coping with things, and more a 'getting back to myself' thing. It feels like I can finally return to the me that I used to be, after so much was taken away."

Similarly, Well+Good audience development associate Amanda Gaines jumped at the chance to re-book a trip that was canceled at the onset of the pandemic, and is planning to go to a concert (that had also been canceled) in Philadelphia over a trip this summer.

"After living in a pandemic for a year and a half, I now appreciate any form of travel, even if it's a 90-minute trip outside [New York City]," Gaines says. "I'm so excited to go to the concert and enjoy the little things we took for granted before COVID."

Are you also feeling the travel itch? After a year of minimal traveling, planning a trip can feel a little overwhelming (you're probably out of practice, after all). That's why we teamed up with Treat—the health and wellness brand devoted to helping people revenge travel responsibly—to ask Essertier for her top three tips for making planning your trip stress-free. Since your first vacation back should come with all the relaxation vibes.

1. Do a destination brain dump

Not sure where to head on your comeback trip? Essertier recommends treating the selection process like an extension of the enjoyment of your getaway, rather than a chore to check off your to-do list.

"If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all of the places you might travel, grab a glass of wine, put on some great music, and allow yourself to write down every single place you might go," she says. "One tip I have found helpful for my clients is to give them a time limit on this, usually around an hour. Once your allotted time is up, now it’s time to examine what you’ve put down. Are you seeing any themes? Warm weather destinations only? Beaches? Mountains?"

2. Go personal and detailed with your research

Once you have your location locked in, Googling "what to know when traveling to [fill in the blank destination]" is helpful, but it'll only get you so far in knowing what to actually expect when you get there—especially since the world has been changing so frequently over the past year and a half.

Instead, seek out people who can give you IRL advice, whether you connect with them via social media or mutual friends. "[If you] have concerns, speak to someone who is there or has been there," Essertier says. "A quick hashtag search can help you find the right people."

Lastly, calm any nerves by heading to Treat for all the tips on how to travel safely right now (because yes, vacation mode is a muscle none of us have worked in a while). From offering health-care services to advice on stretching and sleep, it's a one-stop shop to help you reclaim your adventurous side without the jitters.

3. Ask the experts

If you're still feeling unsure about some elements of your travel experience, turn to the experts for help (that's what they're there for!). Treat has loads of useful content spanning from destination inspo to packing tips to updated resources on global COVID travel restrictions, all with the mission to be your trusted wellness-travel companion.

Working with a travel coach is another avenue for making the most of your revenge travel experience. "A travel coach collaborates with their clients to not only plan their best trip, but make sure that the trip is intentional around personal development goals," Essertier says. "We’ve been through a lot this year! Why not invest in an experience that’s going to support the highest vision for your life?"

Ready to book your own "revenge travel" trip? Click here for more information about how to travel safely this summer.

Top photo: Stocksy/Jovo Jovanovic

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