two explorers sitting on the ice watching the northern lights

Why You Shouldn’t Wait To Plan Your First Post-Pandemic Adventure

There is still a lot of uncertainty of how things will play out with the current Covid-19 pandemic. And there are certainly no guarantees about when it might be okay to travel again, especially internationally. 

At least some national parks have announced that they will have limited or no backcountry access in summer of 2020 due to being unable to house seasonal rangers in the usual dorm style accommodations.

It is also unclear when tourism companies will be opening their doors again. 

Two people planning an adventure

For these reasons, you may be holding off on planning your next big adventure. While these concerns are all valid, I feel that delaying the planning of your next adventure is a mistake. 

I would strongly encourage you to start planning your first big post-quarantine adventure right now. Here’s why.

#1 – Planning A Trip Is Good For Your Mental Health

This pandemic has challenged our mental health as a nation like very few things have before (perhaps with the exception of war). 

Social isolation, lack of meaningful work, and stress about health and financial systems make it extremely important for us to be proactive about taking care of our mental health.

Research suggests that planning a trip is good for your mental health, even if you don’t know exactly when you’ll be able to take it. 

“People are at their happiest when they have a vacation planned. The anticipation of an experience (like a trip) can increase a person’s happiness substantially.”

Couple sitting together at the edge of a lake in the mountains

Scientists have shown that the anticipation of something rewarding can often be just as good, if not better than the actual reward.

This fact can be explained by a chemical messenger in the brain called dopamine. Dopamine is released when we anticipate a reward (like a trip), not when we actually receive the reward. When released, dopamine causes feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.

You may have experienced this effect yourself when you’re just grinding away at work day after day with nothing to look forward to. But then, all the sudden if you start planning a vacation or an adventure, and you feel better right away. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, you’ve got something to look forward to!

We could all use something to look forward to after our social isolation, why not an adventure?

"As humans, we spend a lot of our mental lives living in the future. Our future-mindedness can be a source of joy if we know good things are coming, and travel is an especially good thing to have to look forward to." – Matthew… Click To Tweet

#2 – Planning An Adventure Gives You More Motivation To Train

This whole Covid-19 pandemic has made a lot of people realize how much they’ve taken their health for granted. Now is an amazing time to re-prioritize your health by becoming more active. 

However, it can be hard to stay motivated with the goal of just improving your health or even looking better. These are great goals, but for some reason, they aren’t usually enough to keep us running mile after mile or lifting rep after rep.

However, training for something, especially something you enjoy, can be much more motivating! Planning out an adventure that you have always dreamed of doing is a great way to keep you moving towards building healthy and more active habits. As an added bonus, training for an adventure will also improve your health while making you look, and feel better. Win-win!

There are a few reasons why having something to train for can be more motivating than just working out to get healthy:

  • First, an adventure is much more tangible than “getting healthy”. 
  • Second, all the hard work of training pays off for the big reward of getting to go on an adventure you’ve always dreamed of!
  • Third, by training for an adventure, you can choose workout types that you actually enjoy, which helps you stay motivated and stick to your goals. (Check out this post to learn how to stop hating, and start loving your exercise.)

#3 – Planning An Adventure Gives You And Your Adventure Buddies Something To Bond Over

Quarantine is tough, and can be really lonely for many. Humans are social animals, and it’s easy to feel disconnected when we aren’t able to see our friends and family as often as we are used to.

two people sitting on paddle boards watching the sunset

Fortunately, modern technology makes it easier than ever to stay in touch. But after months spent at home mostly binging on Netflix… you may have run out of Tiger King gossip to chat about.

Planning an adventure with a friend can be a really fun and exciting way to connect. Why not call your best adventure buddies now for a planning sesh?

Planning Your Post-Pandemic Adventure

If you’ve decided to plan an adventure, there are some things that can be planned now, and other things that would probably be better to wait for. 

There is still a lot of uncertainty with how things will play out with this pandemic, and no one can say for sure what types of adventures we will be able to do first. But, if I had to guess, I would say that international travel might be one of the things that take longest to open back up. 

If that does end up being the case, it might be a good option to plan for adventures closer to home. Maybe a site-seeing road trip, a visit to a national park, or a backpacking or camping trip in a local wilderness area?

What You Can Safely Plan Now

Unless you have a specific adventure in mind already, I would suggest making an adventure bucket list. Brainstorm all the adventures that you’ve always wanted to do, and write them down. 

Don’t let your current fitness level discourage you from choosing more active adventures – remember, you have some time to train!

Man standing on top of a mountain above the clouds

Now, after making your list, choose which adventure you would like to be your first, post-quarantine (I know, easier said than done, right?). 

Once you’ve picked your destination, research the best sites to see there, and figure out logistics like mode of transportation, as well as what route or trail you’ll take. 

If you choose a physically demanding outdoor adventure, you may also want research:

  • What this adventure will require from you physically. 
    • Ex: if you are planning to backpack a certain trail, what is the distance and elevation change you’ll need to be prepared for each day? What is the terrain like? 
  • How you will need to train for that adventure. What sorts of exercises should you be doing? What do the experts recommend? How long will you need to safely train for this adventure?
  • Temperature and weather patterns common to the area. 
  • What sort of clothing, gear, equipment, and food you’ll need.
  • If permits are required.

These are all things that can take a bit of time to plan. So make sure you do your research and are prepared so the adventure goes smoothly.

What You Should Probably Wait To Plan

I would strongly recommend not getting too attached to any specific date for your adventure. If you have to keep pushing it back it will be more discouraging than uplifting.

So when planning, just be flexible on dates. For this reason, I would wait to buy any plane tickets or make any hotel or gear rental reservations. You will likely also want to hold off on requesting any vacation from work.  

Hold off on making these particular plans until the authorities have said it is safe and allowed to do the type of adventure you are planning.

Conclusion

Even with all of the uncertainty that Covid-19 brings, I would still recommend planning your next big adventure. It will give you something to look forward to and be a great way for you to connect with friends.

Plus having something fun to train for will give you more motivation to get active and improve your health, win-win!

Your Turn!

Have you ever felt much happier when planning a trip or adventure? 

Have you decided what your first post-pandemic adventure will be yet? If so, is it something you can start training for now? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Share the knowledge!

Author: clarissa.cabbage

Clarissa is a teacher, a coach, and an avid adventurer! Armed with a master's degree in Exercise and Wellness, she is on a mission to teach people how to build healthier habits that support the adventurous lifestyle of their dreams. There is nothing Clarissa is more passionate about than helping people get active and live their lives to the fullest!

36 Replies to “Why You Shouldn’t Wait To Plan Your First Post-Pandemic Adventure

  1. We love going on a couple big trips a year, along with a few smaller & shorter ones. It’s fun to think about the places we’ll see and learn about a new area or culture. We went to Brazil last year and had fun trying to learn some Portuguese before we went.

    Although COVID-19 has interfered with out travel plans this year (one trip was already cancelled), we hope to be able to travel again soon. I like your idea of planning out a trip now, to have something to look forward to. Great idea to start getting in shape for the trip now, too, while we have more time on our hands.

    1. Thanks for the comment Baby Boomer! Brazil sounds amazing! From about the 4th grade on I have always wanted to visit the Amazon rainforest.
      And yes, the extra time is definitely a good opportunity to train for a fun adventure! Although learning a new language for a trip sounds like a pretty good use of extra time as well!

  2. Can’t wait until things open up again to travel. We had planned on going to Vietnam this year but we’re already re-planning for next year. Definitely helps mentally to have something to look forward to!

  3. Travelling is the best therapy. I can’t wait to start traveling after this pandemic ends. Of course precautions need to be taken so that all of us can travel safely. We have started looking for destinations now, hopefully will plan a trip soon. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I absolutely agree that precautions need to be taken as things open back up! I would love to travel internationally, but I think I’ll travel and adventure closer to home to start. Roadtrips, backpacking, camping and the like. There’s plenty of beauty right here in my own backyard that I can’t wait to get back to!

  4. I can’t wait to go on my next trip after the pandemic. I mean, I don’t fancy travelling as soon as the restrictions are lifted so that probably won’t be until next year. I think I might plan a city break in Europe, somewhere I haven’t visited before. It’s making me excited just reading this post.

    1. I’m looking forward to traveling as well. I don’t think I’ll travel far as soon as restrictions are lifted either. But I definitely plan to adventure closer to home ASAP! There are some backpacking and kayaking trips I’d love to take right here in my state, and those are first on my list.

    1. Thanks for the comment Jennifer! It’s so hard to say how things will be by then. But I’ve heard that Disney World is opening in Florida on July 1st, so I guess we’ll find out a lot when that happens. ?‍♀️

  5. I totally agree that planning usually makes me really happy. Mine was supposed to happen last month but (obviously) got cancelled so I’m afraid the majority of the fun planning stages were already complete. I can’t wait for the booking stage of the planning to reopen…x

    Sophie

    1. I hear you Sophie! Hopefully it will be safe to travel again soon! For now I’m trying to plan adventures a little closer to home to hold me over. Thank you for the read and the comment!

  6. I totally agree with you! Planning is great – you can still do a tentative plan by the day and replace it with the actual dates when you actually go. I know although I can’t travel right now, that doesn’t stop me from doing the research upfront! Thanks for sharing!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

    1. Thanks for the comment Nancy! I am a big time planner and I love to really do my homework when I take on a big trip or adventure. All that research can be super time consuming, so now is the perfect time to tackle it!

  7. Great post! We’re lucky, we have already booked camping trips throughout 2020 at the provincial parks. We had 10 booked from April to October, 2 of which have already been cancelled. That isn’t going to stop us from being excited about the ones that we still have booked. These are just car camping style trips and we are self-sufficient so that we can avoid high-risk areas like bathrooms and showers. Most of them are just weekends, but our next big week-long trip is booked for early July. That’s a waterfront site, so we REALLY hope that we can still get that one in!!

    1. That sounds amazing Britt! While I’m big on backpacking I definitely still love me some car camping! Unfortunately that’s not open where I’m at just yet. Hopefully soon! ???? Enjoy your trips,and thanks for the comment!

  8. My partner and I were actually discussing this last night! I’d love to go on a road trip across Australia for a few weeks once our restrictions are lifted again (hopefully in November). It’s been super tricky to look into planning it because nothing is really open for quotes, but it’s been really cool to try and see what COULD be available to us!

    We’d also love to return back to Bali, but I think that ones is just a little bit of a wait and see at the moment.

    1. Both of those options sound amazing Claire! Like you, I’ve been trying to hold off on trips requiring international flights. But the road trip sounds like something that might be able to happen in the near future! Thank you for the comment!

  9. I’m not an adventure person but I love planning trips. I had loads planned for this year which obviously didn’t go ahead. Planning things and having things to look forward to definitely improves your mental health! It does for me!

    1. Sorry about your trips Jenny! But yes, I love planning trips. Researching all the possibilities, learning about somewhere new… I can spend hours and hours doing it. And now there is definitely plenty of extra time for that! Thanks for the comment. ❤️

  10. I love going on mini trips! We actually didn’t have any planned for this Summer because we just went on a big trip for Christmas but it would have been nice. We are starting to plan for next summer though 🙂 thanks for these awesome tips!

    1. You’re very welcome Amanda. Mini-trips near home are a great way to go! Those sort of adventures seem the most likely kind that we’ll be able to take soon. And after being cooped up so long, I think they’ll be just what the doctor ordered. Thanks for the read!

  11. I have been super hesitant to plan our next trip. We have historically always had something planned, and I know that people who have vacations planned are statistically happier. We’re thinking of going to the Adirondacks, which would provide easy social distancing, but the trip there with a kid usually has numerous gas station/fast food stops, and I just don’t know if I’m ready for that. Doesn’t hurt to start planning stuff though, even if the date is to be determined. Great post; thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for the comment Josh! As you mentioned, I think vague plans are the best to start out with. Especially for trips nearer to home. And you definitely shouldn’t go before your comfortable! The added anxiety just might not be worth it. So definitely don’t rush it, the good news is that things will still be there to visit in a year or two.

  12. I love these reasons! I have been avoiding making any plans but I’m definitely going to start planning a short trip to one of our National trust parks now! Thank you ☺️

    1. For sure! I do something similar. If I’m surfing the web and see articles or pictures of cool hiking trails or waterfalls or somewhere I would like to visit, I write it down so I can be sure to visit it when all this is over. Thanks for the read and the comment Fy!

    1. That’s awesome Em! I hear you, I am not one for sitting around either. Sounds like you have a lot to look forward to next year. Thank you for the read, and happy (solo) travels!

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