Where to travel after Corona: The best places to escape
By Helen Wright
With a limit on travel, and many of us spending waaaaay to much time inside thanks to Covid-19, it’s understandable that you might be feeling a bit uninspired right now. However, with restrictions beginning to soften, many of us are starting to consider our next holiday. If you have been entertaining an almost-euphoric daydream of fresh air and freedom, it might be time to start thinking about where you want to travel after Corona has eased. If working from home has made you desperate to get away, now could be the time to plan a dream holiday and explore somewhere different. If social isolating and lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that we CAN survive outside of our comfort zone (or, inside as it were…). So before you book the same holiday you take every year, why not consider somewhere new? With a bit of research, you might discover the perfect place is out there waiting for you, you just have to find it.
It goes without saying that the travel industry will be keen to rebuild as soon as it’s safe to travel after Coronavirus. This could mean some potentially amazing deals, enticing packages and bargain flights to snap up if you’re ready to book. Once you’ve decided where to go and what to do, you can jump on those post-lockdown deals and bag yourself a dream trip for half the price. To help find some inspiration, here is our pick of the six best places to travel after Coronavirus for an adventure, some natural beauty, fresh air and a new perspective:
Planning to travel after Corona? Where to go on holiday next:
(Scroll down for no-fly options)
Before the world was grounded, we set off on an epic USA road trip across the state of Oregon. Prior to our trip, I didn’t know much about Oregon, other than it was said to be very green with a beautiful coastline. Situated directly above California and sharing those incredible west coast views, Oregon is the perfect place to dust away the cobwebs, stretch your legs and travel after Coronavirus has kept you cooped up indoors.
One of the things I tell people first when I am recommending Oregon, is how little spending money we needed once we were there. Unlike other popular family destinations, such as Orlando, once you arrive, the main attractions in Oregon are completely free. Relying on natural beauty, you can hike through national forests, follow the path of a cascading waterfall and explore wild, unspoiled beaches. For local charm, wander through seaside fishing villages and local markets. Support local business by sampling excellent farm (and sea)-to-table meals that serve fresh, quality food without a flashy price tag.
We travelled with our two-year-old and he absolutely loved the experience. Like many of us who travel after Corona, he thrived in the outdoors and loved the freedom and excitement of forest walks, nature trails and miles of open space to run around. The sea views and fresh, ocean air can do wonders for the mind too and a break from the business of real life is always welcome.
We rented an RV motorhome from Cruise America and drove from Portland to the Californian border over a two-week trip. Campsites were beautifully maintained, friendly and safe (check out our two-week itinerary to see everywhere we stayed). This is a cheaper way to travel around the state, but of course there are some gorgeous hotels too. Finally, if too much isolation has you craving a bit of city life, Portland is one of our favourites. Cool shops, excellent food (especially doughnuts and coffee) and a colourful history make Portland more than just a stop on your Oregon itinerary – we bet you’ll be booking a trip back here before you’ve even gone home.
Recommended length: Two weeks
Perfect for: Families and those looking for a stress-free, outdoorsy break
Estimated budget: £3000
Best flight deal we could find: £378 return, flying direct on Virgin Atlantic to Seattle (Economy Light) in March 2021. *Seattle is a 2hr 40min drive from Portland.
American Airlines fly direct to Portland but their flight schedules for 2021 are yet to be released.
Find out more: traveloregon.com
Another place to experience the vast landscape and great American outdoors is the Grand Canyon state – Arizona. At almost 114 square miles, Arizona is the perfect place to get outdoors and celebrate the natural wonder of earth. With the Grand Canyon often being the only part of AZ that a lot of Brits visit (usually on a trip to Las Vegas), the state has so much more to offer, we don’t even know where to start!
Oh, okay, we do know where to start…our favourite Arizona city, Scottsdale, is just 30 minutes from Phoenix Airport and has managed to encapsulate everything that is great about this part of the USA and package it into one colourful, cultural bundle. There is a choice of fantastic hotels where you can just sit back and enjoy the 300 days of sun that Scottsdale boasts on average every year. (See our reviews of the Four Seasons Scottsdale, the Andaz Scottsdale and the Boulders Scottsdale).
Scottsdale Old Town is one of the best places to eat in America, with a choice of excellent, sustainable and local restaurants serving Mexican-American creations with a Sonoranian flair – using fresh ingredients picked from the landscape around them, the Sonoran desert. The colourful, welcoming town is decorated with independent boutiques, shops and art galleries as well as some seriously good places to get your Instagram pic – if that is what you like to do.
Lovers of architecture can immerse themselves in a choice of mid-century design gems, including the Hotel Valley Ho (a historic, mid-century modern hotel) and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Tallesin West (a perfectly restored 1930s mansion that was the architect’s winter home and now serves as a museum in celebration of his influence).
Getting outdoors is no problem – the mighty Sonoran desert is right on Scottsdale’s doorstep. Hiking is the top sport, with trails of varying ability, ranging from easy to Olympic athlete standard. You can also go kayaking, dune buggy riding, play some amazing golf and, of course, with Arizona’s Western heritage, go horse riding. The views are quite something.
Taking a road trip in Arizona will take you through small and curious western towns, bustling cities, such as Tucson, and places that celebrate the beautiful and unique nature of the state, like Sedona. The Grand Canyon, of course, makes for the grand finale. The Grand Canyon National Park offers a range of accommodation around the crater, ranging from luxury lodgings to camping under the stars. After being confined to the small area around your home, just making a plan to travel after Corona on an epic road trip across the desert is just the tonic you need.
Recommended length: Two weeks
Perfect for: Adventure seekers, art and nature lovers and foodies
Estimated budget: £2500
Best flight deal we could find: £529 return to Phoenix, AZ on British Airways (Economy in February 2021)
Find our more: visitarizona.com
Travel after Corona – is now the time to go really long haul?
It’s far. We know. But if there is one way to compensate for the monotony of being stuck in your own home for weeks, it’s flying to the other side of the world. If you are looking to run free and breathe in life, how could we miss out New Zealand – possibly one of the most beautiful and outdoorsy places in the world?
In reality, this might not be a trip for *right now*. With everyone having had so much time off and many of us tightening our purse strings, an epic adventure to the southern hemisphere might seem totally out of the question. At the time of publication, New Zealand has maintained the closure of its borders to all travellers and is enforcing a strict quarantine. Check here for the most up-to-date information. However, by planning in advance and taking advantage of some excellent deals, you could save money on a pretty incredible adventure later on in the year, or in early 2021.
If you want to travel after Corona and embrace the great outdoors, New Zealand has it all. Beautiful green landscapes lead to stunning beaches. You can swim in waterfalls, see glowworms in their natural, underground habitat, bathe in hot sulphur pools, ski in the mountains, hike, sail, horse ride, cycle… basically, everything you ever wanted to do outdoors, you can do in New Zealand, all with a totally stunning backdrop.
For the feeling of total freedom, Milford Sound on the South Island is not to be missed. Sail between the fjords, rainforest and cascading waterfalls. Elevate your adventure with a flight to the top of Mt Cook to roam atop a snow-capped mountain and hike down a glacier. Glenorchy, the rural setting for The Lord of the Rings, is a hiking and horse riding paradise. Queenstown, the adrenaline city, is the place to let off steam with zip lines, jet boats, sky dives and, of course, Bungee Jumping (this is the home AJ Hackett Bungee and the original Bungee site, Kawarau Gorge).
The North Island is not short of wide skies and spellbinding adventures either. The Bay of Islands is the perfect place to go sailing, whale watching, fishing and diving. If your gym and pool were closed for extended periods, diving into the cool blue waters here will make up for it somewhat. In Rotorua, natural sulphur springs showcase the fiery side of nature at its finest, a contrast to the Waitomo Caves in the west, where you get a glimpse at the serene underground.
Campervanning is the best way to see the country. If you survived lockdown at home with your family, you can certainly manage three weeks in a camper with them – especially with the ultimate escapism right outside your window.
Recommended length: Three weeks (four if you can get the time off)
Perfect for: A once-in-a-lifetime trip, adventure seekers, families
Estimated budget: £6000 (for two people)
Best flight deal we could find: £669 return to Auckland on Cathay Pacific, stopping in Hong Kong (Economy in March 2021)
Find out more: newzealand.com
No-fly travel after Corona restrictions are relaxed: where to go in the UK?
The Lake District
If making it all the way to New Zealand isn’t an option, the UK’s offering isn’t half bad either. In fact, the Lake District is one of the most beautiful places in the country. Retreat to the lakes and embrace the simple life with fresh air, beautiful countryside and a slice of homemade cake in one of the many local bakeries and tea rooms.
For those who want to splash the cash, there are some gorgeous luxury hotels and spas in the Lake District, but it is also the perfect place to go camping. Bring your own tent and pitch up for a budget room with a view. We camped at the National Trust Great Langdale campsite in Cumbria and it was perfect. If you are looking for something a little less rustic, there is a fantastic choice of cute Air BnBs and guesthouses here to create a little home away from home.
Recommended length: Four days
Perfect for: Photography, active families, couples
Estimated budget: £300
Find out more: lakedistrict.gov.uk
Brecon Beacons National Park
If budget is a deciding factor, an ideal place to roam free, take in the stunning landscape and absorb your surroundings is the Brecon Beacons in Wales. There are some fantastic cottages for rent and you can bring the extended family if you’ve missed spending quality time with your relatives. In particular, if you live in a city or heavily residential area, a mini break in rural Wales could be exactly what you are looking for, especially if you don’t fancy boarding a plane anywhere right now.
For some unique outdoor entertainment for the whole family, the ancient Dan-yr-Ogof Showcaves should be your first stop. Tours are offered through the 3,000-year-old caves, which have been delicately preserved. Outside, is a brilliant dinosaur adventure park with 200 life sized dinosaur models. Younger kids will love the statues and older kids can download a free Adventure app for interactive and educational experiences throughout the attraction.
The beautiful area lends itself to long walks in the countryside, stopping off at local pubs and cafes along the way. Plan a picnic in the Brecon Beacons National Park and then set off on a gentle hike along the Four Waterfalls Walk to the Pontneddfechan Powys Waterfall. The first person in your group who can spell the name backwards wins a prize!
The Brecon Beacons National Park is also an International Dark Sky Reserve and, at night, the sky is magical. Stargazing sessions are available to book through breconbeacons.org. Learn about the stars, peek through a powerful telescope and feel like all your problems (including Covid-19) are light years away.
Recommended length: Long weekend
Perfect for: Budget trips, mini break, family travel
Estimated budget: £400
Best travel deal we could find: £295 for three nights at Talybryn Lodge in Brecon with breconcottages.com
If you are fed up of being indoors and itching to travel after Corona hibernation, you may understandably be crying out for a beach break. If you’re still very much in a no-fly state of mind, one of the loveliest beach communities in the UK can be found in Cornwall. There is 250 miles of beautiful coastline in Cornwall, as well as over 300 beaches – making it one of the best places to go in the UK for a beach holiday. Even if the sun isn’t scorching, the beaches here are ideal for lazy walks on the coastal path, fish and chips by the sea and, of course, surfing!
Watergate Bay, which is just three miles north of Newquay, is one of our favourite Cornwall destinations. The sprawling beach has two miles of golden sand and enormous waves, which make it popular for surfing and kitesurfing. The gorgeous Watergate Bay hotel sits right on the beach and this little cove is also home to Jamie Oliver’s original Fifteen restaurant.
Cornwall does have more to offer than beaches and for something more exciting than the inside of your home, head to Lost Gardens of Heligan, a wonderland of flora and fauna that gives the burst of life and colour that everyone needs right now. You could also plan a woodland walk through St Nectan’s Glen, a stunning sixty foot waterfall that bursts through a hole in the rocks.
Finally, of course, there is also the one thing that Cornwall does best – cream tea! Lets face it, we all need a good sugar rush to travel after Corona and there is nowhere better to scoff down scones, strawberry jam, Cornish clotted cream and a pot of tea. It only takes a bite and life is restored.
Recommended length: One week
Perfect for: UK beach holiday, families, couples
Estimated budget: £1000
Best travel deal we could find: £215 per night at Watergate Bay hotel, bed and breakfast based on a couple sharing in September 2020
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Wherever you travel after Corona has eased, be safe and responsible. Take care of those around you and enjoy your restored freedom.
Helen Wright is the winner of Best Blog Series at the VUSA Travel Media Awards 2016. Instagram: @helenwrites
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