As borders reopen across the globe, the travel industry is attempting to renew consumer confidence with a host of social distancing regulations, from sanitising sunbeds to binning the breakfast buffet.
The new normal is very new indeed but, particularly for introverts, it’s not all doom and gloom. Here’s how a socially distanced holiday could actually be a blessing in disguise.
1. The lack of crowds
There’s an obvious irony to tourists complaining about other tourists, but there’s also no denying that crowds can absolutely ruin a holiday. From empty middle seats on planes to staggered entry to sites, a socially distanced holiday has that rare quality – personal space.
Privacy is the new luxury, and some hotels are making low capacity a virtue by renting out clusters of rooms together, and even entire floors.
2. It’s an excuse to do things you wanted to do anyway
You need to book a private transfer, rather than using public transport – because of social distancing. You must lounge in your hotel, rather than see your third temple complex of the day – because of social distancing. And you definitely can’t use the hotel gym – because of social distancing.
We’re not lazy. We’re just sensible.
3. You won’t have to defend your sunbed
Ah, the politics of the poolside lounger. Every resort has its share of sunbed snipers – vigilantes who move in on unguarded loungers with the justification that a towel can only save a space for so long. It’s a morally grey area, but if YouTube is anything to go by, that doesn’t make the arguments any quieter.
Social distancing regulations bring the free exchange of loungers to an abrupt halt, though admittedly some hotels have banned them altogether.
4. Embrace new holiday ideas
They say every crisis is also an opportunity, and although COVID might be stretching a point, it may encourage you to try something different, something outside of your holiday comfort zone.
If you’re used to five-star splendour, why not try camping? If city breaks are your bag, book a holiday hiking in the wilds?
5. Less travel bureaucracy
There’s something quite refreshing about the fact that the usual agents of admin are heavily incentivised to process you as promptly as possible. No-one wants you loitering by the luggage racks or coughing through customs, and your hotel will want you through the doors and into your room in record time.
Of course, there will be some hold-ups – temperature checks, constant sanitising – but it’s mostly a testament to how smoothly things can run when required.
6. Guilt-free room service
For many of us, room service feels like a step too far. We’ve already blown our savings on fancy lifts, tiny toiletries, and making someone else cook breakfast, so flicking through the obscenely overpriced room service menu feels as indulgent as cleaning out the mini bar.
Now some hotels are relying on room service for every meal, and if you want to scoff lobster and scallop ravioli while reclining on your pillows, you can do so guilt-free. We grieve for the breakfast buffet, but every cloud …
7. You don’t have to talk to people
For many of us, a holiday is a bit like a university freshers’ week – you’ll make lots of new chums on the first night, and then spend the rest of your stay trying to get rid of them. Don’t even get us started on the person that tries to strike up a conversation at the beginning of a five-hour flight.
8. No more unnecessary housekeeping
The dictionary definition of first world problems, it is nevertheless off-putting when you emerge from the bathroom to find someone rifling through your wardrobe, or if they barge in while you’re napping.
Daily housecleaning was always overkill, but deep cleans between guests are now becoming the norm, so you no longer need to worry about tidying up all your mess before the official tidy up.
What type of holidays do you most enjoy? Do you see any positives to social distancing?
– With PA
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