How to make sure your ‘Revenge Travel’ does not become ‘Regret travel’

Aneth Ng-Lim

Posted at May 08 2023 04:48 PM

On May 5, we woke up to the news that the World Health Organization declared the end of Covid-19 as a global public health emergency.

At a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “For more than a year, the pandemic has been on a downward trend with population immunity increasing from vaccination and infection, mortality decreasing, and the pressure on health systems easing. This trend has allowed most countries to return to life as we knew it before Covid-19. It is therefore with great hope that I declare Covid-19 over as a global health emergency.”

And while Covid-19 is still very much around, this is the announcement that confirms we can all start to resume the plans we have put on hold during the lockdown years, including our many travel hopes and dreams.

With the WHO declaration, we can expect more countries to relax their Covid-19 travel restrictions, that is if they still have any. Tourism industries have started to see better business this year versus 2022 and 2021, and are counting on ‘Revenge Travel’ to recover their losses during the pandemic years.

From Revenge Spending to Revenge Travel

In case you did not know what ‘Revenge Travel’ is, the phrase became popular at the height of lockdown, when we were all confined in our homes. Market analysts predicted ‘Revenge Travel’ to happen after the phenomenon of ‘Revenge Spending’, which was when consumers were shopping more than they normally would supposedly to make up for feeling deprived during the lockdown.

‘Revenge Travel’ is a bit similar, but this is about trying to make up for lost time. With the lifting of travel restrictions, many are now deciding to travel to various destinations, both local and overseas. Maybe you can finally have that long-postponed family reunion, or raring to revisit favorite vacation spots, or just going on splurge vacations to get away. Whatever the reason, make sure your ‘Revenge Travel’ plans do not end up giving you ‘Regret Travel’. If you learned some painful lessons from ‘Revenge Spending’, revisit them before making any travel bookings.

Expect everything to be more expensive

During lockdown, I would make plans for six months to one year later, hoping for healthier times. The prices then were so low and there were promotions left and right. You can cancel with no penalty, rebook with no additional fees, and negotiate for deep discounts. And when things were getting better and I was finally ready to book our first family trip in years, the prices just killed me.

Trip tickets are at least 20% higher than it was the same time last year. In case you are planning a road trip, gasoline prices have stabilized but did not return to pandemic levels. To get reasonable deals from hotels, be ready to pay in advance with no possibility of refund should your plans change. 

Fly now, pay later?

You could be thinking I have not travelled in so many years so maybe it’s okay to splurge. Credit cards are also trying to get you to leave your home with tempting fly now, pay later instalment offers. You don’t have to say no, but think carefully before you say yes. Check out the monthly payments for the fly now, pay later offer, and how long they would be. I would say no to a payment plan for 2 years, especially if I want to travel again in 1 year. You don’t want to be stuck paying for something that long, and then have to “borrow” again for the trip next year.

But then again, if the monthly payment is too high for 12 months, then maybe you should think about going somewhere else. Remember that you can pay later but you will still need to pay. Yes you deserve a break, but so does your wallet. 

Try to also compute for the total amount of interest you will be paying. Maybe 20% of your total expense is reasonable for a one year payment period. But be careful not to be paying 50% or more. 

How about save now, vacation later

The best way to avoid ‘Regret Travel’ is to pay for travel expenses with savings you allocated for such. Not savings intended for tuition, or for a rainy day. Start today by setting aside an amount so you can take a vacation in six months or next year. Make your savings realistic too – maybe you can only save for the airfare, and then pay for hotel and daily expenses with an installment loan. 

While it would be great if you can save to fund all your travel, this may not be possible for some. It’s still better to loan for only half the expenses, than take out a loan for all of them. The last thing you want is to come home in debt. Plus you will enjoy your vacation more when you will not have the stress of paying a huge bill in the future. With the WHO saying so, Covid-19 scare is no longer as scary, so you can travel when you want and when you can afford to pay for it.


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