As the Covid-19 vaccination begins all over the world, there is a collective sigh of relief. But let’s not get too excited about getting back to normal, particularly when thinking of travel.
It is still going to be a long time until we can cram into economy class flights and stay in budget hotels and hostels without the danger of contracting Covid 19. But one thing is for sure, the compulsive traveler has now had enough. And the time is ripe for local and domestic travel related businesses to create experiences.
More Road Trips
Road trips offer the safety and sanitation of ones’ own car, all while giving travelers the flexibility that no other mode of transport can. Roads and highways across Pakistan have improved phenomenally over the past few years with improved safety and facilities along the way. Possibly the best thing about road trips is that the journey is the destination. Stopping at highway restaurants, waiting for a muster of peacocks to cross the road in Thar or taking a moment to admire the mustard fields of Punjab hold a unmatched charm. Road trips also support small businesses. However, the only thing that makes me nervous about road travel is the absence of clean, safe toilets at regular intervals. Perhaps what we need is curated road trip maps for Pakistan with details on where all the good (and clean) things are.
More Cityscapes and Staycations
Let’s admit it, the best part of a holiday is the big bed and the breakfast buffet. We have our fair share of 3 to 4 star hotels in the city that can recreate the ‘holiday’ experience. Personally, I am a big fan of checking out of my house and into a hotel for a weekend, family staycation. It allows one to disconnect (do not take your laptop with you) from the outside world and reconnect with your family. Even little things like going to the pool or ordering room becomes a bit of a novelty event. However, most hotels seem not to be promoting or capitalizing on the trend. Yet, I did enjoy my city breaks at the Avari and Movenpick.
Rediscovering one’s own city also emulates the wonderous element of travel. Revisit the old city areas, take a food tour, buy from traditional - Pakistani cities are rich with ‘mohalla’ subcultures featuring signature food, things to buy and ways of life to explore. There are also city tours available in Karachi and Lahore that you can hop on to.
Exploring More of Pakistan
If you have been choosing UAE or Sri Lanka for quick getaways, it may be time to replace them with Quetta, Multan, Peshawar, Sialkot, Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur and beyond. Often we under-estimate the richness of the experiences offered by smaller cities and towns. If you are spiritually driven, fly to Multan - City of Saints for an immersive experience in Pakistani shrine culture. For a touch of royal culture, head to Bahawalpur for the stunning palaces and some of the country’s best carpets and embroidery. Or explore the orchards of Quetta. In all honesty, these are exactly the kind of experiences we seek on our trips abroad. Why not try them right here at home? You can find daily flights to almost all domestic destinations on PIA. We also hear of a super, spring sale by PIA,
One thing is for certain, the CoVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we travel for a long time to come. Before vaccinations and health passports become a reality for us, it is worth re-imagining what we want from our upcoming travel plans.