Yes, you read that right; this is actually a travel company suggesting we might travel less. Let me explain. As we gradually emerge, blinking, into the post-lockdown light, it's only natural that we'll be wary of travel for a while. Airports are likely to be more difficult places to navigate; other countries might have second coronavirus spikes; or we might, and so not be welcome in other countries; people will have less disposable income…. the list goes on. All extremely valid reasons to travel less in the short term, but in the medium to long term we might also continue to travel less when that travel refers specifically to flying. 'Travel less' can mean flying less but staying longer; or flying less and taking more train travel trips or road trips from the UK. We're eminently relaxed about either of these options.
And as for the 'Travel Better bit'? That's easier because it's what we've been helping our clients to do since January 2003, when we were three founders operating out of a spare bedroom. But even here there's room for interpretation. One person's definition of how to 'Travel Better' might differ wildly from another's, but here are a few of our favourite interpretations...
How to Travel Better by Practicing ‘Philantourism’
'Philantourism' (with apologies to any etymologists out there) is the act of choosing to visit a country that is normally reliant on tourist visits, but which has recently suffered from a drastic dip in tourist numbers - be that due to a national disaster, a terrorist attack, or coronavirus. When you visit you don't need to do anything more taxing than have a jolly nice holiday, spend your money in locally run hotels, restaurants and businesses, and generally lend support - both morally and financially - while you're there.
How to Travel Better by Flying Less
As above, we can travel better by flying less. While Original Travel already off-set every atom of carbon from both flights and ground transportation taken by our clients and staff - by funding tree planting programmes around the world (many our own) - there's no denying that flying is a contributor to climate change. As a result, we've developed itineraries that help our clients avoid flights altogether, be that by taking the train from the UK to the continent (and even further on, if you've got the time and inclination), or by taking a retro-style road trip to Europe using the excellent Eurotunnel service or the ferry. And even if you are flying and off-setting, we can often suggest a way to take ground transport options when you're in your destination. In short, we believe you can travel better by avoiding flights wherever possible and practical.
How to Travel Better by Making it Meaningful
As above, it's perfectly possible to holiday by train or car - after all, Europe is home to some pretty special destinations - but when you do fly further afield, you can also travel better by being a bit more discerning about where you go and what you do further afield. In short, when you travel, make it meaningful. You can fly guilt-free with our carbon offset pledges, and tick off those bucket list experiences, but also learn a new skill, or learn to appreciate an old one in one of our Reconnect destinations.
How to Travel Better by Going for Longer
If you stay longer, you can travel less but still take the same amount of holiday a year. Clever, no? Rather than blithely jetting off every other weekend, plan longer, more immersive trips and by definition that means less carbon consumption (whatever the mode of transport) and more time in your destination to really drill down and appreciate a place. Our clued-up local Concierges are on hand to help you open doors most people don't know exist, and to take your experience to the next level. If you linger longer, you can also travel better by giving back. If you're somewhere on sabbatical (even short ones) we can arrange an authentic and genuinely helpful stint of community engagement where you learn and they benefit. The ultimate travel win-win.
How to Travel Better by, well, Travelling Better
Putting the eventual destination aside for a moment, the actual act of travelling can often leave a lot to be desired. That's where Original Travel comes in. Book with us and you get fast tracked through airport check-in and security, and lounge access, as standard - even if you're flying economy. That's golden at the best of times, but even more so in an era where - at least in the short term - airports might become more complex to navigate. As and when airports introduce social distancing regulations and health checks, our team of expert greeters will make the whole airport experience as tolerable as possible. Then there are other of our additional services that also come as standard on a trip booked with Original Travel: pre-booked seats on flights, destination specific playlists and reading lists, those Concierges in situ and much, much more. All included, and all specifically designed to help you travel better.
So there you have it. Counter-intuitive as it seems, for the time being we believe we can, and should 'travel less, travel better'.