It's easy to understand why holidays are good for our mental health, but even the act of dreaming and researching your next getaway can get you feeling happy. With the federal and state governments laying out plans to ease travel restrictions, now is a great time to start dreaming, researching and planning, even if you're a few weeks or even months away from booking. Let's face it, we could all use something to look forward to.
This pandemic has had an impact on more than just our physical wellbeing. Isolation has also impacted our mental health. However there are small steps that we can all take to help improve our mood. We're all eager for a change of scenery, and we're not just talking about the local park. What we need is something to look forward to. Planning a trip, even for later in the year, will do wonders for your mindset.
The government's announcement of its Three-Stage COVIDSafe Plan for Australia has brought some much needed hope to the travel industry and Aussies itching for a holiday. While the exact dates when restrictions will ease are different for each state, we know it won't be long until we can pack our suitcases again. Australia has been wonderful at banding together to overcome this crisis and it's clear that our country is keen to travel again. Soon enough our borders will reopen for domestic travel, and we'll be able to hit the open road to explore our homegrown attractions.
If your holiday aspirations were a little further abroad this year, don't despair. Although it's disappointing that your overseas trip has been postponed, there is still light at the end of the tunnel. You'd be surprised how many similar places there are in Australia that could help ease the disappointment of having to wait for international recovery. If you had your heart set on the beautiful beaches of Bali, consider an escape to the tropical Whitsundays. Perhaps the rolling hills of Tuscany were calling your name, the next best thing can be found right here in the Hunter Valley.
Right now it's all about focusing on the positives, so while you may not be packing your passport anytime soon, there's no reason why you can't indulge in the pleasure of a pre-taste of your dream trip. It could be just what the doctor ordered for getting your heart and mind back to happier times.
QLD: Queenslanders are now permitted to travel up to 150km from their home and will increase to 250km from 12 June. This includes holiday accommodation. Hello school holidays happiness! View QLD government advice >
NSW: The countdown is on! Holiday travel restrictions will be lifted from 1 June, meaning you can take a holiday anywhere in your state from that date. City? Hinterland? Coast? The choice is yours! View NSW government advice >
VIC: This just in: further easing of restrictions from 24 May now allow for camping and tourist accommodation. Better still, from 21 June the ski season will start so it's time to plan to start hitting the slopes. View VIC government advice >
SA: Three cheers for freedom! You may travel anywhere within your state, there are no restrictions. So whether you're craving proper coffee in the city or a wine-soaked weekend in the hills, the state is your oyster. View SA government advice >
WA: Boating, camping and fishing is BCF'n allowed and from Monday 18 May regional travel restrictions will be relaxed, with travel allowed between South West, Great Southern, Wheatbelt and Perth-Peel; Mid-West, Gascoyne and Pilbara; Goldfields-Esperance and withinKimberley Local Government areas. View WA government advice >
NT: The great outdoors is all yours with visits to parks and reserves, campgrounds, lagoons, rivers and natural pools all permitted. From 18 June, all areas will open subject to government decision. View NT government advice >
TAS: Mark it on your calendars Tasmanians, from 15 June stage two of lifting restrictions mean that all accommodation is open for business. Time to start planning an intra-state escape for the school holidays! View TAS government advice >
As much as we might be desperate to get away, without exact dates to plan around it can make it difficult to make a decision or feel comfortable committing to anything. Travel companies are offering an unprecedented amount of flexibility to book now and travel at a later date, and there are some amazing deals to be found. You don't necessarily need to know your exact dates, just pick a destination you've always wanted to visit and begin the research process, so you're ready to book when the time is right.
So, rather than spending your isolation endlessly trawling Netflix, why not use this time to plan your perfect holiday. The internet has endless amounts of travel resources available to inspire and assist you in planning your ideal trip. You can watch Youtube videos, listen to podcasts, read travel blogs, forums and reviews, as well as research the best restaurants and attractions. Jot down all of the places you want to visit and use this to map out your dates and itinerary.
When restrictions ease, and the demand for travel increases, airlines and hotels will be competing for traveller's dollars. Which means your holiday could be more affordable than ever before.
Last week, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, suggested that domestic airfares could be on sale for as low as $19 once restrictions ease.
"On Melbourne-Sydney you could see Jetstar have $39 airfares, you could see $19 airfares and we'll still cover our cash costs on those flights," Alan Joyce said.
Alan Joyce also stated that there is a "light at the end of the tunnel" with the hopes of travel restrictions being lifted soon.
"Australia has done an amazing job of flattening the curve and we're optimistic that domestic travel will start returning earlier than first thought" he said.
Although the world is a bit of a strange place right now, it's also far too beautiful to be left unexplored. Life is meant to be spent well-travelled and when things return to normal and you're ready to get out of the house and book your next escape, we'll be here for you.