In the midst of a global pandemic, the luxury of travel is about to be completely redefined, Co. Cork born Clara Murphy believes. We asked the 24 year old experienced traveller who is an English and Psychology graduate and our newest contributor to Travel Times, to tell us how Millennials like herself will choose to travel in a post coronavirus world. The ‘new normal’ will come as a particular shock for my millennial generation who’ve come to associate travel with cheap flights and endless choices. However, Ireland’s hidden treasures are about to be rediscovered. While international travel remains uncertain for the foreseeable future, domestic staycations will become hot on the rise for even the most seasoned jet-setter. Millennials may have once regarded luxury weekend breaks as a bonus holiday, but post-pandemic they’re set to favour prosecco in a hotel spa robe over a transatlantic flight (chicken or pasta?) in a face mask. Ella (23)admits how stay-cations were not always high on her wander list until this year; “Before COVID-19, stay-cations were just a nice extra after my international holiday, if I was lucky. Now I would love to experience more of Ireland’s tourism industry.”
While millennials love to wax lyrical on the crystal waters and sun-soaked beaches of Costa del Sol, now they are beginning to view their home-country through freshly emerald-tinted glasses. The Wild Atlantic Way is a popular favourite for young Dubliners who’ve never journeyed past Greystones.
Sometimes all it takes is an outsider’s perspective for natives to appreciate their surroundings – maybe we will later accredit Ireland’s booming tourism to Matt Damon’s love of Dalkey and Emily Ratajkowski’s Instagram of Bantry Bay. The A-List stars would more than approve of the west coast’s most spectacular spots, such as Mizen Head, Cliffs of Moher, Dingle Peninsula, Fanad Lighthouse, Kylemore Abbey and Doolin Cave.
Envy-inducing social media posts aside, millennials are also concerned about supporting the Irish economy throughout an inevitable recession. Doireann (24) stresses the importance of holidaying on the Emerald Isle; “I love traveling abroad but for the rest of 2020 I’m more interested in traveling within Ireland to support local businesses and rebuild the economy.”
She also notes that the logistics of travelling abroad may add an extra layer of stress, with certain challenges – early curfews, limited access to public spaces, and post-holiday 14- day isolation – removing the element of classic holiday relaxation. Éabha, 25, echoes this sentiment, “It’s not a holiday for me if I have to follow tight restrictions, I’d prefer to hold off until they’re lifted.” Young holiday-makers are also considering the risk of a second virus wave rendering them stranded in a different country. They agree that instead of lamenting the loss of foreign adventures, they must savour the option to explore the hidden gems right on their doorstep.
Despite planning their visits to medieval castles, forest hikes and coastal cliffs, millennials also eagerly await the grand return of international travel. Popular post-university holidays destinations such as Southeast Asia and South America are now more attractive than ever to house-bound young graduates. (above: Doireann on the Great Wall of China)
Aisling, 24, shares her dream of visiting vibrant Vietnam, “I’ve heard amazing things about it from friends who say it was their favourite part of Southeast Asia. I would love to try all of the activities like rice-picking, kayaking, ziplining, biking and cookery classes.” Adventure-led holidays are quickly becoming the perfect antidote to mid-youth crises, with fearless millennials eager to ‘find themselves’ through unique experiences and cultures.
Ultimately we must view the aftermath of COVID-19 as an exciting opportunity to rediscover the best of what Ireland has to offer, no sacrifices necessary. While the foreign grass may seem greener, perhaps we’ll begin to recognise that the grass in Ireland is the greenest of all.(photo: Clara and Andrea at Ladies View ,Killarney, Co. Kerry).