Man stands with family enjoying being in the canyon.

5 Things the Pandemic Taught us

Travel Now.

If the pandemic has us thinking about anything it is our next family vacation.

With over 15 years of running family adventure trips in Costa Rica, I know the importance of a family adventure.  A family adventure becomes a lifelong memory, a part of your family story at every dinner event, an ingrained bonding moment for siblings and parents.

Not to mention all the collateral effects like experiencing cultures, opening your mind, and overcoming fears.

With the last eight months and probably another good six months or more before we see families travel again. We have had a lot of time to think of what parents and families are feeling during the pandemic.

What we learned is that those that took trips before the pandemic is spending their time reminiscing on memories. They remember their past travels.

Those that did not take trips during the pandemic are daydreaming of a trip they wish they should have taken.

While numerous studies say experiences bring more fulfillment to life than actual things, I think the pandemic has made that pretty clear.

I got into snowboarding five years ago and decided to make a big trip every year to visit all the mountains I could on a snowboard.

My daughter wanted a pool at the house, she told me yesterday she was happier we spent the money on snowboarding trips instead of having a pool at home. Not only did she get to snowboard, but I was able to show her much of South and North America.  I know this was an education far more significant than any swimming pool. 

Here is my list of 5 things the pandemic has thrown in our face about taking big trips:

  • Stop putting it off 
  • You will be glad you have the memories 
  • It’s ok to step away from it all
  • Time doesn’t stop in the pandemic
  • Learn a Family Hobby Outdoors



Stop Putting It Off 

It’s easy to put things off when we have so much going on around us. Trips are always put off for games, work, money, etc.

One thing that COVID has taught us is that the world can change beyond anything we expected. We always say our time is limited on Earth. But we found out that our time can be taken from us even while we are still here. Stop putting off the next trip because it will eventually be too late. We often feel we have to take the time to plan everything just right and if we don’t, then it’s too much of a risk to take a trip. The events we enjoy most in life are the ones we least expected. The vacations we just pile expectations on top of expectations at the very best end up being ok. It’s ok to do your research and plan things, but don’t feel like you have to plan a year in advance. I can’t tell you how many countries I have walked off the plane and didn’t know where I was staying or going until I was outside the airport on wifi. This might be one extreme, but all I am saying is that we find way too many excuses to put off a trip.

Try to find your inner surfer when planning a trip. Surfers just go. You hardly see them stressed, and many adopt a lifestyle of literally spending every cent they have to take the next big trip. While this is also an extreme side of it, I mean that families need to invest in family trips because they are as crucial to the well-being of the family as any of the things you are saving for. In contrast, having the surfer mindset, it’s best to use an in-country tour operator similar to my company in Costa Rica, Pacuare Outdoor Center. We set everything up from start to finish, and no matter what country you are traveling to, you should be able to find a reputable tour operator that takes 99% of the stress and planning out of the trip for you.


You will be glad you have memories  

One of my favorite and apparent reasons for traveling with the family. People don’t realize it, but the memory of a one-week trip is in such detail.  I will be honest, I often have guest write me back telling me something, and because it was just another week for me, I can’t remember the detail as much, but our guests remember everything. Your brain is on hyper-memory mode because you are out of your routine. You are a memory-making supercomputer and combined with everyone in your family you are collecting quality data that will last a lifetime.

You will be glad you have these memories in an ordinary world, but one thing COVID has taught us is that our guests have told us they are so happy they have these memories during the last eight months.


It’s OK to step away from it all 

Who knew during COVID that the world would still be spinning once the entire planet pretty much stopped what they were doing. It certainly puts us as individuals in perspective and the absolute importance of answering our next text immediately or not working for a week. It is OK to step away from everything for a week. You might have to summon your inner surfer again for this one because it is undoubtedly harder for some than others, but I think its something COVID made clear.


Time Doesn’t Stop in a Pandemic 

Some families are in the best years for family vacations. Most have probably gained a lot of time in the house together, but they have also lost an opportunity to show the children of today new places. Everyone wants this to be over and done with and in the past. When it is over, your kids will be slightly older than they were, and if you had a big trip planned in 2020, it was probably canceled. This goes back to number one, and more of a reason, you should not put trips off. While it’s gut-wrenching to think of, what if there is another pandemic? I believe the pandemic has taught us not to take advantage of the time in the so-called “normal world” we lived in and hope to live in soon. Travel like there might be a pandemic the next year. 


You Can Learn a New Outdoor Hobby  

The pandemic had us become huge fans of toilet paper. As things moved on, we started to accept the new reality. A lot of this reality has been in the outdoors.  I personally got back on my mountain bike and have been doing some of the best biking of my life. Many others have found things to do in the outdoors that they would not have had the time or interest to do normally.  Family vacations especially like the ones we offer at the Pacuare Outdoor Center, are filled with new adventures. The pandemic has forced us to stop our daily routine and enjoy the outdoors.  There are so many activities one can get involved in. Some are easy, while others have a learning curve. Almost every outdoor activity enthusiast from rafting, kayaking, or biking learned from a friend or going on a trip first. A family trip is a great way to get everyone excited about spending more time together in the outdoors.

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