21 trips for 2021: An alternative bucket list to beat the crowds after Covid

Jan 08, 2021 for
The Independent
Il Molinaccio

If ever there was a time to dream about travel, it’s now.

We’ve made it through a catastrophically miserable year and a compromised Christmas, mostly from within our own walls. We deserve the hope of a holiday on the horizon. Of course, overseas trips may not happen soon, but the mere promise might just get us through the bleakness.

Nothing is certain. But I do think we’ll all be looking at travel with a different set of priorities. We’ll likely want to avoid the crowds — may be seeking outdoor spaces rather than bustling cities, at least in the short-term. Travel agents I spoke to are seeing a huge increase in inquiries about group travel too, with small gatherings of friends and family looking to mark missed celebrations.

There are green shoots appearing, too. Travel agents and tour operators know that no one will book without security, so the good ones are offering low deposits along with Covid cover and more flexibility on cancellations. There’s never been a better time to book with a fully licensed and bonded Irish travel agent — if things go belly up again, they’re the ones chasing airlines for refunds, not you.

Travel agents like Tour America, Sunway and Topflight have Book with Confidence policies. Should Covid impact your holiday booking, subject to conditions, they’ll be flexible on changes and offer full refunds. We may not see people queuing up for January bargains, but if you see a deal with flexible terms, this could be the time to snap it up.

Whether you’re ready to plan a getaway, or simply looking for daydream material to stave off the blues, here’s some inspiration to get your travel juices flowing…

Instead of Florence, try… A TUSCAN VILLA

How: If you want to get away for a reunion holiday with friends or family, a villa is possibly the best idea you could have. A villa in Tuscany? Even better. Il Molinaccio is a dreamily beautiful farmhouse in the heart of Chianti. Wonderfully private and surrounded by 64 acres, you’ll be free to stroll among the olive groves and lounge by the lavender bushes beside the infinity pool. A chef can be organised, or you can potter around the local markets and cook up a storm with the best produce you could possibly dream of. If you get away during chillier months, there’s a fireplace in the gorgeous living room. The villa sleeps up to 10.

Details: Il Molinaccio starts at €4,400 for a week; tuscanynowandmore.com. Fly to Pisa with Aer Lingus between March and October from €56 one way; aerlingus.com

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