Vacation is not a luxury – it is crucial for our well-being

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God bless the great British people. You can threaten to take our gas away, you can announce that you will cut our electricity, but the slightest hint that the cost-of-living crisis could put an end to our vacations and we’ll jump trembling out of the darkness and scream, “You will.” never take our freedom!”

Catch the news from last week that the travel market is experiencing a mini boom post lockdowns. Tour operator easyJet Holidays is seeing increasing demand for luxury all-inclusive travel, with up to 70 per cent of all bookings being made for these short breaks. “I think what Covid has done,” said chief executive Gerry Wilson, “is remind people what it’s like not to travel. They’re much more focused on thinking, ‘If I have to give up other things, then I will, but I won’t allow myself to miss this vacation.’”

Meanwhile, Dame Irene Hays, the owner and chair of Hays Travel, said that while the cost of living is a concern, her business continues to see “very high demand”. According to Dame Hayes, research shows that “travel is never among the top three purchase desires. People will sacrifice a kitchen, a sofa, something new, they will sacrifice [spending] Money for cars, for clothes and surprisingly for grocery shopping to protect the holiday.”

Protecting the holiday at all costs — even if that expense is your weekly grocery shopping — might seem bad in these times of scarcity and scarcity, but to me it makes perfect sense. Vacations, I’ve realized, aren’t a luxury, they’re one of those essential things in life that allow us to get through tough times. Like exercise and a healthy diet, the thought of vacation (even if it is still in the distant future) promotes well-being, peace and balance.

A holiday allows you to say, “I can get through this nightmarish work schedule because we have a half term by the sea in Wales where we can use the central heating to our heart’s content.”

Holidays don’t have to be flashy, expensive or even so far away. Of course, two weeks in the Maldives is the dream, but anything outside of the M25 counts as a holiday. For me, a vacation just needs a few things: a drawer for my phone, a few good books, and a chance to hang out with my family without wondering why I’m the only member of the household capable of owning one to wash laundry on.

In my miserable, lonely twenties, when I was almost constantly in fear, I never went on vacation. This was for a number of reasons – I couldn’t afford it and didn’t have anyone to go on holiday with – but mostly because I was too scared. I was scared of flying, scared of my boss realizing how much better life was without me in the office, scared of stopping, scared of sitting down and relaxing when the only state I’m really in knew the tension was. I thought that not taking vacations made me a harder worker when in fact it just made me more drained. Then, at about the age of 29, a boss pulled me aside to tell me quite sternly that he wouldn’t thank me for not taking my vacation. I duly booked a cheap all inclusive beach holiday with a friend and was really amazed that it made me feel so much better.

So now I make sure I always have a vacation booked – even if that vacation is just a weekend at my sister’s. A change is as good as a break, said Winston Churchill – both at the same time is even better in my opinion.

The birth rate falls while women raise their standards

Contrary to popular belief at the time, we weren’t all like rabbits during the pandemic. While there have been suggestions that the only benefit of lockdowns may be a Covid baby boom, it turns out the opposite was actually the case. A study published in the journal Human Reproduction found birth rates have fallen across Europe nine months after the initial lockdown. In January 2021, England and Wales had 13 per cent fewer than expected live births and Scotland 14 per cent fewer.

It’s almost as if mass insecurity and isolation aren’t aphrodisiacs. But I have another theory about the lack of babies: Female standards have gotten higher. Most women of childbearing age will have spent the pandemic scrolling Instagram through inspirational quotes about self-worth and the like (I know I spent it that way, anyway). The desire to settle down and satisfy that biological clock is no match for the desire to be treated well by future lovers. If we want to increase the birth rate, only one thing helps. UK Men: Make Your Game Better!

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