Kiwi.com travel survey: In lockdown we miss the sea most of all, even more than foreign food
According to a psychologist, for people used to travelling, it’s important for their mental wellbeing to find a substitute.
Coronavirus has affected virtually every area of life and has been unavoidable this year. Among the virus’s frustrating effects has been restrictions on travel, which have caused dismay for many globetrotters. For people who are used to travelling several times a year, these limitations have been very difficult to deal with, and in many cases mental well-being has been affected. A recent survey by Kiwi.com, which examined how the pandemic has changed travel, revealed that Czechs miss that which they do not have – the sea – more than anything else.
As many as 60 percent of people said that they are missing the sea, as well as other natural scenery such as mountains, most of all during the current situation in which travel is extremely difficult. Czechs are longing for nature even more than they are missing exploring new exotic places (30 percent) or tasting exotic cuisines (5 percent).
“If a person focuses on high individual performance, has to solve problems on a day-to-day basis, and lives in constant tension, with no effective means of relaxation, that focus gradually dissipates over time. Travelling – especially spending time by the sea or with nature – is a good way of stopping this development. People have different thoughts when they are travelling – they live in the present without thinking about the past or future. Travelling is a great way to relax and draw new energy into everyday life, making it more satisfying and higher quality,” says Tatiana Vaškovicová, a consultant psychologist and teacher for restoring emotional, mental and physical balance.
The longing for the endless blue expanse of the sea is understandable, and very common. The associated lack of sunlight lowers the body’s ability to produce vitamin D, which is important for immunity and has an impact on serotonin activity associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused.
Perhaps for these reasons, the majority of Czechs who did manage to travel this year booked trips to seaside European destinations which met their requirements for hygiene and safety. “According to our data, the most popular flights were to Italy, Greece and Spain,” says Eliška Dočkalová, Director of Customer Experience at Kiwi.com. She added, “I can fully relate to the impacts of not traveling on your mental wellbeing, on a personal level. I spend many evenings planning and researching my next trip so I can be ready to travel once restrictions are lifted.”
But not everyone has managed to travel abroad. In fact, most Czechs spent this year’s vacation at home due to the pandemic. 82 percent of those surveyed decided to travel around the Czech Republic, with 61 percent not getting the chance to travel abroad at all.
Tatiana Vaškovicová also discusses this trend: “People who usually cope with work-related stress and tension by travelling and exploring new places have instead had to cope by traveling to local natural areas, exercising, or relaxing through art, whether familiar or new. If not, they would simply collapse from inertia and stagnation. For such people, it is vital to direct personal growth in new directions. In the current situation this can be a big problem.”
The Kiwi.com survey* also confirmed this statement, with 50 percent of Czechs finding no adequate substitute for the travel experience. The current situation has had a great impact on this group. The other half did manage to find some alternative to travel, such as reading favourite foreign books or watching foreign movies (30 percent), taking virtual visits to popular destinations (17 percent), cooking foreign cuisines (17 percent), or studying a new language (13 percent).
But Czechs are not sitting idle. Many are already planning future trips, which are expected to be bigger and bolder than ever before. Over 50 percent want to go somewhere they have never been before and to discover new experiences. Only a quarter are looking forward to returning to a known and loved favourite destination.
*Research by STEM/MARK research agency: conducted in October 2020 on a representative sample of 1012 respondents (18-59 years) who had traveled abroad at least twice in the last 5 years, using the online survey method.
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Kiwi.com was founded in 2012 by Oliver Dlouhý and Jozef Képesi. The travel tech company was created for travelers by travelers. Its proprietary algorithm – Virtual Interlining – allows users to combine flights and ground transportation from more than 800 carriers, including many that do not normally cooperate. Kiwi.com powers more than 100 million searches every day and employs 2,000 people worldwide.
Carol Barnes, Head of Global Communications, Kiwi.com
Nina Černá, Best PR