20 Ways Travel Will Make Your 2021 Sooo Much Better Than 2020 | EF Ultimate Break
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20 Ways Travel Will Make Your 2021 Soooo Much Better Than 2020

How it's going now: You’ve been serenading your cat in Italian. You do not speak Italian. How it's going to go in 2021: You’re in Venice. A nice Italian man is singing to you as he rows you through the charming canals on a gondola. Your cat is back home gorging on the wet food you left out for him. Everyone is feeling the bliss.

by Reid Flynn
December 18, 2020

2020 has been... a year.

Or like a gazillion years, depending on who you ask. You’ve made sacrifices and done things you never imagined yourself doing to stay safe, stay sane, and keep the boredom at bay. We thought about some of those things you’ve maybe been doing lately, and how much better your life is going to be once you’re traveling again in 2021 and 2022.

You know that “How it started / How it’s going” meme? Great stuff, right? Well, we updated it to be a bit more relevant to your current situation. As in: “How it’s going now” (at home, bored to pieces, finding new ways to stay entertained while keeping you and your loved ones safe) vs. “How it’s going to go” (traveling your face off once it’s safe to do so, and living your life to the fullest). Yes, we're getting into the meme game.

And you can count on us at EF Ultimate Break to make sure that next dream trip you take is perfect from top to bottom. We can all use a little less stress in 2021. That's why we plan every aspect of your trip, from flights and accommodations to local tour guides and meals. Just book, get hyped, and go!

How it’s going:

Your friends and neighbors have asked you to stop baking sourdough loaves for them until they finish the first five you sent last week.

So it has come to this. Cooped up inside your home, you’ve become a bread person. Not like half-human half-dough—but like you spend your days perfecting the crispiest crusts and softest interiors on any loaf this side of Panera. You give your extra loaves away to loved ones, and honestly, they would never tell you this, but they have so much of your bread now, they’re starting to use it to line their cat’s litter box. Sorry to have to be the one to break that news to you.

How it’s going to go:

You’re in Paris, letting your nose lead you across the Latin Quarter, sampling baguettes, brioche, pain de campagne, and pain au chocolat.

Your months of experimentation have paid off. You have an excellent taste for excellent bread and bakery treats from the finest boulangeries. You pre-heated your wanderlust to 350, and now you get to feast on the fruits of someone else’s labor—in the bread capital of the world, Paris. While you’re sampling freshly baked treats, pick up a bottle of champagne, a wheel of Brie, and maybe some charcuterie and take your haul to the Eiffel Tower for a picnic with friends in this special place. There’s nothing half-baked about this vacation—you deserve it.

The tradition in Italy of La Befana, a candy wielding witch.

How it’s going:

You have finally given in and after many months of quarantine (and years before that saying you would never do this) you have watched all of Game of Thrones.

Face it, you were always that friend who found the Game of Thrones discourse annoying. You vowed never to watch the silly dragon show. Week in and week out your friends would be talking about Jim Snow and Hogarth and Ka-lisa, or whatever, and you would zone out. But 2020 changed you. You gave in and watched the entire series. Twice. Do you even recognize who you’ve become?!

How it’s going to go:

You’re in Croatia, cruising the coast on a boat, occasionally stopping in ports where you recognize every nook and cranny as being from King’s Landing.

Yes, the waterfalls in Krka National Park are pretty, and vibing out port-hopping along the Adriatic Sea is extremely fun, but you’re all about Dubrovnik. This medieval town is King’s Landing. You tell your new pals on the trip that you’re going for a casual walk, but you don’t mention you’re tracing the exact steps of Cersei’s Walk of Shame. You’re starstruck by Croatia on the outside, and on the inside, you’re squealing with joy.

How it’s going:

You don’t remember the last time you spoke to another human being.

Maybe you thanked the mailman for bringing your package? What day was that? Tuesday? You’ve texted your friends, but can you even remember the sound of your own voice anymore? You open your mouth to test this theory out and a puff of dust comes out. Hmm… time to have a conversation with anyone ASAP.

How it’s going to go:

You’re in Ireland, and you’ve been talking, dancing, and singing songs you don’t even know the words to for hours with strangers in the pub.

Oh my goodness how badly did you miss prolonged human interaction? Whoever said “don’t talk to strangers” clearly never stepped foot in a real Irish pub. The locals strike up a conversation with you so naturally, and it feels so natural to carry that conversation on—roping in everyone around you as the hours go by and the pints of Guinness go down. The folk band keeps on playing, the regulars teach you the lyrics, and pretty soon the whole pub feels like one big family. Welcome home, friend.

How it’s going:

You occasionally shower with your clothes still on.

Sometimes you just forget. Other times you’re just kind of like “what’s the point?” Not having to really change for school or work or to see friends has left you without a good opportunity to really reassess if what you’re wearing is appropriate for any given situation. You’re okay, but like all of us, you could use something to look forward to.

How it’s going to go:

You’re in Costa Rica, splashing around in the plunge pool of the famous La Fortuna waterfall.

C’mon in, the water is sooo refreshing. After a decent hike through the jungle you find yourself facing the magnificent La Fortuna waterfall, one of the finest in all of Central America. Without hesitation, you dive in—and you remembered to be wearing a bathing suit for the occasion.

How it’s going:

You have developed a complex world of drama that may or may not exist between the yoga instructors on the Peloton app.

Good on you for making time for fitness during all of this, if that’s what’s important to you. You’ve been utilizing the Peloton app like it’s your religion, but maybe it’s time to give it a break for a bit. The badges mean nothing to you anymore. You have strong opinions about Anna and Ross, and you will defend Denis to the bloody end. Your friends started worrying when you began speculating wildly on which instructors are engaged in secret love triangles with each other, and which ones are leaving coded messages in their videos that reveal the details.

How it’s going to go:

You’re in Bali, doing sunrise yoga on the beach. Your mind is completely clear.

Warrior one. Nice. Your vinyasa is flowing and so are the good vibes. You’re on a beach. You’ve forgotten all about the silly online drama (that you made up in your head). Warrior two. The breeze feels good. Maybe you’ll get a green smoothie after this. Then some sightseeing. Reverse warrior. Oh look, the sun is coming up over the horizon.

How it’s going:

You’ve been serenading your cat in Italian. You do not speak Italian.

It’s tough to say whether your cat likes it or not when you sing to him. He’s probably thinking about wet food. Boy does he love wet food. And speaking of wet, it’s pretty safe to say that he does not like it when you place him in a little toy gondola and pretend to sail him around the bathtub. Your made-up Italian falsetto is improving, though.

How it’s going to go:

You’re in Venice. A nice Italian man is singing to you as he rows you through the canals of this marvelous city.

Rest your weary jaw (you’ll need it later for pasta), and let the professionals do the singing. As you float down the canals of Venice with a real Italian man singing to you in real Italian you wonder, “What didn’t my cat love about this? It’s perfection.” The islands of colorful houses drift by, you’re so glad you’re here, your mind occasionally drifting to thoughts about what your cat is up to back home right now. I’ll tell you: he’s gorging himself on the wet food you left out for him. Everyone is feeling the bliss.

How it’s going:

You’ve taken up landscape painting. It’s going… okay.

You finally have the time to take up watercolor painting. How hard can it be? Let’s see: a mountain vista with a crystal blue lake and pine, fir, and aspen trees as far as the eye can see. Now to make your first brushstroke. Okay. Fine. And another. And some more. And—oh my gosh. Yup. It’s ruined. How did everything become a gray blob so fast? Better luck next time.

How it’s going to go:

You’re in Canada hiking around the Rockies in the exact landscapes you tried to capture with your watercolors.

You took the gondola up the Canadian Rockies, hiked a little further (admiring the many colors of wildflowers along the way) and reached your mountaintop destination. Looking down at Lake Louise you wonder how that color of blue possibly exists. What different shades of watercolor were mixed and matched and—ah, right. This isn’t a painting. It’s real life. Take it all in. Your paint canvas may be gathering dust, but your passport certainly is not.

How it’s going:

You have accepted that you will never be a sushi chef.

So you and some friends wanted to do something different to stay connected in quarantine, and you all tried to follow a YouTube video on how to make your own sushi. Long story short it did not go well. The nori didn’t roll. One person got wasabi in their eye. Weeks later, you’re still finding grains of rice in places where rice does not belong.

How it’s going to go:

You’re in Japan, graciously accepting yet another round of sushi in your 12-course omakase meal.

It’s so much better when the pros do it for you, isn’t it? A master sushi chef is plying you with the freshest fish you’ve ever tasted—in fact, yesterday, you toured the market that they source the fish from. Pretty cool, right? Take a victory bite, is that eel? Oh yes, it is. And it’s delicious.

How it’s going:

You finally ate a papaya.

Somehow, you just had never had a papaya. It’s not weird. Plenty of people have just never had a chance to taste exotic fruits. But you need new ways to entertain yourself these days and so you tried this. Pretty good, huh?

How it’s going to go:

You’re in Colombia, sampling eye-poppingly juicy fruits you’ve never even heard of.

That papaya set off a chain reaction of adventurousness in you. You’re exploring markets in Colombia, and the fresh fruit are as vibrant as the buildings and as sweet as the people you meet. Your Tour Director—always the expert—recommends a few delicacies, and there you are tasting pitaya, and guayaba, and mangosteen. It’s about to be time to go zip lining. Better shove a couple extra mangosteen chunks in your mouth for safe-keeping.

How it’s going:

You’re sooooo sick of running up that hill in your neighborhood.

The gym is closed. You’ve taken up running to stay fit and get those endorphins. Sadly, you live on a hill. Which is fine on your way down it, but coming home, cresting it at the end of a grueling run—that’s cruel and unusual punishment. You’re going to freak out next time you have to run up that hill. Why oh why did your parents ever give away the stair master in the basement of your childhood home?!

How it’s going to go:

You’re in Lisbon, and you cannot wait to crest the next hill and see the view.

You don’t think much about hills anymore. In fact you’re climbing one in one of Europe’s hilliest (and prettiest) cities. You never know what awaits you at the top: a view of the Tagus River, a peek at Sao Jorge Castle, maybe just a good spot to chill out with a glass of vinho verde. And hey, if you get tired, there’s the trolley to take you back down the hill. Things are looking up.

How it’s going:

You’ve accidentally poured the cheese sauce from your Kraft Easy Mac on everything you own.

Oh no. It’s everywhere. This wasn’t part of the plan! You just wanted dinner! Cheesy, delicious dinner!

How it’s going to go:

You’re in the Swiss Alps, purposefully covering various foods in hot, cheesy fondue.

After a long day of playing mountain goat, viewing jaw-dropping views from atop the Swiss Alps, nothing beats fondue. Now you’re back in the chalet, and this time, you’re getting hot, molten cheese on everything on purpose. The Swiss know cheese, and they know how to keep warm, and this is hitting the spot perfectly. What’s this? Oh yes, chocolate fondue for dessert. Get the strawberries and try not to make a mess. The only thing you’re worried about is drooling on everything here.

How it’s going:

It finally happened. You’ve taken to digging around in your childhood sandbox.

You have run out of ways to entertain yourself. You’ve started reflecting on what you did to entertain yourself as a child. This means mostly running upstairs on all fours like an animal, but also returning to your backyard in search of a spark of joy. In the midst of poking around in your childhood sandbox you unearth your sibling’s action figure that you buried 15 years ago to spite them. Quite the discovery. I’m glad you guys are on better terms these days.

How it’s going to go:

You’re in Egypt. An undiscovered pharaoh’s tomb can be unearthed at any moment, and you’d get to be there for it.

Not saying that they will find an undiscovered pharaoh’s tomb while you’re there, but you never know! Besides, while you’re there, you almost certainly will get to see the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, and some (somehow) even older step pyramids at Saqqara. There’s no better place to uncover ancient history than Egypt—not even your childhood sandbox. Yes indeed, as you walk the Avenue of the Sphinxes you think to yourself, “I can dig this.”

Your trip:
Egypt Expedition →
11 days. 4 cities.

How it’s going:

Your alarm clock seems to have been mysteriously smashed by a sledgehammer.

That’s so strange. Who could have possibly smashed your alarm clock to smithereens? Was it perhaps… you? After snoozing 10-12 times that one day before finally giving up and taking it out to the garage to teach it a lesson? Maybe. Depends who’s asking. Sometimes you hear the same alarm sound in movies and your blood boils. You’re considering going analog and buying a rooster to replace your out-of-commission alarm clock.

How it’s going to go:

You’re in Belize. You wake up to the sound of howler monkeys. You don’t mind it one bit.

You wake up in the hotel in the jungle in San Ignacio, Belize. The distant sound of howler monkeys way out in the trees stirs you. They’re the loudest land animals in the world, and you don’t mind it one bit. They sound like they’re having fun out there. Plus, their wake up call only means one thing: today’s the day you explore the ancient temples and step pyramids of Tikal. Pretty cool.

How it’s going:

Can we talk about that bedsheet on you that you keep calling your “toga”?

It’s been three weeks. I know you said you were just getting into the spirit and you wanted to finally read The Odyssey but you finished it last Monday. Why are you still wearing that bedsheet and saying it’s “your toga?” There’s a mustard stain on it. And don’t tell me you’re wearing it because you’re going to watch 300 again. Put some sweatpants on like the rest of us.

How it’s going to go:

You’re in Greece. You’re not wearing a toga, but you are living your best life.

What a day. You jumped off of a boat into the Aegean Sea (wearing a bathing suit, not your bedsheet toga). You went to a winery (also not in a bedsheet toga). Later tonight you’re going dancing at a beachside club (almost certainly not in bedsheet toga). Right now you’re in a family-owned taverna, raising an ouzo toast to your new friends you just met on this trip to Greece. They don’t have to know about the bedsheet toga. I won’t tell them.

How it’s going:

You’ve started giving everything little nicknames.

Inspired by your third re-watch of Parks & Rec, you’re taking a page out of Tom Haverford’s book and giving little nicknames to everything (a car is now a “go-go mobile,” chicken Parmesan is now “chicky chicky parm parm,” you get it). Tomatoes become “maties,” potatoes become “tatties,” and bacon becomes “porky delights.” We all have to find new ways to amuse ourselves, and this is perfectly acceptable (as long as no one catches you saying it out loud).

How it’s going to go:

You’re in Scotland. All of the food here sounds like you named it. And it’s all delicious.

After a long day of tramping around the breathtaking Scottish Highlands playing Braveheart, you’re in Glasgow. You sit down inside a restaurant (yes indeed—indoor dining) and the menu suddenly reveals itself to be just as fun to read as your little experiment in nicknaming things was. Across the board, things are called stuff like: haggis, boiled gigot, collops, granny sookers, fatty cutties, and yes—potatoes are indeed tatties (or totties depending on where in Scotland you are). Look at you, a real trailblazer.

How it’s going:

You went to the beach and got sand in your facemask and a seagull stole your snacks.

You ventured out to the beach in 2020. It did not go as planned. There was sand… everywhere—including your facemask (safety first). And the second you put your little Tupperware of watermelon or bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos down... an enterprising seagull made a daring raid on your snack stash. Disrespectful to say the least. Disappointing to say the truth.

How it’s going to go:

You’re in Thailand. It’s a perfect beach day.

To be fair, there’s no such thing as a bad beach day in Thailand. But this is truly paradise. You’ve got your toes in the water, and your snacks in the sand, not a seagull in sight, a cold beverage in your hand. The golden white beaches of Phuket are all yours today to tan, nap, or play in the water with your fellow travelers. You earned this.

How it’s going:

The pizza place recognizes your voice.

No shame. The mom and pop pizza shop down the road expects your call on a Friday night, and they know exactly what you’re going to order. Extra pepperoni on one half, no pineapple on the other—or whatever you’re into. You would never admit this to them, but you’re getting bored of “the usual.”

How it’s going to go:

You’re in Rome, eating authentic Italian pizza in the country it was invented in.

Yes, pizza was likely invented in Naples, and you’re in Rome. But Naples doesn’t have the Colosseum. Nor does it have the Sistine Chapel or Trevi Fountain. And best of all, it has no one here who knows your order—you’re free to waltz into a sidewalk café with your new travel friends, coming down from a Roman sightseeing endorphin high, and order something wild and new. But of course we both know you’re getting pizza. Enjoy it, it just tastes better here.

How it’s going:

You have yet to finish that 1,000-piece puzzle that you started in April.

Admittedly, 1,000 is a lot of pieces! It’s tough. I know how it can be—once you have all the edge pieces in place the rest all seem to be one color. Where do you go from here? None of the pieces seem to fit together and it sure is taking you a long time to construct this. Better go see what’s on Netflix and come back to this later.

How it’s going to go:

You’re in Barcelona, touring the still-unfinished-after-138+-years Sagrada Família Basilica.

It’s magnificent. Maybe the finest unfinished building in the world. Started by famed kooky Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí, it was still being constructed by the time of his tragic death in 1926. And exactly 100 years after his passing, the plan is to complete the beautiful basilica. As you walk around gazing up at the cavernous arches and insane stained glass windows, belly full of tapas, it hits you that maybe this is a metaphor about perseverance or something. Maybe it is. For now, enjoy the ride.

How it’s going:

Your attempt to create “a double decker bicycle” did not go as planned.

No broken bones, no stitches, but yeah, needless to say: stacking two bikes on top of each other to simulate a double-decker bus experience was not successful.

How it’s going to go:

You’re in London, riding a double-decker bus through Piccadilly Circus.

How’s the view up there? Pretty sweet, huh? You can probably see the Queen’s house from up there. You had a free day in London and you chose to buy a ticket and take the ride, and what a ride it is. From Westminster to London Tower, you’re finally living your travel dreams and seeing all those sights you’ve always dreamed of seeing. Best of all? You’re looking posh AF up there atop that bus.

How it’s going:

Everything sucks.

Yep, 2020 has been quite the bummer. For many, “everything sucks” is an understatement. Stay strong. Hang in there.

How it’s going to go:

You’re in Morocco. Souks are everything.

Allow us to fast forward to you traveling again. Everything no longer sucks. In fact, you’re in Marrakesh, Morocco, wandering from stall to stall in the giant markets (or “souks” as they’re called here). You haggle a little here, circle back to that trinket shop there, sample spices over yonder, and man—you could spend eternity in this souk and still never see it all. Welcome back to the exciting world of travel. You made it.

Who you’re going to go with in 2021 or 2022

Us. Find your dream trip. Pay over time, interest-free. Then just show up and enjoy a trip that is guaranteed to make your year better than 2020. See ya there.

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by Reid Flynn

Reid is a copywriter at EF Ultimate Break. He loves cheese, playing guitar, and speaking loudly about indie rock to anyone who will listen. His favorite place in the world is Amsterdam.

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