This is going to sound strange, particularly if you're based in NSW right now and you're just dreaming of being able to book a table at a restaurant.
Instead, it's time to book a trip to Europe. And maybe even to other parts of the world. Or at least consider it.
Stick with me here. At some point, things are going to get better for us in Australia. At some point vaccines are going to be properly rolled out and life will begin to approach something like the new normal, the normal we're all going to have to live with from now on. And that new normal will include travel.
It won't happen this year. It might not even happen early next year. However, you can be reasonably certain that we'll be able to travel to a few major overseas destinations by the middle of 2022, during the northern hemisphere summer: probably Europe; probably the USA; probably parts of Asia.
By then a lot of us will be desperate to take off – and we won't be the only ones travelling. Already, vaccinated Americans are heading to Europe for summer 2021, and plenty more will arrive in 2022. European travellers will be out and about, desperate to see the world like never before. Japanese travellers, Singaporean travellers, Korean travellers and more will be on the road.
That's all good. It's fine. You don't need to panic-book hotel rooms now just because a bunch of other people are hoping to go as well. What you do have to do, however, is consider some of the events taking place around the world in 2022, particularly in Europe where tickets to niche events tend to be limited, that are already filling up fast.
If you don't get for some of these soon – even just with a refundable deposit on a tour –you'll miss out.
Take two German events that are sure to be popular in 2022: Oktoberfest, and the Oberammergau Passion Play.
Next year's edition of Oktoberfest, beginning in September, will be the first in three years, after 2020 and 2021 were cancelled. It's going to be huge. And tours there will sell out.
The Oberammergau Passion Play, meanwhile, is a performance that has taken place in Bavaria pretty much every 10 years since 1634; only, it was postponed in 2020, and again in 2021. It's always hugely popular with travellers, though even more so now that it hasn't been staged for 12 years. Again, tours – likely the only way to secure tickets – will sell out.
Another event only held every 10 years, Floriade, the famous Dutch flower festival, is also on in 2022. Accommodation in Amsterdam – near Almere, where it's being held – will be scarce, and tour spots will become progressively more expensive as time goes on.
But, as they say, there's more. Next year will be the first San Fermin Festival, or Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, for three years, after two COVID-related cancellations. Tours will book out; hotels will be full. It will also be the first La Tomatina, the tomato festival in Bunol, Spain, for three years.
If you want to go on a tour to either of those in 2022, I'd be looking at it now – don't worry about flights, but do consider putting down a deposit with a tour operator who offers generous refund policies.
Major music festivals will also return to the northern hemisphere in 2022. With most yet to release tickets, there's no cause for alarm just yet – though the USA's Coachella, which will be held in April next year, sold out within hours of tickets being released and it doesn't even have a line-up announced, so take that as fair warning.
Once the likes of Glastonbury (June 2022, with Elton John rumoured to headline), Rock in Rio Lisbon (June), Exit Festival (July), Sonar Barcelona (June) and Tomorrowland (September) – many of which will be held for the first time in three years in 2022 – go on sale, you had better be ready. Tickets will go in a flash.
There are other events around the world to begin planning for now, too. In the USA, Burning Man – cancelled in 2021 – is scheduled to return in August/September 2022. In Qatar, the 2022 FIFA World Cup will begin in November. And if you want to be in Kyoto for Hanami, the annual cherry blossom festival which usually begins in April, it's worth looking at refundable accommodation bookings now – even in normal years, the entire city books out.
This may all sound a little far-fetched, but it's true. And it's feasible. I wouldn't be booking a trip to South America for 2022 right now, or for anywhere in Africa. There's no hurry, and no certainty. Even Asian countries such as India and China are risky to consider for a 2022 event.
However, Europe, the USA and certain parts of east Asia? There's a very, very good chance we will be able to visit those places by the middle of 2022, and there's also a very good chance that the most popular events in those destinations will already be sold out by the time we get there.
So it's now time to dream, time to plan, maybe even time to book. And time to have something to look forward to.
Are you already planning overseas holidays for 2022? Would you consider booking events now, or is it still too risky at this stage? Where do you think we will be able to go next year?