As most of us have been in lockdown for almost half of 2020, we’ve had plenty of time on our hands to start dreaming about travel plans for next year when we can (hopefully!) get back out there safely and explore the world! The travel industry has therefore been delving into what matters for people most at this time and what the travel trends for 2021/2022 will be. Here we weigh up the social, mental, and environmental factors that will play a part in the 2021/ 2022 travel trends so that you can figure out where you want to go next and start planning your trip of a lifetime.
Sustainable & Purposeful Travel
With a focus in the media of the importance of tackling the climate crisis and the positive environmental effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, many travellers have been considering ways in which they can make their trips more sustainable. According to Booking.com’s Sustainable Travel Report for 2020 (as reported by the Evening Standard) “82 percent of global travellers have identified sustainable travel as being important to them while 58 per cent say they are looking to make more sustainable choices once we can travel again”.
Add that to the fact that people want to have more intentional experiences, positive local interactions and to support communities when they travel, and 2021, and beyond it, looks set to be a year of sustainable, meaningful travel.
The UK has seen a staycation boom during the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, with two-thirds of Britons not planning to travel abroad for the rest of 2020 and Prime Minister Boris Johnson even stating “I think this is a great, great year for people to have a staycation”.
This trend looks set to continue into 2021 with many travellers fearing foreign holidays and plane travel and preferring instead to book themselves into some coastal or countryside accommodation in the UK. Parkdean Resorts conducted a survey in relation to staycations and found that direct bookings for 2021 were up 25% already by the 3rd of May this year.
“We expect to see a big upturn in the staycation market this summer, and beyond into 2021” they said in their report, and “are so excited that our parks are reopening all over the country, giving people the opportunity to see all the amazing things that the UK has to offer.”
Another thing that became much more important to people during the Covid-19 pandemic was personal mental health and wellbeing. Lockdown, isolation and months of working-from-home seriously took its toll on mental health, and as such people have been forced to recognise that nurturing mental health is vital for overall wellbeing, happiness, and longevity.
In line with this, it seems probable that 2021 and 2020 will see a rise in travellers opting for spa breaks and wellness retreats to soothe their minds, bodies and souls. Wellness getaways allow travellers to switch off from the busy day-to-day hustle and enjoy activities such as yoga, meditation, hiking and massage therapies.
While going off-grid during a spa retreat is one thing, another option for 2021 is choosing a remote, far-flung destination that offers both respites from the daily grind and obvious social distancing.
Tom Marchant, Co-Founder of adventure travel company Black Tomato says that we may see people opt for staycations or going the other way and traveling to “wilderness destinations which lend themselves to social distancing – such as Patagonia and Namibia”.
These spacious, remote destinations allow you to hit the road or a hiking trail without seeing anyone else for hours (or sometimes even days!) – they are the perfect antidote to lockdown life.
A global pandemic has given us new perspectives on many things, one being the importance of family. As such, it looks likely that multi-generational holidays will see an increase in 2021. Multi-generational holidays (trips with grandparents, parents and children/grandchildren) have been on the rise for a few years and the combination of social-distancing bubbles and staycation popularity will see families choosing to book large group accommodation for big family trips.
Some travellers may also choose to take a multi-generational beach vacation or safari, spending quality time with loved ones while also having epic travel experiences.
Seeing the world’s fragility in light of a global pandemic has made many people think about their dreams and desires and as such, big-hitting bucket-list travel plans will be favourites in 2021 (all being well!).
Many people have had to cancel travel plans in 2020, which, while upsetting, may have allowed travellers to save their pennies for a big trip that they’ve always dreamed of. Whether it’s seeing the cherry blossoms in Japan, hiking to Machu Picchu in Peru or taking that Yoga Teacher Training in Course in India, the world is your oyster!
The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown has made people realise that life can sometimes be beautiful when you move at a slower pace, and as such people are looking towards slower travel plans too.
Whether it’s those who can now work 100% online who will opt for working on the road, families who have switched to home-schooling, those recently made redundant or people who are simply thinking that they could experience much more with their time off during one long trip than lots of little ones, there are lots of people considering slo-mo travel.
Road trips, staycations, sabbaticals, retreats and digital nomadism are all on the rise that these tie in nicely with more sustainable, meaningful travel as mentioned above.
As many of us have been enjoying walking and getting out in nature during lockdown, travel packages focusing on outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, yoga and seeking the Northern Lights are going to be popular choices in 2021.
We are now beginning to understand the positive impact of nature on our overall wellbeing and will want to make the most of it when we’re travelling in beautiful destinations.
Flexible Booking Policies
Of course, with cancellation being rife over the past year, many travellers are also looking towards flexible booking policies and free cancellations. While most trips will be covered under travel insurance, it looks likely that people will lean towards hotels and packages with more accommodating cancellation policies to save the hassle of chasing up lost funds from insurers.
So, 2021 looks set to be filled with fun family holidays, sustainable travel, outdoor adventures and staycations, so that we can all experience meaningful travel that is good for our soul (and our bucket list!).
If you want to know more about what travel looks like post-Covid-19, read our post about The New ‘New Luxury’ In The Post-Pandemic World.
Let us know your 2021/2022 travel plans in the comments below.