10 Travel Trends For Globetrotters In 2021
Featured Image: iStock/onurdongel
As we prepare to bid farewell to a catastrophic 2020, we welcome some good news. International travel is picking up again after a disastrous year that almost claimed the whole tourism industry. We have a new President in office (almost) after an interesting election. Multiple Covid-19 vaccines are in the final stages of being ready for the public. And we all are pumped up to pack our bags, brush the dust off our passports, and book our tickets for our 2021 travel.
Before we call our Uber though, here are ten trends (and their quick summaries) for how travel is going to look like in 2021. Read on.
1. (Re)Location! (Re)Location! (Re)Location!
A survey conducted by Airbnb has revealed that 83% of American travelers are thinking to relocate as part of their travel plans in the New Year. The intention is not only to ‘get away’ from it all for a little while, but also to move closer to family and friends. They also want to live in or explore the areas included in their bucket lists. For some, this desire to relocate is temporary, for others, permanent. Those wishing to relocate permanently prefer to travel to areas near their family and friends while others are excited to explore new horizons.
This pandemic has afforded these nomads with the opportunity to travel to remote locations and not worry about their jobs as most work has been shifted to online mode. A quarter of those who were surveyed have indicated that the remote work has made it possible for them to ‘live where they want’.
2. Going Where The Open Spaces Take You
After being cooped up in confined spaces for much of 2020, open spaces are where all the travelers want to go. According to Airbnb, people who can work remotely and are taking longer vacations, 2+ weeks, are booking trips in areas where there are extensive open spaces, natural surroundings, and plenty of scenery to explore.
If you are a travel booking company, perhaps you can prepare your business for this trend by tailoring custom vacation packages to areas such as Greenville, South Carolina, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Park City, Utah, etc.
3. International Travel
The list of airlines impacted by Covid-19 is long. However, as the world gets ready to receive its first dose of Covid vaccine, there’s hope in the air.
According to research data from Squaremouth, international travel is picking up again. Of all the air travel trips booked for the next year, 65% are for international destinations. Interestingly, of this 65%, a majority, 86% of trips will take place at the start of the year, in January and February 2021. The top international destinations that these travelers have booked include Mexico, The Bahamas, Aruba, and Jamaica, etc.
4. Staycation 2.0
During a time when travelers are taking advantage of relaxed travel restrictions and planning to temporarily relocate or visit far-off distant locations, there are still plenty who want to stay close to home. Concerns for personal safety, a consciousness about the environment, and delicate financial conditions may be behind this trend.
According to Airbnb, 62% of survey respondents have expressed a wish to take a vacation within driving distance of home and exploring what the local culture and cuisine has to offer. This trend has already spiked an interest in domestic and local travel. If you are a small local business, consider it an exciting opportunity to amp up your marketing strategy and thrive even during the pandemic.
As the rate of road trips surged to 71% during the pandemic, this is the perfect time for small local businesses to attract this incoming audience. And this Staycation trend is going to continue in the summer of 2021, too. A travel research report by Skift Research has revealed that 32% of Americans have planned to take time off during the summer – instead of the holidays – and they’ll be staying within 100 miles of home. National parks, beach towns, and other local summer attractions are going to be huge this coming June.
5. One-Of-A-Kind Travel
The pandemic has had a profound effect on how people connect with each other, and with their surroundings. We are now looking for more meaning and more purpose. While the time to sit alone with our thoughts has taken its toll, it has provided us with a unique opportunity to truly connect with ourselves.
This newfound appreciation for life is what’s driving the trend to look for vacation and travel opportunities that can turn into meaningful experiences. Wellness travel, exclusive excursions to remote areas of small countries like Denmark, and exploring places where not many have gone before are the attractions people are looking forward to.
On smaller scales, people are satiating this desire to experience the exclusivity by booking holiday accommodations with distinctive architecture, scenery, or location. Rental properties that are designed and created a certain way are also seeing an uptick in interest by potential travelers.
6. Sustainable And Meaningful Eco-Travels
The desire to have one-of-a-kind travel experiences comes at the heels of a refreshed awareness about sustainability and the environment. Never before have we been forced to consider our impact on Earth on such a global scale. That’s why people are now looking at travel more holistically and responsibly.
If you are a tour operator or a travel expert who can design and create travel experiences that are centered on sustainability, you may see a sharp influx of customers in 2021. So start creating plans to offer custom private tours as well as tours for intimate groups. Include regions in your itinerary that use energy and resources mindfully. Also include unique accommodation options such as barns, farms, and treehouses, etc., for a truly unique and sustainable experience.
7. Cabins, Cottages, And Coziness
As people look for more sustainability, more meaning, and more intimate connections during their travels in 2021, private, cozier spaces are being favored more compared to large, luxury hotels.
Booking private homes where the whole family can stay without having to expose themselves to other people residing on the property is a hot travel trend for 2021. More than anything, people want to stay safe. Therefore, we see travelers looking for more exclusive options such as cabins and cottages. On one hand, they offer the privacy and safety of being private spaces. On the other, as most cottages and cabins are found along the off-beaten paths, you can expect to enjoy the natural scenery, lazy afternoons, and warm cups of cocoa around a crackling fire, surrounded by your loved ones in a safe space.
8. The Virtual Vacation
While travel restrictions for most countries have been either lifted or eased down, it’s not true for all locations of all countries. Therefore, if you find yourself unable to fly (or ride) to the destination of your choice in the next year, a virtual vacation is the next best thing.
Without spending an arm and a leg for air travel, you can visit a unique bookstore in China, experience a VR tour of Alice in Wonderland, and explore an ancient forest filled with trees with witches’ markings upon them – all courtesy of the Smithsonian Magazine that has compiled a list of online experiences you can immerse in this holiday season.
These experiences also include a host of domestic and local attractions that you can enjoy from your living room. These audio tours, aerial tours, and AR/VR tours will help you experience these places while connected with your family and friends, in a safe and familiar environment.
9. Private Aviation – Rideshare Style
The Covid-19 pandemic has not affected everyone equally. Some have suffered while others have become even richer. However, when it comes to private aviation, things have become affordable for those first-class passengers who are eyeing private jets as more convenient and safer options to travel during the pandemic.
Companies like SharedCharter have made it possible to book a private jet, travel only with a handful of other passengers in comfortable accommodations, and not sacrifice your entire budget. On one hand, traveling privately is great for health and safety concerns, but on the other hand, affordable private aviation is doing its bit to ensure that the air travel industry does not suffer a complete meltdown.
Using the rideshare model for private aviation is going to be a dominating trend for travel in 2021 and beyond. Perhaps consider it a good time to invest in jet ridesharing or use it as a transportation option to offer your more exclusive clientele.
10. Health And Safety
If there is a singular trend that will drive and shape the future of travel in the upcoming years, it’s the concern for personal health and safety. More than any destination or travel style, people are going to be more conscious of the health conditions during the travel and at their destinations.
If you are a tour operator or any other relevant business, your only hope to survive and overcome the effects of the pandemic will be to offer detailed information and education regarding health and safety guidelines to your clients. Travelers will want to know the ground reality (pandemic-wise) of the place they are planning to visit. They will also want to invest in travel plans that offer the most cover from the virus while also ensuring they can enjoy their holiday with the least amount of restrictions and the most fun.
Word To The Wise
As you peruse this article and plan your upcoming vacation in mind, know that things can change at any moment. We are still into a global health crisis, which is not over. So, do your research, dig deep, and make contingency plans, too.
Having said that, we hope things keep looking up for all of us as we venture into 2021. Here’s hoping for a new year that’s the opposite of 2020. Cheers!