My luggage sits in storage, mocking me each time I look at it because I haven’t had to pull it out in over a year. My passport must think I abandoned it as it sits quietly tucked away from sight as another reminder of how we remain grounded. It’s been over a year since we stopped travelling, and we still have a little while longer before we can travel again.
While 2020 may have been the year of Covid, 2021 is the year of the vaccine roll-out. And with that comes the reality that travel will soon be possible. Dare we dream and allow ourselves such hope after over a year of disappointment?
We certainly can! And as we begin looking forward to all the possibilities that will open up for us soon, how we travel has certainly changed as we see what our future in travel will look like. We know how we travelled pre-covid is very different from how we will travel in the future.
Here are the top three travel trends we can expect to see.
Travel bigger, better and longer.
When it’s time to go on vacation again, we will be ready to splurge and spoil ourselves. After being denied the possibility to travel, we will be looking to fully embrace unique experiences, enjoy relaxing or exhilarating adventures. Go on that whale-watching private excursion. Upgrade to that private cabana. Spend the time to enjoy everything you can now only dream about from the comfort of home. Longer vacations will be on the rise as we take the time to seize the opportunity to go away. Saving money to travel on a budget will decline as we plan for bucket list trips instead, indulging in adventures for ourselves to enjoy the moments while away. Because after a year of being at home, I think we’ve all determined we are worth spending the extra money to experience the grandeur of life available to us.
Multi-generational trips and celebratory trips will be on the rise.
Zoom calls with family members have become the norm, but we crave the simplicity of being together in the same room. In fact, we will want to spend even more time together now because simply, we could not. Time spent together is one of the many things that Covid took away from us, and when the times comes, we will all be making up for lost time apart by travelling together as much as we can.
And we’ve all had a covid birthday or two by now, and we have managed as best we can. But the trend to celebrate bigger and better will rise as we look to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays with travel experiences because we can. And because it’s just more fun!
Smaller, lesser-known destinations will become new favourites.
Smaller islands, undervalued destinations and off the beaten path ideas will pique the interest of the travel curious. Instead of flocking to popular tourist favourites that drive large crowds with capacity restrictions, sightseeing will shift to places that may not be as well known. Places that can accommodate physical and social distancing measures will become new favourites as they enable intimate experiences without large crowds, long lines and capacity restrictions. Locals who have been starving for visitors will welcome us with open arms looking to share their home with us.
Wherever you go first, remember to pack your patience and take a lot of it with you. The days of spontaneous travel and heading off into places unknown for exploration are a relic of the past, a part of our carefree days that have disappeared (at least for the near future). Instead, reservations will be required almost everywhere, and long lines will greet us as we navigate the new realities of safety protocols and requirements. Companies strive to manage appropriate staffing levels, enhance customer care, protect capacity levels while maintaining hygiene protocols and physical and social distancing measures as needed. Careful planning is necessary to ensure safety, but remaining flexible is key as we know how quickly plans can easily change.
But just because travelling itself will be a bit more complicated than what we have been used to, the demand for travel has not subsided. Rather, it may have intensified even more as many have identified it as a priority in their lives going forward. The yearning for travel and exploration will only amplify the longer we wait as our travel dreams flourish into a new reality very soon.
The importance of going away for vacation to spend time with friends and family, to bond over meaningful travel experiences and to look forward to travelling to someplace new is a privilege we may never take for granted again. So, when we can travel, when and where will you head to first?