The Year of Staycations (AKA 2020) will forever go down in history. While we all made the best of exploring our own city, town, or state during the COVID-19 lockdowns, many of us are ready to start traveling internationally again. Finally, travel season is open, and we’re welcoming it back with open arms. Staycation trends are a thing of the past, and new trip trends are emerging that allow us to enjoy travel even more. Before you book your next trip, check out the top travel trends for 2021:
Off the beaten path destinations are replacing old favorites
Places like Italy and Scotland will always be top vacation spots, but this year’s travel industry trend is about broadening our perspective. Popular destinations draw crowds, and 2021 is about blazing your own trail and embarking on an off the beaten path vacation. If you’re wondering where to travel in 2021, look no further than Eastern Europe. The region is less-frequented by tourists, more affordable, packed with authentic cultural experiences, and ready to welcome U.S. travelers. The best travel destinations in 2021 are places you may not have considered before, but due to their lack of tourism and under-exposure, can offer more than a standard holiday. Dive into the turquoise seas that beckon off the coast of Split, feed your artsy side with the historic architecture in Budapest, immerse in the cultural melting pot of Marrakech, or cut loose in Belgrade’s nightlife scene.
Experiential travel is a priority
After months of isolation and lock-downs, meaningful travel is a priority in 2021. Travelers want to connect with individual people again, rather than following herds of tourists to top-rated attractions for cookie-cutter experiences. Travel trends in 2021 show people moving away from the popular albeit cliche points of interest and gravitating towards experiential travel and more authentic excursions. This might mean booking a homestay instead of a hotel, dining at local food carts rather than 5-star restaurants, and forging new relationships with locals who might end up being the best tour guide you’ve ever had. Appreciation for the return of travel is running high, and the world is embracing it whole-heartedly.
People are more interested in small group travel
As we dip our toes cautiously back into the travel pool, we want to feel like we get the most out of a trip while also considering our health and safety. Many people wonder, “is it safe to book travel in 2021?” or “How can I make my trip as enjoyable and safe as possible?” The answer is with small group tours. More than ever, travelers want to book solo, private, family, and small group travel. They realize that it not only feels safer, but it also allows for a more meaningful experience. One benefit of small group travel is you include only the people you know and trust which helps protect your “bubble.” Additionally, without the hindrance of a massive tour group, there’s a greater chance to connect with your local guide, spend more time on the activities you prefer, and have a more experiential travel experience.
Shoulder season travel is more desirable than ever
Tourism trends in 2021 show travelers are more inclined to book trips during the quieter, more laid-back shoulder season months. Nowadays, most people prefer to avoid crowds, rather than be in the center of them. One way to escape throngs of people is to skip peak season travel and plan a trip in the late summer or fall. Other shoulder season bonuses include tolerable temperatures (depending on where you travel), seasonal events and festivals, and reasonably priced accommodation.
Booking outdoor activities is a top travel trend in 2021
Even those who considered themselves the “indoorsy type” had to change their ways in 2020, and most of us have gotten used to spending a majority of our time outside. This translates into travel as well. Now, people are interested in booking trips with outdoor activity options like hiking, scuba diving, vineyard touring, and city walking tours. Not only do these types of activities feel more stress-free because of ample space, they also enable travelers to have alternative experience they may have otherwise overlooked.
Longer vacations are in order
Everyone is ready to make up for lost time. Compared to 2020, people will travel more in 2021 and book at least a week-long trip. Not only are people eager to reconnect with friends and family around the globe, they’re also ready to take the trip they postponed in 2020 and enjoy it to the max. And let’s face it – we could all use a vacation right about now!
Travelers want to SPLURGE
The phrase “treat yourself” rings true when it comes to travel in 2021. This year, travelers are willing to open their wallets and dole out for perks like upgrades, additional excursions, an indulgent meal, an extra glass of wine, a decadent spa day, the list goes on…Reconnecting with loved ones and making new friends in different places is a top trend in 2021 and there’s a “no matter the cost” mentality that comes along with that. Traveling, forging connections, making the world a smaller place – that’s something we can all look forward to in 2021.