If you’re excited to get out of lockdown, you’re not alone. The pandemic has made consumers more eager to travel than ever before. The most popular travel trends in 2021 see people staying on the road, out of the country, and on the sea for long stretches.
Here are the seven travel trends taking off this year.
1. Longer stays
After being stuck in your house for over a year, you probably won’t be shedding any tears over not seeing it for a little while. Two weeks to an entire month of vacation time is the new normal for people seeking relaxation and adventure.
Rather than rushing through all of the attractions, more extended vacations allow travelers to savor each destination. People use ample time to hop between cities, national parks, and other landmarks and enjoy the local culture. Having an extra week or two also opens you up to more ambitious itineraries. Rather than limiting yourself to one international destination, you can take a train or fly between countries, or you can make a multi-day road trip.
One helpful tip for the extended stay traveler: if you’re traveling for over a month, you may not want to leave yourself at the mercy of public transportation. With car rentals scarce and the prices skyrocketing, it might be simpler and more cost-effective to ship your car to your destination. For more information about long-distance car shipping, you can look to auto transport providers like this.
2. Working vacations
With remote work surging and portable home offices changing the game, it’s become increasingly popular for people to take their work on the road.
When embarking on a workcation, you don’t even have to request time off. You can plan your daily activities around the hours you need to work, or you can choose to work during the week and explore on the weekends. Remote work offers you the flexibility to travel however you want, and no one at work even has to know you’re on the go.
You can use this method to stretch your vacation days or even to take a cross-country road trip. With work from home becoming the norm, you’ll never have to say no to a last-minute trip again.
3. Road trips
Road trips are that one wishlist vacation that nearly everybody wants, but nobody has time for. In the wake of the pandemic, people are finally making that time to explore the open road.
Road trips let you see more, move at your own pace, and quarantine in your car away from other people. You can choose a weekend excursion or take one of the popular month-long routes across America.
Road trips are an excellent vacation for those who like to call their own shots. It’s your car, and you’re traveling under your power. Without bus or plane schedules in your way, you can be as spontaneous or meticulous as you would like. Drive across the whole country, stopping at every major city, or meander around unknown nearby towns and parks. The choice is yours.
4. Travel protection
Trip insurance wasn’t the most popular add-on in the pre-COVID world, especially for people traveling on the cheap. You might have decided to take your chances, assuming the best, rather than spend the extra money on insuring against possible cancellations that you probably won’t need.
The laissez-faire attitude of “Whatever happens, happens,” is out the window. The past two years have proven Murphy’s law in startling clarity.
There have been considerable increases in people buying trip insurance, with good reason. COVID saturation spikes and an uncertain Delta variant mean that the only thing you’re guaranteed is the high potential for delays or cancellation.
5. Luxury stays
While some people have become more frugal during the pandemic, others follow the “you only live once” philosophy. Travelers are shelling out for luxury vacations after spending a year inside.
Perhaps it’s not knowing if or when there will be another lockdown, but when it comes to travel in 2021, people are getting while the getting’s good.
From splitting massive Airbnb villas to booking the five-star hotels they would never have considered before, many people live rags to riches to rags when they vacation.
Depending on your destination, this luxury trip doesn’t even need to be the most expensive venture you’ve taken. Many destinations have seen their hospitality industries take a hit and are offering deals on luxury lodgings. So while some people are paying the total price, others are booking places way off-peak and under-priced.
Luxury experiences outside the hotel are also seeing an uptick. Travelers who book the finest lodgings are also making reservations at the most upscale restaurants they can find, adding on spa packages and private tours of the area. If you spent the pandemic pinching pennies, it might be time to treat yourself.
6. The great outdoors
People don’t only want to spend time somewhere new, but they’d also like to combat their COVID claustrophobia with a bit of nature therapy.
Many workers who spent the pandemic chained to their home office are now itching to be active. Places known for great hiking, camping, or outdoor sports like kayaking, are rising in popularity. More and more travelers are picking destinations known for natural wonders and wide-open spaces.
Outdoor vacations also benefit from being fairly COVID-safe. Staying outdoors in the open air, surrounded by nature instead of people, is excellent for social distancing.
With an abundance of state, national, and international parks to choose from, an outdoor vacation has endless possibilities.
7. Cruise comeback
Cruises weren’t exactly on the decline, but they also weren’t among the most popular vacation choices in the last few years.
Now people see the value of a fabulous cruise, financially—since the price often includes all of your food and drink—and physically. You can get to see many more places with little effort on your end by picking a cruise with your preferred itinerary.
With strict rules in place, you can expect to travel with a vaccinated crowd and staffers. So, despite the close quarters, many travelers feel safe hopping aboard.
Vacationers also enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and minimal planning a cruise entails. After you’ve done a little research to find one with your preferred stops and activities, you press “book,” and it’s all done. For a set-it-and-forget-it vacation with no shortage of sights to see, cruises are on the rise.
Before you go
The seven top travel trends of 2021 are merely a jumping-off point. If none of these experiences speak to you on their own, consider pulling a few ideas from each.
Go on an outdoor adventure for 2–3 days, then relax at a luxury hotel for another two. Rent a car and road trip for a week, then fly to a city you can work from and explore on the weekends. Whatever you choose, travel wisely, and don’t forget your vaccination card.