The entire globe is wondering about what travel trends will look like in 2021. You aren’t alone in trying to get a grasp on what will be the same, what will be different, or what will never exist again. If you are questioning how you and your family can travel in 2021, read along to see what will be possible in the year ahead. These trends will help you sink your teeth into your planning.
Large Scope Travel Trends
Not a “fun”tastic way to start out, but let’s be real here. Insurance lends you security to the plans you are making for an unknown future. Many of you learned hard, but valuable lessons in 2020 about protecting your finances for travel. Invest in an insurance policy that meets the needs of your family and your adventure. If you plan to travel extensively consider an annual policy. Your few and far between adventures may only need insurance on a trip by trip basis. Bottom line-do your research and don’t skip this step. Learn from last year and be prepared for the years ahead as travel plans will remain loose and you adjust to this new normal.
Domestic Travel Trends Continue
No matter where in the world you currently reside expect that the majority of your travels in the year ahead will remain domestic. The ever changing rules, regulations, and expectations VARY so widely on the international spectrum which make planning difficult. Vaccination roll-out will also vary widely and not every country will be on the same timeline. You will have more control and preserve more opportunities on the domestic home front in 2021. Changes are still going to happen, but it will be easier to adapt domestically.
Bucket List Travel
IF you are going to plan to travel internationally, we are convinced that many of you will take this opportunity to book a bucket list trip. After a year of saving and waiting, you will be finding a way to book that one BIG DREAM adventure. And now that you have figured out a way to work from just about anywhere, you will find a way to combine work with pleasure. With that in the back of your mind, that bucket list adventure becomes all the more possible.
Limitations In Travel
This may be a turn off, but hear this one out. The pandemic has given us all pause to spending time in large groups and this sentiment won’t evaporate in the new year. Across the board you need to expect that museum entry, dinner reservation availability, tour group size, and more will be limited. The negative of this is you will need to plan ahead with less flexibility for in the moment decisions. The positive is your experience in a destination will be enhanced with more personal experiences and less crowds.
Travel Marketing will Focus on Safety vs. Price
Although this may be tough to swallow, we genuinely think this will be the trend as the tourism industry begins to re-market. Because tourism as a whole has suffered tremendously, the expected outcome may be low prices and unbelievable deals, but we don’t see it moving in that direction. The messaging bubbling to the top is safety and flexibility. Both of those ideas suggest a marketing enticement not based on price, but rather based on quality. This may seem surprising because many countries are upheld by the tourism industry. However, in the age of social media, reputation and culture remain king. Those who are willing to “risk” travel are seeking well-thought-out accommodations that provide excellent cleaning as well as flexible cancellation and rebooking options.
Still finding this hard to believe? So did we, but it makes sense after listening to several tourism industry leaders, including the Family Travel Association, that have extensively analyzed the data. Statistics show people were not enticed by record low pricing. Hotels remain at less than 20% occupancy, with all-time low nightly rates, and airlines could not get people to travel to popular destinations even with prices as low as $12 one way. Most of the airlines have tested this, and the data is clear: No one cares about low prices if they think they will get sick. Delta remains the airline of choice because of its commitment to keeping the middle seat empty through March 30, 2021. Delta’s prices can be higher than other airlines because of planned empty seating, but people are willing to pay more because of their perception that it’s safer.
Small Scale Travel Trends
Multi-Gen Travel Escapes
After a year of very limited interaction it totally makes sense that spending time with extended family is a priority for 2021. The Pandemic has changed our way of thinking and planning and preserving. For many of you, the ability to visit and experience life with your family has been nil. One way that will change in 2021 is the idea of a multi-gen trip. Consider the notion of renting a mountain cabin where you can be with parents, children and grandparents in a destination that offers a variety of activities to keep everyone happy and engaged. Experiences within the family will be valued more and more as older grandparents aren’t able to get out and about as in the past. One family we already see enjoying this type of travel is Everyday Adventure Fam. Follow along as they seamlessly travel in this way.
RV & Camping Travel Trends
The pivot you noticed starting this past summer with RV sales and fully booked campsites will absolutely continue through 2021. Families are looking for options to continue social distancing and experiencing wide open spaces in the wake of the pandemic. While the virus may weaken and a viable vaccine may be available, the germs aren’t going away. Therefore, these two trends will be on the rise for the forseeable future. Practically speaking, if this is a trend you want to hop on to, better to begin sooner than later. Get on the wait lists for the RV you have your eye on and get to booking those popular campsites early.
Off The Beaten-Path & Isolated Travel
Big cities and high traffic tourism (with the exception of National Parks) areas will not see much of an uptick in 2021. This coming year will show that more off the beaten-path destinations will see a larger boost in tourism. This makes common sense as you assess the types of destinations you are comfortable traveling in. We predict destinations like Antartica, Tahiti, and Maldives will see a boost due to their remoteness. Similarly, smaller cities with options to day trip elsewhere will be enticing. Think along the lines of Puglia, Italy or Toulouse, France that give you a more cultural experience with options for add-on destinations.
Boutique Hotels & Small Luxury Accommodations
The trends show you will be pursuing excellence when it comes to accommodations. You want flexibility and safety alongside a more bespoke experience. Hotels that will bounce back more quickly are the smaller, more manageable boutique hotels who can increase health standards more readily. Luxury accommodations will reach to serve their clients in a more personal way. They will aim to provide safety, flexibility AND other personal services to make your stay even more valuable. As you are changing your expectations, hotels are adapting their services.
What to Expect As You Plan Travel for 2021
The first thing you will need to pack is your patience. Your planning and strategizing make take longer as you look for optimal flights and campsites. Similarly, road trip planning takes extra time as you choose the route the best works for your family. 2021 may also begin to show the trend of subscriptions, taking the lead from many other industries. We aren’t exactly sure how well this will take off (pun intended) as airlines seek to bolster revenue and loyalty as a way to dig out of this economic catastrophe, but there have been promising results in SE Asia. TripAdvisor looks to roll out a program, as well, offering a yearly subscription in return for special deals. We anticipate more like this to come in an effort to boost the tourism industry in 2021.
We sincerely hope that as the world begins to open up more you will have a head start in knowing and understanding the trends. Happy travel planning, friends!