International, Travel

Travel Trends: What Will Travel Look Like in 2021?

During the coronavirus pandemic, one of the industries that was hit hardest was certainly the travel and hospitality industry. With countries and governments being focused on fighting the virus, an increasing need of rebuilding the economy and the industry was created. Since March 2020, when the virus has started spreading around the world aggressively, we have seen a large number of restaurants, coffee shops, bars, theaters, etc. close their doors. However, while some companies didn’t manage to keep their heads above water, some have found a way to survive during these difficult times. Adapting to the “new normal” has become a standard in doing business all over the world. Last year has been in the light of difficult economic situation, lockdowns, unemployment, and people fighting to keep themselves and their loved ones safe and healthy. It has definitely set the tone for the next year too. But what will travel look like in 2021? What will be the new travel trends?

However, the desire to travel has remained the same – or has even strengthened by the effects of the pandemics. This desire is pushing the whole travel industry at local, regional, and international levels to improve, innovate, adapt, and overcome the difficulties. Tourists are looking to experience safe, comfortable, and exciting travel in 2021, in order to make up for the lost time last year.

It is difficult to predict what this year will bring along, especially with the coronavirus not being contained on the global level. 2021 travel will probably not be the same as with pre-Covid time. However, with the virus slowly starting to ease the spreading, traveling is looking to be safer and easier. Vaccinations and different safety measures have started to clear the road for future journeys, but the situation is still far from under control. Being at the beginning of the year, we can see some travel trends shaping up for the months to come:

Personal touch

According to a survey conducted in November, travelers are looking to make more human interactions during their journeys instead of just spending money and buying things. Experiencing the travel destination in the best way possible, being active, and exploring all the aspects of the location will be the focus of most travelers. After being in lockdown for so long, people are looking to get in touch with others more than ever. 

An increasing number of people are looking to relocate either permanently or temporarily in order to be closer to their family and loved ones. For the ones that are not so eager to relocate just now, until the virus situation settles, they can still continue to nurture their relationships while being apart through different online activities and experiences. The most popular activities of this kind at the end of 2020 were:

  • Living Room Legends Scavenger Hunt Game (Texas)
  • Cook Mexican Street Tacos with a Pro Chef (Mexico)
  • Drawn from Within with a New York Artist (New York).

travel trends 2021

Nomadic travel: Work from home anywhere

A large number of companies have adapted to the new situation by working from home. Reimagining the work environment has become the norm. Managing teams remotely can be as challenging as working from home. Managers, teams, and companies as a whole had to adapt to this new trend in order to stay safe and healthy. This has opened a whole new area for the travel industry: nomadic travel.

Once being able to work from home, people have realized that they can work from anywhere in the world. In 2021, we will see an increasing number of nomads, traveling the world and choosing their work environment for some period of time, until the desire to travel strikes again. The main precondition for this is a stable Internet connection, so the accommodation with a strong WiFi is looking to have more nomads coming their way. 

According to the survey commissioned by Airbnb, 83 percent of respondents said they are willing to relocate as a part of their remote work plan. Also, 25 percent of them believe they will be able to “live where they want to and work remotely”.

The first country to utilize this opportunity was Barbados: they have offered a “digital nomad visa” giving people the opportunity to work from this tropical paradise for a year, changing the travel trends altogether. After Barbados, the countries that have swiftly followed this trend are Bermuda, Anguilla, Georgia, Dubai, Estonia, and Aruba and Croatia are next. For the ones with deep pockets, Vacaru Maldives has recently launched a long-stay work package for digital nomads who want to work remotely from this tropical paradise, at the cost of £18.550 for a month-long stay for 2 adults.

Go big or stay home

A recent survey by Amadeus found that 55% of travelers said they are looking to travel for 14 days or more. Also, 60% of people surveyed said they expect to take only a few trips a year. This means that people will tend to have longer journeys (and take their work with them), which is one of the most important travel trends in the years to come. After lockdowns and not being able to travel for so long, people are eager to utilize their time in the best way possible. 

Once people think it is safe to travel, they will not hold back on planning their dream vacation. The pandemic has taught us not to take our time and our health for granted, and people are looking to cross some dream destinations from their bucket lists. Since traveling will not be as smooth as it was in the pre-pandemic period, travelers will look for longer stays and make the travel count. 

travel trends 2021

Tech is your friend

A recent study has shown that more than 4 in 5 travelers think that the right technology would increase their confidence and intentions to travel within the next 12 months. New technology solutions, applications, and platforms are looking to ease the travel planning and execution for travelers worldwide. They cover a wide variety of features from travel advising, cost transparency, providing information, and seamless payments. Such solutions are aimed towards travelers globally, in order to remove all the obstacles that might come in the way of planning the perfect trip.

Several airlines and airports worldwide have started to adopt different touchless technology solutions in order to give their contribution to getting the travel industry back on track. They have already started adopting new changes in order to assure the safety and security of their passengers. Some of them are embracing rapid-result COVID-19 tests in order to avoid quarantine, and provide a smooth travel experience. This certainly eases the concerns of the travelers and eases the friction of travel at least for a bit. We will certainly see more of this in 2021. Airports will continue to offer contactless check-in opportunities, quick coronavirus testing, or even modified meal service in order to reduce the contact and interaction with the flight attendants. 

Safety above all

68% of global travelers point out that safety and cleanliness are essential when traveling locally. With increasing concerns about the coronavirus, people are going the extra mile to make sure that their activities are safe and secure in terms of staying healthy. Also, a large part of travel planning for 2021 will certainly be keeping all the latest travel restrictions and entry requirements at the top of traveler’s minds. Luckily, an increasing number of websites are offering this kind of information in one place, since it’s crucial to play on the safe side and be informed of all aspects that might affect the journey. 

It’s difficult to predict what the world will look like by the end of 2021 and what the new travel trends will be. With the travel industry having suffered difficult losses during 2020, it is likely that it will not bounce back so fast. However, people worldwide are eager to travel and make compromises in order to carry out their travel plans, while still staying safe and healthy. It’s possible!