With the world going through a tumultuous era, the face of travel has changed for everyone. Travelers are having to ask themselves what travel might look like in the future and how these changes could affect them. Which countries are open for travel? What destinations require quarantining? Will I have to wear facemasks or social distance?
All these questions will impact the type of travel people choose to do and predicting these trends could be an important step to getting ahead of the curve. With that in mind, here are 5 ways travel will be different in 2021.
1.Travelers will Stay Local
With the constant changes to travel - such as travel restrictions, local lockdowns, and flight bans – people are expected to stay closer to home throughout 2021. Travelers will look at some of the holiday destinations in their own country instead, with a priority for off-the-beaten-track locations that allow for a lower level of interaction with crowds of people.
This term, now being called a “staycation”, involves traveling to a holiday spot in your own country to mitigate the risks involved with a far-flung escape. Most lockdown rules are individual to each country. This means people are often allowed to travel around their own nation without facing the consequences involved with traveling abroad, such as canceled flights, quarantining, and package holidays falling through.
With the news that airline emissions are decreasing, and global pollution has receded as a result of reduced travel, many travelers will be more conscious of their trips and will make attempts to continue this trend. Local trips could coincide with eco-retreats, a form of wellness travel, where travelers may wish to support small businesses and visit local communities rather than globetrot with large-scale tour operators at grand resorts.
2.Travelers will Head for the Wilderness
With so many of us under some form of travel restriction, it is understandable that people are desperate to get outdoors and shake off the feeling of cabin fever. Being under lockdown rules often means having to stay in your residence with minimal outdoor activity. To break up the daily grind, and to provide an antidote to this lockdown, there’s expected to be a big trend of people heading to their local nature spots and lofty outdoor spaces in an attempt to get some nature therapy and to reconnect with the environment.
In big cities, sanitation is an issue and it’s more challenging to maintain social distancing with the required levels of hygiene. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that lots of people together in one place can be a recipe for disaster. With bars, restaurants, and many other entertainment venues seeing closures and restrictions implemented in the coming months, travelers will likely be less attracted by urban areas and city-breaks.
Travelers and holidaymakers will opt to avoid the crowds and instead keep things low key in natural surroundings and outdoor spaces. This will likely be encouraged by the tourism industry and governing bodies who will aim to keep people from congregating in public areas, whilst allowing travel to still flourish. Leaving behind stuffy urban environments for the liberating feeling of being outdoors is a trend likely to gain momentum in 2021.
3.Travelers will Invest in Outdoor Equipment
With the flux of travelers to the outdoors drastically increasing, it’s expected the investment in outdoor equipment will leap up too. Many travelers who are turning to outdoor adventures and nature escapes, may never have done so before; this means, travelers may need to buy equipment or gear to suit these newfound hobbies and wilderness escapes.
To coincide with this trend, travelers and holiday makers may find themselves investing in camping gear, compression packing cubes, hiking clothing, bikes, campervans, RVs, and all sorts of equipment to ensure they make the most of their time in the outdoors.
The demand for these items was seen in the Summer of 2020 when campervan parks and campsites in National Parks all over the US were overbooked and filled to the brim with travelers attempting to get outdoors for the first time in months. In 2021, with local travel and nature-based experiences expected to be at the forefront of travelers’ minds, this trend is set to continue.
4.Travelers will Steer Clear of Crowded Places
For travelers who love festivals and big events with masses of people, 2021 may require a shift in attitudes. Currently, events with big crowds in attendance seem to be continuously postponed or canceled. Thousands of people gathering together to watch a national sporting event or live music gig is not a realistic option currently.
Travelers aiming to visit these large-scale events such as the Tokyo Olympics, Coachella music festival, and Carnival in Rio should think carefully before booking their trips. Many of these major events have been postponed indefinitely or are on the verge of being canceled, if they haven’t been already. Tour operators will be conscious of this and will be forced to move away from bustling cities and crowded places to design itineraries that cater to the travelers’ socially distanced needs.
To avoid disappointment, look to smaller-scale events that may go ahead at the back end of 2021. Or perhaps organize travel that doesn’t hinge on bringing a huge number of people together in an event-style format. The more flexible and low-risk your travel plans are in 2021, the more likely they will be able to go ahead unscathed!
5.Travelers will Need Flexibility
With so much uncertainty flying around, travelers will want assurances to know that their hard-earned money will not go to waste. Following multiple set-backs, with waves of COVID-19 coming and going, travelers will think twice about making a booking that has no protection from virus-related issues.
Travelers will now be looking for cancellation protection on flights, accommodation, and any tour packages throughout 2021. Knowing the impact the virus has had on travel, travelers will not want to risk making a booking on a trip that might be canceled with no refund-protection in place.
As a result, last-minute bookings for smaller trips will likely be a trend that allows for travel to occur with less at stake. A small trip booked last minute has a lot more chance of going ahead with no complications. With the speed that things change, from week to week, travelers will see great value in last-minute escapes with flexible itineraries to mitigate these risks.
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