Many of us are desperate to get back to travelling, to exploring familiar and new surroundings. Still, no one could have predicted that we would start this decade with travel restrictions and a global pandemic. It’s not been easy to plan. So many of us are scrolling through the internet at the many deals that have popped up, but then the UK re-entered its second national lockdown, and we hover over the confirm button. So, I thought I’d share with you 8 of the most inspiring travel trends in 2021! We are right to air on the side of caution, but it’s also important to remain optimistic and accept that it will take some time for us to feel confident travelling again.
8 of the Most Inspiring Travel Trends in 2021
- Working from Anywhere
Covid-19 introduced a way of working and communicating that most of us never had before, with meetings over Zoom or Microsoft Teams and companies having to restructure some of their business practices to make it succeed. It has also led to a clear desire to work while travelling and partake in longer holidays. Some parents are opting to continue homeschooling, making it accessible than ever before. Forbes.com has suggested that it may be sometime before the travel industry can return to any normal, but it appears we all want it.
2. Campervan Road Trips
Campervan or motorhome road trips are nothing new but due to travel restrictions. People are anxious about the future and advised to stay at home; this lead to an increase in campervan sales, conversions and motorhome hire in the later part of 2020, with avid travellers wanting to get out on the road and explore in the safety of their own mini house on wheels. I don’t see this trend ending anytime soon, as you only need to look on YouTube to see the thousands of DIY conversions.
Right now, even with a vaccine rollout, Covid-19 isn’t in a rush to disappear. There are still likely to be outbreaks and travel bans for many months to come, with more talk of travel bubbles (also known as air bridges) for longer than that.
The biggest concern with travel is the spread of infection, with consumers saying that they would feel more confident travelling if technology played a part with travellers wanting to be able to do as much as possible on their phones, from payments to boarding to having instant access to the local area or government guideline changes.
4. Large Holiday Rentals
For most of us, we have spent much of the last 12 months with little or no face to face contact with our families. So, it’s hardly surprising that some of us will be searching for that all-important AirBnb or seaside villa to spend some well deserved time with our families when restrictions are eased. Where you will be able to hide out and escape the stress and worries of recovering from a pandemic. With UK staycations being big business right now, you don’t even have to travel very far from your doorstep to enjoy a little peace.
5. Sustainable Trips/Eco-friendly
A travel trend in 2021 that has inspired a lot of travellers is a more sustainable approach to their future trips, with many of us looking for the alternative to a beach or theme park holiday but to places like Costa Rica, Finland, Greece, and Malta all of which are looking at sustainable tourism. With Visit Finland launching their own Sustainable Finland programme. Many countries are looking towards sustainable tourism to preserve their beautiful landscapes while offering an enriching experience. Malta provides opportunities for travellers to give back to the local community. Volunteer at Malta Horse Sanctuary in Siggiewi and Tomasina Cat Sanctuary in Qormi.
6. Last Minute Bookings
Many travel companies have updated their travel policies and offer flexible booking, and allow consumers to amend or cancel trips much later for a 100% refund. This will encourage many travellers to feel comfortable with making last-minute reservations. As Skyscanner mentions, it will be almost impossible to predict what is likely to happen in 2021. Travellers will ultimately need to be more vigilant to changing situations.
7. Consumer Experience
As mentioned above, technology is likely to play an essential role in recovering the hospitality and travel industry. The future of hotels, venues, and restaurants offering a contactless experience (as much as possible) are highly likely to become the new norm (I hate that word). Hotels like the Hilton offering contactless stays, and other chains follow a similar if not identical approach.
It’s not just technology; customer experience is changing. Covid-19 has sucked us out of our tiny bubbles and made us realise that we should be taking our health and hygiene seriously, and 42% of tourists agree and would favour airlines, airports and hotels with higher health and safety standards. However, it doesn’t stop there, with some employers considering their ethics regarding staff safety and duty of care obligations. Business trips also need to be safe and worry-free.
I don’t feel as travellers that this is a worry, with hotels offering their version of covid-19 safe. However, it will be evident that Tripadvisor reviews will feature some hygiene elements, and cleanliness practices may become the forefront for a while to come.
8. Travel Testing
Okay, I wouldn’t say this was the most inspiring travel trend in 2021, but it is undoubtedly a positive one and something that will hopefully contribute to getting the industry back on its feet!
For most of us, taking a covid test has somehow become the norm, and with travel, I see this being a more permanent feature for at least the following year, if not longer, as countries worldwide attempt to contain the pandemic. At the same time, a vaccination programme is an excellent jump towards ‘normality’ resuming at some point (I dread to think how long). Still, it has already been mentioned that travel testing, both pre-departure and 72 hours before return, are in the pipeline as part of the screening programme, often called the covid-19 travel passport. We can only assume that a certificate will be issued and it’s bon voyage. However, unfortunately, this does have a cost starting at £80 per person, so if you are a family of four, that’s another £320 each way to add to your budget.
The other thought I have, I would assume that if you test positive before departure, that’s your trip postponed, and if before you return you test positive, you would be required to self-isolate for ten days (as per government guidelines at the time) on arrival to the UK.
So while travel testing appears to be a great way to stop the virus’s travel, there will always be some cons.
There is considerable uncertainty surrounding travel, not just abroad but also closer to home, with many of us discussing whether we should wait. Matters weren’t helped last year when borders closed with hours of notice, airlines, hotels, and insurers made it challenging to receive refunds, offering vouchers or leaving some consumers still waiting for their money months later; there is this fear that our perfect holidays will end in disaster with cancelled flights, closed accommodation and no one willing to take responsibility.
Travel trends in 2021 are perhaps going to be very different for most of this year; however, from the look of things, staycations seem to be the Brit’s go-to holiday this year. It would appear that while we still want that time away, we aren’t all confident enough jumping on planes.
This will be a tough challenge for the travel and hospitality industry in 2021. They rely heavily on footfall and the norm, which might not happen for some time to come, leaving many companies facing the difficult decision to continue to cut costs or stay closed altogether. For now, we can only hope that 2021 will see the return to some kind of normal.
What do you think of the travel trends for 2021? Are you planning on jetting off somewhere later in the year or considering jumping into a motorhome and enjoying a well-needed road trip? Please let me know in the comments below, and if you feel I’ve missed any, you consider to be immerging travel trends.