Top Ten Travel Trends for 2021

Many people say that you cannot predict the future of travel, but there are some particularly good educated-guesses out there. According to a survey done in the US by Airbnb the future of travel is alive and well. Other travel writers have also ventured some guesses as to what travel might look like in the year to come. This is all great news for anyone passionate about travel and is worth taking into consideration if you are in the travel and hospitality industry.

People miss traveling and plan to travel

People cannot wait to travel again (no surprises there). More than half of the people that took part in the Airbnb survey admitted to missing traveling more than bars, restaurants, sports, or other live events. In one survey, 54% of people admitted to either already having booked a trip or expect to travel in 2021.

Flexible travel

The one thing Covid19 did was accelerate the move to remote working. Working and learning remotely will afford many people more flexibility when it comes to traveling. This will probably have an impact on travellers’ choices with regards to where, when, and how long they choose to stay at a destination. This could mean that the demand for off-peak days of the week and times of the year could increase. In the light of this Airbnb is encouraging their hosts to upgrade their Wi-Fi and set up more laptop friendly workspaces.

Spontaneous travelers

If covid and the accompanying lockdowns have taught us anything, it is to seize the moment when it arrives. This lesson will most probably define travelling in the future. Despite many travel companies offering flexible booking polices, many travelers will only feel comfortable making last-minute reservations and jetting off a few days later. It seems we will all become much more spontaneous in 2021.

No-fee trip changes

The changing travel rules and regulations make planning and booking a trip a hair-raising experience, as you are never completely sure if you will be able to travel.  Before the pandemic having the ability to change your travel dates would have been an expensive exercise, but covid-19 has changed that. In the foreseeable future travelers will increasingly be given the opportunity change their hotel or flight bookings at no extra cost. This is great news for wannabe jet setters.  

Travel testing

Pre-departure PCR Covid-19 testing for all passengers seems to be the future. Rocco Forte Hotels in Italy have been couriering guests ‘Fit to travel’ home test kits. If the result is negative, a health certificate is generated within 72 hours of travel. I love this idea!

Hedonistic hideouts

Many travellers will be seeking to escape the stresses and worries of the pandemic by booking hedonistic hideaways with family and friends. Personally, I cannot image anything better than booking a spacious seaside cottage on the Westcoast or sitting on the stoep of a little Corbelled house somewhere in the Northern Cape. Sounds like pure bliss!

Local is lekker!

In Airbnb’s survey 56% of correspondents said they would prefer to travel to domestic or local destinations. According to Globetrender, in the wake of the pandemic, ‘super-charged road trips’ will be become more and more popular. With travel restrictions forcing people to take more domestic vacations, traveling by road and being in your own vehicle is the obvious and safest choice.  Which probably means more people will choose to start glamping in the form of their own caravans and luxury trailers.

Affordability is a priority

Although people still want to travel, their travel budgets have been severely cut by the pandemic. According to the Airbnb survey people will still be traveling in 2021, but affordability will be the top priority when choosing accommodation.

Pleasure flights are a thing

For aerophiles, simply being on a plane, relaxing with a glass of wine while watching the clouds pass by, was a loss during the pandemic. According to the Condé Nest Traveller some airlines are realizing that instead of leaving their aircraft on the ground, they can offer flights to nowhere. Pleasure flights have been growing in popularity since carriers such as ANA, EVA Air and Qantas began welcoming passengers aboard sightseeing flights. EVA Air hosted a Hello Kitty-themed flight from Taipei serving dishes prepared by three-Michelin-star chef Motokazu Nakamura, while Qantas offered passengers a seven-hour flight from Sydney that included a low-level fly-by of the Great Barrier Reef. Imagine what stunning pleasure flights we could have in South Africa.

People will be choosing meaningful travel above any other travel

If the covid19 pandemic has taught us one thing it is the importance of spending quality time with loved ones. Reconnecting with family and friends seems to be becoming one of the top motivations for traveling. The Airbnb survey showed that 41% of people feel that connecting with family and friends will be ‘much more important’ post-pandemic.

Here’s to staying safe and healthy, but still TRAVELING in 2021!


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