The Top Travel Trends For 2021, According To The Experts

If 2020 is any indication, the travel industry may never look the same again – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We spoke to several of the sector’s leading experts to find out their predictions for 2021. From sustainable trips to bucket list destinations, here are some of the top trends to know for next year.

Sustainable Travel

According to recent statistics, 53% of global travellers want to travel more sustainably in the future as a result of the pandemic. “We expect to see a more eco-conscious mindset in 2021, as people become more aware of their environmental impact and look to reduce their carbon footprint – consumers will expect the travel industry to offer more sustainable options. Many travellers will also visit alternative destinations they might not have previously considered in a bid to avoid traveling during peak season” explains Ryan Pearson, regional manager at Booking.com. Nicky Kelvin, director of content at The Points Guy agrees – “People are likely to be far more mindful about where they are travelling to and how this impacts the environment. There may be more thought given to travel for work too – virtual meetings have shown us how unnecessary it is to get on a plane to the other side of the world just for an hour’s meeting.” 

Last-Minute Bookings

As global travel restrictions are set to continue fluctuating according to lockdown rules, experts believe many customers will still be booking last-minute holidays, as and when travel corridors reopen. “There is huge potential for a rebound in travel for those wanting to seize the day after feeling trapped at home for months on end,” explains Nicky. “People may start to live for the now, and aim to realise their dreams with a last-minute trip. This could be a UK staycation booked the night before, or a luxury long-haul trip when a country is suddenly safe to travel to – many travellers will want to make up for lost time.”

Bucket List Holidays 

Cancelled holidays during 2020 will likely see more UK travellers looking further afield next year, say the experts. Richard Sofer, commercial & business development director at TUI told us: “Our latest customer survey and booking patterns for next summer indicate the British public are looking forward to future holidays even more so, as they may have been unable to take one this year. People are searching for four or five-star hotels or luxury options in exotic destinations with private pools.” Bucket list holidays will be particularly popular with the older generation, suggests Simon White at TravelUp – “Those with a good amount of disposable income are researching bucket list holidays like never before, such as safaris in South Africa and once-in-a-lifetime train journeys around Australia.” 

Road Trips

Heading on a road trip is one way to maintain social distancing rules without the need to travel on aeroplanes. “A big thing we've noticed for next year is that couples and families are looking to travel by themselves. As social distancing is the new norm, it's important for travellers to feel safe and comfortable on their next adventure – cue a road trip. Because of this, 2021 car rental services are also set to soar – being in the safety of a car will give many people the freedom to enjoy their next trip” says Simon. 

As social distancing is the new norm, it's important for travellers to feel safe and comfortable on their next adventure – cue a road trip.
Simon White

All-Inclusive Holidays

Another travel trend the experts predict is increased demand for all-inclusive holidays. Not only can they be more cost effective in the long run (rather than paying for a flight and hotel separately), they usually include the added benefit of ATOL and ABTA protection. For example, all TUI package holidays include Covid-19 cover, which automatically protects you for medical assistance if you contract Covid-19 overseas or if you’re asked to quarantine while you’re away. “We’ve seen an upward trend in four and five-star all-inclusive hotel bookings for next summer, and we expect this to continue well into 2022” says Richard.

Staycations On Top

If 2020 has been the year of the staycation, then they’re not going anywhere in 2021. Nicky suggests that once the current lockdown ends, many people will want to go away, but might not feel comfortable heading abroad just yet – “We should see a continued interest in staycations, with national parks and beaches close to home becoming increasingly popular as people continue to explore corners of the UK they might not have been interested in before. This trend could last in line with some people’s fear of Covid-19 and wanting to stay safe – especially for those who are more vulnerable.” Coastal towns like St Ives, Whitby and Salcombe will continue to be popular next year, although they are likely to see an increase in the number of visitors throughout the year, not just in the summer, once regulations ease.

Remote Working 

For many, the working world may never look the same again, but for those who would normally travel for their job, this is especially true. In addition, as many workers have been given a greater flexibility to work from home, remote working from hotels will become more common, suggests Richard. “No longer confined to five days a week in an office, we’ll see a significant rise in the ‘workcation’, with travellers looking to extend their holiday experience in new locales by staying an extra week or two to work remotely – or conversely factoring annual leave around a work trip. Travel sites and hotels will showcase home office facilities and Wi-Fi speed in an attempt to attract this new wave of digital nomads. Companies will also undoubtedly reassess their approach to business travel in the future and workers will continue to maximise the trips they do take – perhaps extending a business trip to also enjoy leisure time at the destination.” 

No longer confined to five days a week in an office, we’ll see a significant rise in the ‘workcation’, with travellers looking to extend their holiday experience in new locales by staying an extra week or two to work remotely.
Richard Sofer

Feeling inspired? Here are the most popular destinations for 2021, according to the experts…

 

Best For: Bucket List Holidays

  • Mauritius
  • Maldives
  • Tanzania
  • Mexico
  • Jamaica
  • Best For: Road Trips

  • Italy
  • New Zealand
  • Croatia
  • Norway
  • Canada
  • Best For: ‘Workcations’

  • St Lucia
  • Mexico
  • Greece
  • Denmark
  • South Africa

 

*DISCLAIMER: Travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice before you book. Please ensure you are aware of the social distancing guidelines in place as well as rules on meeting up in groups larger than six.

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