Although going on holiday has some extra steps – like Covid testing and vaccine passports – for the most part, travel is back on for us Brits.
New research from Booking.com has revealed what’s on our agenda as the world opens back up, and the travel trends that have emerged post-lockdowns.
Speaking to more than 24,000 travellers across 31 countries and territories, they found that people who feel they ‘need’ a break is up 52% from last year.
What those breaks look like will of course vary, but the overarching theme is making trips count, and making the most of seeing the world.
Looking at the findings, they’ve identified seven key predictions for the year ahead, as well as some emerging destinations you need to put on your bucket list.
Here’s are their predictions for travel in 2022:
Almost three-quarters of respondents in Booking.com’s survey said that travel helps their mental and emotional wellbeing more than other forms of rest and relaxation, and 84% said that having a vacation planned has a positive impact on their emotional wellbeing.
With this in mind, they’re predicting wellness breaks becoming more popular, as well as travel being seen more as a form of self-care.
A relaxing getaway doesn’t need to mean a wellness retreat, though, as almost a fifth of people in the study said stepping outside of their comfort zone is how they reset and wind down.
Resetting the out of (home) office
Booking.com’s report states: ‘In 2022 we’ll see a significant rise in people wanting to take back control in a bid to firmly re-establish a healthy work-life balance.
‘Vacation time itself will be strictly work-free for three quarters of travellers (73%) in 2022, which wasn’t always the case in 2021 with home and remote work lives blurred.’
A whopping 68% of respondents also said they’d rather take less time off work if it meant they could completely switch off when they do.
All the first-time feels
Everybody knows getting excited for a holiday is one of the best parts about going away, and given we’ve been stuck at home for a long time, there’s a more heightened sense of anticipation.
According to Booking.com, we’ll relish this build-up, as 17% of survey respondents said they’re most looking forward to the pure excitement and anticipation of their next trip.
Next year, travellers will be incorporating the journey into their holiday, and recapturing the magic of simple pleasures like feeling the sun on our face.
Throughout our various lockdowns, many of us found hidden gems (from small businesses to hidden away green spaces) on our doorsteps, and this passion for communities is set to continue.
When it comes to travel, over half of people agree it’s important that their trip is beneficial to the local community at their destination. Furthermore, 67% want the money they spend while travelling to go back to the local community, and 68% want to have authentic experiences that are representative of the local culture.
As we book our holidays for next year, more of us will research our destinations to ensure they’re ethical, as well as opting for local-owned where possible.
Swipe right on new places and faces
Of course we love our friends and families who supported us through the pandemic, but apparently we’re looking to branch out while we travel in 2022.
Over half (51%) of the survey’s respondents said they want to meet new people while travelling, and dating while holidaying is also a popular choice.
‘We predict a resurgence of holiday romances, with more than a third (36%) hoping for one on their next trip,’ says the Booking.com report.
‘But the romance doesn’t have to stop when parting ways at the end of the trip thanks to video calls becoming part of our everyday lives, meaning we expect to see more than a few of these holiday romances turn into the real deal.’
Just say yes
Holidaymakers in 2022 will be happy to go with the flow and embrace the unpredictable says Booking.com, after over a year of being told ‘no’ to new experiences.
62% said they’ll say yes to any travel opportunity their budget allows, while money is no object for 39%. Almost three quarters are also ditching the itinerary when they next go away.
‘Wildcard’ or ‘surprise’ options where destinations are kept hidden until you get to the airport (like Sprs.me and Wowtrip) are set to rise in popularity as a result.
Embracing the unpredictable
As well as the trend for spontaneous holidaying, the ongoing uncertainty of regulations will be adding to the changeable nature of travel over the next year.
And since we’ve gotten used to plans being moved or cancelled during the pandemic, we won’t be getting in a flap about it, instead using tech to smooth out any issues.
Booking.com says: ‘We expect to see even wider adoption of predictive technologies which can help travellers make more informed decisions, especially considering that two thirds would be interested in an innovative service that could predict which countries will be safe to travel to, even months in advance, or automatically suggest destinations which are easy to travel to now based on their country’s and the destination’s current COVID-19 requirements.’
The company says that the industry will need to catch up with customer demands, and guarantees that people won’t lose money and cancellation or rescheduling options are high on their list of concerns.
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