Not-so-breaking news: the travel industry suffered tremendously due to the pandemic so, naturally, most of 2021’s travel trends have been shaped accordingly.

While many of us are still debating how far we’ll go to board a flight – to vaccinate or not to vaccinate? – we say now is the time to keep hope alive and start planning your next adventure.

High Time

Countless people found themselves frustrated in their attempts to change or cancel their travel plans without incurring fees in 2020, giving rise to a whole new trend for 2021. With uncertainty still very much a part of our everyday lives, hotels and airlines have no choice but to offer a lot more flexibility – something expected to (thankfully) continue in a post-pandemic world. Customerfriendly practices like clear cancellation policies and refundable accommodation will inevitably give travellers the confidence to book last-minute trips, so expect to be more spontaneous in the months ahead.

Home Sweet Home

Staycations and domestic travel soared in popularity across the globe in 2020 as borders were closed, flights were cancelled, and travel bans were implemented. These restrictions gave us a newfound appreciation for our immediate surroundings, and experts predict the trend will continue into 2021 as international travel will take time to rebound. This ‘think local’ mindset will benefit not only local economies, but also the environment. Sure, the beaches of Bali, Phuket, and the Maldives are postcardperfect, but compare the carbon footprint if you visit your local beach instead.

Keep It Quiet

When it comes to travelling in 2021, think rural – not urban. Nature tourism will be big in the coming months as most of us will bypass big cities (read: crowds of people) in favour of hiking, camping, stargazing, fishing, and even forest bathing. Cabin rentals will be popular, as will beaches and ski spots in remote areas. People worldwide connected with nature in order to cope with the stresses of 2020, so it’s no surprise that our appreciation for the great outdoors is only set to increase.

Safety First

Not one day goes by without updates on ‘that’ vaccine, but the one that got frequent flyers talking was a recent move by Qantas – international air travellers will need to prove they’ve been vaccinated against coronavirus in order to board its flights, and other major airlines are expected to follow suit, making vaccine passports a reality in 2021. Travel will become (even) more complicated as a result of new health screenings and safety measures – think: temperature checks and pre-departure Covid-19 testing leading to longer wait times at airports. The upside of all this? More hygienic conditions in hotels, airports, and airplanes.

Slow But Sure

With travel – like life itself – becoming more complicated, holidaymakers will want their escapades to be more meaningful. This means that we’ll seek travel experiences that entail giving back in some way, be it through doing volunteer work or choosing sustainable accommodation and/or activities. Slow travel will also continue to dominate. Instead of rushing from one destination to another in a desperate scramble to update our bucket lists, we’ll take the time to really connect with the culture, food, music, nature, and people of one. This, again, will translate to longer and fewer trips per year, thereby reducing our carbon footprint. ✤