After a year like 2020, it’s hard to predict what the future of travel will look like. While travel this year will probably not look like what we saw pre-Covid, Americans are still traveling. With a pent-up demand for travel and the vaccine rolling out, it appears that the confidence to travel is increasing daily. So far this year I’m seeing a few travel trends worth noting…
Domestic Travel is on the Rise
Booking.com’s Future of Travel report for 2021 says “local travel remains easier, safer and – happily – often more sustainable.” Their ”Familiarists not Tourists” prediction shows 47% of travelers are planning domestic trips over the next 7-12 months. My most requested destinations this year have been – Florida, Arizona, National Parks, and Hawaii.
Disney is a still a top choice! Disney World is has been open since the summer and even though the parks have limited capacity, abbreviated hours and have put a hold on parades and fireworks, It is considered relatively safe to visit. Add to that it is easy to reach by either car or quick, direct flights, you can see why it is a pick for so many families.
Beach Vacations are also a popular choice because it is an easy way to maintain social distancing and find peace of mind when visiting these destinations surrounded by nothing but the sea.
Short term planning
Normally at this time I would be booking Summer and Fall vacations, but the requests currently coming across my desk are for April – June. With so much uncertainty, travelers are feeling more comfortable booking vacations a few weeks out instead of months.
In addition, with so many still working from home, and kids still doing remote learning, there seems to much less concern about working around school breaks. As long as there is a good internet connection, and enough time in the day to get the job done, it doesn’t seem to matter right now when families travel.
Bucket List Trips
For those who are planning a little farther out, there seems to be little holding back on the types of trips they are taking. Having realized that access to travel cannot be taking for granted, many are looking to book bigger trips as soon as possible.
Travelers are looking for more unique experiences and upgraded amenities in order to stay in a ‘bubble’. I’m seeing more and more requests first class seats on flights, private transfers and suites with more room and bigger balconies to spend more time in their room.
Flexible Cancellation Policies
Before the pandemic, you would need to buy a fully flexible airfare to have the ability to change your dates, which would have been far more expensive than a standard ticket. Furthermore, cancelling your vacation last minute would be out of the question without losing a good chunk of your money.
Now many suppliers have realized that the only way to provide travelers with the confidence to book is by giving them the flexibility to change their hotel or flight booking at no extra cost. Airlines such as United, American Airlines and Delta have scrapped change fees for man flights. Hotels and suppliers are also allowing travelers to change destinations or dates without fees.
Working with a Travel Advisor is a MUST!
Anyone who didn’t have one in 2020 probably regretted it. If you have had to change a trip on your own, you probably understand why it’s helpful to have a travel agent in your corner.
Travelers today need help navigating the new normal in order for their trips to be a success. With a considerable amount of uncertainty and quarantine, testing and entry requirements changing daily, travel agents have become an invaluable and irreplaceable source of information.
Even those who have booked their own travel for years, are turning to Travel Advisors for their experience and expertise.
What are you most looking forward to in the world of travel in 2021? Tell us in the comments below.
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