2020 might have been a write-off in terms of travel, but 2021 seems a lot more hopeful. What new travel trends in 2021 will emerge, and will we go back to a semblance of normal when it comes to long-distance overlanding?
The Return of Travel Agents
With the tourism industry in shambles, travel experts predict a return of organized travel. The chaos of 2020 has taught people that independent travel allows for more freedom and flexibility, but it has its drawbacks: for example, booking flights, tours, or hotels through resellers or third-party sites means you’re probably not going to get a full refund or be able to change your dates in case your circumstances change. In a world full of uncertainty, people may want more safety and stability when making travel plans and booking flights – and understandably so. What that means for sites like Booking or Skyscanner, however, is unclear.
Even if we have a safe vaccine soon, people are likely to want to stay away from crowded places, at least at first. Does this mean that popular tourist destinations like France, Italy, Thailand, or Bali will be replaced by more remote places offering more outdoor activities? Maybe; cruises may be replaced by road trips, and overlanding on motorcycles may become the new packaged holidays.
While the travel industry will eventually recover, travelers themselves may become choosier about their journeys and their destinations, at least short term. If travel will require negative PCR tests or proof of vaccination, and if airlines will charge more because of spaced out seating, we may be a bit more careful about where we want to go to and for how long. According to tour organizers, if people are going to take a vacation abroad after months of cabin fever, they’ll want to make it count.
Experiences vs Fast-Paced Travel
There’s been a lot of talk about how travelers might start seeking out experiences rather than ticking off bucket-list places. The pandemic may have caused us to pause and reflect on things we truly care about, and slow travel, as well as more eco-conscious, low-impact journeys may become more popular moving forward. On the other hand, people have short memory, and a new boom in overtourism is just as likely.
What’s your take on travel trends in 2021?