Many people who were planning on a winter vacation may be having second thoughts amid the largest surge in Covid-19 cases in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. But many will also be looking toward brighter days in the spring and summer. Here’s a look at some of the travel trends to expect in 2022 to help you plan accordingly.
Mother Nature calls
Spending time outdoors was all the rage during the pre-vaccine days of the pandemic in 2020 and that interest hasn’t died out just yet (indeed, on the back of the Omicron variant, trips to the great outdoors may see a huge resurgence in interest). For example, Club Wyndham and WorldMark time-share properties close to U.S. national parks have seen a 71% uptick in bookings.
Elsewhere, destinations such as Colorado and Montana were dominating Kayak’s top-trending list as 2021 came to a close, the aforementioned states seeing an increase in search share of at least 46% compared to 2019. At the same time, big cities like New York, San Francisco, and Atlanta have been replaced in Kayak’s Top 10 by beach towns such as Cancun, Honolulu and Maui.
The Greek islands are Contiki’s top booked destination for 2022. The tour company, which mainly draws travelers between the ages of 18 and 35, says Costa Rica is also extremely popular this year with a survey they conducted revealing that nearly 70% of younger travelers are opting for “beachscapes over mountainscapes.”
According to Kayak, the booking window for flights is shrinking when compared to two years ago, especially with regards to international travel. Searches for flights within seven days have increased 50% on kayak.com as travelers become increasingly flexible in their plans.
TikTok is making a home-swapping scenario similar to the one in the Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet movie The Holiday all the rage. The hashtag “#houseswap” has generated approximately 10 million views and viral videos of users swapping houses on the social media app.
Global home-swapping platform Love Home Swap, which has homes in more than 110 countries, saw a nearly 300% increase in member sign-ups last year compared to 2019. The company says these “staycation” arrangements help offset the increased costs of traveling during the pandemic, saving members on average $3,500 per year on accommodation.
With a growing demand for combining the flexibility of remote work with leisure travel, more than 40% of Gen-Z employees say they plan to take a “workcation”—that is, working while traveling instead of traveling for work or taking unpaid leave—in 2022, according to Kayak.
Trip-stacking—the practice of booking multiple trips back-to-back—really became a thing in the summer of 2021. There are various reasons for this: many travelers wanted to maximize their trips aboard while international borders were open; it can be more budget-friendly if your “stacked” trips are all far away from home; and many people simply wanted to make up for lost time after lockdown.
Contiki says that Gen Z and younger millennial travelers, in particular, are trip-stacking frequently with the company, and young professionals are taking more PTO days, with an average trip length of nine to 11 days.
Industry experts say this is one to watch. All-inclusive resorts have the reputation for being convenient and family friendly, but amenities aren’t always the best. Pandemic travel has changed all that as measures implemented to encourage social distancing as well as personal hygiene are becoming mainstays, like mobile payments or simply paying for everything in one go as not to have to use credit cards or touch point-of-sale checkpoints frequently.
By Anthony Moran