Over the past two years, constant and rapid change has been the name of the game. It’s been hard to figure out what’s coming next, but as we move further into 2022, we are starting to see a clearer picture of where travel is headed this year.
Our team of Destination Specialists at Goway have paid attention to internal bookings and industry chatter to come up with a concrete understanding of current travel trends. Based on the expertise of our team and the insight of our industry partners, here are the top five travel trends for 2022.
Want to know where travel is headed this year? Time to find out.
What are the top 5 travel trends for 2022?
1. Travel Splurging
Call it “splurging” or “binging” or “being extravagant” or “celebrating”—regardless of the word you use, people are going all out when they book travel this year. The reasons for this are obvious: it’s been super long since most people have gone on vacation, so they are willing to pay for extra comforts and lavish experiences. We’ve seen this in a variety of ways across our destinations: overwater bungalows in The Islands of Tahiti; dining in an underwater restaurant or swimming with whale sharks in the Maldives; private guides on an African safari; a dedicated car and driver on European tours; premium economy or business class on international airfare; and luxury train experiences wherever they’re available.
2. Slow Travel
This trend is born out of the same motivation as splurging. It has been so long since people have travelled that they want to take extra time in each destination and slow down the pace of travel. People want to immerse themselves in the rhythms of a destination, focus more on a single country, and see all that there is to see. This has also come from increased work flexibility over the past two years. Many people are working from home or have accrued a lot of vacation time, so they’re taking advantage to live like a local in other countries and make the most of an international vacation. This can take the form of a two-week safari to the biggest parks in Kenya and Tanzania or several weeks on honeymoon in the Cook Islands.
3. Travel with Family & Friends
This one is almost so obvious that it’s not worth belabouring, but people want to travel in small groups of family and friends. The pandemic has meant that many people have been separated from family and friends for a long time. People are making up for lost time by planning trips together. That way, they can enjoy a vacation and catch up with family and friends at the same time. Thus, we’ve seen a huge increase in demand for small-group travel. This can be everything from a family escape to the beaches of Fiji or a behind-the-scenes Harry Potter experience in London.
4. Last-Minute Travel
People have gotten used to changing plans in a hurry. Over the past two years, most of these changes have been negative: working from home, having to scuttle flights, et cetera. But now, people are more comfortable making last-minute decisions, so last-minute travel has become popular. In the past, people would plan a big vacation months in advance. Now, people are taking advantage of great deals and border openings and booking several weeks on vacation with only a week or two’s notice. For instance, someone sees a great deal for a two-week luxury vacation through South America and books only a week before departure. Or you may have heard that Australia reopened on February 21. The news about this only broke in early February, so some people are planning last-minute vacations to be the first people back Downunder. This isn’t the way things used to work, but it’s undeniably a big part of how people are travelling in 2022.
5. Experiential Travel
People are planning more excursions, day trips, and cultural experiences than ever before. This can include securing a spot on a small-group day trip to nearby landmarks, such as the Twelve Apostles outside Melbourne, heading on guided walking tours through city centres around the world, booking special meal or wine experiences, whether wine tours in the Loire Valley in France or a walking foodie tour in Edinburgh, and skipping the line with various VIP programs at popular attractions such as the Vatican Museums or the Colosseum in Rome or the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Like we said with slow travel, people don’t want to miss out on anything or waste any of their precious vacation days, so they’re planning everything ahead and filling their itinerary with all sorts of experiences. That way, they won’t be disappointed when they find out a day trip or behind-the-scenes tour only happens twice a week. This also leads to an increased focus on private-guided travel experiences. People want to customize and enjoy privacy and specialized attention, which makes private guided experiences a no-brainer. It’s no longer just the destination that matters; the experience getting there is as much of the fun.
22 Feb 2022, 6:45 p.m.