6 mins

How we’ll travel in 2021 and beyond

With our prospects for travel as uncertain as ever Lyn Hughes gazes into her crystal ball to take a look at what the likely trends will be

hiker celebrating success on top of a mountain (Shutterstock)
Llama in front of Machu Picchu (Shutterstock)

Llama in front of Machu Picchu (Shutterstock)

Bucketlist travel

Admit it, we all used to think that travel would always be there, and that our wishlist places would wait for us. But now we know that isn’t necessarily the case there has been a rush in people booking their big dream trips but for further out. So, even if you're planning for late 2021 or even for 2022 / 2023 take a serious look at which trips will mean the most to you. 

Ohrid (Shutterstock)

Ohrid (Shutterstock)

Short notice and spontaneous travel

As corridors open and flight services resume we’ll grab opportunities as they arise. Never thought of going to blah? Well, now will be the time to consider anywhere we can get to. Forget any preconceptions about places you may have not though about visiting or when you like to travel. Let’s embrace opportunity. Let's try a few surprises. 

Mu Ko Ang Thong island National Park (Shutterstock)

Mu Ko Ang Thong island National Park (Shutterstock)

Slow and long travel

Forget short breaks that seem to involve more time getting there than on the ground. With us feeling potentially at most risk in airports and transport hubs, this is the time to spend longer in the destination itself. Let's face it, it's more environmentally conscious, it's better for the planet and it's better for us too. We’ll want to savour the destination and the travel experience when we’re there. To really immerse ourselves, to live in the moment, to slow down, and to, well, just hang out. 

Female traveller with mask (Shutterstock)

Female traveller with mask (Shutterstock)

Socially distanced travel

Do you wince when you see a TV programme or movie where the characters - even strangers - hug and kiss? Now such intimacy seems to belong to another age, another century. But whether we appreciate it or not, so many of our best travel memories are based around the people we meet. The challenge now will be how to have meaningful encounters from behind facemasks and when we’re keeping our distance. But we'll find a way. 

Couple inside a campervan (Shutterstock)

Couple inside a campervan (Shutterstock)

Bubble travel

With us being super careful about contact with others, we’ll be aware of bubbles more than ever, whether that is our family, friends or a group of strangers. We’ll want to know that the people we travel with have been vaccinated (ideally) and in any case have recently tested negative for Covid-19. 

This will also reflect in our choices of transport and accommodation. We have already seen a rise in interest in self-catering, camping, campervans, boats and self-drive, and this will continue in 2021. 

Enjoying nature (Shutterstock)

Enjoying nature (Shutterstock)

Nature and wilderness travel

We want fresh air. We want space, We want bees and butterflies and birdsong. We want trees and babbling brooks and waterfalls. We want to stay in cabins, treehouses and light-filled studios. 2020 was the year of being cooped up and also when we learned to appreciate nature and just how precious it is. Now we want to be out in it, living it, breathing it in. 

Wadi Rum, Jordan (Shutterstock)

Wadi Rum, Jordan (Shutterstock)

Putting back travel

With the collapse in tourism untold livelihoods have been lost around the world. Incredible tour guides are out of work. Parks and reserves have lost desperately-needed funding. Hotels, restaurants, cafes and shops have had to close. Artisans have no one to sell to. When we travel again we can and will make a difference. 

Enjoying travel (Shutterstock)

Enjoying travel (Shutterstock)

Appreciative travel

Oh travel, how we’ve missed you! Like a longterm partner or our favourite slippers we were sometimes guilty of taking you for granted. Now we want to experience all the things that make travel what it is - the chance encounters, serendipitous events, even the culture shock. And this time we’ll truly appreciate you as never before. 

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