Along with every aspect of our lives, the course of travel has been redefined repeatedly over the past year and a half, continuously evolving into different versions of the ‘new normal’. So, in 2022, what will the newest version of travel look like?
Turns out, unsurprisingly, next year will be the year for travellers to make the most of unpredictability and to start making up for lost holiday time, says new research by Booking.com, which looked at more than 24,000 travellers across 31 countries and territories, including more than 1,000 Australians to predict how travel will continue to be redefined in the year ahead.
“Australians were fortunate to enjoy local travel during much of the pandemic, however, the most recent Delta outbreak and lockdowns have us all hungry for more — especially when it comes to dusting off our passports for international adventures,” says Melissa Ellison, Booking.com Area Manager for Australia.
“Now, as we look towards next year and vaccination rates continue to rise, we’re seeing a lot of excitement and anticipation for people to return to travel. Aussies are particularly keen to reunite with family and friends interstate overseas, as well as the change of pace and scenery that travel beyond our borders provides.”
Ahead are seven other travel trends the research predicts for next year.
More so than daily exercise or mindful meditation, getting away on holiday will become the form of self-care in 2022, with over three-quarters of people (82%) affirming that travel helps their mental and emotional wellbeing more than other forms of rest and relaxation. After more than a year of ever-evolving travel restrictions, the important benefits that travel has on health and wellbeing are now being acknowledged, with over two thirds (72%) saying they didn’t realise how important travel was to their wellbeing until it was no longer an option, and 87% saying that having a holiday planned has a positive impact on their emotional wellbeing.
Resetting the Out Of (Home) Office
When the pandemic hit, homes across the globe became our offices too, and the novelty of working remotely was realised. However, in 2022, we’ll see a significant rise in people wanting to take back control in a bid to firmly re-establish a healthy work-life balance as holiday time itself will be strictly work-free for three-quarters of Australian travellers (76%) in 2022, which wasn’t always the case in 2021 with home and remote work lives blurred.
All the First-Time Feels
After feeling ‘stuck’ for so long, rather than rushing through the journey, Australian travellers will be relishing every moment, from fine-tuning the playlist for the rental car to browsing the delicacies duty-free has to offer, with a fifth (21%) most looking forward to the pure excitement and anticipation as the journey begins. Each ‘first’ of our trips in 2022 will be a moment to savour, with a majority of Australian travellers saying that simple pleasures such as feeling the sun on their skin (85%) or seeing a body of water of some kind instantly improve their mood for the better (84%).
In 2022, this desire to connect authentically with the local community will continue on holidays too, as we seek to be more mindful about every trip we take and ensure our impact on the places we visit and the people who live there is positive. Well over half (61%) of people agree it’s important that their trip is beneficial to the local community at their destination and 52% would appreciate an app or website that provides recommendations on destinations where an increase in tourism would have a positive impact on the local community.
Swipe Right on New Places and Faces
For many, the pandemic meant spending an extended and intense period with our closest friends and loved ones, but holidays in 2022 will be an opportunity to branch out and make some new connections. Over half (55%) want to meet new people while away, we expect to see Australian travellers using their holidays as an opportunity to expand their usual social circles, with 66% of Australian travellers looking forward to socialising while on holiday and 40% wanting to stay somewhere close to plenty of nightlife options so that they can meet new people.
Tired of swiping through the same faces for the past year and a half, people will also be making use of their favourite dating apps while on holiday in 2022 with travel providing an exciting opportunity to find love. Booking.com predicts a resurgence of holiday romances, with one in four (41%) Aussie travellers hoping for love to strike on their next trip. But the romance doesn’t have to stop at the end of the trip — thanks to technology we may see more than a few of these holiday romances turn into the real deal.
Just Say Yes
After so long of being told “no” Australian travellers are reclaiming a more positive way of thinking for 2022. In fact, 70% will be shirking all the structure they’ve been contending with, preferring a holiday where they stay flexible and just go with the flow vs. having a well-planned itinerary full of activities. The coming year will bring the very best of improv to travel, with us responding to each unexpected twist and turn in the trip with an emphatic “yes, and…”
Embracing the Unpredictable
Uncertainty will continue to be a constant in travel in 2022, and while we cannot change or predict every new surprise and challenge that fate has in store for us, we will embrace it. Having leaned on technology in a variety of ways to stay connected and inspired over the past year and a half, our favourite apps will continue to help us navigate the unknown on our trips, with two-thirds (62%) agreeing that technology helps alleviate the anxiety around travelling.