As COVID-19 regulations continue to decrease and become more lax, many anxious travelers are beginning to think more seriously about leaving home for a much-needed summer vacation. From an increase in road trips to a rise in luxurious getaways, here are seven travel trends you can expect to see this summer.
What to Expect from Summer Travel
Travel Remains Top of Mind
Although travel itself decreased significantly last year, planning for future vacations did not. In fact, according to Vrbo’s 2021 travel trends report, 82% of U.S. families have plans to travel this year. After nearly a year-and-a-half of being cooped up at home, travelers want their next vacation to be extra special, so many people are spending more time planning their perfect getaway this summer. According to Tripadvisor, 74% of global travelers say they are likely to spend more time choosing a destination this year by reading reviews and researching accommodations and activities.
A Rise in Road Trips & Drive Times
Despite this increase in travel planning, many people remain hesitant when it comes to flying. Vrbo reports that 59% of families who plan to travel this year are more likely to drive than fly. As more people prepare to travel by road, we also see an increase in the distance travelers are willing to drive. According to a study by Harvest Hosts, a membership program that invites RV owners to stay at unique campsites, nearly 60% of people who are planning a road trip are willing to drive over 500 miles (about 8.5 hours) to get to their destination.
Going Off the Beaten Path & Reconnecting with Nature
So, where is everyone headed this summer? According to a recent report by Airbnb, searches for remote destinations over Memorial Day weekend increased by nearly 40% within the last month. Travelers are opting for open-air getaways with a more outdoorsy feel rather than visiting busy metropolitan areas. Top rural destinations searched on Airbnb for Memorial Day weekend included Southern spots like Jackson County, NC, and Harper Ferry’s, WV.
Similarly, Vrbo reports that destinations near lakes, rivers and streams are also seeing an increase in demand. Popular Southern destinations searched on Vrbo with beautiful waterscapes include Emory, TX; Slade, KY; and Outer Banks, NC. But what about beaches? Those are on the rise, too! According to Expedia’s 2021 travel trends report, 56% of travelers are also looking to escape to the beach.
Longer Trips That Combine Work & Play
Gone are the days of quick weekend getaways, as Vrbo reports that 75% of U.S. travelers are more likely to book summer travel vacations for at least seven nights. Because people aren’t spending as much of their travel budget on airfare, many can afford to extend their vacation by a few days. Similarly, as people lengthen their vacations and continue to work remotely, many travelers are booking “flexcations,” vacations that combine work and relaxation. In fact, according to Vrbo, 52% of U.S. travelers who took a flexcation in 2020 found the experience refreshing, and 62% would take another flexcation in the future. After all, who wouldn’t want to work beach-side?
More Splurge-worthy Vacations
Similarly, many families are willing to spend more in order to get their dream vacation. According to Expedia’s 2021 travel trends report, people are cutting back on dining out or ordering takeout, purchasing alcohol, and even their streaming services to afford more vacations in 2021. According to Vrbo, 33% of travelers are willing to spend more money on a 2021 vacation than they typically would.
The Need for Travel Insurance
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s to always expect the unexpected. As people begin to plan their future getaways, many are also purchasing travel insurance. This ensures a refund of any prepaid or non-refundable costs for your trip if you’re unable to travel due to an unexpected circumstance. According to a Nasdaq interview with Megan Moncrief, a spokesperson at Squaremouth, the insurance company has never seen the sales of travel insurance reach this height before.
A Focus on Family
Many families in 2020 experienced the cancellation or postponement of important events like weddings and graduations. These canceled celebrations have led to an increase in family-focused getaways in 2021. Vrbo reports that 31% of travelers’ say their main reason for taking a vacation is to spend time with family and loved ones. Similarly, Expedia found that people’s top summer travel companions this year are expected to be their children and those within their “quaranteam.”
Here’s to an adventure-filled summer!