5 Major Travel Trends to Watch For in 2021

Travel trends in 2021 to look out for (photo: Getty Images) By Danica Lo January…

Travel trends in 2021 to look out for (photo: Getty Images)
By Danica Lo

By Danica Lo

January 11, 2021

Industry experts predict we’ll be travelling very differently after border restrictions are lifted post-Covid—and they’re not talking about face masks

After nearly one full year of global travel restrictions, thwarted holidays, and cancelled flights, it’s no surprise that eager travellers have kept busy scouring the web for 2021 opportunities and adventures. Travel industry experts, packagers, agents, and online aggregators are optimistic—and predict that when the world is on the move once again, we’ll all be travelling in very different ways. From value systems to experiences and even destinations, here are five major shifts to look out for when you’re planning your first post-pandemic longhaul trip this year. 

Related: Hong Kong social distancing rules for Covid-19

On the heels of a pandemic that posed the greatest threat to seniors and baby boomers, the average age of travellers has dropped precipitously across all categories. Travel insurance comparison site Squaremouth recently released data indicating that, while in 2019, the average age of travellers was 50, by the end of 2020, the average age of travellers had dropped to 38. “Of their total travel share, Squaremouth reports growth in every group under 60, while every age group over 60 saw a decline from last year,” the report indicated. As age and generational demographics of travellers shift to Gen X, it’s likely that other consumer travel trends—such as experiences on offer, popular destinations, preferred accommodations, and amenities—will follow suit.

Related: Essentials to pack for hotel quarantine in Hong Kong

Travel trends in 2021: Spontaneity (photo: Getty Images)
Travel trends in 2021: Spontaneity (photo: Getty Images)

Anyone who’s planned a trip or even held plane tickets anytime over the past year will be familiar with the anxiety and emotional rollercoaster of uncertainty that comes along with daily travel restriction updates and entry requirement changes. That’s why we’re not surprised to learn that Hotels.com, one of the largest accommodation bookings sites online, predicts that “spontaneity will be the word of the year for 2021” because “travellers intend to be more impulsive than ever, following 2020’s cancelled trips, boredom, and all round ‘year of nothing.'” 

The results of a mass survey the site conducted in December showed that, looking forward:

  • 32 per cent of travellers want to make spontaneous decisions
  • 28 per cent don’t want to plan
  • 26 per cent would take a long-haul trip for just a few days
  • 25 per cent say they wouldn’t plan any activities ahead of arrival
  • 24 per cent plan on saying ‘yes’ to new experiences

“Twenty-twenty was the year of staying home, postponing trips and posting old vacation pictures on social media. This year, travelers are ready to ‘seize the stay’ when travel returns and they feel comfortable to take the trips they missed out on,” said Josh Belkin, Vice President, Global brand Hotels.com, in a statement. “We saw that when travel restrictions eased for many in July and August 2020, over half of bookings were made three days or less ahead of their stay, compared to 40 per cent in 2019. People are ready to channel their inner spontaneous self, dropping everything at the last minute to get away and enjoy the best that hotel life has to offer.”

In good news for luxury hotels, 17 per cent of respondents said they plan to book a five-star hotel for their next trip.

Related: This is the world’s most powerful passport in 2021