TO say it’s been a tough year for travel would be putting it mildly. Another 12 months have been consumed by the pandemic, another four seasons heavily impacted by quarantines, queues, and chaos at the airport.
Omicron aside, it looked like 2021 would be the beginning of the end of Covid-19, but a third wave has once again made the freedoms of pre-pandemic international travel seem like a distant memory.
There is hope on the horizon as vaccination rollouts have an effect worldwide and scientists cautiously predict that Omicron is not as severe as previous variants, and if this proves to be true, 2022 could see a renewed sense of optimism for international travellers. Below is a list of trends we could see next year:
Wellness and eco-friendly travel will keep surging
The demand for wellness retreats has seen a huge spike in the last five years and particularly since the start of the pandemic as people are desperate for a physical and mental break after restrictions are lifted.
As staycations are on the rise as well, people are looking for that domestic wellness retreat that can pamper the mind, body, and soul. Experts expect this trend to continue into 2022 and stimulate even more growth for the industry.
Responsible travel to increase
Travel operator Original Travel have predicted a rise in responsible travelling in a new collection of itineraries that focus on philanthropic holidays, slow travel, rail and road trips, and sabbatical itineraries.
They feel that less travel will be better travel in 2022, providing the trips are longer, better planned and more meaningful. For example, the company’s 14-night trip to Sri Lanka has a focus on philanthropy and involves staying in family-owned guesthouses, using local guides, and generally immersing yourself in the local culture and traditions.
Flight prices will probably go up
A combination of surging fuel prices worldwide and cheap airfares to incentivise travel in both 2020 and 2021 has meant that as soon as international becomes relatively free again, plane tickets could see a significant price hike in 2022.
In an interview with TravelAge West, executive vice president of Internova Travel Group Peter Vlitas asked: “What will a consumer do? Will they stay with the mainline carriers? Will they look to connect where it’s cheaper? Will they go to a low-cost carrier? No one really knows.”
Based on research conducted by Audley Travel, 81 per cent of their clients involved in the survey said that they were likely to consider rail travel for their next trip.
This could be a luxurious European train journey or the exotic Vietage train in Vietnam – train travel can allow you to move around within one country domestically without the hassle of border controls and quarantine periods. If you do need to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, you can now get a same day PCR test in Los Angeles and other cities around the world at home. Bringing hard copies of documentation can help ensure you avoid travel disruptions.
A term we have all become extremely familiar with in the past two years – staycations have been the failsafe for millions of travellers since early 2020.
Pandemic travelling usually raises three main questions – “Will our destination be difficult to reach?”, “Is there a quarantine period?”, and “Is our trip likely to be cancelled?” If the answer to any of these is yes, it could mean trouble.
Staycations and domestic holidays just offer that little extra security. The odds of anything being cancelled are reduced and staying within your own borders minimises risk even further, so this trend will likely continue into 2022 as people play it safe with their money.