3 Ways the Pandemic Has Made Travel Better (Yes, Better!)
After over a year in some form of lockdown, we’re all itching to get back out there and start traveling again. With the help of vaccine rollouts, we can see a return to full-fledged travel on the horizon, and we’re expecting the industry to come back better than ever.
The shift in priorities brought on by the pandemic has forced us all to evaluate why we travel and how we want to travel in the future. This period of self-reflection has us hopeful about the future of the industry and the unintended positive outcomes that are here to stay. Here are three ways we think travel will be better after the pandemic.
1. A Renewed Focus on Sustainability & Community
Sustainability was already a growing trend in our industry, and it will now be one of the most important considerations for travelers when planning future trips. The halt of travel and tourism at the beginning of the pandemic shed a new light on the impact our industry has on the environment, especially in destinations that experience negative effects from over-tourism. As travelers begin to venture out further from home and take longer trips, they’ll be more intentional about keeping the impact of their travels to a minimum.
In line with considering the potential environmental impact of their trip, travelers are more aware than ever of their power to impact local economies and businesses – and that starts with how and where they spend their money. . According to a Booking study, 27% of American travelers plan to book independent hotels or accommodations. This enriches travelers’ experiences, allowing them to truly connect with a destination, and supports the local community. Now that’s a win-win!
There are so many ways to demonstrate your commitment to sustainable, community-conscious tourism, from working with local vendors to going paperless and purchasing carbon offsets.
2. A New Appreciation for the World Around Us
In the past year, we’ve learned we don’t have to go far for a great vacation. Hiking excursions, weekend camping trips, biking adventures, and visits to nearby cities provided solace during a difficult time, and they helped us realize how much there is to discover right outside our doorstep. Local trips will be popular this year — 66% of American travelers said they prefer to travel close to home in the foreseeable future (Booking).
When planning a local getaway, many travelers opt to immerse themselves in nature. Being stuck at home has reminded us how important it is to get outside, breathe some fresh air, and move our bodies. And the best part? These trips are better for the environment because they have a relatively low carbon footprint compared to flying or cruising.
3. More Intentional, Fulfilling Trips
You know what they say about absence and the heart.
As travelers begin to plan their first trip since the pandemic began many of them are choosing to be more intentional about their trips, choosing quality over quantity. Travelers will seek to slow down and spend more time at a single destination, getting to know the community and enjoying local experiences. Of those planning to travel in 2021, 24% plan to visit less frequented destinations (Booking).
The Healing Power of Travel
It comes as no surprise to those of us in the industry, but travel has real benefits for our mental health. Research has shown that visiting new places can help improve empathy, energy, attention, and focus. And travelers agree — 61% of Americans said they realized travel is critical to their emotional wellbeing (Booking). People will be looking to make the most of these benefits by choosing truly fulfilling vacations where they can learn about different cultures, connect with the local community, learn about history, and get in touch with the things that unite us as humans.
Travelers are putting more thought into how their vacations impact the world at large. The pandemic allowed us to slow down and remember what is at the heart of travel: a desire to see the world and connect with our fellow humans.