The urge to travel is natural and normal, especially after a long time cooped up at home. Americans of all ages are redefining what it means to travel safely and comfortably, creating trends that help hotels, rentals, and airlines thrive. While standards in transportation and hotels are holding fast, they are changing in interesting ways thanks to technology and the creative ideas of new generations of people ready to see the world and collect a few souvenirs along the way. Home offices are taking to the road, suitcases are getting smaller, and kids have fewer reasons to ask, “are we there yet?”
Pack the car with suitcases and snacks, fire up an audiobook, and get on the road! Automobiles are second homes on wheels, and road trips are a long-standing American tradition that is far from fading out. Today's travelers are reviving and rethinking the classic road trip thanks to in-car technology like virtual personal assistants who can suggest sightseeing stops and help order food for pick-up. Kids can pass the backseat time with movies and games.
Aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, grandparents, and siblings separated for too long are coming together at prime vacation spots for family reunions and outdoor gatherings. A trendy take is renting a cluster of cabins, cabanas, or yurts in a fresh air location and gathering for picnics, campfires, watersports, and trips into town. These expanded "quaranteams" enjoy the chance to catch up with news and create shared experiences that are closer and more rewarding than ever before.
Today's travelers have easy access to reliable information — reviews, guides, videos, and online reservation systems make it easy to hop from adventure to adventure without worrying about things going wrong. Armed with phones, tablets, and an invigorated sense of purpose, Americans are packing up not just for one but two or three destinations at a time. A quick plane flight to a bustling city might transform into a road trip to the beach and conclude with a visit to a friend or family member. These multi-stop excursions make for compelling social media posts and plenty of photo ops!
Working remotely isn't always ideal, but moving the portable office from your home into a lush forest cabin or beach villa easily offsets the drag of another Zoom conference. Rentals in destination spots are being snapped up like candy by folks seeking work-vacation hybrids that might last a few weeks or even a couple of months. The many possibilities of exploring a new place after work hours and on weekends while remaining income-secure is a dream come true for many. It's likely this trend will stick around for a while!
With their passports stashed away for too long, Millennials and Gen X both are getting on board to international destinations that offer safe lodging and plenty of fresh air. Coastal towns in Southern Europe are especially tempting because of the chance to soak up the sunshine and learn a new language at the same time. Iceland is another popular option — it's only a few hours of flying time from the eastern side of the United States. Flying overseas is a slightly riskier trend than other types of travel, but many are willing to jump on board. Bon voyage!
Airline baggage fees are steep, so many travelers are packing light to save money and time. A good carry-on bag can hold a week's worth of clothes when well-packed, and a knapsack fits under the seat in front of you! The passion for traveling is stronger than the need to have an outfit for every occasion; after all, moving from the airplane into a taxi without stopping at baggage claim is a liberating sense of freedom that gives this trend some staying power.
There's no way to avoid cramped quarters on an airplane, so even a few extra inches can be a relief. This is especially true for those traveling with kids or pets. Comfort seats are selling out quickly as more and more travelers are willing to pay extra for a more roomy flight. Being the last to board and the first to deplane is another desirable aspect of comfort seats, making them worth the additional bucks for travelers who've been anticipating their adventures for a long time.
Travelers are optimistically scooping up unheard-of deals on deluxe balcony rooms and drinks packages offered by the dampened cruise industry. Journeys that promote social distancing, sanitization, and other safety measures like vaccine requirements are at the top of the trend, with cruise-lovers and the cruise-curious signing up in droves. Cautious cruisers prefer familiar locations with plentiful resources over exotic locations for now, but that could change as more and more vacationers take to the upper decks once again. Bingo, anyone?
The great outdoors is a safe space all seasons of the year, and outdoor festivals are sprouting up from barnyards and wineries around the globe. Expect more and more off-season festivals to move outside — the advantage of wide-open space is enough to offset the bulk of sweaters and winter coats, and many will travel for the experience. Romantic autumn concerts and snowy Christmas markets might be a little colder than summer tent parties, but they are just as rewarding and maybe even a little more photo-worthy!
Every trip doesn't have to require a long-distance or lengthy visit. Americans are creating travel adventures just a short distance from their own homes. The "micro travel" trend includes quick weekend trips to spots a few hours away, usually to a nearby town or big city, with a one or two-night stay at a B&B or a kitsch roadside motel. With new restaurants, shops, and small museums to visit, micro-travelers get a travel break without stress and return home with expanded knowledge of their own regions.