It’s no secret that COVID-19 has changed the way we’ll travel forever. And now there’s data to show it.
Airbnb has released the top three trends redefining travel in 2021, and many of the forecasted trends—drive-friendly destinations, remote working, and pod travel among family and friends—are extensions of how we’ve seen people travel in 2020. So buckle up for the ride, because there’s more of the same on the horizon for quite some time. The survey provides data and insights into how consumers are adapting to the new world of travel, which incorporates social distancing and limited air travel.
First things first, if you’re not planning on getting on a plane anytime soon, there are plenty of driving-distance domestic stays within proximity to major U.S. cities. Airbnb is expecting Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains; Durham, North Carolina; Breckenridge, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Colorado; Davenport, Florida, just outside of Disney World; and the always popular Palm Springs to be among the 2021’s top destinations.
“Looking back at September 2019 for trip planning in 2020, for U.S. guests, cities like Paris, London and Rome were all top destinations. Next year, a range of domestic locations in national parks, winter ski, and beach towns are becoming the most popular.” The data also showed that folks are leaving regular seasonal travel behind in 2021, which also makes sense given that so many are working remotely.
“On Airbnb, people who have the opportunity to work from anywhere are actively booking longer stays (two plus week trips) in small-to-mid-size cities with access to immersive natural surroundings and wide-open spaces,” writes Airbnb.
As people are more open to lowkey destinations and underrated locales with more than six feet of distance between them and their closest neighbor, Airbnb predicts that domestic travelers will look for novelty in other ways, namely the shape and features of borrowed homes. “Guests are expanding their horizons and seeking unique travel experiences by staying in one-of-a-kind stays on Airbnb,” says the company. “The top trending space types among U.S. travelers next year include a variety of spaces known for using less energy and producing less waste.”
And while 2020 saw a rise in solo travel and isolated adventures, 2021 shows that people want to be more connected. Whether it means traveling to be close to family members, or reuniting to quarantine with a group of friends, Airbnb states that “pod” travel is here to stay for those who want to safely be together while reducing risks associated with socialising with others.
All hope is not lost for exotic destinations and expansive travel. Airbnb’s research shows that people are still wanderlusting for post-COVID travel abroad. “When the pandemic is over and travel restrictions begin to lift, travelers may be heading to vibrant cultural hubs, idyllic island clusters, and ethereal natural wonders first,” says Airbnb. The top-searched destinations include Bogotá, Colombia; Seoul, South Korea; and Hampton, London.