Culture

From Road Trips To Spa Days: Here Are 7 Travel Trends You Can Expect To Take Off In 2021

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We’re so close to the end of 2020 I can almost taste it. While not travelling was the least of our problems in the horrific year that was, my fellow travel addicts will be jonesing to get back at it. But what will travel in 2021 look like?

The answer is — if this year has taught us anything — that there probably isn’t a precise answer. However, with all things continuing to improve the way they have lately, we have some pretty good ideas about travel trends for 2021.

#1 Travel Bubbles

 

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Travel bubbles continue to be one of the biggest teases for anyone desperate for an international jaunt. While my head won’t believe a single one until I have the receipts, my heart will read every little snippet about different possibilities with desperation.

There is some more solid hope though, particularly when it comes to New Zealand. While many countries have opened their borders to Australians (even though we can’t get there right now, at least not just for a holiday), New Zealand is the only country currently allowed to holiday in some parts of Australia. That seems to suggest the Aussie Government is on board and we’re just waiting on the green light from NZ.

Many other countries have talked about Travel Bubbles with us — like Japan, Singapore and Fiji — but it’s only very recently that ScoMo weighed in on the conversation. Even so, he didn’t say much, just that Aussie officials are looking into relaxing travel restrictions for travellers from “low risk” parts of Asia and the Pacific.

Outside of this, probably don’t expect international travel to return next year — at least not until a vaccine is approved and widely distributed.

#2 Rise of the road trip

The silver lining here, is that Australians are turning their attention to our own country — and it just happens to be a stunner. According to Luxury Escapes’ 2021 Travel Report (which surveyed 6000 people around Australia), 88 percent of Australians plan on taking a domestic trip in 2021.

“While it’s difficult to predict exactly what tourism will look like in the future, we can expect that travellers will have a greater desire to seek out less crowded attractions and destinations, as well as nature-based experiences,” said Phillipa Harrison, GM of Tourism Australia.

That means more of our great Aussie road trips. This way of travelling allows us to take it slow, be flexible, and discover all the towns and experiences we would have just flown straight over in the *before times*.

#3 Supporting small and local

After 2020, we’re all pretty done with crowds. Whether we’re campers, luxe chasers, or anything in-between, we’re less likely to want to do it around other people in 2021. This bodes well for a travel industry that was hit hard by Corona lockdowns, not to mention all the regional towns already doing it tough after horrific bushfires.

“We’ll start to embrace travel in a more conscious way, seeking out smaller brands, hotels and experiences that reconnect us with nature and minimise our footprint,” predicts Rhiannon Taylor of inbedwith.me.

#4 Leaning into weekenders

 

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Rather than saving all our money and energy to put into one extended trip, Aussies are looking at short stays and weekend trips for 2021.

“Short stays and weekend trips will be huge next year. Because international travel will be limited, we will most likely travel locally, more frequently,” continued Rhiannon.

Whether it’s because we were forced to use up our leave during lockdown, or because many Aussies are looking to explore closer to home, it’s going to be all about unique experiences, in new places, that you can drive to for a weekend.

Honestly, why wouldn’t we, with amazing weekend trips all over the country — like these in SA, being able to live literally on the Great Barrier Reef for a weekend, Canberra getting a glow up and stunning fields of flowers everywhere.

#5 Living it up in luxe accom

 

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According to Luxury Escapes’ report, the majority of respondents were looking at staying in resorts next year, followed by hotels. This could be a result of people having more money to spend on Australian holidays since 2020 was a wash, but is also probably influenced by safety. In fact, 27 percent of respondents said they’d feel safer staying in a five-star hotel since COVID-19.

Serviced apartments, boutique hotels, and private homes or villas also made the top five list for accomodation choices in 2021.

#6 Travelling for food, culture and self-care

More than ever, Australian travellers are looking for unique and special experiences — from foodie delights, to discovering more about our local cultures, to restoring our mental health.

The Luxury Escapes report found in the top five reasons to travel in 2021, most people are looking for amazing food experiences. Number three on the list was finding a new winery, distillery or brewery.

Exploring local culture was the second reason for people wanting to travel next year, and travelling for health and relaxation (probably in some sort of spa setting) came in fourth.

#7 Australia’s top five bucket-list experiences

 

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Seeing as we’ll be in Australia only for a while, now is the time to tick off all those Aussie bucket list items that we’re all guilty of putting off for the lure of international experiences.

According to Luxury Escapes, the top five experiences Aussies are hoping to get done in our own country include snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef, visiting Uluru, taking the Ghan from Darwin to Adelaide and diving with Whale Sharks at Ningaloo Marine Park.

There might not be international travel, but honestly these are all amazing, so I’m not even mad.

(Lead Image of The Kimberley: Tourism Australia