After battling through the pandemic, it’s safe to say that many of us have been diagnosed with a severe case of wanderlust. Not being able to travel to our favourite places has been brought an abrupt halt to routines, with many settling for armchair travel instead, watching travel shows and documentaries. But now, as the world reopens, travel is becoming a possibility again - and it's time to make the most of it. Now is the perfect opportunity to discover new and exciting experiences, be that in your favourite holiday hotspots, or some newer gems around the world. But what does travel in a post-pandemic world look like? Well, it's different, but no less magical. If you’re wondering what the current trends in travel are appearing to be, then look no further than this expert guide. We here at Plum Guide know a thing or two about travel, so we are the perfect people to fill you in on exactly how travel is shaping up this year. Whether you want to take your loved ones on the trip of a lifetime, or visit the locations from your favourite series, it's all at your fingertips. Here are the most popular travel trends this year.
1. Solo travel is becoming more appealing
A solo traveller hiking through snow-capped mountains
The demand for solo travel has increased this year, largely due to the amount of time we’ve had to reflect on our personal needs in the past couple of years. Many people are seeking much-needed ‘me time’ away from the friends or family members they’ve been cooped up with - and can you blame them? This applies to holidayers heading out to be at one with nature, but also to those joining group tours or organised retreats - solo travel doesn't mean you can't make friends along the way. Another reason why solo travel is booming in 2022 is the simple fact that people want to feel free, independent, and in control of their lives - all things which were so negatively affected by the pandemic. So, whether travellers are going it alone to regain a sense of control, to find time to reflect, or to truly seize the moment, solo travel is a trend that shows no signs of slowing down.
2. Big family holidays are in demand
A large family standing hand in hand on the beach at sunset
While solo travel is becoming more popular, you're also likely to see large groups on your travels too, as big family holidays become a more popular option. After years of missed birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and other special occasions, people are keen to spent quality time with their loved ones. Big family holidays and multi-generational trips are on the rise, with people making up for lost time. This includes bringing along any four-legged friends, with more and more pet-friendly accommodation options becoming available. From cultural immersion to the great outdoors, big family holidays are all about reconnecting with those closest to you, to forget the stresses of recent life once and for all.
3. Travellers are opting for trips away with friends
Two friends standing together on a beach in a sunny vacation destination
As they are with family, people are also looking to spend more time with their friends in real life, away from the Zoom screen. There are no 40-minute limits imposed on ‘friend-trips’. We’re noticing a big trend this year, with people making up for all those missed catch-ups with one epic, memorable trip instead. There are almost too many ways to make your friend-trip an unforgettable experience - whether you want to reconnect and get nostalgic over a late night campfire in Joshua Tree, or relax and reflect on adjacent sun loungers in Antalya.
4. Holidayers are embracing slow travel
Two bicycles parked at the beach by people enjoying slow travel
When travel came to a halt, it forced many of us to reassess what we really wanted from our trips away. Do we want to cross off as many places from our list as possible, or do we want to truly experience a place? As the world reopens, many people are eager to spend significant time exploring one place, rather than hopping from country to country at a million miles per hour. Slow travel helps us see an authentic picture of our destination, giving us a chance to connect with the locals and the culture on a deeper level. As remote working is now a much more common practice, slow travel even allows you to take a work-cation - ever dreamed of being a digital nomad? Because you’re spending more time in one place, you can slow down a little, affording you the ability to still be productive with work (if you wish). Who doesn’t like the idea of working with your toes in the sand?
5. Wellness travel is picking up
A group of people meditating on a beach at sunrise
The pandemic has taken a toll on our health, with people experiencing more stress, depression, and insomnia than ever before. Consequently, we now have an increased awareness of wellness in general, whether that’s our physical, mental, or emotional health. This has translated into a trend which sees people travelling with a healthy lifestyle in mind, supporting their wellbeing. But wellness travel isn’t just spa breaks and sunbathing - there are all kinds of activities ready and waiting to free your mind. Whether it’s a yoga retreat in Ibiza, a healthy cooking class in Crete, or a rock climbing course in Derbyshire, wellness travel can be tailor-made.
6. All-inclusive luxury breaks are in favour
A woman relaxing in a private infinity pool looking out to sea
It’s no secret that the cost of travel has increased post-pandemic - add it to the list. It’s also become a tad more complicated, with the introduction of Covid tests and extra paperwork. Combined with the added comfort of staying in one place, this is pointing towards all-inclusive holidays becoming a popular pattern in travel this year. Holidayers are willing to pay a little more for convenience, better health and safety measures, and to alleviate the stress of planning a trip - not to mention the desire to go all out in their revenge travel holiday. We don’t blame them one bit.
7. People are embarking on extreme expeditions
A lone paraglider with a red parachute flying over a beach in Antalya, Turkey
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that life is unpredictable, and the future is uncertain. Consequently, people are deciding that there’s no time like the present to embark on that extreme expedition they’ve been pondering for years. Taking on physical challenges is a great way to release all that pent up energy, and offers something different to the usual beach holidays. It will open your eyes to new possibilities, tick activities off the bucket list, and maybe even uncover your newest hobby. Try paragliding in Turkey, or enjoy mountain biking around Sicily. Fancy an adventure on the water? Try your hand at wreck diving in Tenerife, or hit the waves on a surfing adventure in Lisbon.
8. Travel sustainability is improving
A yellow tram next to colourful buildings in Lisbon, Portugal
Attitudes towards climate change are changing, with people becoming more and more conscious of the impact of their travel. 2020 saw the most significant annual drop in energy-related CO2 emissions since the Second World War, as travel ground to a halt around the world. Unfortunately, as the world reopens, emissions are bound to rise again. Sustainable travel is one of the more important travel trends of 2022, with many holidayers looking for ways they can offset their carbon footprint, while still enjoying the trip. Using public transport where possible, being mindful of your energy use, and using eco-friendly tour operators are just a handful of the ways to be more environmentally friendly while travelling. But sustainable travel isn’t just a priority for consumers - it’s also a concern for companies in the tourism industry, and is an integral part of how they operate.
9. Film locations are proving popular
A close up view of a steep green section of Skellig Michael where Star Wars was filmed
Being locked up indoors, we’ve all watched our fair share of films and boxsets over the past couple of years. Even if they’re not specifically travel related, many of these shows have conjured up feelings of wanderlust in viewers, inspiring us to visit the locations for ourselves. Whether Star Wars has made you fancy a trip to Skellig Michael, A Very British Scandal is encouraging you to visit the Scottish Highlands, or The Tourist has made you crave a road trip across Australia (minus the violence and craziness), visiting film locations is one of the biggest travel trends this year - and is likely to become more and more popular as time goes by.
10. Private retreats are desirable
A couple sitting at the front of a private boat out at sea
Despite everything opening up again, travellers still want their own space - see section 1. Spending all that time at home has made people value their privacy even more, and this is being reflected in the this year's pattern of travel. Perhaps you’d like to charter a private yacht during your sun-soaked holiday in Barbados, or rent a secluded cottage in Cumbria for a countryside getaway with your other half. Renting a private car while on holiday is also a popular choice, as large tour groups become slightly less appealing to many. Not only do people feel safer compared to travelling on public transport, but it also gives you more freedom to stop wherever and whenever you like. When you're in control, you're guaranteed to do your trip the right way.