Our predictions for travel trends in 2022

It’s that time of year when we look into our crystal ball and about what the future holds. We want to focus on what is yet to come rather than what’s been and gone. The last two years have been a roller-coaster, and we believe it is finally time to begin looking forward to new adventures. But how has travel changed in the past 18 months? And how will our post-pandemic psyche affect how we travel in 2022. Here are some of our predictions for how our guests will choose to travel in the New Year and beyond.

Savouring the now: don’t postpone.

The adage “trip of a lifetime” has never been more appropriate. Forced to sit at home for months on end, we’ve all had some time to reflect on what matters most. The pandemic and the lockdown have made people realise that the future can be uncertain and many of us realise that there’s no time like the present to take that trip of a lifetime. In  2022 many people will finally book those meaningful, once-in-a-lifetime trips and make their travel dreams come true.

Travel Less Travel Better: undertourism.

In ordinary times, you wouldn’t expect to see tourism operators telling people to travel less, but these are no longer ordinary times. “Travel Less, Travel Better” is a new way of travelling. Clients want philanthropic holidays, responsible travel, slow travel, and sabbatical itineraries. They want those trips to be longer, better-planned and more meaningful. This represents a huge opportunity because it means that when people do travel, they want it to be absolutely perfect. Undertourism champions sabbaticals, off-the-beaten-track destinations, eco-friendly holidays and slow travel.

Philantourism: a focus on purpose-driven travel.

People around the globe have endured months under lock and key, months of stress, feeling overwhelmed, mental health challenges and many months of adapting to change. So it’s no wonder we’re all feeling so hard done by and ready to take back what’s ours: freedom of movement, calm, contentment, and a sense of ‘normalcy. So with the return of travel, we will see an immediate rise in meaningful escapes. Philantourism is all about travel as a force for good and represents a natural evolution of voluntourism, but are less of a commitment; you don’t need to do anything after you arrive, other than enjoy the culture, buy local and put your spending money into the tourism economy.

Friendcations: Smiles, memories, adventures created with friends = priceless          

For years now, researchers have said that strong social relationships are the key to happiness. Suppose we didn’t know that before 2020; we sure know it now. The past couple of years would have been infinitely harder without Zoom,  Microsoft Teams, FaceTime and  WhatsApp, but they are no substitutes for seeing  friends in real life. So, no surprise that 2022 is gearing up to be the year of grand in-person reunions. People are keen to travel in groups consisting of their extended family or close friends and their families. One, because after living a digital life for almost two years, most are yearning for in-person interactions. Second, travelling with a group of people who are known to each other creates a safety bubble. Hence ‘friendcations’ are on the rise. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s the importance of friendship and that real-life hugs are the secret to happiness.


A rise in Active Ecotravel: including purposeful elements to holidays.

Wanderlusters worldwide are trying to square their environmental and social concerns with their passion for travel. They want to go beyond carbon offsetting and offer a measurable and positive  impact on their holiday environment. In 2022 we will see a rise in responsible travel to natural areas, focusing on sustainability and education. This type of travel will be undertaken with an interest in conserving the environment and improving the well-being of local communities. In addition, travellers will be looking to support businesses that align with their values.

People will travel longer: to gain a different perspective on life for a month or two.

Having the freedom to travel is a fundamental part of being human. Unfortunately, during the last 18 months, things have been increasingly difficult for individuals and the tourism industry. Great news for digital nomads, those who can ditch the 9-5 office life and anyone who fancies a change of scenery is that those who can work remotely now have the opportunity to log on from anywhere in the world with WiFi or a cellular signal! Whether you wish to write a novel, create a world-class music track or paint a masterpiece, there are hotels and design spaces to enhance your creativity.

Secluded getaways.

2022 will be a year of change, with people opting for secluded mountains, rural escapes, and waterfront getaways over urban/city experiences.

Slow-Paced & Immersive Travel.

In 2022, we will focus on the quality, not the quantity, of our travel experiences. A safari is a soul-restoring adventure, but too often is squeezed into a couple of days, with twice-daily game drives. Instead, embrace the 'slow safari' way, staying at least four nights at one camp, tracking the behaviour of a particular lion pride by day and engaging in campfire conversation by night.

The pandemic has caused everyone to lose out on the opportunity to enjoy life to the fullest for well over a year, whether that meant having to put much-anticipated adventures on hold or not being able to spend time with loved ones living far away. So our favourite trend for 2022 is  “revenge travel”, which refers to a heightened desire to get out and about, spread your wings, explore beautiful new destinations, and make up for lost time. It’s about getting “revenge” on the virus and the many unfortunate and unpleasant consequences brought about due to lockdown restrictions.

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