Let’s be real – all signs point to a bumpy start for the early part of this travel year. The good news is we’ve gained a bunch of insight from successfully running thousands of tours in 2021, consulting our global panel of adventurers and keeping our ears to the ground. Lucky for you, we’ve packaged all of this travelgazing into a trend guide of what we see for the year ahead. The pandemic forced an awakening and much to our delight, travelers are becoming more conscientious and matching their values with their holiday time. Read on as we share 10 trends for 2022, what’s behind them and where travelers might go to make good on their intentions.
1: Community tourism = responsible travel
Close to a third of our global consumer panel say they’ll put more focus on traveling responsibly in 2022. Spurred by the support of locally-owned businesses fostered during the pandemic, it makes sense that this mindset carries over into international travel plans. Travelers are looking for adventures that move through several smaller communities which you can do on a walking trek as it supports many local people as you explore their region.
The trip: Highlights of the Trans Bhutan Trail
In April 2022, following two years of extensive restoration, the Kingdom of Bhutan will reopen its historic and sacred Trans Bhutan Trail for the first time in 60 years, supporting remote residents in Bhutan through community tourism. Serendipitously, bookings to Bhutan are up 60 percent globally for 2022. We’re the first operator to run tours on this ancient trail and look forward to leading an energetic group of early trek adopters starting in May.
2: Travelers care more about supporting local people
Coming in well ahead of carbon footprint and plastic reduction, travelers want their money to directly benefit local people. At 66 percent globally, this trend has been intensified by the pandemic impact on countries that rely on tourism for economic survival.
The trip: Highlights of Egypt
Devastated by the Arab Spring and again by the pandemic, Egypt’s determination and spirit for recovery showed by it being one of the first to reopen to tourism. We happily restarted tours in February 2021 and Egypt increased its share of bookings by 22 percent globally for 2022. With the reopening of the Grand Egyptian Museum, the opening of the Pyramid of Dozer, the reopening of Luxor’s Avenue of the Sphinxes, and the Death on the Nile film reboot, Egypt and its welcoming people will stay in the spotlight this year.
3: Workations increasing in popularity
As the world shifted to remote work, companies realized that offices weren’t needed to ensure productivity. No longer just for digital nomads, workations have hit the mainstream. Of our panel respondents, 24 percent said they’re able to work from anywhere – with that number jumping to 46 percent for 18-34 year olds. An increasing number of people (37% up from 19% in December 2020) plan to combine work with future travel.
The trip: Costa Rica: Beaches, Wildlife & Wild Times
Only one of four countries to lift all travel restrictions according to the United Nations World Travel Organization, Costa Rica is proudly open and welcoming to travelers. Keen to attract young digital nomads, a new bill allows remote workers to stay for up to one year. Our new Mini Adventures and Roamies experiences (more on the latter next) let you quickly immerse in a destination before you settle in at any one of Costa Rica’s gorgeous beaches for a stretch of remote work.
4: Hostels set to make a BIG comeback
The need for social connection amongst young travelers is stronger than ever with 63 percent of respondents aged 18 – 34 saying they’re likely to try a hostel experience after the pandemic. Meeting people to socialize and possibly travel with was the most important factor going into selecting which hostel for 71 percent of our panelists.
The trip: Yucatan Adventure: Merida, Tulum & Jungle Swims
In November 2021, G Adventures and Hostelworld launched our new partnership, Roamies. Our curated batch of hostel-based trips is designed to foster strong social connections and build a larger community, at the hostels and out on the road. And Mexico is always tasty, affordable, rich in cultural experiences and just plain fun!
5: Desire to disconnect from devices
Workationers aside, travelers want to reconnect with people and places but are desperate to disconnect from the online world while on holiday. 54 percent of respondents want to pause social media and reduce screen time, with 28 percent saying socializing and meeting new people is their top wellbeing priority for booking their next holiday.
The trip: Galapagos – Central and East Islands aboard the Reina Silvia Voyager
Unplug everything (except your nose) as you dive in to snorkel next to sea lions from our newbuild boat, Reina Silvia Voyager. She sets sail in 2022, accommodates 16 passengers, and is purpose-built for comfortable small group touring. Travelers will also be the first to visit a new G for Good project developed in partnership with Planeterra, Galapagos Coffee in Puerto Ayora. It’s a community-owned organic coffee farm educating visitors about sustainable coffee production while providing income for 59 local families.
6: Having a bit more cash to splash
With staying in spurring a savings boom, 18 percent of our respondents said they’ve bumped their travel budget for an international holiday. That surplus likely means their travel dollars will take them on bigger adventures than they might have thought possible.
The trip: National Geographic Journeys – Iconic Japan
Japan expected a huge tourist boom as a result of the summer Olympics, and was heavily spotlighted before COVID closed its borders. Although it remains closed, there is pent up demand, and those with extra savings may look to a dream trip as restrictions are lifted.
7: Nay to staycations, yay to remote destinations
Domestic holiday appeal is wearing thin as the pandemic rolls ever onward. Only 18 percent of respondents said they’d prefer to stay closer to home rather than head further afield on their next international holiday. Close to a third (30 percent) said they’re less likely to take a ‘staycation’ in 2022.
The trip: Highlights of Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan was a rising star pre-pandemic and with the trend for remote destinations, the country increased its share of bookings in 2022 by 24 percent. The country just marked its 30th anniversary of independence from the Soviet Union and a new airport opened in Samarkand. In 2022, we’ll see the opening of the Silk Road Samarkand Complex as it hosts the inaugural Silk Road Literary Festival, bringing fresh attention to this lesser-visited nation.
8: Lockdown lethargy spurs active lifestyles
Being physically active on their next holiday came in strong at 70 percent. With 64 percent of travelers saying their physical and mental wellbeing is a top consideration for their next holiday, taking a hike sounds pretty appealing.
The trip: Hiking Utah’s Big 5
The United States increased its share of bookings for 2022 by 58 percent compared to pre-pandemic booking levels. Not ones to snooze, we launched our ‘United States of Adventure’ trips catering to active travelers who want to exert more energy outdoors on their next trip.
9: Wellbeing and mental health come first
With an overwhelming 95 percent of travelers saying travel is important to their wellbeing and mental health, many are looking for a holiday that helps them reconnect and optimize travel as a means to revitalize.
The trip: Wellness Bali
After a long stretch of dormancy from the pandemic, Indonesia is bound to wake up to a bunch of pent up demand from wellness seekers. What better way to freshen up than a Bali trip full of rest, relaxation and rejuvenating moments? Daily yoga, traditional healing ceremonies, calming waves – the scene is perfectly set for serenity.
10: Revenge travel is out, reconnection travel is in
Travelers are hungry for new experiences and stronger connections with others. Although the term ‘revenge travel’ has gained popularity over the course of the pandemic, reconnection travel now sits at 42 percent compared to revenge travel at 14 percent.
The trip: Trekking Eastern Iceland
Surrounded by humbling fjords, waterfalls, and fishing villages, you’ll hunker down in a quaint guesthouse and enjoy locally sourced farm-to-table meals. It’s a meaningful way to gather with people in a remote community, engage with fellow trekkers and live locally. Plus, you’ll get your heart pumping every day on hikes to puffin colonies, elf communities and otherworldly landscapes.
Note to readers: All of the stats used in our post are based on two surveys of more than 4,500 travelers who make up the G Adventures’ global consumer panel, of which two thirds are former travelers. Surveys used are from July and October, 2021.