What seems like a lifetime ago (also known as: January) we published our annual brochure, 2020 Vision, filled with the travel trends we believed would emerge in the next 12 months. Given what's happened since, it's fair to say that some of those predictions (China as a hot destination for this year, anyone?) couldn't be wider of the mark, but others now ring truer than ever. How do we know? Because you, our amazing clients, took the time to fill out our survey on what travel in a post-coronavirus world might look like. One day soon we'll be travelling again, and when we are, it seems you're thinking what we're thinking.
Sustainable & Short Haul Travel
The desire to travel more sustainably was here before the coronavirus crisis struck, but striking images of smog-free cities and clear-watered Venetian canals seem to have made us all the more determined to make a pollution-free planet a reality. This is reflected in your survey results; in short, the determination to travel more responsibly is more pronounced than ever. One way to do this will be to travel by train, which for those in the UK means a focus on Europe. Fortunately we recently launched a portfolio of rail-only Europe itineraries, specifically to cater to those wanting to travel greenly and cleanly on the continent.
Time for a Sabbatical
Over half of you are planning to roll accrued leave over into 2021, and more holiday means more chances to take longer trips or sabbaticals. Of those wanting to take an extended holiday, a third want to do so because travel has become a higher priority, and even more of you because you feel the need to take time out to reassess and recover. Having organised dozens of sabbaticals (some over a year in length) over the last decade, we like to think of ourselves as the sabbatical experts. Last year we published a guide on the hows, whys and wheres of arranging a sabbatical, including details (we love detail) on things to learn while away (diving, safari bush skills etc) or how to 'give back' by spending time helping out at admirable sustainability projects around the world. Let us know if you'd like a digital version of the Sabbatical Guide; we would send a physical copy in the post but they're all in the office…
As for that all-important first trip away post-lockdown, just under half of respondents plan to visit somewhere outdoorsy to enjoy some wide-open spaces. With this in mind, Undertourism - another concept we've championed - is the name of the game, because you don't really want to see hordes of other tourists when you're in the wild. We know where to visit to avoid others, although one (there has to be one) upside to the current crisis might be that there are fewer tourists full stop, so even the most popular places are likely to be less busy.
Reconnect to the World Around Us
For the first trip away, a quarter of you will opt for somewhere Zen and low-key, having gotten used to a slower pace of life. Our collective lockdown learnings about growing our own, baking and making really seem to be resonating, so our collection of Reconnect itineraries will be just the ticket. We'll let you know about the parts of the world where life is always lived in the slow lane and where you can learn ancient skills and experience more traditional ways of life and outlooks.
Just the One/Two/Four/More Of Us
Understandably, most of you say that the first trip away will be with your other half or family but a significant minority (one in ten of you, in fact) are looking forward to a Me-cation, another trend we flagged in 2020 Vision. As proof of the old adage that absence makes the heart grow fonder, post-lockdown it seems some of you will want to indulge in a solo holiday or head off with friends while your other half looks after the children. After the trauma of home schooling that seems entirely fair enough.