A Whole New World: trivago Survey Finds Twists in Future Travel Trends

After a pandemic that put the world on hold, it’s obvious that modern travel may never be the same. Our survey results show a change in priorities, but a firm desire to see the world again.

COVID-19 has impacted every corner of our lives and travel is far from an exception. With plans cancelled, planes grounded and life seemingly on pause, international and even local travel came to a grinding halt. Almost a year since the start of lockdowns, as the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines helps ignite the possibility of travel for many in the US travelers are eagerly awaiting the all-clear to safely hit the road again.

The Coronavirus drastically changed the travel landscape and the whole industry will look considerably different on the other side of it. Curious about the impact of the pandemic on the future of travel, trivago conducted a survey to find out more about upcoming travel trends, as well as the emotions and motivations behind them.

In an online consumer omnibus survey in early January 2021, a sample of over 1,000 American adults (age 18+) were asked about their travel habits and their opinions on travel after the pandemic. Their answers revealed how consumers are viewing and planning travel in 2021, including where they want to go, what they want to do and what they’d give up to get out there.

Travelling More Than Ever Before

Weeks turning into months and months turning into what seems like ages being cooped up indoors is driving everyone stir crazy.

Many consumers are more than a little joyous at the idea of getting on the road again. Most respondents (over half) stated that thinking about their first trip after the pandemic made them feel “excited” and/or “happy”.

In fact, we’re even more excited than before.

Consumers now have a greater urge than ever to explore the world around them – over two-thirds of those surveyed say they plan to travel even more once the pandemic ends than they did before the virus.

And they don’t plan on waiting long. For the majority of respondents, the desire to get up and go is stronger than ever due to the lockdowns, with 58% stating that this is the most they’ve ever felt like traveling. A likely post-pandemic travel boom will see consumers with pent-up demand striving to make up for lost time.

In fact, the desire to travel seems so urgent that over half of those surveyed would give up taking their dream trip in two years, and around two-fifths say they’d give up intimacy for a year, just to get on the road right away. It’s clear that all of us are itching to see the world again.

A Shift in the Dream Getaway

With travel restrictions ever in flux and rules changing day by day, planning ahead has become almost impossible. The old school idea of planning and saving for a big dream vacation well in advance is becoming irrelevant as unpredictability forces travelers to leave any bookings down to the wire. Due to constant uncertainty, more than one third of vacationers are keeping their travel plans tentative or planning last minute this year.

Though the plans are unsure, where we want to go is certain. Here in the US, most vacationers plan on travelling domestically, while just under a third would travel internationally.

The isolation that came with being cut off from the world in lockdown has also changed the way we think of our ideal getaways. The top choice for Americans for their “dream vacation” was a chance to spend “time with the family and friends I’ve missed”, particularly true among seniors. Many of us were separated from our loved ones and our main priority has become quality time.

Our preferences have also changed when it comes to the content of our getaways. When on vacation, the #1 pick for American travelers would be taking a trip to the pool or beach (30%). After a stressful year, it comes as no surprise that consumers need a breather and a relaxing getaway is the style of choice.

Inspiration Vacations

In future, styles of vacations will also be affected by certain pandemic-induced hobbies.

With all the newfound time on our hands that came with lockdown, more than half of us picked up a hobby or two. Whether that was baking sourdough or overwatering a new Monstera, we found creative ways to while away our hours.

It turns out many of us will keep up these new pastimes even after the pandemic ends, and the majority are at least somewhat likely to pick a vacation connected to said new hobby once the pandemic ends. Having had ample time to discover new pursuits, more and more travelers are becoming interested in building inspirational vacations around their passion projects, impacting where and how they’ll travel.

A Return to Travel

Travel clearly plays a massive role in our lives and overall happiness.

After the pandemic put the world on hold, many felt the gap that travel left behind. Without being able to visit family and friends or explore the world, an important part of the human experience was missing. In fact, four in five respondents consider travel to be “a fundamental part of a well-rounded life”, showing how much we value experiencing the world around us and the things it has to offer. We’re really starting to see taking a trip as a form of selfcare and viewing emotional wellbeing as a driver to get away from it all.

Based on these trends, the eventual return of travel is only a matter of time.

For both countries surveyed (US and UK), quotas were used to ensure an accurate representation of each country’s population by gender, age, geographic region, education, and income.