July 24, 2021

What Travel Looks Like for 2021

5 min read

I don’t know if you noticed, but I took down the travel category on my main menu last year.

Man do I miss travel. I miss the flights, the food, the smells of checking in to a clean hotel and I even miss the bustling cities filled with traffic and bumping in to strangers. I miss the inspiration I drew from my trips and the days I would lost inside a temple, a park or a conversation with a local.

It just pained me to even think about travel during 2020. So, I simply reconfigured our lives by taking the topic completely off the table. To give you frame of reference, prior to the pandemic we would travel 2-3 times per month on average. I understand this is insane for most people, but it was very much a part of our job, our lives and our way of living.

Yesterday I spoke with one of my favorite travel PR firms, Laura Davidson, about the landscape of luxury travel in particular. I took a poll on Instagram and 88% of my followers said they would love to hear my thoughts the topic.

So, here are a few key take aways from our discussion.

Please note that this post is not intended in any way to strike up a debate about whether or not it is considered “safe” to be traveling during 2021. I am not saying that you should or should not be traveling. This is simply a forecasting post for when and if you choose to take a trip in 2021, what trends I’m thinking are on the horizon.  If this post feel triggering to you at all, I invite you to not read it.

Optics Count

The reality is that people have been traveling a lot sooner than they are sharing on their Facebook, Instagram and other social media channels. I have a lot of friends and people in my life who have been secretly taking trips and not posting about them. From an optics perspective, as influencers start to travel in 2021, I think they need to be very cautious and careful about how and when they are sharing these trips. People will make mistakes, they’re only human, but in the defense of a lot of social media influencers and bloggers, this is a huge part of how we make an income. I would suggest not entirely flashing your trip in the face of your readers. Sensitivity is key. I also think that sharing how different the experience is now, versus a year ago, will be interesting for many people to see as they are considering trips.

The majority of the world is still not in a position to be traveling. I would also suggest giving your community the option to subscribe or unsubscribe to your travels this year. Seeing a photo of someone on a beach can be very triggering for a lot of people right now. But as the world starts to slowly reopen, I do believe that influencers will begin to travel as early as this spring. That might feel a little too soon to their “followers”. But I can also confidently say that “influencers” are usually a few months ahead of most trends. So while you might not feel 100% ready to take a trip, you might start to think about it in the summer or fall. Travel is coming back – it just might not look the same.


Hotels vs. Home Rentals

I personally feel like people are going to want to stay in hotels {nice ones}. 2021 feels like it will be the year of revenge travel where people say “screw it, I deserve a hotel with room service and house keeping.” We’ve all been cooped up in a house for the past year {and then some}, so I can definitely see a return of the hotel economy. With that said, for people traveling with children and for those who are still struggling with Covid PTSD, the home rental option is a very safe and more accessible route.

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Closer Destinations

For east coasters, I expect more Bahamas and BVI’s and for west coasters, I could see more trips to Cabo and Hawaii happening in 2021. In a nutshell, I think travel seekers will be sticking to designations a bit closer to home that require either an easy drive OR one non-stop flight.

Filling Your Cup

It’s interesting: At the beginning of the pandemic I thought to myself that once the world started to put its pieces back together that I would immediately begin planning all of my great bucket list trips. Japan, India and Fiji were all places on my list that I thought about. But now as we slowly step our way out of the pandemic, the kind of trip that I’m really craving includes a glass of wine and bowl of pasta {Italy} or a warm beach {Mexico}. I’ve been really day dreaming about destinations that I have already traveled to, which feels strange. However when I spoke with the Laura Davidson team and my fellow friends, they all said they felt the same way.

I believe that a lot of travelers will go back to a destination that feels familiar to them. I think it’s because there’s a sense of security in knowing where you are going, the hotel you will stay at and what that vacation feels like. It’s less of a gamble and risk of trying a new place that might not necessarily check all of the boxes that you are craving after a year of hell. You know what you are in for, and you deserve it.

Healing Experiences

Last but definitely not least, I think that our travel experiences will be redefined by offering more of a self healing approach to activities and less thrill seeking day-to-day adventures. For example, I don’t know about you, but I am not really in the mood to go on a crazy rock climbing, bungee jumping trip right now. I am desperately craving a mind, body and soul heal from the PTSD that has occurred from Covid. We all need to nourish ourselves right now and I think an amazing way to do so, if you are able and feel comfortable, is through travel. I think we can expect to see more healing experiences such as morning meditation, beach yoga, painting classes or a cooking class. I think that travelers will be looking for experiences that they can take back home with them, to extend the life and feeling from a trip.

Travel allows us time in our lives to hold space for ourselves. It’s a pause. It’s inspiring. It’s uplifting. And It’s down right fun! To me, travel reinvigorates the soul and I don’t know about you, but I am very eager and excited to get back on the map.

Will you be planning any trips this year? Share where you are thinking of going in the comments below! Or if you have traveled recently, please share your insight about that experience below. 

xoxo jacey


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