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Global Travel Trends

August 21st, 2020

Predicting any sort of trend is often a futile act. An easy bit of subversive conjecture to fill up column space. But then 2020 happened. And while the coronavirus pandemic has been devastating for the travel industry as a whole, some new travel trends have arrived which look to be here to stay.

A long-time industry staple, the weekend city break is a perennial favorite but is it coming to an end? Especially popular in Europe where there’s a host of historic cities within easy reach of each other and aided by low-cost airlines, this international travel trend might be one of the first victims of 2020.

With a greater appreciation for sustainability and the world around us, slow travel is now becoming a popular new travel trend. The opportunity to travel at a more leisurely pace over a longer period of time makes a lot of sense in 2020, particularly with the burgeoning popularity of road trips and staycations. Often taking place in the travellers’ own country rather than risking a trip abroad, slow travel is also much more eco-friendly and often involves greener methods of transport. It also offers the chance to give back to local communities and businesses in more far-flung areas who are struggling with the global economic downturn – a concept that industry experts have named ‘philantourism’.

Of course, the lure of flight and its endless possibilities will never totally disappear but there may be a few changes to look out for. Masks, hand sanitisers and temperature checks are now part of a world-wide macro travel trend and are all things we should expect to see at airports for the foreseeable future. Facemasks are currently mandatory on many airlines and 14-day quarantine periods are also place in certain countries for some international visitors, although this is constantly subject to change. While these stipulations can be maddening, the airlines that have them in place are showing a reassuring level of caution and clearly take your safety seriously.

There are still plenty of flight options between the UK and the USA, but quarantine restrictions are in place and usual relations don’t appear to look to return to normal until the end of 2020 at the earliest, thanks to the USA’s ongoing struggles with the pandemic.

Post-COVID international travel will take time to get back on its feet. When the moment does finally come, one good way to prepare is to expect more online transactions. Hotels, transport, restaurants and tourist attractions are all heading towards an entirely contactless experience and the pandemic has only exacerbated things. In fact, more than 45% of global tourist attractions have mandated purchase of online tickets to avoid queues.

Every country has had a different response to the pandemic and it’s important to check ahead with the relevant foreign offices and tourist boards about what the latest restrictions are if you’re planning a trip. It may look a little different in the future but stay assured that travel will fully return soon one day.