Here's what's trending for the year
Each year, a fresh new trends list arrives in our inbox, revealing the top destinations and types of travel predicted to be popular in the year ahead. Keeping this year’s travel trends in mind, here are the Flight Centre team’s travel resolutions for 2021:
Say yes to: Open spaces and fresh air
If it's off the beaten track, remote, outdoors and with ample space to roam free, chances are it's going to get a firm thumbs up in 2021.
Off and shoulder season travel are set to remain popular, and while some travellers are still looking forward to visiting notoriously crowded favourites like the Mediterranean in the height of summer, most are looking for crowd-free destinations with significantly less elbow jostling!
Say no to: Overtourism
Travellers were already conscious of overtourism before the pandemic arrived, but the global crisis has put the benefits of responsible travel at the forefront.
This year, many destinations are thinking of ways to counteract overtourism and are finding ways to welcome travellers safely, support their communities and protect their natural environment.
Say yes to: Island hideaways and regional travel
Regional travel fits the bill when it comes to open spaces and remote destinations! We're pretty lucky as South Africans that so many remote destinations and fantastic island hideaways are just a hop, skip and a jump away.
While we're enjoying responsibly exploring our beautiful country right now, travellers are expected to start dipping their toes into regional travel first.
The Indian Ocean Islands, such as Mauritius and Zanzibar, have always been a bestseller, and are expected to remain popular.
Perhaps make 2021 or 2022 the time to finally plan or explore the wonders that await in Africa. Marvel at the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, Lake Malawi or the Masai Mara in Kenya.
Say yes to: Reunion and celebration travel
Multigenerational travel has been trending in recent years, and unsurprisingly, family travel is firmly on the cards for 2021.
With many families forced to postpone their holidays last year, anniversary, birthday and reunion travel is 2021's key family travel trend.
Eager travellers will look to form household or family travel bubbles to celebrate a special occasion – or finally reunite after a year of Zoom calls.
Say no to: Putting off the bucket list
The bucket list is back. Months of pent-up demand (and the increasing awareness that there is no time like the present) will make 2021 the bucket list year. While international travel will return with baby steps, savvy early-bird travellers are looking ahead – planning and booking a trip for later in the year and beyond – now.
If you've had a dream trip sitting on your wish list for years, there's no time like the present!
Expect epic adventures, remote destinations, island hideaways, and exotic, often once-in-a-lifetime destinations to trend. Imagine witnessing Kenya's Great Migration, relaxing in an overwater villa in the Maldives, trekking in Nepal and more.
RELATED CONTENT: 10 destinations to add to your 2021 travel wish list
Say no to: DIY travel
The world of travel has never been more complex. Travel beyond our borders involves layers of complexity and ongoing uncertainty. That's not to say you shouldn't do it – but be sure to consult a Flight Centre Travel Expert before making any concrete travel decisions.
Trust and credibility will become the number one deciding factor when consumers choose to spend their hard-earned rands on a dream holiday.
The fear of getting stranded overseas due to sudden border closures, a COVID-19 positive result or a change in flight schedules is now an unfortunate reality.
More than ever, travellers are looking for peace of mind and forgoing DIY travel for the experience, skills and advice of travel advisors. They will be looking to book with companies with a stable track record, those willing to go the extra mile for a customer, communicating proactively and showing genuine empathy and duty of care.
While even a travel expert can't guarantee your complete safety when travelling, having the peace of mind that someone has your back, that there is someone you can call should the unexpected happen, goes a long way when you're thousands of kilometres from home.
RELATED CONTENT: Why you want to deal with a travel agent
Say yes to: Flexible booking
Never before has travel had more variables.
Flexible booking has become as much, if not more, of a factor, than price. Travellers seek flexible bookings with the ability to change or cancel their plans at short notice, and get refunds quickly and easily, should situations outside of their control suddenly arise.
RELATED CONTENT: Our experts top travel tips for staying safe when going on a holiday
Say yes to: Vegan travel
Veganuary is an annual challenge to educate and promote veganism during January, encouraging trying "going vegan" for just one month. After the festive season's indulgences and with those New Year's resolutions still fresh on the page, many choose to kickstart their healthy living resolutions by taking up the challenge.
Vegan, vegetarian or avowed carnivore, the health benefits of switching even just one meat-based meal to a plant-based one, are being increasingly documented as beneficial for our physical health and wellbeing.
With veganism on the rise, so is vegan travel. Vegan travel includes more than just plant-based cuisine but is focused on cruelty-free activities and products and supporting and promoting approved animal interactions and initiatives.
Some of the world's most popular vegan-friendly destinations include Taiwan, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Tel Aviv (the world's vegan capital for 2019).
What’s your travel resolution for 2021?