2021 has been a rollercoaster ride. From global travel restrictions and home hibernation – to the ecstasy of exploring again – and more recently, the Omicron variant reminding us the pandemic isn’t quite over yet, this year has been unforgettable. Here are 8 things we discovered along the way.
There are some new normals
Luggage, passport, phone, wallet, keys. Check! Ready to go. Or are you? Travel preparation has understandably got a little more complicated this year. Digging out vaccine certificates, completing passenger locator forms, potential quarantines and panic-buying PCR tests – there is more to think about than ever before. But when you sip a glass of crisp local wine overlooking the rolling hills of Tuscany, you don’t mind the extra effort.
Solo travel is here to stay
Solo travel is booming right now. Perhaps it was a desperate desire to escape our lockdown companions? Or a search for more meaningful travel connections? Whatever the reasons, explorers are embracing their freedom of choice as they dive head-first into cultures and find moments of stillness rarely afforded in modern life.
Domestic travel is rather wonderful
Who said the best travel has to be far-flung and cost the earth? This year saw many of us connect with our countries like never before. Connecting to history, heritage and local culture. Finding a renewed appreciation for meeting locals, seeing familiar destinations in a new light or discovering hidden gems right under your nose.
Just a little travel means a lot
Like everything, you tend to appreciate it more when it’s gone. In 2021 it hit home just how much we crave that escape. The joy of new discoveries. No-one to answer to. Whether it’s Greek streets lined with alfresco cafes, the glistening lakes of Canada’s national parks, Spain’s sun-drenched beaches or something else you’re dreaming about… just a short break can be special.
Small businesses deserve our love
This pandemic reminded us that life is precious – and so is people’s livelihoods. While stuck at home, many swapped out regular visits to their local chain to support local businesses. This mindset held up abroad and rightly so. Whether it’s gorging on Napoleon pizza in a discreet side street, or sipping sake in a tiny Japanese izakaya – supporting local is a great way to immerse yourself in the local community and soak in its authentic culture.
Sustainable travel is increasingly important
Recent research suggests that 2021 travellers believe people must travel sustainably to protect the planet and future generations. There are little things we can do to positively impact the planet, people we visit, and wildlife we meet. First up: why not bring your own water bottle on your next trip?
It’s nice to ‘work from home’ – abroad
There’s nothing like a relaxing change of scene to inspire a productive day. As well as weekend breaks, ‘workcations’ became popular this year as a way to escape our home’s four walls. It’s hard to think of a more refreshing work break than touring Prague’s ancient castles, cathedrals and cobblestone streets, or dancing the samba in Brazil.
The magic of travel remains
We connected with ourselves and the Netflix catalogue like never before during initial lockdowns. We wondered what the travel revival – if it ever came – would feel like. Would it be compromised? But even in this new environment, the magic of travel lives on. In fact, with a new and improved appreciation, it may be better than ever.
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What did discover about travel in 2021? And where do you have your sights on for 2022? Let us know in the comments below!