Predicting travel trends is an annual tradition for us here at TravelAwaits, but as we all know, travel in 2020 isn’t quite as predicted. In 2021, we didn’t even bother staring at a crystal ball. With travel starting again in 2022, we’ve again reached out to tour operators to find out where they plan to go this year.
Not only did they share their upcoming adventures, but they also let us delve into the travel trends emerging this year. For example, global geared vacation operator Trafalgar reports that summer 2022 will be big, with travelers already filling out their holiday calendar mostly in May/June 2022.
Meanwhile, Intrepid Travel saw a 144 per cent increase in the number of customers booking domestic flights in the US and UK compared to 2019, before the pandemic. The company expects domestic travel to be common in all regions in 2022, as various COVID variants continue to cause uncertainty with international travel, as we saw recently with the Omicron variant causing rapid border closures and new travel restrictions. While flexibility in travel plans will be key, Intrepid stresses that travelers will continue to opt for more adventures within the confines of their homes to avoid these headaches. Time will tell!
From outback to local destinations, here tour operators plan travel in 2022.
“I’m going to Bali as fast as I can,” says Steve Lima, director of marketing for G Adventures. “We could all use a little wellness in 2022, and Bali is a great place to rejuvenate, relax and rejuvenate too. My plan is to go to the beaches first, then travel north to some of the less touristy parts of the island. Maybe hike to Mount Batur, and of course Wander through the linear and incredibly serene rice fields of Ubud. Bali is an exercise for body and mind, and I hope it will make me recharge myself and ready for whatever the year 2022 faces!”
2022 offers a fantastic opportunity for the slightly daring traveler to experience the wonders of Europe before the masses return en masse, Tom Armstrong of tour operator Tauck says.
According to our latest travel status survey, Italy was the number one international destination our readers would like to visit in 2022. The 15 best Trafalgar rides of 2022 so far are all European, with the 13-day Best of Italy tour taking the top spot. One of the most popular destinations for Tauck in Europe is Italy, says Armstrong, and this year is a great opportunity to explore it.
For an in-depth Italian experience, spend two weeks touring Naples, Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Umbria, Tuscany, Cinque Terre, Florence and Venice Day Tauck’s Classic Italy Tour. If you don’t have a full two weeks in Italy, try A Week In… Venice, Florence & Rome, a shorter tour that explores three famous Italian cities. Both tours feature exclusive experiences, including an after-hours guided visit to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel with no crowds.
Spain and Portugal
“This is going to be a great year to visit Spain and Portugal – two of the rising stars of Europe!” Armstrong tells us! Spend a week in Spain, a week in Portugal, or explore both on the Tauk Tour of Spain and Portugal.
“My wife and I took the Tauck River cruise on the Rhine a few years ago, and it was without a doubt one of the best vacations we’ve ever had,” Armstrong says. “We are still in the discussion stage, but we really hope to take a river cruise on the Danube or the Douro this year. Both rivers offer incredible culture and stunning views. However, Tauck has just launched our new MS product. swallow Riverboat at Douro last August, so it might tip the scales a bit towards Portugal! Either way, we’re huge fans of river sailing, and we know we’re on a great trip.”
Armstrong suggests a tour of northern Spain, the Rioja Valley and Madrid. The popular itinerary spends two weeks traveling from Barcelona through northern Spain, exploring Montserrat, Cardona, Pamplona, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Leon, Santiago de Compostela, and more before concluding in Madrid.
Ireland and the United Kingdom
According to Trafalgar, travelers use their vacation days to book flights longer than a standard week-long vacation to truly immerse themselves in the destinations. At 15 and 10 days in a row, Best of Ireland & Scotland and Britain & Ireland Highlights are the company’s most booked tours.
“My first trip this year will be to Ireland to celebrate a milestone birthday with my two dear childhood friends who are also celebrating their big birthday this year,” said Melissa DaSilva, President of Trafalgar. “We will be visiting Dublin, Galway and beautiful Ashford Castle. I can’t wait to travel again, but especially to share with my friends whom I haven’t seen since the pandemic began, as the last two flights have been canceled due to closures and restrictions.”
“My goal this year is to soak up the beauty of this world with wildlife and nature,” Heidi Dorflinger, president of EF Go Ahead Tours, tells us. “I would love to go back to Kenya. Connecting to nature is surreal, and you will leave it feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.”
For some inspiration, check out Sarah’s Kingdom’s ultimate guide to planning your first African safari.
“There is great energy emerging…Determination to make the leap, chase your passions, and take action on your plans ‘someday’,” says Steve Bourne, chief marketing officer of the Globus family of brands. Soul has inspired me. Next month I will be heading to Jordan on my Jordan escape with my fellow Globus guests, hosting an amazing group of social media influencers to share the experience and spread the word about this spirit and this amazing destination.”
Jordan’s week-long guided tour begins in one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, the capital Amman, and ends at the Dead Sea, one of the lowest points on Earth. Highlights include exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra (one of the New Seven Wonders of the World), sipping tea in a real Bedouin tent, and driving through the gorgeous desert landscape of Wadi Rum.
During the past year and a half, Intrepid Travel has added nearly 200 new tours around the world that have been specifically designed with the local audience in mind. This is in line with another Intrepid Travel 2022 goal: to reduce carbon production on its flights. For example, this year, the zero-carbon tour operator is expected to remove more than 3,000 individual flights from its itineraries as there is a better overland alternative.
Intrepid Travel’s six-day trip from Portland to San Francisco Discovery, which began in June of this year, kicked off many of the 2022 travel trends I’ve outlined. This food-friendly tour cruises between two cities that boast great culinary scenes. Share a river-to-table meal with the First Nations of Worm Springs. The picnic lunch experience serves to preserve Aboriginal culture, recognizing the role salmon has played in tribal history and responding to the trend of Companies that incorporate purpose into their offerings. According to Intrepid, the majority of its bestselling trips contain “purpose-led” experiences like these — activities that directly support environmental or wildlife conservation, the preservation of indigenous minority culture, or support for marginalized social groups.
Other highlights of the Intrepid’s Pacific Northwest tour include the tactile treatment of flaked oysters at the Hog Island Oyster Co. Visit Crater Lake National Park to see the deepest lake in the United States, and stop at Muir Woods National Monument to hang out with the world’s tallest living creatures. The last two experiences align with another travel trend for 2022 according to the company — the great outdoors.
Intrepid shared: “With COVID as our new reality, many travelers are choosing journeys that allow them to enjoy fresh air off the beaten track, while keeping active and on their feet – far from their homes and computer screens becoming the norm as jobs and home life become hazy in the This new world is dominated by remote work.”
Feeling inspired? Contact our travel advisors Kari Skerret and Bill Scharo of Dream Vacations to talk about where 2022 could take you!