Out of the Cabin Fever: 3 Travel Trends

Travels trends for 2021

Out of the Cabin Fever: 3 Travel Trends

Staycations will be among the most popular travel trends even beyond the pandemic.

As the nation emerges from pandemic limits and lockdowns this year, pent-up demand from long-delayed travel plans is likely to boost tourism—but most of us are likely to take smaller steps at first. Travel trends predict continued interest in “staycations,” a word coined in the aftermath of 9/11 when air travel was shut down that refers to day trips with a return to your own bed at night.

Soaking at Iron Mountain Hot SpringsSome users have broadened the meaning to include any excursion within your home country. A new word, “vaxications,” nods to the COVID-19 inoculations that enable more travel as we reach herd immunity. You might also hear “nearcations” or “holistays.” By any name, the closer-to-home trips are likely to stay popular this year, along with other patterns established in 2020.

Open spaces. Because the coronavirus is an airborne disease, outdoor activities are safer than indoor. That means natural areas, parks, and other open-air venues are especially attractive. “Since April, the majority of Americans have chosen to travel domestically, taking road trips, exploring small towns, scenic drives and nearby lakes and beaches, the New York Times wrote in December. “That trend is likely to continue into 2021.”

Road trip. A closer-to-home vacation avoids airline flights, with the twin benefits of increased safety and lower costs. It’s also a chance for friends and family to travel together. Many such groups established “pods” of in-common quarantine during the pandemic so they could socialize safely and share getaways. Some people even chose to relocate permanently to be closer to friends and family for more frequent contact. More than half the trip searches on Airbnb for 2021 are for groups of three or more.

Home away. Because COVID-19 was especially a threat to older people, many families avoided exposure by canceling traditional visits, even on holidays. That generation is high on the list for vaccinations, and those families are eager to reconnect. The shift to more remote and socially-distanced stays is also reflected in some of the top booked space types. “Entire homes have officially replaced apartments as the top space type among guests in 2021, providing controlled, private space for everyone,” according to Airbnb’s Travel Trends. “More off the beaten path stays like cabins and cottages crack the top five space types for 2021 trips, replacing villas and townhouses from 2020.”

Learn more about travel trends and news at Iron Mountain Hot Springs.


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Gene Stowe

Gene Stowe was a reporter for The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer for 13 years and head of the writing program at Trinity School at Greenlawn, a four-time U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School in South Bend, Ind., for 10 years before he became a full-time freelance writer in 2008. His first book, Inherit the Land: Jim Crow Meets Miss Maggie’s Will, was published in 2006. He lives in Monroe, N.C.