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Seven 2021 Travel Trends To Watch This Year

The travel world was turned upside down in 2020 by the coronavirus pandemic. But make no mistake — people are ready to travel again. And with vaccine news looking positive, they’re already starting to plan their 2021 vacations. Members of TURNER’s travel leadership team (Campbell Levy, Adél Grobler, Naureen Kazi and Amber Steffens) shared the 2021 travel trends they’re watching in the months to come …

The Return of the Family Reunion

Family reunion travel

Family reunions are going to be huge once the vaccine is distributed more robustly. Families have gone longer than ever in most cases since seeing each other, so expect a very large number of vacations based around seeing family; I think in many cases we’ll see families planning and going on bucket list vacations because the phrase ‘life is short’ has never felt truer. – Campbell

Bucket-listing — On A Budget

2021 travel trends

Over the past year, people have a built up an intense desire to travel. And they’ve been adding to their bucket lists! Once traveling is safer, there will be an increase in number of short, but slightly longer-distance trips that check off key destinations —especially once international travel returns. Trips to Europe will be booming. – Adél

The Rise of Pod/Bubble Travel

Pod travel

When 2020 began, pod or bubble travel wasn’t on anyone’s radar. In 2021, it will define how groups will travel. The travel pod/bubble allows friends and family members to travel together in a safe, responsible way. The possibilities are endless. Pods can rent villas, charter boats, buy out small hotels, or camp under the stars at a national park. Even as the coronavirus subsides, people will have become used to this lifestyle and will likely continue traveling with their pods and trusted group of friends and loved ones. – Naureen


Given the harsh impact COVID-19 has had on the tourism industry, coupled with widescale natural disasters that have crippled tourism-centric locales, we’ll likely see a rise in “philantourism.” An evolution of voluntourism, it’s the notion that travelers are more likely to choose destinations most in need of their tourism dollars as a way to support their favorite locales. For this reason, places where historic wildfires wiped out entire areas (such as Australia and California) and those like Italy, where travel restrictions took a higher economic toll on the area, will be popular places to go in 2021. – Amber  

Award Travel Overload

Award travel

Award travel is going to be a major part of the 2021 travel trends landscape. With travel so limited in 2020, many people have built up an abundance of award miles. And they’re going to start using them. Budgets will still be tight, so 2021 will be a good year to use those miles to get back in the travel state of mind. – Adél

Wellness Escapes

wellness travel 2021

Wellness travel was already a big trend. But it took on a new meaning in 2020. Thanks to the pandemic, health has come to the forefront, and travelers are more aware of the benefits — and potential risks — of their vacations. Wellness is one of the primary luxuries now. Destinations and hotels should respond accordingly, offering travelers enhanced and elevated wellness options for the body, mind and soul. – Naureen

The Year of the Homecoming

homecoming travel

Family reunions are definitely going to be popular. But so are smaller, more intimate family get-togethers. So many people (myself included) haven’t been able to visit their parents and/or grandparents this year. We all want to go home! When things start looking up, I think there will be a lot of people traveling back to their original hometowns to spend quality time with their close family. – Adél

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