It has been a long time coming, but with more and more travel restrictions being lifted, the world is slowly opening up again. And with this, that moment has come to finally pack our bags and explore the incredible destinations the world has to offer again. Our recent research reveals that two thirds (66%) of global travelers agree that having not been able to travel extensively over the last year has made them yearn for travel even more in 2021.
Since it’s likely been a while since the last time we traveled, it’s not surprising that we’ll need a refresher. With a mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, Booking.com is sharing a How To Guide to make it easier for travelers to search and enjoy their next vacation.
Since we can slowly start to work through our travel bucket list again, the big question is: where to go first? During the time that travel restrictions were in place, the overwhelming majority (95%) of travelers globally spent time looking for vacation inspiration. Now that travel restrictions are being lifted in many parts of the world, step one in searching for your next trip may already be complete!
However, if still looking for vacation inspiration, there are many ways to do so, but the influence social media has to help trigger wanderlust is maybe one of the biggest. According to our research, 30% of global travelers tend to travel to a destination that they saw on a celebrity’s or influencer’s social media channel. Many travel bloggers’ social media feeds are filled with travel inspiration and often showcase incredible images of some of the most beautiful destinations the world has to offer, it’s easy to get lost scrolling through various travel influencers’ feeds.
Additionally, with over 28 million total reported listings (including more than 6.6 million instantly bookable reported listings in homes, apartments and other unique places to stay), in more than 152,000 destinations in 226 countries and territories across the globe, searching for that perfect place to stay on Booking.com offers endless vacation inspiration as part of its mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world.
For those who prefer a more traditional research approach, there’s nothing better than an inspiring conversation with friends and family. More than one third (36%) of global travelers opted to have a good old-fashioned chat with friends and family to spark their travel creativity. And at the same time it’s the perfect moment to reconnect with your loved ones after a year of seeing each other less often.
Consider what type of trip
According to our research, a quarter (23%)* of global travelers want to take a trip to the beach to relax as a first trip after all travel restrictions have been lifted. So if you are one of those travelers, it’s important to decide on the right timings to travel to a beach destination as you do want to make sure you can work on your tan while relaxing on the beach.
In that case, summer travel will be the right timing. If you are part of the one third (34%) of travelers planning to take a city trip this year, it may be better – and if personal circumstances allows – to travel during the off-peak season and be part of the majority of travelers (54%) that is likely to travel off-peak once all restrictions are lifted.
Either way, think about the type of trip you want to take, and when it most makes sense to travel.
While it’s becoming possible to travel safely again, it will still be different from how we used to travel pre-pandemic as the impact of the pandemic is likely to last well into the months, if not years, to come.
So once you’ve picked your destination and decided on timings, be sure to always check the government website for clear travel guidelines and local regulations that are in place.
This will be helpful for the large majority (80%) of global travelers who find it very important that there are strict health and cleanliness regulations in place to make them feel safe while traveling abroad again. And to enjoy a vacation, you of course need to feel safe.
Book smart, save even smarter
Now that you have the perfect destination in mind, and have considered the local rules and regulations, it’s time to book! The impact of the pandemic also impacted consumer booking behavior, as three quarters (74) of global travelers think it’s very important that there are flexible cancellation policies in place to make them feel safe to travel abroad again. Six out of 10 (60%) would even prefer to spend more money on their next trip and have more flexibility. There are many options to book a place to stay with free cancellation, so keep that in mind when you book your next trip.
The pandemic has also impacted people’s demand for more bang for their buck. 62% of travelers is more price conscious when it comes to searching and planning a trip in the future and 55% are more likely to hunt down promotions and savings.
For those travelers, Booking.com is sharing Getaway Deals for travelers to use when booking their summer 2021 getaways, as it becomes safe to do so. Discounts start at 15 percent and are valid for stays until 30 September 2021. In addition, Booking.com is bringing the great value of its Genius program to even more customers by giving all account holders access to the program’s Level 1 benefits, with no minimum number of previous bookings to qualify, including access to exclusive 10% discounts at hundreds of thousands of participating properties around the world. All travelers have to do is download the Booking.com app, log in and look for the Genius logo to identify associated benefits, discounts and perks.
The final countdown
Last but not least, and maybe even the most fun part of the travel process: counting down the days! You’ll just need to have a little bit of patience, but before you know it the time will finally come to pack your bags and locate your passport. It’s not surprising that traveling for the first time in a while may be a bit stressful, so good preparation and planning is necessary.
According to Booking.com research, 1 in 5 (21%) of global travelers can’t remember where their passport is and even 9%* have no idea where they put their suitcases during the travel hiatus.
So to avoid last minute stress, start packing at least a week before your departure date. This will give you plenty of time to make sure you have everything you need, and even give you the chance to run to the store for any last minute vacay shopping.
A packing list can be a handy tool to make sure you aren’t forgetting anything, especially if you need to pack unusual essentials.
And to arrive well prepared at your destination, it can be handy to pre-book a rental car so you can easily explore the area you’re traveling to, and pre-book attractions to explore more of your destination and make the most of your trip. Now it’s time to sit back and relax and enjoy the first trip as if you’ve never had to miss it!