COVID-19 has challenged families in many ways. A lot of us have had to cancel or reschedule trips due to travel restrictions, which has meant missing out on quality time with loved ones, as well as the mental health and self-care benefits of going on vacation.
Although 61 percent of families had to cancel a trip due to the pandemic in 2020, travel is still top of mind as 82 percent of families already have travel plans in mind for 2021, according to the 2021 Vrbo Trend Report. The report, which includes vacation rental marketplace data, as well as survey data from family travelers, also revealed some new travel habits that arose during the pandemic that are likely to remain popular this year.
“Let’s face it, the pandemic makes it tough to predict what travel will look like in 2021,” said Melanie Fish, Vrbo’s travel expert. “That’s why we combined search and demand trends with a first-of-its-kind traveler survey of U.S. families. The combination gives us the most accurate picture possible of the plans families are making.”
Consider these pandemic-era trends as you make your vacation plans moving forward.
In the Driver’s Seat
With travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines in place throughout much of 2020, many families opted to avoid flying and visiting crowded places by instead jumping in the car to hit the open road. This trend is likely to continue in 2021 with 59 percent of families saying they are more likely to drive instead of fly on their next trip.
A change of scenery can be refreshing and motivating after staring at the same four walls in your home, so consider taking a road trip and exploring a new destination, even if it’s just down the road from home.
Mixing Work and Play
Many people were forced to adapt to working from home or facilitating e-learning for their children due to COVID-19. While turning homes into makeshift offices or classrooms wasn’t an easy task for many families, the schedule flexibility provided by the remote setup allowed for the rise of the “flexcation”—mixing vacation time with virtual work and school.
In fact, 1 in 3 families surveyed said they were able to travel because they were working from home, and 52 percent of those who took a flexcation during the pandemic found the experience refreshing with 67 percent saying they would do it again.
Another benefit of flexcations is experiencing amenities you may not have access to at home. Consider some of Vrbo’s most sought-after amenities and vacation spots when planning your next getaway:
- Splash in the sun in Cape Coral, Florida, where 92 percent of vacation rentals have pools.
- Cook over an open fire in Sevierville, Tennessee, where barbecue grills are included at 87 percent of vacation homes.
- Cozy up by the fire with a book and some hot chocolate in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where fireplaces are an amenity offered in 87 percent of vacation rentals.
Wide Open Spaces
Many travelers gravitate toward vacationing in peaceful and picturesque destinations, and the open sky, fresh air, and scenic views may be even more appealing amid the pandemic. According to the report, 61 perecnt of U.S. families said they are more likely to visit an outdoorsy destination than an urban one and 54 percent are more likely to head to a national park than an amusement park.
Find more ideas for planning your next vacation—or flexcation—along with the full Trend Report at vrbo.com.