Year of the GOAT

As the world plans for summer travel, this travel year may be known for its “bucket list” vibes. From the beaches to the mountains, all kinds of travel destinations and bucket-list experiences are top of mind for many who want  to turn 2022 into the year of the G.O.A.T. – or the “Greatest Of All Trips.”

Travelers are eager to make plans to explore what the rest of the world has to offer. As one travel executive explains, there’s a “new sense of urgency” to travel.

Some feel lost from the past two years and older travelers may be concerned about having fewer healthy years left to travel. Other industry experts have signaled that travelers have expressed desperation to get away from everyday life.

During Spring Break 2022, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported about 2 million people traveled through U.S. airports daily, which exceeds pre-pandemic levels. The airlines reported a similar uptick in demand – particularly for domestic flights.

According to an analysis by the Adobe Digital Economy Index, travelers spent $6.6 billion on domestic flights in February 2022, which is 6% more than travelers spent on domestic air travel in February 2019. The psychological toll from the pandemic has brought out the sense of living in the moment. Traveling to a dream destination with a breathtaking perspective has become more of a reality and has sparked urgency to book a flight.

Internet searches for vacation homes abroad are now on pace with 2019 levels, according to HomeToGo’s travel trends report, released in late November. The international destinations drawing the largest online traffic increases this year, compared with 2019, are Tuscany, Italy (+141%), the Bahamas (+129%), French Polynesia’s Bora Bora (+98%), the Maldives (+97%) and the south of France (+88%). In addition, travelers have opted to book vacation rentals rather than a hotel suite since many would like to extend their stay.

The reason for the ambitious undertaking may be working from home during the pandemic, causing more people to save a significant amount of their paychecks. Some 70% of leisure travelers in major countries — such as the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Japan and Spain — plan to spend more on travel in 2022 than they have in the past five years, according to a November joint report by the World Travel & Tourism Council and travel website Trip.com.

Travelers may be willing to pay more to go to certain places, rather than to make the trip itself more luxurious. Twice as many U.S. tourists indicated they were willing to spend more to see “bucket list” destinations (32%) rather than reserve room or flight upgrades (16%) or book luxury experiences (15%), according to Expedia.

The willingness and ability to spend more are likely a good thing, since travel costs have increased in some places as much as 10% for food (+10%) and 13% for hotels (+13.3%) in addition to fuel, as compared with 2019 figures.

For those who were financially impacted due to the lockdown, they have still found ways to vacation by celebrating missed milestones, from family reunions to the newly coined term of a ‘friendcation.’ Reservations to party locales, such as Las Vegas; Cancun, Mexico; and the Spanish island of Ibiza, led the company to name “friendcations” a top travel trend for 2022.

People are still catching up for lost time with family and friends. Destinations that provide for large multi-generation families, such as those with a high inventory of large villas — including the Caribbean, Mexico, and Maldives — are seeing an uptick in bookings. There has been a revival of travel agents planning clients’ itineraries to help travelers navigate Covid-19 tests, restrictions, changes in entry requirements, visas, flights, accommodation, activities and backup plans.

“DIY travelers” who normally plan their own trips may wish to seek professional help to ensure their upcoming travels are seamless and stress-free. The 2022 Summer Global Travel Guide gives pointers to stay safe while on your next adventure. >

If you’re ready to join this year’s travel trend, now is the time to make arrangements – and consider AIA Trust travel assistance and trip insurance >.

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