by Lacey Pfalz
Last updated: 1:36 PM ET, Tue July 6, 2021
New data suggests that travelers will want to travel for longer than usual this year, due to pent-up demand, more remote workers and added funds from saving on expenses such as gas.
GlobalData's newest poll has found that lengthier holidays are on the rise as more people begin traveling again. The poll found that more than one in four travelers (26 percent) would prefer taking a trip of over ten nights, the second-highest trip length in the survey. The most popular trip length is stays between four and six nights, at 28 percent.
While many have had financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic, others have saved in unexpected ways. Workers who found themselves working from home for a year saved money on gas from their daily commutes while many (if not all) saved on recreational spending - things like nights out at bars, nightclubs, movie theaters and concerts.
The biggest incentive for longer trips is probably the time lost traveling the past year, but the ability to travel anywhere as long as there's Wi-Fi is also increasing, as are the travel opportunities for remote workers, or 'digital nomads'.
"The pandemic has accelerated the work from home model, and the tourism industry could benefit. Those that are working from home, especially independent remote workers on a higher salary, no longer require a fixed location and only need somewhere quiet with the Internet. This new working model, which seems set to stay for some time, could further increase the desire to blend a traditional holiday with a 'workcation'. For those seeking a different location, they may look to book a longer holiday, utilizing some annual leave, whilst working remotely for the remaining days to maximize trip length. This new type of traveler could benefit accommodation sharing providers who can offer a home away from home," said Gus Gardner, GlobalData's Associate Travel and Tourism Analyst.
Another incentive to stay for longer, especially overseas, according to owner and founder of Bespoke Travel Group Sharon Campbell Little are COVID-19 testing requirements: "Presently, I think guests feel that since they are going to have to still show a negative COVID-19 test to return back to the U.S., then they want to make the travel experience worth it and to most this means a longer stay." While she's mostly been booking for 2021 and beyond, her clients are booking longer duration vacations in Mexico, where her clients' stays are two to three nights longer than is usual.
Susie Chau, owner of Carpe Diem Traveler, said that pre-pandemic, her clients' longest trips were multi-country vacations to regions like South America and Europe. But with the entry requirements of today, they've had to change tactics: "I think picking one country and adopting slow travel is best. Spending more time in one place and traveling deeper is something most Americans aren't used to, but this is a great time to give it a try. Expectations need to be set that clients might not get their exact dream vacation, but different can be a really good thing. They may find they love feeling like a local and not being rushed with a packed schedule."
David W. Hartman, Luxury Travel Advisor for Fantastic Endeavors, Inc., agrees that longer trips are on the rise and says that future cruise credits, airline miles and other refunds from trips canceled during the pandemic could be another incentive for clients to travel for longer: "For example, the week long cruise is now a back to back 2 week cruise on the same ship because the traveler has built up Future Cruise Credits from missed voyages in 2020." With the pent-up demand and extra time to enjoy their vacations for longer, travelers might also opt for more expedition-type cruises or vacations that they might have shied away from in the past.
"People have a ton of PTO days stocked up from the last year and can't wait to finally take a big adventure again. After the last year, they realize that 1) travel is a privilege, not a right, and 2) life is short, and being able to take your bucket list trip whenever you want is not guaranteed," said Chau.
As a culmination of a variety of factors like pent-up demand and increased savings, longer trips will likely become the latest post-pandemic era trend, reaching into vacations for 2022 and beyond.
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