Forecasting travel trends is an annual tradition for us here at The journey awaits you, but as we all know, travel in 2020 hasn’t gone to plan. In 2021, we haven’t even bothered to look into our crystal ball. As travel begins to reopen in 2022, we’ve reached out to tour operators to find out where they plan to go this year.
Not only did they share their upcoming adventures, but they also let us in on emerging travel trends for this year. Global guided vacation company Trafalgar, for example, reports that summer 2022 is going to be big, as travelers are already filling their vacation calendars mostly in May/June 2022.
Meanwhile, Intrepid Travel saw a 144% increase in customers booking domestic travel in the US and UK compared to 2019, before the pandemic. The company expects domestic travel to be popular in all regions in 2022 as different variants of COVID continue to cause uncertainty with international travel, as we saw most recently with the Omicron variant causing rapid border closures and new travel restrictions. While flexibility with travel plans will be key, Intrepid says travelers will continue to opt for more adventures within their national borders to avoid those headaches. Time will tell us!
From faraway to domestic destinations, here’s where tour operators plan to travel in 2022.
“I’m heading to Bali as soon as possible,” says Steve Lima, Marketing Director of G Adventures. “We could all use a little wellness in 2022, and Bali is a great place to recharge, relax and also get active. My plan is to hit the beaches first and then travel north to some of the less touristy parts of the island. Perhaps hike up Mount Batur and, of course, trek through the incredibly calming and linear rice fields of Ubud. Bali is an exercise for body and mind, and I hope it leaves me recharged and ready for whatever 2022 has in store!
Tour operator Tauck’s Tom Armstrong says 2022 offers a fantastic opportunity for the slightly more intrepid traveler to experience the wonders of Europe before the crowds return in droves.
According to our recent Travel Status survey, Italy was the top international destination our readers want to visit in 2022. So far, Trafalgar’s 15 best trips for 2022 are all European routes, with the 13-day Best of Italy tour taking the top spot. Armstrong says Italy is one of Tauck’s most popular destinations in Europe, and this year presents a wonderful opportunity to explore it.
For an in-depth Italian experience, spend two weeks visiting Naples, Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Umbria, Tuscany, Cinque Terre, Florence and Venice on Tauck’s Classic Italian Tour. If you don’t have two whole weeks to spend in Italy, try A Week In…Venice, Florence & Rome, a shorter tour that explores three iconic Italian cities. Both tours offer exclusive experiences, including an after-hours guided tour of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel without crowds.
Spain And Portugal
Armstrong tells us “this will be a great year to visit Spain and Portugal – two of Europe’s rising stars!” Spend a week in Spain, a week in Portugal or explore them both on Tauk’s tour of Spain and Portugal.
“My wife and I took a Tauck river cruise on the Rhine a few years ago, and it was without a doubt one of the best vacations we’ve ever had,” says Armstrong. “We are still in the discussion phase, but we really hope to do a river cruise on the Danube or on the Douro this year. Both rivers offer incredible culture and incredible scenery. However, Tauck has just launched our brand new MS Andorinha river boat on the Douro last August, which may tip the balance a little towards Portugal! Anyway, we are big fans of river cruises and we know we are going to have a wonderful trip.
Armstrong suggests touring northern Spain, the Rioja Valley and Madrid. This popular itinerary spends two weeks traveling from Barcelona through northern Spain, exploring Montserrat, Cardona, Pamplona, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Leon, Santiago de Compostela and more before ending in Madrid.
Ireland and the UK
According to Trafalgar, travelers are using their vacation days to book trips longer than a standard one-week getaway to truly immerse themselves in destinations. At 15 days and 10 days respectively, Best of Ireland & Scotland and Britain & Ireland Highlights are two of the company’s most booked tours.
“My first trip this year will be to Ireland to celebrate a milestone birthday with my two best childhood friends who are also celebrating the same big birthday this year,” Trafalgar Chairman Melissa DaSilva said. “We will visit Dublin, Galway and the magnificent Ashford Castle. I can’t wait to travel again, but especially to share it with my friends whom I haven’t seen since the beginning of the pandemic, because our last two trips were canceled due to the confinements and restrictions”, says- she.
“This year, my goal is to soak up the beauty of this world with wildlife and nature,” says Heidi Durflinger, President of EF Go Ahead Tours. “I would like to go back to Kenya. The connection to nature is surreal and you will leave feeling renewed and refreshed.”
For inspiration, check out Sarah Kingdom’s ultimate guide to planning your first African safari.
“There’s a great energy emerging…a determination to take the leap, pursue your passions and act on your plans ‘one day’,” says Steve Born, CMO of the Globus family of brands. “And taking that dream trip to the place you’ve always wanted to visit captures that spirit and inspired me. Next month, I’m heading to Jordan for a Jordan Escape trip with my fellow Globus guests, hosting a group incredible number of social media influencers to share the experience and spread the word about this incredible spirit and destination.
The week-long guided tour of Jordan begins in one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, the capital Amman, and ends at the Dead Sea, one of the lowest places on earth. Highlights include exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra (one of the New 7 Wonders of the World), sipping tea in a real Bedouin tent, and driving through the incredible landscape desert of Wadi Rum.
For a year and a half, Intrepid Travel has added nearly 200 new tours around the world designed specifically for domestic audiences. This goes hand in hand with another of Intrepid Travel’s 2022 goals: to reduce the carbon output of its travels. For example, this year the carbon-neutral tour operator is expected to cut more than 3,000 individual flights from its itineraries when there is a better land alternative.
Kicking off in June of this year, Intrepid Travel’s six-day discovery trip from Portland to San Francisco encompasses many of the 2022 travel trends it has identified. This foodie tour takes place between two cities that offer outstanding culinary scenes. Share a river-to-table meal with Warm Springs First Nations people. The picnic experience serves the preservation of Aboriginal culture, recognizing the role salmon played in tribal history and responding to the trend of companies integrating an objective in their offers. According to Intrepid, the majority of its top-selling trips contain “targeted” experiences like this — activities that directly support environmental or wildlife conservation, preserve minority Indigenous culture, or support marginalized social groups.
Other highlights of Intrepid’s Pacific Northwest tour include the tactile pleasure of shucking oysters at Hog Island Oyster Co., a visit to Crater Lake National Park to see the deepest lake in the United States and a stop at Muir Woods National Monument to spend time with the tallest living things in the world. These last two experiences are in line with another 2022 travel trend according to the company – the great outdoors.
“With COVID as the new reality,” Intrepid explained, “many travelers are opting for trips that allow them to soak up some fresh air away from the crowds, while still being active and on their feet – away from home and the computer screens that have become the norm as careers and family life fade in this new world dominated by remote work.
Do you feel inspired? Contact our travel consultants Carie Skerritt and Bill Sharo from Dream Vacations to find out where 2022 could take you!