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What luxury travel will look like after 2020: Staycations and sustainable trends

Enjoying the sunset from a mobile home on the beach
Enjoying the sunset from a mobile home on the beach Copyright by-studio/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Copyright by-studio/Getty Images/iStockphoto
By Sabi Phagura
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The travel industry has suffered a major hit due to the global pandemic and it will be a long time before we will signs of recovery. What does this mean for the luxury travel industry and how are travellers adapting?


With much of the world under some sort of lockdown measures the future of the travel industry is hanging in the balance, says long-time luxury travel writer, Sabi Phagura.

No one could have predicted how the global pandemic would change our lives as we know it when we entered 2020. Our freedom to travel has been compromised and for most of the year, we’ve only been able to dream about holidays by browsing online with a view to booking later. Those who like to travel in style and escape to exotic locations may also have to have a rethink.

With all these uncertainties, Phagura predicts some of the ways luxury travel will change for the foreseeable future:

Travelling with a sense of purpose

Taking a trip somewhere simply due to the lure of a beautiful hotel or destination will be a thing of the past. Instead, travelers will want to take a break with a renewed curiosity and a sense of purpose. They will want to get more out of their time away either by learning a new skill, rekindling their passion for a hobby, or just want to engage and connect with local communities. There are very few people who have been spared by the global pandemic but some will have been affected more than others especially those who rely on tourism for their income. You only have to look online to see reminders to help local communities be they on our doorstep or elsewhere. In times like this, people do come together to help each out one another by contributing to sustainability projects and local initiatives. And this trend is looking set to grow in the coming months and change the way we travel for the near future at least.

Women collecting rubbish off a beachSolStock/SOL STOCK LTD

Staycations as the new vacations

Domestic travel will be a popular choice for many who want to get away and avoid the hassle of travel restrictions or any quarantine rules. After being in full-on lockdown for so many months, even a short journey will feel like a welcome break for most. With very little else to do, people have been exploring on their own doorsteps and have discovered there’s plenty of luxurious things to do without having to fly. Whether it’s a day trip to a neighbouring region or a weekend break away a little further afield, hotels confirm they are seeing a rise in bookings by staycationers looking for a change of scenery closer to home.

monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Family enjoying a staycationmonkeybusinessimages/Getty Images/iStockphoto

More R&R

Let’s face it, our health has never been as important to us until now and we most certainly will not be taking it for granted in the future. As a result, more and more people will be looking to book wellbeing packages as part of their getaway. Spa breaks that promise to relax and rejuvenate will see a boost in bookings while those wanted to exert themselves with a good dose of physical activity will plan a break with some of the best fitness and sports facilities around. When people have a specific goal in mind they are less likely to book something on a whim and instead do their research and plan one accordingly. Ultimately travelers will want to stay in places where they can improve their mental and physical wellbeing.

Woman enjoys hot spring under sunshine in Switzerlandxenotar/xenotar

In search of mindfulness

At a time of conscious living, we will all be seeking some kind of sanctuary in search of peace and calm. In the pursuit of privacy, we will be turning our backs on crowded places in exchange for quiet in more remote ones. Furthermore connecting with nature will become even more important to us as we find benefits from a digital detox.

Edsel Querini/Getty Images
A woman does yoga in the river at sunsetEdsel Querini/Getty Images

Emphasis on hygiene

Going forwards, we’ll all be focused on hygiene and cleanliness to minimise the spread of the virus. We’ve already become accustomed to carrying hand sanitisers with us, washing our hands, and being careful not to touch surfaces unnecessarily. The trend is here to stay for a while yet and will naturally affect our expectations of how we travel. 

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Hotels will be offering paperless check-insYakobchukOlena/nykola bulavskyi

Travel companies and airlines are already doing what they can to reassure their customers that their safety is paramount with the increased availability of hand sanitisers at various stations and the availability of face coverings. Meanwhile, many top-end luxury hotels are rolling out new initiatives such as installing a one-way system, contactless check-in, and in-room personal protection kits to reassure their clients.

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