After a travel-challenged 2020, the future of travel is looking brighter. Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.), the leader in personalized small group adventures on the road less traveled for Americans 50+, shared its top 6 emerging travel trends.
“We can now see the light as travel begins to open up in the wake of the vaccine,” said Mark C. Frevert, Chief Architect & Chief Relationship Officer at O.A.T. “Many travelers are eagerly awaiting the chance to travel again, with some notable differences in how they’ll travel compared to prior years.”
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O.A.T. Top 6 Travel Trends:
- Purposeful travel – COVID-19 revealed our interconnectedness. Post-pandemic, many travelers want to travel more responsibly and with purpose, engaging with and learning from other cultures and making a positive contribution to the local communities they visit. This personal aspect of travel and the chance to change individual lives will be sought after more than ever by many travelers after missing out on these opportunities in 2020.
Overseas Adventure Travel, through its Grand Circle Foundation, gives travelers the opportunity to visit and provide support directly to local community projects, schools, and women’s collectives.
- Women: Solo and sharing – The pent-up demand for the liberating experience of travel will see women traveling on their own, without the worry of accommodating another person’s schedule or interests. The segment of solo women travelers is an area of growth for O.A.T., representing 50% of travelers, with over 30,000 booked for 2021 and 2022 travel. In 2010, just 27% of travelers were solos. Some solo women travelers are single by choice, some are widowed, while many are married and occasionally travel with spouses. Sometimes they travel totally alone, other times exploring with a friend, or even sharing with a roommate.
- Revenge travel – Bring on the travel. Travelers whose 2020 plans were thwarted are intent on catching up on missed opportunities. Looking ahead, they will travel more than they normally would after being deprived due to the pandemic.
Solo travelers, in particular, are forging ahead with plans to travel more. In the recent Solo Traveler survey, presented with the support of O.A.T, nearly 3,000 respondents shared their views regarding solo travel and the Coronavirus. Forty-six percent (46%) responded that they would travel more, both domestically and internationally.
Some travelers over 50 also feel a sense of urgency. Said O.A.T. traveler Laura Dankner, “As a ‘mature’ traveler, we aren’t going to get any younger and I feel that our time to travel in the future may be limited. So as soon as we can travel again, I’m in!”
- Slow travel – COVID-19 lockdowns gave many people a chance to slow down and appreciate life’s small details. Slow travel aims to give travelers a rich understanding of life in their destination. Interactions with local people, including opportunities to learn through frank discussions on timely topics, allow travelers to experience a community on a deeper level.
Beyond its already immersive adventures, O.A.T. gives travelers the option to personalize their adventures to arrive earlier or stay longer in a destination to further explore on their own and absorb a new culture.
- Europe-focused – While domestic travel took hold in 2020, U.S. travelers will return to international travel, beginning with Europe. With the glimmer of hope that COVID will be under greater control, people will be more willing to consider international travel, yet somewhat closer to home and less remote.
Grand Circle Corporation, to which O.A.T. belongs, has 51,000 travelers booked for travel in the year ahead. Nearly 60% – approximately 30,000 – are headed to Europe.
In the Solo Traveler survey, 40% of respondents favored Europe and the UK as a destination following the pandemic.
- Private adventures – Private adventures take small group travel, already popular, to another level. More people will seek to travel together as a family or a close group of friends or relatives – and no one else. Private tours limit exposure to other travelers and public transportation, yet still provide a tour operator’s planning, experience, oversight, and standard health and safety approach.
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O.A.T. provides travelers over 50 with impactful, intercultural experiences that help change people’s lives. O.A.T. fosters an intimate and accessible experience, with groups limited to 16 travelers (average of 13) by land and 25 (average of 22) by sea.
With the health and safety of its travelers a priority as always, O.A.T. has worked with its 36 regional offices and more than 2,000 regional associates and Trip Experience Leaders around the world to create new health and safety measures and specific itinerary updates.
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