The Future Of Travel In A Post-Pandemic Era


CulturallyOurs The Future Of Travel

CulturallyOurs Podcast Cover Karthika Gupta Oct 2018
Season 05
The Future Of Travel In A Post-Pandemic Era
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Show Details

We all know that the global pandemic of 2020 has changed so many aspects of our lives. From work, school, family gatherings, holidays, travel and so much more. While most of us spent much of 2020 grounded, a return to travel and exploration looks to be on the horizon fairly soon. As we daydream about where we want to travel, a more important question comes front and center on how we want to travel. Lets look at all the ways travel is changing and how it can be for the better in an industry so heavily impacted by the events of 2020.

Show Notes

In this episode we take a look at how travel is changing in a post-pandemic phase. Based on conversation with so many travelers and travel industry professionals, Karthika explores the future of travel and how travelers like us can truly make the industry, the community and the places we visit more memorable and meaningful, no matter where we go. 2021 seems to be the year where travelers are demanding more – not just from the travel industry and travel providers but also from themselves.

The Transcript

The global pandemic has certainly upended so many parts of our lives. From work, school, family gatherings, holidays, travel and so much more. While most of us spent much of 2020 grounded, a return to travel and exploration looks to be on the horizon fairly soon. If 2020 has taught us anything it is that life can change unexpectedly, and we have to adjust to a different normal for the unforeseeable future.

As we daydream about where we want to travel, a more important question comes front and center on how we want to travel. A big part of the outcome of the pandemic is that travelers are expecting more from their travel adventures.

Come join me on this episode as we explore what travel will look like in the new year and beyond based on all the conversations we have had as part of Season 05 – Travel With A Local’s Point Of View.

After more than a year of being grounded at home, and speaking to so many fellow travelers and podcast guests as part of Season 05 – Travel from a local’s point of view, I have consolidated all their feedback and come up with what I feel is learn how to travel better in the new year to get the most out of all your adventures.

#1 Experiential trips with meaning

No longer satisfied with short, action packed trips that simply check off the proverbial bucket list, travelers want more meaningful experiences. After all, we all have only one life to live, why not make it the best it can be. People are looking for trips that don’t just involve exotic locations and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Instead, people are looking for trips that have more meaning and substance. Things like a culinary inspired adventure or a cultural retreat involving hand-on immersion into a local community or co-operative, or writers’ workshops with seminars as well as socializing with like-minded travelers are gaining huge popularity. No longer is a one size fits all acceptable. Instead, a custom-to-me adventure is on the rise as travel agents and travel planners cater to specialized requests from travelers.

#2 Purpose driven adventures

As the tourism industry pivots and shifts, many tourism boards are moving beyond the concept of sustainable travel. The new term heard on the street is regenerative travel. This means not only being mindful of preserving the places you visit and leave no trace behind but also making the effort to leave them better than you found them.

This can take the form of volunteering with a local organization in need, supporting a destination’s economy by buying locally made products, dining at farm to table restaurants, choosing accommodations and experiences that give back to the local community as well offsetting carbon emissions.

#3 Longer breaks in one place

With the new live-from-anywhere culture that is on the rise since the start of the pandemic, families and even solo-travelers are looking at longer breaks. Having become used to spending more time in one place and learning to appreciate what’s around us, we no longer want to rush from place to place. Instead, we desire to slow down and connect more meaningfully with destinations. The ideal day-to-day is now structured into different chunks of time. Work or school activities in the morning and adventure or exploration activities in the afternoon. This means life can happen anywhere in the world. So why limit your travel to just a two-week vacation when a slower approach to travel can mean spending a month or more at a single destination. This gives you the opportunity to connect with a location as well as the people and the communities that live, work and play in that particular area. Many hotels like Marriott Bonvoy’s Home & Villas brand are now offering discounted stays for longer durations as well as custom rentals for entire homes and unique stays.

#4 Drive tourism

As international travel continues to fluctuate with constantly changing regulations and travel bans, many tourism boards are focusing more on localized travel known as drive tourism. This term means focusing on communities and travelers within a drivable distance to a particular place. Thus, we are seeing the resurgence of road trips and localized tourism.

Now is the perfect time to discover some lesser-known destinations and regions around your local area. So hit the road and steer away from the big, crowded cities to discover an underexplored and quiter side of the country – from small college towns and coastal regions or even a small mountain getaway. Travel brands like and encourages this trend by providing ‘Go Near’ lodging rentals that are specific to your location.

One thing to keep in mind is to ensure that the local communities you are visiting are equipped to handle increased tourism in terms of covid safety measures. It would be a good idea to check with the local tourism board on any pandemic specific community guidelines before planning your trip.

#5 Eco-friendly travel options

Eco-friendly and sustainable have taken on a whole new meaning since the global pandemic. Many places like restaurants and coffee shops mandate customers leave reusable products behind in order to prevent human contact. Single use plastics like masks and gloves have increased dramatically across all sectors including the travel industry. So, think beyond the traditional eco-friendly travel mindset.

Eco-friendly tourism means traveling in a responsible way. Choose tour companies and airlines who are prioritizing the environment and proactively tackling climate change. Select services that benefit the communities you are visiting by taking local transport or staying at locally owned hotels. Offset Earth, is a monthly subscription service where travelers can offset their carbon footprint throughout the year, not just while they travel.

Also be aware of how your footprint impacts the place you are visiting. If you are looking to do a road trip, make sure to do it in an eco-friendly manner. Invest in travel products that are committed to responsible production of goods that are durable and stand the test of time.

#6 Outdoor and nature inspired adventures

It comes as no surprise that after being cooped up at home for so many months, people are really craving wide-open spaces and the great outdoors. Nature is calling and we are all starting to sit up and take notice – some more than others.

Studies have shown time and time again that direct contact with nature greatly improves mental health and reduces stress. And 2021 will likely be the year we turn to nature for peace and healing. In many cultures around the world, the concept of being in nature is not something new. Japanese Shinrin Yoku, a practice of being out in the forests and German Fernweh, a practice of deep exploration and engaging with wilderness are slowly catching up with the rest of the world.

But even beyond simply exploring outdoor spaces, people are craving some truly unique nature-based experiences. Star gazing adventures at an officially designated dark sky destination, wild swimming in the oceans and rivers around UK, dispersed camping in national forest lands in the US and even wild walking adventures in Europe are on the rise as people take outdoor adventure a step further to really experience the wilder side of nature.

Rewilding and conservation working holidays where travelers play an active part in helping an ecosystem in distress are also becoming popular. Travelers are welcoming the chance to make a difference no matter where they go, and these working holidays seem to fit the bill.

Talk to any avid traveler and it is pretty obvious that there is a mindset shift. What worked pre-Covid is not going to work post-Covid. And 2021 seems to be the year where travelers are demanding more – not just from the travel industry and travel providers but also from themselves.

How do you see your travel habits and expectations changing in the new year?

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