News Research

Top Trends Redefining Travel in 2021 by Airbnb

Travel trend will continue to be less about tourism and more about living, working and connecting safely away from home

Released by Airbnb on October 15, 2020, the 2021 travel trend will continue to be less about tourism and more about living, working and connecting safely away from home.

Based on a survey commissioned by Airbnb and conducted by ClearPath Strategies from September 15-19, 2020 of 1,010 US adults, the survey revealed the top trends redefining travel in 2021.

The pandemic caused by COVID-19 had a profound impact on travel in 2020. The impacts will continue to be felt in a number of ways. Firstly, continued remote working, and in some cases remote schooling, will upend traditional vacation seasons and blur the lines between working and traveling.

Secondly, safety and cleanliness will continue to be top of mind for travelers, driving a preference for private, entire homes over crowded hotels. Thirdly, international travel, especially long haul, will continue to be impacted and finally, having been isolated for much of 2020, people will want to use travel to reconnect with friends and family in safe and controlled ways.


Live Anywhere – Taking Life on The Road

Work from home could become work from any home as remote working continues to be a reality for many people. The survey revealed that :

  • 83 percent of respondents are in favor of relocating as part of remote working.
  • A quarter believe they will be able to ‘live where they want to and work remotely’.
  • One in five of those surveyed have relocated their living situation during the pandemic either temporarily or permanently.
  • 60 percent of parents are very or somewhat likely to consider working remotely and traveling with their children if schools continue to be disrupted.
  • Unsurprisingly, Gen Z’ers and young millennials are most likely to believe they can move to a new location to work or study remotely.

The survey also revealed that, from July to September 2020, there has been a 128 percent increase in guest reviews mentioning “relocation”, “relocate”, “remote work” and “trying a new neighborhood” in comparison to the same time frame in 2019.


Redefining the Staycation

As uncertainty persists, domestic travel will continue to be a key trend in 2021, with 62 percent of people interested in taking a vacation within driving distance of home.

The commissioned survey data of US travelers and an analysis of search and booking data also show that a range of domestic locations in national parks, winter ski and beach towns are becoming the most popular.

Although most travel will remain closer to home in 2021, that doesn’t mean travelers aren’t having new, exciting adventures where they’re staying. Guests are expanding their horizons and seeking unique travel experiences.

The shift to more remote and socially-distanced stays is also reflected in some of the top booked space types. Entire homes have officially replaced apartments as the top space type among guests in 2021, providing controlled, private space for everyone. More off the beaten path stays like cabins and cottages crack the top five space types for 2021 trips, replacing villas and townhouses from 2020.


The Rise of Pod Travel

2020 has made the craving for fundamental human connection very real, and this resonates in how people are thinking about travel in 2021. In fact, relocating permanently or temporarily to live close to family is favored by 85 percent of survey respondents.

Whether it means traveling to be close to family members, or reuniting to quarantine with a group of friends, “pod” travel is here to stay for those who want to safely be together while reducing risks associated with socializing with others.

For those who have voluntarily relocated in 2020, 37 percent say it was to be close to family or friends – the most common reason given. This has become increasingly popular with younger generations, with 61 percent of under-50-year-olds interested in permanently moving and 47 percent interested in temporarily moving to be closer to loved ones.

For those who are not hitting the open road, they can still connect with loved ones while apart through Online Experiences. And groups are already finding unique ways to share special moments together, from preparing home-cooked authentic meals, to putting their minds together in virtual scavenger hunts, to sparking their curiosity and creativity through drawing.


Planning for the Future

While travel might look a little different in 2021, future adventures are keeping travelers inspired, with 36 percent of respondents saying they daydream about travel daily or more, increasing to 47 percent amongst people who work from home.

Airbnb’s research also shows that despite the uncertainty that continues to pervade people’s lives, the more they stay at home, the more the thought of getting out gives them confidence in the future. When asked how planning for a future trip makes them feel, the most selected answer by respondents was simply: hopeful.

Though travel restrictions are still in place, US travelers are still dreaming of their next far flung adventure, as reflected in the top trending destinations by search for trips in 2021. When the pandemic is over and travel restrictions begin to lift, travelers may be heading to vibrant cultural hubs, idyllic island clusters, and ethereal natural wonders first.

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