2022 is officially here! For many, this marks the start of diets, resolutions, and the determination to seek out new or repeat travel experiences. As the new normal is fine-tuned, travelers are ramped up, ready to go, and eager to know what to expect, especially when it comes to the latest travel trends.
Andy Goebil, director of communications and public affairs of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, says, “Domestic, international and business travel has improved since the beginning of the year. Airlines are optimistic that we will see domestic travel return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022. International travel continues to face challenges presented by emerging COVID-19 variants and travel restrictions.”
He continues, “Crew shortages and last-minute cancellations can be expected to continue through the Omicron variant surge but should ease later in the spring if not sooner. Airlines are watching available capacity very closely with demand and reducing fares in some markets to stimulate additional demand; however, we expect domestic flights to be full.”
Chelsea Stromfeld, public relations manager of Carnival Cruise Line, shares what the mindset of todays’ cruiser is like. “Our guests have stood by us through some challenging times and are so excited to be back sailing the high seas with us. Today’s cruiser wants to have the fun vacation experience that they’ve come to know, expect, and love with Carnival, where they can leave their worries behind and just enjoy, and we are fully committed to continuing to provide that on every ship and every voyage.”
Here are a few more travel trends to keep in mind this year.
Don’t Miss the Train
Not to be forgotten is the trusted train. Since 1971, Amtrak has been a favored avenue for travel.
“We’re expecting to see continued recovery from the pandemic though we do not expect to get much beyond 75 or 80% of normal here in the calendar year 2022. We certainly are going to continue to follow all the federal guidelines for mask mandates, and although there is no vaccination proof currently, should there be additional requirements, we will certainly follow those,” says Marc Magliari, public relations manager of Amtrak Chicago.
“Private rooms, roomettes, and bedrooms were a product that held up very well during the course of the pandemic, while people may have been more comfortable traveling in a private room, like a bedroom or a roomette because of social distancing concerns, we expect private room sales to continue to be strong.”
Multigenerational travel is trending like never before. It is common practice to see grandma, grandpa, parents, cousins, aunts, and uncles creating lasting memories as they travel and explore the planet as one big, extended, happy family.
“As more children become vaccinated, multi-generational family travel will return with earnest, and our ships are ready. As always, our guests want to go on a vacation where every member of the family is taken care of, so we’ve designed our ships to provide every age with a wide range of activities. From more delicious dining options to more top-of-the-line entertainment and ways to relax and rejuvenate, we are continuing to set a new standard for the cruise industry while upholding the welcoming, come-as-you-are energy that defines Carnival,” tells Stromfeld.
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Special interest area travel will also increase this year as individuals have missed yoga getaways in the mountains, golfing tournaments at the best resorts, and scuba diving in the clearest waters in the world. This means that people are now willing to pay top dollar for the best experiences.
Opportunities are bountiful for foodies. Hilton estimates that culinary experiences and trips will be in high demand. The Hilton 2022 Trends Report explains in more detail the changes in travel, the psychological impact of the pandemic, and how they have made enhancements to benefit guests and cater to their well-being. For example, their contactless check-in and work-day office space.
Travel Trends Beyond the Virus
“There is no question that there is uncertainty these days, but something that is certain is cruising is one of the safest ways to travel and enjoy a much-deserved vacation. We have implemented rigorous protocols to keep our guests, crew, and the places we visit safe and healthy,” states Stromfeld.
“Even with the stringent COVID-19 protocols we have in place, it is possible we will have some positive cases on board, given the prevalence of the Omicron variant. Should that happen, we are prepared to actively manage the situation, protect guest and crew health, and continue to operate the cruise,” she adds.
“Our data sources suggest that bookings are up slightly and interest is still strong, but passengers are not booking in the same manner consistent with “revenge travel” because of fear of having to make last-minute changes or cancellations due to issues related to the ongoing pandemic.
Atlanta hub carrier Delta Air Lines also announced that all existing vouchers and eCredit holders will be able to rebook their tickets by December 31, 2023, for travel throughout 2024. This flexibility in the booking is likely to somewhat smooth the peaks of demand,” shares Goebil.
He continues, “At Hartsfield-Jackson, we continue to enforce the federal mask mandate on airport property and have deployed a number of enhancements around the facility, including additional HVAC filtering and increased cleaning measures.”
As individuals continue to adjust, patience and flexibility are important as policies and regulations fluctuate. Therefore, know before you go. Always learn about the current conditions and COVID policies of the desired location and transit carrier prior to departure. An effective way to do this is by seeking out the expertise of a travel advisor.
Brittany Shuford, travel advisor and owner of Journeys with Brittany, has been in the business for five years and specializes in booking Caribbean and Mexico vacation packages. She shares, “I send out an email two weeks before travel. I like to try and do that as close as possible to the departure date. I have a breakdown and a system I use to stay up to date with the entry requirements,” explains Shuford.
With confidence, many are proclaiming that 2022 will be an amazing year, and since the travel industry has found many successful ways to pivot back, it looks like that sentiment is sure to be a reality. For travel updates throughout the year, follow Journeys with Brittany on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Follow Carnival Cruise Lines on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Follow Amtrack on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube and follow Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.