Hot 2022 Travel Predictions
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Hot 2022 Travel Predictions

It’s definitely time for parents and students alike to start making their travel bucket lists. Borders are opening. Vaccinations are up, and travel bookings for the summer of 2022 are on the rise.

The World Travel and Tourism Council says it expects a nearly 94% growth in international spending by travelers this year compared to 2021.

That’s great news for communities that rely on tourism. It’s also fantastic news for travelers who are itching to get back on the road. New York Times journalist Sebastian Modak summed up this optimism well when he spoke with CNBC.

“Since March 2020, there hasn’t been a time as promising as it is now,” Modak said.

Looking ahead, here are some of the trends and forecasts for international travel this year.

There will be an increase in travel to less-crowded, lesser-known locations.

Not surprisingly more people are looking at destinations that are a little off the beaten path. Large cities like New York and London have been hit hard by the pandemic and concern about larger crowds remains.

American Express also found that 72% of travelers want to support local communities when they get back on the road. This is welcome news for the communities that the Rustic Pathways Foundation supports. These villages across the globe are eager for travelers to come back to boost their local economies, share their culture, and help get everyone back on their feet.

Students work on a service project with local villagers during the Cambodia Floating Village program.  Copyright: © Rustic Pathways

More travelers will go to nature-based destinations.

The pandemic re-introduced many people to the joys of nature. When stores closed, taking a walk outside became one of our favorite and safest pastimes.

Students take a hike during the Andes to Amazon program in Peru. 
Copyright: © Rustic Pathways

This is helping spur a drive for outdoor adventure programs where teens can surf, zipline, hike and see local animals. Along the same lines, travelers are looking for sustainable travel that helps protect the environment, while promoting social equity, and economic viability. These experiences are more often found in nature programs than ones that center on large cities or resorts.

The need for adequate trip planning will return.

In the past couple of years there has been a tendency for much last minute planning. Many people would wait as long as possible to make plans in case another variant caused woes.

This is expected to lessen as the year progresses and the demand for travel programs grows. Like many other things we once took for granted, the availability of travel programs is not as guaranteed as it was in the past. Competition for limited ground transportation and accommodations, along with a diminished workforce can make it tougher to meet demand.

Therefore, it is wise to book early and get travel insurance, along with leaving plenty of time for any needed vaccinations or other planning measures.

Young people will be more likely to travel.

Young people have the advantage of not being as susceptible to illness. Many of them also are more likely to be dealing with mental health issues rising from the pandemic. Travel can help ease these challenges.

Most importantly young people have been missing out on opportunities older people had at their age, and they’ll want to make up for lost time.

Rustic students have a blast white water rafting during the Surf and Service program in Costa Rica. Photo: Caroline Bae

People will take longer trips.

Travel surveys indicate people generally are taking longer trips these days. It is giving travelers the chance to really immerse themselves in their destination. Maybe it is because the pandemic has slowed the pace of life a bit or maybe it’s because we are all overdue for a lengthy vacation. Regardless, it is expected that this trend will continue this year.

More families will travel with their pets.

Rustic students can’t bring their dog on a trip, but it is something to keep in mind for family vacations. Many places are becoming increasingly pet friendly amid the explosion of pet ownership during the pandemic.

Some destinations will be really hot in 2022.

An increase is tourism is expected in countries around the world, but there are several nations in particular that will likely be pretty popular for travelers:

Fiji: Nearly 40% of Fiji’s economy normally relies on tourism, so the country took a heavy hit during the pandemic. The nation finally opened its borders to international travelers on December 1 after doing everything it can to make the country safe for visitors. More than 91% of the eligible adult population are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and the nation is eager to welcome guests. It is offering quarantine-free travel to fully vaccinated tourists from Travel Partner countries, including the United States.

Climb some dunes and try your hand at sand boarding in Fiji. Copyright: © 2016 Rustic Pathways

Costa Rica: This nation proved itself capable of safely handling guests in the summer of 2021 when it was a popular destination. We don’t expect that to change in 2022 when it will still be considered a top option for travelers.

Zip line in Costa Rica.

Ghana: In May United Airlines started offering three nonstop flights a week from Washington D.C. to Accra, Ghana. The move is an indicator of the increasing popularity of this country for travelers.

Copyright: © 2016 Rustic Pathways Ghana

Thailand: This nation began reopening to vaccinated international travelers from 63 countries on November 1, 2021. The country has also launched several government programs designed to reignite its travel industry. Thailand ranked eighth globally in international tourist arrivals in 2019, and it’s expected the international interest in visiting Thailand will reignite in 2022 as it will throughout all of Asia.

Copyright: Rustic Pathways Thailand

The United States: Travel bugs in the United States relied much on domestic journeys during 2021. This has helped the tourism sectors in popular states like Hawaii, and led to a statewide shortage of rental cars in Alaska. These states are expected to fare well in 2022 since they offer so many things people are looking for now – nature, adventure, and innumerable sites off the beaten trail.

Enjoy the views in Alaska.

Aside from these locations, all the destinations for Rustic’s programs were selected based on evaluations that showed them to be the best spots for 2022 summer travel.

The enthusiasm for travel will be at a record high.

Busy airports and other bumps in the road won’t stop people from being grateful for the chance to explore the globe once again. Historians often note the bright and optimistic times that come after periods of struggle. Taking trips in 2022 will give people the chance to get an early dose of that joy, so it’s time to start packing.


About the Author

Mary Rogelstad

Content Writer

Mary is a Content Writer at Rustic Pathways. She has been a writer and editor for nearly 20 years. Prior to covering student travel, Mary created content for the music education company J.W. Pepper & Son. She also was a writer and producer at CNN International and a communications director for a social service agency and a K-12 private school.