Rise of smart travel, slow staycations, nomadic hotels, mental wellness retreats, weekends in quiet forests… Travel megatrends for 2021 show us ‘the new normal’ way to travel!
 

The future of Tourism is changing. We are looking at emerging new niches, travel styles and changing travel experiences. Every year travel trends change, however, 2021 is set to be one of tourism’s most transformative years. As the world slowly hopes to recover from COVID-19 and borders start to open, we expect travel to look a little different than it did pre-pandemic. Exploring crowded cities won’t be exciting or invigorating, neither will bustling markets. Tour operators will have to get creative by designing itineraries that avoid public spaces. Remote niche locations will be in high demand, where travellers don’t come in contact with others. Taking the principles of sustainable tourism into consideration, socially distant travel is even more important. Destination popularity will be dictated by how well that country or region has controlled the coronavirus. Here are few travel trends for 2021, that will be more about substance than style:

1. Reunion Travel: Once the world starts travelling freely, many people around the world will be keen to reunite with family and friends. We will witness the rise of Reunion Travel, where people engage in socialising via travelling experiences. Reunion destinations will witness high demand for family gatherings.  Airbnb forecasts the ‘rise of pod travel’ where people choose to safely travel together as a family. This was already a trend globally with younger travellers but in 2021, this is expected to be a top trend. These travel experiences will be multi-generational.
Places to visit: Ramgarh is hill hamlet in the North, it is 1.5 hours from Bhowali, higher than Nainital, with a view of snow-peaks. It’s known for its cottages for families to take a vacation together.
Kotagiri: Just 20 kms short of Ooty, this offbeat destination houses quaint wood and stone villas amidst green tea estates. Apart from the native tea tours, there are various camping and trekking activities to do as a family.

2. Rise of safe weekend staycations:  For the less adventurous traveller, safe staycations in nearby towns will be top priority  post COVID-19. People will prefer to take a weekend staycation near their homes which  are also in sync with the natural environment such as tree houses, cottages. Going local is the new normal. WFA destinations: Work from anywhere destinations will also be high demand, as the lines between working and travelling will blur. 
Places to Visit: Mahendargarh: Haryana is just 2 hours away from Delhi with an immersive farm stay experience, super fast wifi and comfortable cottages with their own outdoor pools. It makes for an excellent work/weekend stay.
From Bombay: Miss out on Nahsik, and instead choose the quiet but beautiful Vaitarna lake that lies pretty much on the same highway. Various resorts clustered around the lake, some luxury tents and some cottages, all extremely comfortable for that offbeat work day!
 From Bangalore: Traffic can be terrible and instead of making it to Mysore, we recommend Sarjapur near electronic city which has a few great retreats with lots of green, yoga and trekking /cycling to exercise the body and the mind.

3. No Footprint Travel: We are going to be high on sustainability and eco-friendly travel. Everyone is conscious of their carbon footprint, personal footprint when travelling will be in vogue. As global travellers are now embracing more eco-friendly, carbon-neutral methods of getting from one place to another, destination decisions will be made carefully. Also, travellers will prefer ‘offline travel’ — where people switch off their phones. In 2021, sustainability will be more than a buzzword, as people across the globe consider how to travel with a green conscience. Travel experts have coined the term ‘philantourism,’ which is the act of choosing a holiday in order to support the destination.
Places to Visit: Kumta (North Kannada): This is our Indian Greece, with tiny islands rich in foliage, estuaries with clams and prawns. The virgin beaches  light up at night with bioluminensece. This town, is also in highlight because of micro tourism, as they get all the resources from local communities, employ local people to run their farms and stays and develop products with the local bamboo weavers.
Bikstang (Sikkim): Situated at a distance of 119km from Gangtok in west Sikkim, this place is a major bird watching destination. The village itself is a postcard, with monasteries framed by the majestic Kanchanjunga. Sikkim, famous as an organic state boasts of farm experiences by locals, markets with organic produce and stays run by locals.

4. Farm to Fork Travel: One of the big travel trends will be taking organic holidays.2021 is going to be the year of the rise of Farm to Fork Travel! There’s curiosity to learn new methods of farming, harvesting, and producing food. 
Places to Visit: Kalagarh: This town is located in the buffer zone of Corbett National Park. The location itself ensures that last mile delivery is difficult and so the villagers have a self-reliant system for food. The best part is the actual foraging in the forest, for herbs and condiments. Guests can partake or watch while their meals get cooked on an open fire!
Goa: Very  few travellers know  that Goa has a vast number of islands that can be reached only with boats. One such place is Divar Island, with rich fields of paddy, vegetables and fisheries. The town has small restaurants on the jetty that allow travellers to catch their fish and cook it in the way they like. Its fish to fork!

5. Rise of Women travellers: Women will be the big segment ready to travel in 2021. There’s going to be an increase in the number of tours and destinations being marketed to women. There’s already a growing number of female travel bloggers influencing women to travel.
Places to Visit: Would women feel safe in resorts that are run exclusively by women? Here is one example, on the stunning coastline of Ratnagiri in Kolagewadi is a resort  run by 2 women with an all local female staff! Made especially for the solo traveller!
Kotabagh: While this resort is run by a group of locals, the head of the village is passionate about ensuring safety for women travellers and includes various women led initiatives in the village experience.

6. Mental Wellness travel:  Next year, will open new gateways for personal betterment and emotional fitness. The quest for improved health and immunity will be a powerful motivation to seek places that boost their wellbeing.
Places to Visit: Mulshi: Instead of heading to the Osho Ashram, make your way to Mulshi, just a few hours from Pune with lush resorts such as Atmantan offering varying wellness packages for mental fitness.
Varkala: It is the perfect choice for choosing an emotional wellness retreat. For one thing, it’s more quiet and is situated on cliffs with sprawling views of the sea.The stay experience is healing and uplifting.

7. Extreme experiences: Ever lived in an Igloo? And we are not talking about Scandinavia. Head to Hamta valley, a few kms from Manali and experience the Eskimo life. Skiing and snowboarding is also included in the overnight stay plan.
For more adrenalin, try the hanging tent experience in Sandhan Valley, near Nahsik. Imagine hanging in mid air, over the 300ft deep-cut valley on the Sahyadry mountain range in Maharasthra? Extreme isn’t it?