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Bringing back the magic: Five Kiwi travel trends to expect in 2022

Newshub logo Newshub 10/11/2021 Dan Lake
For some, love is in the hot summer air. © Getty Images For some, love is in the hot summer air. © Provided by Newshub

As 2022 approaches, the prospect of travel feels like it's slowly making its way towards us, like the last suitcase at baggage claim.

But it is close enough to start thinking about it seriously.

Booking.com recently released results of research carried out with more than 24,000 travellers across 31 countries and territories, including over 500 people from New Zealand.

The aim was to predict the trends that show how travel will change in 2022.

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Gotta getaway

Much like daily exercise or mindful meditation, getting away on holiday is expected to become the main form of self-care in 2022, with 79 percent of respondents reporting travel helps their mental and emotional wellbeing more than other forms of rest and relaxation. 

After more than a year of ever-evolving travel restrictions, the important benefits that travel has on health and wellbeing are now being acknowledged, 60 percent of Kiwi travellers saying they didn't realise how important travel was to their wellbeing until it was no longer an option. 

The majority, 82 percent, say that having a holiday planned has a positive impact on their emotional wellbeing. 

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From WFH to OOO

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, WFH became as common as LOL, but the novelty of working from home was never going to last forever.

In 2022 Booking.com predicts we'll see a significant rise in people wanting to firmly re-establish a healthy work-life balance as holiday time itself will be strictly work-free. For 67 percent of Kiwi respondents the laptop will be off and the out of office message will be on.

Despite the flexibility to work remotely, 71 percent of New Zealand holidaymakers would rather have shorter, completely work-free holidays, instead of longer ones which mix business and pleasure.

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Bringing back the magic

While many of us have forgotten where our passport is or even just how to pack luggage, all that out-of-practice travel awkwardness is predicted to give way to a genuine sense of delight for even the most routine aspects of our trips in 2022. 

Remember what it was like to board a plane for the very first time? Or even just to check into a hotel? 

After feeling 'stuck' for so long, rather than rushing through the journey, travellers will be relishing every moment, from fine-tuning the playlist for the rental car to browsing duty free.

Of those who were surveyed, 23 percent said they were most looking forward to the pure excitement and anticipation as the journey begins. 

The formerly mundane daydreaming at your departure gate as you wait for your slightly delayed flight may become a time of excitement and anticipation as you await the feeling of flying once more. The majority of Kiwis, 78 percent, said travel is more enjoyable when the journey feels like part of the trip itself. 

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Scrap the plan, just go with the flow

After spending so long in a world with restrictions, 79 percent of Kiwis said they would be doing away with well-planned itineraries and just do the trip improv style.

Rather than checking the calendar or sleeping on it, 64 percent of Kiwis said they would say yes to any vacation opportunity if their budget allowed.

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New places, new faces 

For many, the pandemic meant spending an extended and intense period either living at home alone or amongst a small group of closest friends and family. But in 2022, there may be new opportunities to create new connections. Especially when travelling.

Half of the Kiwis surveyed said they wanted to meet new people while they were away, 33 percent said they wanted to stay in an area close to plenty of nightlife and social activities.

Booking.com even predicts a resurgence of holiday romances, with 39 percent of Kiwi travellers hoping for love to strike, or should that be swipe, on their next trip. 

Todd Lacey, New Zealand Area Manager at Booking.com said New Zealanders were fortunate to enjoy local travel during much of the pandemic, "however the most recent lockdown restrictions have us now hungry for more - especially when it comes to dusting off our passports for international adventures."

"Now, as we look towards next year and vaccination rates continue to rise, we're seeing a lot of excitement and anticipation for people to return to travel. Kiwis are particularly keen to reunite with family and friends overseas, as well as the change of pace and scenery that travel beyond our borders provides," he said.

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