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My 50 Best Travel Tips After 10 Years Traveling The World

Best Travel Tips for Traveling the World

How To Travel The World: My Best Travel tips

Travel Tips Guide

It’s now been 10-years since I sold everything and left the United States to travel the world. These are the best travel tips to help you save money and have a great trip.

Curious about how to travel the world? I’ve been traveling around the world for many years as a digital nomad.

And I have tons of useful travel tips to share from my journey.

My traveling started when I quit my job and took a one-way flight from Miami to Guatemala, leaping nervously into the unknown and leaving much of my old life behind while embarking on an epic adventure around the world.

The experience has been a wild ride — traveling to over 50 countries, meeting countless people, and I’ve learned a ton since I first left!

Having adventures like hitchhiking across America, camping alone in Greenland, trekking through Afghanistan and much more — the world has been an amazing teacher.

I eventually turned writing about my journey into a successful travel blog, and continue to travel on a regular basis as part of my dream job.

But to celebrate my travelversary (travel anniversary) each year, I update this guide with a collection of my best travel tips to help you save money, stay safe, and inspire others to get out there and explore our world.

And feel free to share your own favorite travel tips in the comments at the end!

My Best Travel Tips: Ultimate Guide

Travel Tips from a Professional Traveler

My Top Travel Tips: Become An Expert Traveler

Tips For Making Travel Easy & Fun

1: Patience Is Important

Patience is my top travel tip. Don’t sweat the stuff you can’t control. Life is much too short to be angry & annoyed all the time while traveling. Did you miss your bus? No worries, there will be another one.

ATM out of money? Great! Take an unplanned road trip over to the next town and explore. I know it can be hard sometimes, but just take a deep breath and remind yourself that it could be worse.

2: Wake Up Early To Avoid Crowds

Rise before sunrise to have the best attractions all to yourself while avoiding large tourist crowds. It’s also a magical time for photos due to soft diffused light, and it’s usually easier to interact with locals getting ready for their day.

Want those postcard Instagram travel shots? You need to get out there before everyone else shows up. Sketchy areas are less dangerous in the morning too. Honest hardworking people wake up early; scammers and criminals sleep in…

3: Observe Daily Life Around You

If you really want to get a feel for the pulse of a place, one of my favorite travel tips is to spend a few hours sitting in a park or on a busy street corner by yourself just watching day to day life happen in front of you.

Slow down your train of thought and pay close attention to the details around you. The smells, the colors, human interactions, and sounds. It’s a kind of meditation — and you’ll see stuff you never noticed before. You’ll really absorb the destination this way, and remember these moments long after you leave.

Travel Tips to Have a Good Trip

Relax, and Enjoy Yourself

4: Laugh At Yourself Sometimes

You will definitely look like a fool many times when traveling to new places. Rather than get embarrassed, laugh at yourself. Don’t be afraid to screw up, and don’t take life so seriously. Relax!

One time a whole bus full of Guatemalans laughed with glee when I forced the bus driver to stop so I could urgently pee on the side of the road. Returning to the bus and laughing with them gave me new friends for the rest of the journey!

5: Slow Down To Enjoy Your Trip

Please don’t try to cram 6 countries into 6 weeks of travel. All the good stuff happens when you really take the time to explore. You’ll learn about activities that aren’t in your guidebook and meet people who are eager to show you around.

I can honestly say that NONE of my best travel experiences happened within the first few days of arriving somewhere. Spend more time in fewer places for maximum enjoyment. I promise you’ll have a much better time!

Along with that, I highly recommend renting a car when you travel to foreign countries. Sure, it can be a bit scary to drive somewhere new, but it really opens up your opportunities for adventure! Plus its a lot of fun.

6: Volunteer Occasionally

Make it a point to volunteer some of your time for worthwhile projects when traveling. Not only is it a very rewarding experience, but you’ll often learn more about the country and its people while also making new friends.

There’s a great site called Grassroots Volunteering where you can search for highly recommended volunteer opportunities around the world. Just be very careful with voluntourism and do your research, as there are many scams out there too.

Travel Photography Tips

Travel Tip: Take Lots of Photos!

7: Take Lots Of Epic Travel Photos

Pay attention to this travel tip. You may only see these places & meet these people once in your lifetime. Remember them forever with plenty of photos! Don’t worry about looking like a “tourist”. Great photos are the ultimate souvenirs.

They don’t cost anything, they’re easy to share, and they don’t take up space in your luggage. Take plenty of photos of yourself with other people too, they’ll be more important than your postcard shots later. Just remember that once you get your shot, it’s important to get out from behind the lens and actually enjoy the view.

Online Photography Classes

Take Better Travel Photos

Want to improve your photography? Check out my top travel photography tips to improve your photos!

8: Don’t Get Discouraged

Nothing is impossible. If you are having trouble going somewhere or doing something, don’t give up. You just haven’t found the best solution or met the right person yet. Don’t listen to those who say it can’t be done.

Perseverance pays off. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told what I want to do isn’t possible, only to prove it wrong later when I don’t listen and try anyway. What’s the worst that can happen? Failing isn’t the end of the world!

9: Break Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Challenge yourself to try things that normally give you anxiety. The more you do this, the more that anxiety will fade away. Not a hiker? Go on more hikes. Have trouble talking to strangers? Talk to everyone. Scared of weird food? Eat the weirdest thing you can find.

The reason this works so well while traveling is because everything is already so different, what’s one more new/uncomfortable experience? No one knows who you are out here, you can totally reinvent yourself.

International Travel Tips for your Journey

Travel Tip: Keep an Open Mind

10: Keep An Open Mind

Don’t judge the lifestyles or customs of others if different from your own. Listen to opinions you don’t agree with. It’s arrogant to assume your views are correct and other people are wrong. Practice empathy and put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

Embrace different possibilities, opinions, religions, customs, and interests. Ask questions. You don’t have to agree with everyone, but you may be surprised what you’ll learn from the people you meet during your travels.

11: Get Lost On Purpose

If you want to see the parts of town where real people live & work, you need to go visit them. The best way to do this is on foot — without knowing exactly where you’re going. Write down the name of your hotel so you can catch a taxi back if needed, then just pick a direction and start walking.

Don’t worry too much about stumbling into dangerous neighborhoods either, as locals will generally warn you before you get that far. And you never know what amazing things you’ll find around the next bend…

Travel Planning Tips & Tricks

Travel Tips to Help You Plan

Travel Planning Tips

12: Be Flexible & Don’t Over Plan

I cringe when readers ask how many days they should spend traveling in a particular country or city. The truth is I have no idea what you’ll enjoy or who you’ll meet. I thought I’d rocket through Nicaragua in a week or two, but ended up living there for 4-months because I liked it so much.

My advice is to pick a starting point, 1 or 2 must-do activities, and an ending point (or not). Then just let the universe determine the rest. Be flexible and open to change your plans if you learn about something along the way!

13: Learn A Few Foreign Words

There’s no need to be fluent in order to visit a foreign country. However, one tip I’ve learned is to master a few phrases in the local language can improve your travel experience. Hello, please, thank you, nice to meet you, excuse me, sorry, and “can I take your portrait” are some of my favorites.

Not being able to communicate while traveling can be frustrating, but remember that this is your problem, not theirs. Raising your voice doesn’t magically help Mexican’s understand English. Try hand signals, images on your phone, or Google Translate!

14: Take An Extra Credit & ATM Card

Having your bank card details stolen can suck, but especially if it happens when you’re visiting a foreign country. If your card gets frozen, stolen, or the ATM machine eats it, you’re screwed! Unless you happen to carry backup cards…

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An important travel banking tip is to pack a 2nd bank account/debit card plus a backup credit card, which you keep separate from your wallet. This way, if your wallet gets stolen, or your ATM card gets declined, you are still able to have access to money during your travels.

Best Ways to Travel the World

Be Prepared for a Great Trip

15: Write Down The Address Of Your Hotel

Sometimes, after a long flight playing games on your smartphone, your battery could end up dead. And if you didn’t write down the address of where you’re staying, how will you tell/show the taxi driver?

As ridiculous as it sounds, I’ve done this a few times and it’s awkward. Falling asleep or forgetting to charge my phone. I’d also recommend writing down your hotel room number somewhere after you check in.

16: Read A Book About The Country

Before you travel to a new country, I recommend reading a good book about it, to learn more about history and culture before you arrive. This could be as simple as a Lonely Planet guidebook, or maybe a popular novel by a local author.

Your on-the-ground travel experience will feel much more fulfilling if you already know some details about the area you’re visiting. Don’t worry, you’ll still discover plenty of new stuff, but you’ll have a foundation to start on.

17: Splurge A Bit While Traveling

I’m a huge fan of budget travel, as it allows you to travel longer and experience more of the fascinating world we live in rather than waste your hard-earned money on stuff you don’t need. In fact you can travel many places for $50 a day with no problems.

That said, living on a shoestring budget gets old after a while. It’s nice (and healthy) to go over your budget occasionally. Book a few days at a nice hotel, eat out at a fancy restaurant or spend a wild night on the town. Enjoy yourself!

Travel Packing Tips

Travel Tips to Help You Pack Smarter

Useful Travel Packing Tips

18: Pack Ear Plugs & An Eye Mask

This travel tip should actually be #1 on the list. I love my earplugs! Muffle the sounds of crying babies, drunk Australians, barking dogs, honking horns, dormitory sex, natural gas salesmen, and more. A traveler’s best friend. These are my favorite earplugs for comfort & effectiveness.

A comfortable eye mask is another wonderful investment to cure jet-lag. If you’re looking for other gift ideas for travelers, make sure to check out my ultimate travel gift guide for those travelers in your life (or, just a treat for yourself!)

19: Take A Scarf Or Sarong With You

I happen to use a shemagh, but sarongs also work great. This simple piece of cotton cloth is one of my most useful travel accessories with many different practical applications.

It’s great for sun protection, a makeshift towel, carrying stuff around, an eye mask, a wrap for conservative countries, and much more. I can’t tell you how many times a scarf has come in handy for me on my travels around the world.

20: Bring Your Own Water Bottle

If you haven’t noticed, humans are destroying the planet with plastic waste. Constantly buying bottled water when you travel is incredibly bad for the environment! But tap water isn’t always safe everywhere either…

My advice to both save money and help save the environment is to pack a filtered water bottle on all my adventures. This way you can re-use the same bottle thousands of times, and never pay for expensive, wasteful bottled water again!

Traveling Tips to Meet People

Hang Out with Locals!

21: Pack Less Stuff In Your Backpack

You don’t need 1/2 the gear you think you do to travel anywhere. We’ve all done it. It’s a right of passage for travelers to slowly become better at packing less. My first backpack was 70-liters packed full, my current bag is only 40-liters.

As a full-time vagabond, everything I own fits in my travel backpack. If you’re not sure about packing something, you don’t need it. It’s also possible to buy most things at your destination country if you discover you need them.

22: Carry Spare Passport Photos

Obtaining visas for certain countries can be a real pain, and some can require multiple passport sized photos. Have you ever tried to find a place that shoots passport photos in Tajikistan? It’s not easy!

Before you leave your home country, get a bunch of passports sized photos (10?) printed up and bring them with you, just in case. It will save you a lot of time and hassle in the long-run.

23: Bring An Extra Camera Battery

There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a perfect photo opportunity, but powerless to capture it because of a dead camera battery! When I first started traveling, this happened to me more times than I’d like to admit.

These days I don’t go anywhere without a spare battery for my camera, charged up and ready for action. That way you’re always ready for epic travel photography situations like cotton-candy sunsets, wildlife encounters, or postcard-worthy street scenes.

24: Always Pack A Lock

I always pack a small combination lock as well as a thin steel cable when I travel. It comes in handy in many situations, for example if you’re staying at a hostel with lockers, or if you need to lock your bag to something for some reason.

I’ve locked my bag to bus seats, to a tree while at a swimming hole, to a sink in a sketchy hotel room, etc. I’ve also used them to lock a rented scooter up, or a bicycle. It’s not perfect, but its better than nothing.

25: Bring Good Travel Shoes

You’re going to be walking a lot when you’re traveling, especially if you want to save money. So invest in a good pair of travel shoes (I really like these ones) that are lightweight, multi-use, and very comfortable.

I like to bring a pair of good sneakers, as well as a pair of sandals. If I’m going to be doing a lot of hiking in the mountains, I’ll also pack a pair of hiking boots.

26: Packing Cubes For The Win!

Trying to keep a suitcase or backpack organized while you travel is a big headache, unless you use
packing cubes. These little zippered bags allow you to keep your underwear separate from dress clothes, or dirty clothes from clean ones.

I’ve been using these packing cubes for years and absolutely love them! They take up very little space, but make finding your stuff so much easier. Another option is compression bags, which push all the air out leaving even more room for more stuff.

Cheap Travel Tips

Travel Tips to Save You Money

Money Saving Travel Tips

27: Book The Cheapest Flights

Flying can often be one of the most expensive parts of an international trip. But with practice, you can learn how to book super cheap flights and save tons of money. For example, by booking 2-3 months in advance.

Sign up for cheap ticket alerts, keep an eye on mistake fares, and take a look at alternative airports that might be near your final destination. Read my free guide to finding cheap flights and learn all the latest tricks!

28: Go On Free Walking Tours

One great money saving travel tip is to join free city walking tours when you first arrive. These tours allow you to orient yourself in an unfamiliar city, scope out some good photography locations to return to later, learn facts about the city, and maybe make some new friends too.

Just keep in mind that the tours are free because the guide is expecting a tip at the end, so don’t be cheap and make sure to thank them for their time with $5-$10. It’s a wonderful way to save some money while traveling!

Try Local Food to Save Money

Travel Tip: Eat Local Food

29: Eat Local Food Frequently

Taste a bit of everything when you travel, especially if you don’t know what it is. Ask local people for recommendations. Eat street food from vendors with big lines out front. Eating street food is an awesome way to save money while you travel!

I’ve only been very sick twice in 9 years of constant travel. Don’t be scared of the food. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with popping into McDonald’s if you’re feeling homesick, but why fly across the world to eat the same stuff you can get at home? Live a little!

30: Avoid Expensive Hotels & Resorts

You don’t need to stay at expensive hotels while traveling. In fact, you can save hundreds, or even thousands of dollars on your trip by staying in more budget-friendly accommodation, like hostels, local guesthouses, or Couchsurfing — an online community of people who share their couches with strangers for free.

Sleeping in backpacker hostels can also be beneficial to your wallet, as renting a dormitory bed costs a fraction of what a hotel would. $30 a night versus $100 a night really adds up! Plus it’s a wonderful way to meet fellow travelers.

31: Cook Your Own Meals

One of the benefits of staying in a rented apartment or hostel is these types of travel accommodations usually have a kitchen. Do you eat out every night when you’re home? Do you think the locals do? Of course not.

One of the reasons travel is so expensive is because we often eat out all the time because it’s convenient. You’ll save a lot of money if you simply visit the supermarket and prepare some of your own meals while you’re traveling. It’s fun to shop at foreign supermarkets too!

32: Use Travel Credit Cards For Rewards

It took me a while to get into travel hacking, but now that I have, I use it all the time! Basically, by using certain travel rewards credit cards for your bills & expenses, then paying the off right away, you can collect thousands of points & miles that can be redeemed for free flights, hotels, and more.

I’ve saved thousands of dollars on free flights this way over the years. In fact, just last year my wife and I paid under $300 for two round-trip flights from New York to Argentina — saving over $2000.

33: Eat Away From Tourist Attractions

Restaurants that are conveniently next to popular tourist attractions are ALWAYS overpriced. If you want to save money on food, try walking a few blocks away to eat at a normal restaurant, not one geared for tourists with inflated prices.

Also beware places where the menu is written in multiple languages for tourists — these are also going to be overpriced.

Staying Safe while Traveling

Travel Tip: Don’t Be Afraid

Helpful Travel Safety Tips

34: Don’t Be Afraid Of Other Countries

The corporate news media loves to report on tourists getting killed or kidnapped. Because it’s sensational and gets clicks. However, the world is not nearly as dangerous as the media makes it out to be. Keep an eye out for sketchy situations but don’t let that be the focus of your whole trip.

Use common sense and you’ll be ok. Understand that “if it bleeds, it leads”. Most people in foreign countries are friendly, trustworthy, generous, and willing to help you out. This goes for women too. I realize I’m not a woman, but I’ve met plenty of experienced female travelers who agree.

35: Always Get Travel Insurance

No one ever thinks they’ll get sick, injured, or robbed while traveling. But it happens when you least expect it. During my travels, I’ve sliced up my head on a volcano, contracted Dengue fever, and lost my laptop to thieves.

With good travel insurance you don’t have to worry about huge hospital bills or stolen gear when it eventually happens. For all kinds of trips ranging from a weekend up to a few months long, I always recommend picking up a travel insurance policy with SafetyWing.

Have ideas will travel

Ryan Johnson Career Guidance

Fourteen incredible travel vlog ideas

These days a vlog is a simple yet effective way to market yourself and gain a following. As a travel vlogger, you have the best responsibility in the world. You must travel to incredible places, do extraordinary things and then make good quality videos representing those adventures. There are two small problems with this seemingly simple process: Firstly, where do you find good ideas for vlogs? and secondly, how do you make a vlog. Each video should have a creative twist that keeps your audience captivated. The viewers need to like it so much that they want to travel there immediately. Here are some travel vlog ideas that might captivate more viewers. Read down to find out how to learn to make vlog.

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Master your wildlife filmmaking skills in the heart of wild Africa.

A. Make it personal.

Your first pinned video should introduce you, your channel and the type of travel vlog you’ll be hosting. People are interested in you, so include more about yourself as the vlogger. You can incorporate your personality into these videos and show people they can trust what you tell them.

Interesting vlog ideas showing more about you are:

1. your morning or evening home routine, “a day in your life “;

2. your favourite places or activities;

3. a house or room tour (especially if you’re travelling);

4. a behind-the-scenes look at your photography shooting or editing processes;

5. your travel bucket list.

Personal vlogs make your channel inspiring and unique and allow your audience to identify with you as a person and traveller. A good tip from a pro: Michael Cole at design wizard says, “follow your passion” in his blog on becoming a YouTuber .

B.Include other people

Another excellent travel vlog idea is to approach and include other people in your video. You could interview the person sitting next to you on the bus or the owner of a coffee shop you found. You could also do a video to answer their comments or FAQs to appeal to your followers . Make collaboration videos with other vloggers. This way, both of you can gain some viewers and work together to develop creative travel vlog ideas.

C.Bring in some humour .

People like to laugh. With the requisite permissions, film a prank you did on your travel buddy – prank videos tend to go viral. You could also see any trending funnies or YouTube challenges you could try. Parody videos, e.g. impersonating a movie character, can be hilarious to watch.

D.How to do.

How-to videos are popular and helpful. We live in an age of learning and improving ourselves. When travelling to an adventurous destination like Africa, you could make a vlog on “How to survive a night in the African bush”. My personal favourite is ” How I discovered that the rock hyrax is the closest living relative of the elephant “.

E.Talk about your trip as you prepare .

Before travelling, do an introductory vlog about the place you’re planning to visit. The planning details of your trip will get your audience excited for the destination vlogs to come.

F.Interesting travel stories

Maybe something out of the ordinary happened to you on your trip. Something scary, funny, unusual, unique or even irritating. Your viewers will love the little anecdotes that made your trip unforgettable. Tell them the story of that extraordinary encounter.

G: Talk about what you know .

Everybody is an “expert” in something. You can include your hobbies or personal interests in your vlog by giving quick tutorials or demonstrations. For instance, while travelling, you could film yourself taking photos of African wildlife and explain how you got a particular shot. You could film the treasures you find on a game walk in the deep African bushveld. If you’re involved in activities like these, you can give more in-depth and credible information on it. If you talk about something you’re good at, it will build your audience’s trust.

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H.Travel advice or tips

This type of vlog can include ‘do’s or don’ts’ for specific places, couple travel tips, packing or budgeting tips, or “survival tips” for each destination.

I.Sell a product

Selling products is an excellent travel vlog idea if you’re an experienced vlogger with something to sell. Maybe you’ve written a guidebook on a place you’ve visited or a how-to guide on vlogging. You can dedicate one of your videos to telling your followers about the new product. After this, you can refer to it again in future vlogs and remind them how and where they can purchase it. Learn about affiliate links and use them to monetise your vlog.

J. Cover an event

Make a vlog about it if you’re attending a live concert, music festival, or show. Take your audience to the concert by showing everything at the event, recording sections of the concert, introducing the location, etc. Make sure of legalities, and don’t publish the entire concert on your vlog as you are bound to run into copywriting issues.

K. A blooper video

Vloggers rarely use the first take in the final vlog. As a funny travel vlog idea, you could make a compilation of your bloopers and post it as a video of its own. As you already know, people love to laugh.

L. A vlog about a rare event

Unexpected things happen when you travel. Maybe you’ll find yourself stuck in the mud at the watering hole, and you have to dig the dirt out of the exhaust pipe with your pen. You could make a vlog about the community effort to rescue a beached whale or a family of elephants that move to a different reserve. Maximise on situations like these when they present themselves. They contain a lot of drama and immediate action that will immediately capture the viewer’s attention.

K. Adrenaline vlogs

If you’re an adrenaline freak, your activities will already provide some thrilling travel vlog ideas. Make your viewer’s pulse race by posting a video of you bungy jumping, river rafting or sandboarding. Adrenaline-filled adventures appeal to a particular target audience, so make sure that this type of video will fit in with the rest of your channel.

L. Rank the places you visit

It’s a good idea to upload a video after each trip to rank the place you just visited. Rank it using the same criteria and as a knowledgeable travel vlogger. Maybe your most recent trip has reached the top of the list, or perhaps it still hasn’t topped one of your previous adventures. Having a regular vlog theme like this will give your audience something to look forward to after watching the vlogs from your most recent holidays: where will this destination rank on your list?

With these travel vlog ideas, you can fill your vlog with exciting and engaging content that will keep your audience captivated. Whether your interest lies in travelling , telling stories with your camera or filmmaking , having a vlog is a great way to document and share your travel experiences. Suppose you keep coming up with new ideas and initiatives. In that case, viewers will anxiously wait to see where your next adventures take you.

If you’d like to learn how to make a vlog please consider joining our photography program where the art of storytelling is a key component of the course.

15 Trends That Will Shape How We Travel in 2021

Man and woman in safety masks at airport

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s not to make predictions. Still, travelers rightfully have questions about what travel will look like this year amidst news of vaccines and pent-up demand. What will travel look like in 2021, and when will we actually be able to do it safely and without restrictions?

From digital vaccine cards to close-to-home river cruising opportunities, here’s what you should know about the trends that will shape travel in the year ahead.

Editor’s note: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still urging Americans not to travel. If you do plan to travel before the CDC’s recommendation changes, be sure to follow all local and government regulations, and incorporate COVID-19 tests into your pre- and post-trip planning.

1. River cruising will return before mainline cruising

For those looking to cruise in 2021, river cruising, especially in the U.S., will return before mainline cruising. “Smaller numbers of guests make it easier to manage screenings and safety protocols that are coming,” says Corina Quinn, the city guides director at Condé Nast Traveler. “It’s also easier for contact tracing, and ports tend to be more comfortable welcoming a smaller group of visitors.” Quinn predicts higher interest in river cruising destinations in the U.S., such as the Mississippi River, the Great Lakes, and the Columbia River Gorge, as travel opens up again in 2021.

Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-founder of AmaWaterways, which offers river cruises abroad, says she’s “very confident that river cruising will be one of the earliest travel segments to recover” and that AmaWaterways is seeing strong booking throughout 2021, especially for summer and fall trips.

As for mainline and international cruising, don’t expect that to return until at least late summer or early fall given the health and sanitation protocols that need to be implemented. And when cruising does return, “Expect the experience to be very different in all aspects,” says Tanner Callais, founder of Cruzely.com. “Major cruise lines have stated they will focus on short, controlled trips. Think of sailings of a few days headed to one or two ports, and most likely the cruise line’s private islands where they can better create a bubble.”

It’s likely that these shorter sailings will take off from ports like Miami and Galveston and head to Caribbean destinations. The good news is that shorter trip lengths will mean affordable itineraries.

Other changes to expect? Bye-bye buffets, more services will be delivered via technology and apps, fewer guests, re-arranged decks and pool areas, testing and/or proof of vaccination, increased cleaning, and higher-value port excursions.

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2. Expect spring break travel to be quiet and summer travel to be busy

Since mass vaccination predictions align with the summer months, expect spring break travel to be quiet and instead, the summer travel period to be busy. Everything from popular honeymoon hotels to campgrounds to rail vacations are seeing high volumes of bookings from Memorial Day on.

“Many travelers who canceled trips in 2020 are using future travel credits, so inventory on cruises and tours and in hotels and resorts will disappear quickly,” warns Thomas Carpenter, owner and travel advisor at Huckleberry Travel.

It’s a trend that many are already observing: Vacations By Rail says it’s seeing unprecedented demand for travel in the second half of 2021; RVC Outdoor Destinations has an increase in bookings across their RV resorts and campgrounds for summer; Togo RV, an app for RV owners, reports that 74 percent of their readers already had issues when trying to book campgrounds for 2021; and Teresa Belcher, founder of the travel agency Honeymoon Islands, says it’s difficult to find availability at resorts for honeymooners because of the influx in rescheduled trips.

3. The average trip length will become longer

As companies continue to implement flexible work-from-home policies, the average trip length will become longer. Last year saw the creation of “Zoom Towns” and schoolcations where families and groups of friends temporarily migrated to a different part of the country to both work and play.

Evolve Vacation Rental is seeing an increase in the average length of stay, says co-founder and CEO Brian Egan. He also notes that the vacation rental platform is seeing double the amount of 2021 vacation rental bookings for stays longer than 10 nights compared to last year. And where are they headed? “Warm weather areas like Arizona—Scottsdale, Tucson, and Phoenix—as well as island destinations—Hilton Head Island, Marco Island, and Kailua-Kona—are popular Zoom Towns with the longest length of stays,” he says.

Some hotels are even shifting to a monthly rate model. Anyplace, a flexible-term fully furnished housing marketplace, says the company has seen inbound inquiries up 200 percent compared to January 2020 (pre-COVID-19) from partners who want to offer monthly rentals. And then there’s D. Alexander, a home hotel collection whose “Destination Isolation” campaign offers travelers “destination homes” in desirable locations for periods of two weeks or more with flexible booking terms.

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4. You’ll probably need a digital vaccination passport for international trips

Most experts agree you’ll likely need a digital vaccination passport if you’re looking to travel internationally or go on a cruise. Peter Lavelle of Byevisa, a visa processing website, notes that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has a travel pass app in the works where you’ll be able to check COVID entry requirements and store digital proof of your vaccine. Right now, it’s currently in testing with international airlines, and IATA is planning to launch the app by the end of March, Lavelle says.

Major airlines like United and JetBlue also plan to use a health passport app called CommonPass—which is also in testing stages—to verify passengers’ virus test results.

5. Booking flexibility is here to stay

Booking flexibility is a must, and it’s here to stay, at least in some sectors. Throughout 2021, travelers will be looking for transparency about cancellation and refund policies, trip insurance options, and rebook options in the event that their destination has new travel restrictions, says Robert Rauch, CEO and founder of RAR Hospitality.

We’re living in unprecedented times where cruise lines, group tour operators, hotels, campgrounds, vacation rental companies, and even airlines are all offering flexible booking terms. Take Intrepid Travel, a small group tour operator, that now allows travelers to reschedule or change their tour 21 days before departure with no change fees; or AmaWaterways, which allows guests who book 2021 trips through January 31 the flexibility to reschedule their river cruise through 2023 without fees.

And while U.S. airlines permanently nixed change fees in 2020, “International carriers that haven’t taken the plunge will in all likelihood continue to extend waivers for these fees for travel through the end of the year,” says Jessica Puckett, the transportation editor for Condé Nast Traveler.

Of course, flexibility is a major benefit to travelers even in non-pandemic times, and thanks to its popularity, it’s likely here to stay. “Even when travel normalizes—this year or next—this desire for flexibility, and overall commitment-phobia, will stick around,” notes Amiad Soto, co-founder and CEO of Guesty, a property management platform for short-term and vacation rentals.

  • Related:Travel Insurance for Post-COVID-19 Family Trips

6. It might be time to consider a travel advisor

If you’ve never considered a travel advisor, now might be the time. Travel advisors are well connected, and as travel advisor Thomas Carpenter explains, “We’re on top of the shifting entry protocols and testing requirements, and we act as consumer advocates if something goes sideways while our clients are traveling (which is increasingly an issue).” Travel advisors can also leverage preferred pricing and added amenities for clients, he adds.

7. Outdoor travel will remain popular even as other travel segments return

Evolve Vacation Rental is seeing the most interest in mountain locations and places with a strong connection to the outdoors like towns near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Colorado, according to Egan. There’s even a brand-new national park to explore, West Virginia’s New River Gorge. Roger Wilson, CEO of a tour operator in the area, Adventures on the Gorge, thinks the designation could result in an increase of 20 to 25 percent in visitors to the region.

But with this popularity comes overcrowding issues. Meredith Carey, an associate editor at Condé Nast Traveler, thinks it’s likely more national parks will institute reservation systems as we saw with Yosemite and Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Parks in 2020, to help control parking lots and trails.

RVs and campers will continue their surge in popularity into 2021 as well. In a recent survey, 74 percent of Togo RV’s readers said they’re planning to do more RVing in 2021 than 2020. Thanks to heightened interest, even more new RVers are expected to hit the road; according to the RV Industry Association, RV shipments are projected to increase nearly 20 percent in 2021, and RV rental companies like RVshare are seeing continued growth in 2021.

The same can be said for those considering van life. Vandoit Adventure Vans now has a 12- to 14-month waitlist (normally six months) for an outfitted van.

  • Related:The 12 Best National Park Lodges in the USA

8. Return to international travel will be a slow roll-out

For those looking to travel abroad as soon as possible, Mexico and the Caribbean will be the first destinations that travelers will flock to thanks to their proximity, open borders, and social distancing and sanitation measures. Once the Canadian border safely opens, expect demand to increase there as well.

But if you’re looking to head to Europe or another far-off locale, the future is less predictable due to restricted access. Jamie Larounis, a travel industry analyst at UpgradedPoints, predicts most slashed international airline routes won’t return in 2021, especially for niche routes like Philadelphia to Venice on American.

And what about study abroad programs? Adriana Smith, travel strategist and CEO of Travepreneur, says that while many institutions have canceled terms for the spring, the opportunity isn’t entirely gone for 2021. “The decision to continue running international programs in the spring or fall is based on a few factors, which include: destinations where there is zero to minimal academic risk, remote options for students, and consideration of program-specific medical and safety protocols.” She says there are also options for students to participate in domestic exchange programs and virtual internships.

9. Pandemic health and safety trends aren’t going anywhere

Sanitation and hygiene standards are top of mind for cruise ships, hotels, vacation rentals, theme parks, and airlines, and they’ll be the first to tell you about them. Contactless touchpoints, mobile ordering, enhanced certified cleaning programs, mandatory facemasks, air filtration temperature tests, health screenings, restricted capacity, and other social-distancing measures will remain in place for most of the year.

At-home testing kits and testing centers at airports will continue to pop up and may even become an added “amenity” to some experiences. Brie Shelly, founder of the travel agency The Experience by Brie Shelly, says more of her clients are interested in booking travel insurance, too. And she’s finding that it’s required in many cases. Some hotels, like Viva Wyndham All-Inclusive Resorts, even offer complimentary travel insurance as part of their all-inclusive package for guests who book direct.

  • Related:How to Clean an Airplane Seat and Other Germy Surfaces on the Plane

10. The motel comeback story will continue

“Motels are becoming even more desirable for 2021 vacationers,” says the CEO of Red Lion Hotels, John Russell. “Their foundational design creates a natural socially distanced experience—such as the exterior corridors and drive-up style rooms that minimize communal touchpoints.”

The founders of @aprettycoolhoteltour, an Instagram account focused on roadside hotel and motel tours, say they’ve had increased interest from followers planning road trips as “people are desperate for getaways that feel safe and are relatively close by, so it’s really nice to find unique places that you can just drive to for a night.”

11. Families will prioritize multigenerational trips

With canceled vacation plans and increased time apart, there will be heightened interest in planning multi-generational trips as elderly grandparents and parents get vaccinated first. Intrepid Travel says that a quarter of the top 25 itineraries booked by customers globally over the past three months are family-themed tours, compared to just 12 percent during the same period last year.

Vacation rentals will be the place to meet for family reunions and other types of gatherings because they “offer tons of bedrooms, backyards, and potentially lake or beach access, with plenty of space to host,” notes Condé Nast Traveler’s Meredith Carey. “It’s often a more cost-effective way to gather everyone together.”

And when it returns, cruising is another type of travel that families will look to book in the second half of 2021 thanks to reassuring safety measures and more innovative programming. “Disney Cruise Line, after all, can screen movies safely on deck by the pool from the Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel universes, offering something for everyone,” adds Corina Quinn of Condé Nast Traveler. “The combination of enhanced safety protocols with more affordable itineraries—that also feature great food and more modern ships—will strike a real chord with families.”

  • Related:6 Great Resorts for Multigenerational Family Travel

12. There will be lots of deals

Airlines and other travel providers need to entice travelers to book with deals and low prices. Sara Rathner, credit cards and travel expert at NerdWallet, says “In the short term, we’ll see some pretty compelling fare sales. But eventually, airlines won’t need to work as hard to entice travelers.”

JetBlue, Southwest, and Emirates each posted sales in the first week of 2021 with deeply discounted flights for travel through at least May. And Bryce Conway, founder of 10xTravel, expects to see deals on hotels and cruises, too. He predicts that pricing should still be relatively low compared to pre-pandemic rates, and that travel deals will be contingent on the speed of the vaccine rollout in popular destinations. International deals are likely to materialize a few months after domestic deals take off.

13. Points and loyalty programs will be devalued

Initially, these programs will be used to entice travelers by extending statuses, making it easier to reach higher levels, and pushing back points expirations, but “too many people with too many points means that programs need to adjust their rates to compensate for the influx of currency,” says Jamie Larounis of UpgradedPoints.

“I expect that many airlines and hotels will move from ‘fixed rate’ or ‘award chart’ redemption pricing to ‘dynamic’ redemption pricing,” says 10xTravel’s Bryce Conway. And while branded as a “win” for consumers, “It often means that high-end redemptions become impossible to book because airlines and hotels can jack up the prices.”

  • Related:The 17 Best Flight Booking Sites for Travelers

14. More last-minute trips

Industry leaders across different travel sectors—vacation rental, campgrounds, rail travel, hotels—are all seeing bookings that support the idea that travelers will book more last-minute trips due to flexible policies and the need to wait for testing or vaccination.

A recent Expedia report found that U.S. travelers were booking flights on average 29 days out, the first time this number has dropped below 30 in years. As situations are constantly changing, travel advisors like Brie Shelly are telling most of their clients to book two to four weeks out, depending on the location, so they can make appropriate testing arrangements.

15. Things will get better

And finally, the travel industry will recover. While it won’t happen immediately, industry leaders are hopeful for a solid rebound with travelers’ pent up demand. From new hotel openings (Austin alone is set to see three major hotel openings this year, and EDITION Hotels will open seven international properties across three continents) to additional tour offerings (Intrepid Travel has released 30 new itineraries for 2021) and plenty of new attractions at Florida’s theme parks, the travel industry is set to rebound.

It’s safe to say you can reliably plan a vacation sometime this year, but it will probably include a mask, hand sanitizer, and a vaccination card.

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