While COVID-19 is not yet in the rearview mirror, an indefatigable sense of hope for travel is beginning to take its place. To explore this rolling wave of travel optimism, Booking.com has commissioned extensive research with more than 24,000 travellers across 31 countries and territories 1 including India, combining it with its proprietary data and insights as a digital travel leader for the past 25 years, to predict how travel will continue to be redefined in 2022.
2022 will be the year to make the most of unpredictability and start making up for lost vacation time in a big way, with the number of travellers who feel they need to do so having increased by 52 percent since last year. “As we look towards the year ahead, we’re seeing a lot of anticipation for Indian travellers to return to travel. Whether it’s domestically or abroad or just saying yes to whatever travel opportunity comes their way, it’s our mission to make it easier for everyone to explore again, when the time is right. We will be there for travellers – offering the widest choice, great value and the easiest experience from anywhere and on any device – so people can reclaim their travel mojo and enjoy all of the unforgettable experiences this world has to offer, when it’s safe to do so again,” says Ritu Mehrotra, Regional Manager, South Asia at Booking.com

More so than daily exercise or mindful meditation, getting away on vacation will become THE form of self-care in 2022, with over 84% of Indian travellers affirming that 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. Booking.com’s Travel Predictions research reveals that 85% of Indian travellers believe that having a vacation planned has a positive impact on their emotional wellbeing and 69% of Indian travellers say that they didn’t realize how important travel was to their wellbeing until it was no longer an option.
Resetting the Out Of (Home) Office : Vacation time will be strictly work free
When the pandemic hit, homes across the globe became our offices too, and the novelty of working remotely was realized. However, in 2022 we’ll see a significant rise in people wanting to take back control in a bid to firmly re-establish a healthy work-life balance as vacation time itself will be strictly work-free for 77% of Indian travellers in 2022, which wasn’t always the case in 2021 with home and remote work lives blurred. And with 76% of Indian travellers claiming to have worked more hours using less vacation days during the pandemic, we expect to see more people setting their well deserved out of (home) office messages in 2022.

All the First-Time Feels: The anticipation of the journey will be as exciting as the destination
While many of us may have forgotten where our passport is or even just how to pack, all that out-of-practice travel awkwardness will give way to a genuine sense of delight for even the most routine aspects of our trips in 2022. After feeling ‘stuck’ for so long, rather than rushing through the journey, travellers will be relishing every moment. Each ‘first’ of our trips in 2022 will be a moment to savor, with a majority of Indian travellers saying that simple pleasures such as feeling the sun on their skin (75%) or seeing a body of water of some kind instantly improves their mood for the better (84%). Even the uncertainty of navigating public transportation in a new city in a foreign language is something 75% of Indian travellers say they’ll enjoy while 84% of Indian travellers say that travel is more enjoyable when the journey feels like part of the trip itself. After such a long period of limited options, recapturing that first-time feel and leaning in to every single moment will be a hallmark of trips in 2022.

Community First: Authentic connection with the local community will be priority
As restrictions caused travel to slow in many parts of the world, the pandemic forced us to make the most of what was on our doorsteps. From supporting independently owned businesses to spending more time than ever at the neighborhood park, our relationship with the community around us has rekindled. In 2022, this desire to connect authentically with the local community will continue on vacation too, as we seek to be more mindful about every trip we take and ensure our impact on the places we visit and the people who live there is positive. To this effect, 78% of Indian travellers agree it’s important that their trip is beneficial to the local community at their destination and 75% of Indian travellers would appreciate an app or website that provides recommendations on destinations where an increase in tourism would have a positive impact on the local community.

Swipe Right on New Places and Faces: 2022 will finally be the time to branch out and make new connections

For many, the pandemic meant spending an extended and intense period with our closest friends and loved ones, but vacations in 2022 will be an opportunity to branch out and make some new connections. As 81% of Indian travellers want to meet new people

Uncertainty will continue to be a constant in travel in 2022, and while we cannot change or predict every new surprise and challenge that fate has in store for us, we will embrace it. Having leaned on technology in a variety of ways to stay connected and inspired over the past year and a half, our favorite apps will continue to help us navigate the unknown on our trips, with 76% of Indian travellers agreeing that technology helps alleviate the anxiety around traveling. Technology will continue to smooth out the unforeseen bumps in the road with increasing finesse and proactivity.