AUSTIN, Texas – Nov. 12, 2020 – Today, Vrbo® released its annual Trend Report to explore changing travel behaviors. Eight out of ten families (82%) are already making plans for 2021, and those plans include frequenting fresh water, snuggling in cozy cabins, and (finally) taking that bucket list trip. This year’s edition of the report also revealed that some pandemic-era travel habits will stick around, like road trips, visiting the great outdoors, and mixing work and play.
“Let’s face it – the pandemic makes it tough to predict what travel will look like in 2021. That’s why we combined search and demand trends on Vrbo with a first-of-its kind traveler survey of U.S. families,” said Melanie Fish, Vrbo’s travel expert. “The combination of survey and booking data is giving us the most accurate picture possible of the plans families are making for 2021.”
Top findings from the 2021 Vrbo Trend Report include:
Pandemic travel habits will stick around: Road trips, an affinity for the great outdoors, and taking Flexcations – a longer stay combining work and play – show no signs of slowing down:
59% of families say they are more likely to drive instead of fly on their next trip.
61% of U.S. families said they are more likely to visit an outdoorsy destination than an urban one.
52% of travelers who took a Flexcation this year found the experience refreshing and 67% said they would do it again.
Lakes, rivers and streams reign supreme: Vrbo demand data reveals an uptick in destinations near lakes and rivers across the south, midwest and eastern regions of the U.S. Vrbo’s top emerging destinations are all places where families can fish, camp and hike. Among the top five:
Emory, Texas – A place between two lakes filled with largemouth bass – also home to a small but mighty attraction, the A.C. McMillan African American Museum.
Slade, Ky. – Home to Red River Gorge, a hot spot for hiking, climbing and water sports – also close to Mammoth Cave National Park, rich with the history and stories of African American cave explorers who helped lay out the hundreds of miles of cave systems that make up the park.
Outer Banks, N.C. – A scenic coastal destination with flora and fauna aplenty.
Time to go all out: Countless families canceled vacations in 2020, so they are willing to pull out all the stops when travel returns to normal.
65% of travelers plan on traveling more than they did pre-COVID and 33% are willing to spend more than they traditionally would.
54% say they are more likely to take their bucket list trip.
The Trend Report also details trends about vacation planning, the desire to redo canceled vacations, and the most popular property types where families want to stay.
Jeff Hurst, Vrbo President:
"To me, the exciting thing is just how many more Emorys and Slades there are in the world and how you can experience the joy of being together with your family, whether it’s by a stream, a lake, or a mountain cabin. There’s just so much diversity in someone’s hometown that you can keep exploring, and maintain your wanderlust through a pandemic.
I know my kids started the year in Disneyworld on New Year’s, and I can confidently say that now, we’ve had days that were as fun – or more – in National Parks. There’s just so much encouragement around the ability of people to celebrate together without that moment of too much planning and so much stress to make their vacation perfect. Because the perfect part is really about enjoying nature and spending time with people you care about. "
Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart, pediatric psychologist and parenting coach:
"It’s so great to see how these trends are tied to mental health because for so long, we’ve kind of ignored mental health. And it’s so important, especially now. Neurologically, our brain doesn’t like monotony because we lose our motivation. We become exhausted, agitated and irritable when it’s too much of the same stuff, so changing your environment is important. Even if you’re living in Dallas and just go to a cabin or home that's thirty, forty minutes away, or even down the street – any change of scenery make a difference.
And connecting with lakes, water, nature, and being close to the ground is important especially when we’re in buildings all the time. You’re tying in the emotional experience with the thematic experience, and are in tune with your emotions and body – which can really make a difference for families and kids, and their mental health. "
 Based on a Kelton Global survey of 8,000+ family travelers across eight countries, Oct. 2020.
 Based on Vrbo travel demand for the 12-month period ending August 31, 2020.
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