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Where to Go in 2022: The Trends Indagare Is Seeing

The travel landscape is always evolving—even when there isn’t a global pandemic. But the last two years have made it painfully clear just how unpredictable the world—and how we explore it—can be. Just this week, the Omicron variant has made headlines around the world, prompting new entry requirements from some countries and travel bans from others.

And while nobody has a crystal ball, Indagare has been paying close attention to several trends. These are the patterns we’re seeing that give insight into what’s next for travelers. Read on for a look at the travel trends of 2022, including where we’ll be going, who we’ll be going with, how we’ll get there and more.

Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer to start planning a future trip. Our team can match you with the accommodations and activities that are right for you and provide information on coronavirus travel safety, Covid-19 hotel policies, transportation options, private villas and charters and more. 

Being Vaccinated (and Boosted) Will Open Doors

Prior to Thanksgiving, much of the world had once again become easily accessible for American travelers. Now, the Omicron variant has reversed what had been a consistent growth in the number of countries open (or set to open) to international arrivals. Still, the trend is clear: countries are more eager to welcome fully vaccinated travelers than unvaccinated ones. And increasingly, countries are adding an extra requirement: even if you are vaccinated, you may need a negative covid test and/or a booster shot unless your final vaccine dose is from within six or nine months, depending on the country.

In 2022, Everywhere Is an Emerging Destination

Pre-Covid, annual lists in top travel publications routinely discussed the new “it” places that would become leading emerging destinations, thanks to new hotels, new museums and new restaurants. Now, for many of us, it’s just as thrilling to return to destinations we’ve loved in years past as it is to head to a place that we haven’t been yet. “During lockdown, many people found themselves comforted by memories of beloved places like Paris or Maine, and they pulled to return to travel traditions that they can count on,” says Indagare CEO and founder Melissa Biggs Bradley, who has referred to these travelers who are seeking the familiar favorites as “First Returners.” We’re seeing this continue well into 2022, both domestically and abroad.

Where to Go: Beloved European destinations like Italy and Greece are high on the list for Indagare members.

Trips Are Getting Longer…

Average trip length for 2022 is up 34 percent over 2021 according to Indagare’s own initial findings. This increase is partially due to the added complications with covid entry and exit requirements across borders, and people’s desire to maximize their time in a given locale. Beyond that, continued flexibility regarding remote work allows travelers to bookend a vacation with working, or vice versa.

Where to Go: Indagare staff and members have combined remote work and vacation time for extended stays in destinations as varied as Kenya, Hawaii, Brazil, Maine, Switzerland and Mexico.

…While Lead Time Is Getting Shorter

In 2021, we saw an uptick in members booking trips closer to their departure dates—often less than a month out—especially to Europe and the Caribbean. We expect this pattern to continue. Because the landscape keeps changing, many would-be travelers decide to wait until the last minute before reserving. Of course, last-minute travel adds a slew of complications. Often, the top properties and restaurants are fully booked, and the flights available may not be ideal (schedule or price-wise). But with people cancelling at the last-minute as well, great spots can open up for those who can take advantage of a short lead time. Wait lists, which in the past rarely resulted in travel opportunities, now see a lot of movement.

Where to Go: Destinations with lots of hotel and restaurant options allow for the most flexibility. That includes urban and resort hubs, such as Los Cabos or Miami.

Bubble Travel and Hotel Buyouts Are Here to Stay

Indagare members are seeking social experiences within their own group of trusted travelers. That can mean a multi-generational yacht charter in the Caribbean, a friends’ getaway to Aspen or Tuscany, or a group trip, such as one of Indagare’s Insider Journeys, which have been selling out in record time. Another option on the rise: a hotel buyout. More hotels—and larger ones, too—are offering this as an alternative for bigger groups seeking privacy and space.

Where to Go: Private island retreats like Indagare Index resort Laucala or Necker Island are great for big-group takeovers. Other properties that offer buyouts range from French châteaux like Hotel Château du Grand Lucé and Airelles Château de Versailles to woodsy escapes like Taylor River Lodge in the Rockies or The Point in the Adirondacks. Another fun idea: reserving an entire car of a luxury train like Belmond’s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, with multiple suites and private dining. Plus, Indagare’s Insider Journeys will take intimate groups of travelers to European cities such as Florence (April 2022), Berlin (September 2022) and St. Petersburg (April 2022), plus the steppes of Mongolia (August 2022) and icy waters of Antarctica (November 2022).

Related: Our Favorite U.S. Hotels with Private Cottages or Villas

“Big Trips” Are In…

There is a continued sense of urgency to visit dream destinations in 2022, as hopeful travelers who had previously said “maybe next year” are opting for now instead. “People have had a lot of time to think about where they want to go, and they are eager to get back out there in a big way,” explains Melissa. We’re seeing an increase in trips centered on major passion points. And on top of these new trips, myriad bookings that had been scheduled for 2020 or 2021—but postponed due to border closings—are back on the calendars for 2022.

Where to Go: Adventure and wilderness destinations will be a big draw in 2022. New Zealand has announced plans to reopen in April; Argentina and Chile reopened this fall, bringing Patagonia back within reach; Ecuador (especially the Galápagos), along with Alaska and Iceland continue to be popular; and safari favorites across Africa are an ideal getaway, although the new Omicron variant has left many travelers in a “wait-and-see” mode.

…But Availability Is Out

With so much demand for these big-ticket destinations due to new and rescheduled bookings, it will continue to be challenging to find availability in certain destinations. Boutique hotels we love, such as Indagare Index properties Deplar Farm in Iceland or Rosa Alpina in the Dolomites (or even Utah’s Amangiri) are often booked up months in advance.

Indagare Tip: We are in constant communication with top hotels around the world, and can help identify which destinations have the best availability for your trip.

Impact Will Be a Priority

There is a new awareness of the positive impact a trip can have, not just on the traveler but on the destination as well. In Indagare’s 2021 Travel Sentiment Survey, the number one concern among our more than 1,200 respondents was the impact of the pandemic on local tourism economies, and more than a third of respondents wanted to travel more than before the pandemic specifically to “support tourism and local economies.” In 2022, travelers will seek out experiences that maximize their community impact while minimizing (or even eliminating) their environmental one. We’ve recently launched our Indagare Impact Initiative, which focuses on three main areas in which travel can—and should—be a force for good: community, heritage and environment.

Where to Go: A growing number of the world’s leading hotels and travel outfitters are focused on responsible tourism. Indagare Index properties like The Brando, NIHI Sumba and Segera Retreat, for example, all showcase sustainable architecture and infrastructure and partner with local organizations to boost economic and community development. Indagare will be hosting several impact-focused Insider Journeys in 2022, including the November trip to Antarctica.

Related: Explore Our Indagare Impact Initiative

QR Codes For Everyone?

In many destinations, proof of vaccination (or of a negative Covid test result) is now required to enter indoor public spaces, such as hotels, restaurants, museums and theaters. European countries introduced digital Covid passports over the summer, allowing both locals and visitors to show their vaccination status via QR codes on their phones. France’s Pass Sanitaire and Italy’s Green Pass were the most widely discussed, but the practice is now ubiquitous across all 27 EU member states as well Schengen Zone countries Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and Liechtenstein. American passport holders visiting Europe can enter their vaccine information to receive their own QR code. Since the digital passes work throughout the EU, there’s no need to apply for multiple countries’ passes. (Still, the application can take some time—ranging from hours to weeks—meaning that it’s still important to bring your hard copy of the CDC. In 2022, it’s safe to assume that these delays will lessen.)

Meanwhile, in the U.S., only New York, Hawaii and California have similar digital passes with QR codes. But more are on the way: Massachusetts recently announced that it was working with at least 15 other states to develop a unified digital Covid pass system. Whether this system could sync with Europe’s is still unclear.

We’ll Go Back To Asia

Oh, how we have missed Asia! While many countries in the region look set to remain closed for much of 2022, others are coming back on the traveler’s map: Thailand’s “Sandbox” strategy to open select destinations at a time has allowed the country to safely reopen, and Cambodia reopened in November following one of the world’s most successful vaccination campaigns.

Where to Go: Thailand and Cambodia. We hope to be able to return to South Korea by September, when Seoul will host the first non-Western edition of the Frieze Art Fair.

U.S. Hotels Are Going to the Dogs

It’s relatively common to see dogs at hotels in Europe, but U.S. hotels have been slower to adopt pet-friendly practices. That may be changing. Around 23 million U.S. homes—that’s nearly one in five households—have added a pet since the beginning of the pandemic according to the ASPCA. And according to a separate report from Mars Petcare, 65 percent of pet owners plan on traveling with their four-legged family members. That’s pushing hoteliers across the country to roll out the welcome mat for pets. On the other hand, flying with pets has become more challenging, with new federal rules cracking down on loose interpretations of what qualifies as an “emotional support animal.”

Where to Stay:  The increased hassle of flying with pets means that hotels within driving distance are often the best option. Some we love include Montage Palmetto Bluff, The Lake House on Canandaigua and Rosewood Miramar Beach.

Related: Our Favorite Pet-Friendly Hotels

We’ll Go Virtually Everywhere

The pandemic spurred rapid development for virtual experiences, particularly ones that brought the outside world into the home. Indagare launched our Global Classroom programming in April 2020 during the height of lockdown, with dozens of sessions including cooking classes, history lessons and live tours. And as we look to 2022, it’s clear that this sort of travel-themed virtual learning has become an integral part of many curious travelers’ lives, as they seek a deeper understanding of a destination before they visit it.

Where to “Go”: Several new Indagare Clubs allow participants to explore 20th-century Berlin, Florence during the Renaissance, 19th-century France and the cuisine of Puglia virtually. These also serve as previews of Insider Journeys devoted to similar artistic, historic and culinary themes in these destinations. Plus, our Mii amo at Home series lets wellness enthusiasts experience Mii amo even when it’s closed for renovation.

Related: Discover the Indagare Global Classroom

All Roads Lead to Wellness (Even in Cities)

The idea of “wellness” as a trend to watch emerged in the early 2010s (Read 2010 – 2020: The Decade in Travel). Now, 10 years and a pandemic later, the desire for experiences that incorporate self-care, health and overall well-being is stronger than ever. And while the best spa escapes are often in dreamy, bucolic settings, more wellness brands are opening in urban areas as well. Six Senses and Aman are debuting in New York City in 2022, and Canyon Ranch will open a city resort in Fort Worth in 2023.

Where to Go: A wellness-focused trip could simply mean rest and relaxation in far-flung destinations like the Maldives or French Polynesia. It could also include more intensive wellness regimens, such as at The Ranch, Malibu. For a mix of spa time, activities and R&R, we love European retreats like Schloss-Elmau, plus wellness sanctuaries closer to home, including Blackberry Mountain in Tennessee, Miraval and Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires, all of which are Indagare Index properties. We also love newcomers such as One&Only Mandarina, which has quickly become a go-to escape for Indagare members.

One notably absent spa we love:  Sedona’s Mii amo, which is currently undergoing major renovations and set to reopen later in 2022. You can be there in spirit thanks to our new Indagare Global Classroom Mii amo at Home series. These five sessions include live meditation and healing ceremonies, botany and cooking lessons, and discussions surrounding mindfulness tips.

You’ll Value the Security of Flexibility

As the Omicron variant has taught us, we’re still living in a time when borders can close, flights can be canceled and our general understanding of the pandemic can shift rapidly. It is likely that 2022 will continue to surprise us. “​​A new flexibility, plus courage and compassion, are required to go back into the world,” says Melissa in her recent essay How to Be a Better Traveler During Covid. More than that, it’s also key for travelers to make educated decisions about the destinations they’re choosing to visit and to plan responsibly. The best way to travel with confidence is to make sure you can get your money back if something out of your control comes up, and to make sure you yourself can get back safely as well. That means purchasing “Cancel For Any Reason” travel insurance, as well as considering global rescue programs such as Medjet or Global Guardian.

Indagare Tip: We recommend checking the official embassy or government tourism boards’ websites to find the most up-to-date information about entry requirements. Indagare does this on a daily basis to ensure our members are able to have as seamless an experience as possible. We also tap into our global network of members and partners to learn firsthand what it’s like on the ground—from Thailand to Tanzania.

Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer to start planning a future trip. Our team can match you with the accommodations and activities that are right for you and provide information on coronavirus travel safety, Covid-19 hotel policies, transportation options, private villas and charters and more. 

– Peter Schlesinger on December 1, 2021

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