The realities of the last couple years may have you looking forward, even more than usual, to a vacation. And you’re not alone. The rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations for both children and adults has experts expecting travel to rebound in a big way this year. A 2022 Travel Trends Forecast by vacation rental website Evolve reports that 80 percent of 5,000 survey respondents said they are actively planning travel in 2022, and 59 percent said they plan to take three or more trips before the year’s end.
If you’re contemplating a trip, here are some trends and new realities to keep in mind.
The return of international travel
Many people are making up for lost time with a more lavish trip this year. That could mean a vacation that’s longer or farther flung—especially now with borders more open. According to Booking.com, seven of the eight top-trending destinations for 2022 are international and include Taichung, Taiwan; Gramado, Brazil and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
If you’re headed overseas, remember to notify your bank and credit card companies in advance to avoid tripping fraud protection alerts. “[Otherwise,] if you suddenly get some charges from Budapest, and they shut some things down, that could put you in an awkward situation,” says Rob Stevens, TIAA Financial Planning Strategist.
Stevens also suggests downloading a currency app onto your phone to keep handy for conversions, and to research the exchange rate in your destination before leaving town. “In some places, you can get hit with a lot of fees for transactions, so it may be worthwhile to get some currency here first,” he says.
Vacation rentals vs. resorts
One pandemic trend that’s expected to continue is the popularity of renting a condo, cabin or house.
Because pricing and policies vary wildly, it’s crucial to read the fine print of your rental agreement. “You may get a price, but then there may also be cleaning fees that you might not be expecting,” says Mark Schrader, TIAA Financial Planning Strategist. Also check for responsibilities that you, as a renter, must uphold—such as taking out garbage—in order to avoid extra fees or forfeiting your security deposit.
For travelers ready for a resort vacation and its amenities, there are considerations there as well. “If you’re going to a resort, it’s easy to click the box for the all-inclusive all-day buffet and unlimited drinks thing,” Stevens says. “[But, if for you] breakfast is a Danish and a coffee, and if you’re a modest drinker…you might be better off going a la carte.”
Whatever you choose, pad your budget if you plan to rent a vehicle. “Rental car costs have gone up, perhaps significantly, from the last time you’ve traveled,” Stevens says.
To insure or not to insure
With lingering pandemic uncertainty, how important is travel insurance? The answer depends on the nature and cost of your trip, and your personal risk tolerance. “In some cases, some level of travel insurance is required,” says Daniel Ruppel, TIAA Financial Planning Strategist. “Some countries may require it to cover things like medical expenses.”
Optional travel insurance can be a wise investment for a very costly trip, Ruppel says. “But bear in mind how much risk you’re willing to accept, because [it isn’t] cheap. Estimates range from 4-10 percent of the cost of a big trip.”