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2021 Travel Trend: Family Flexications

Last updated on May 14, 2021
6 minute read
Key Takeaways

  • Families are taking vacations blended with remote work and school.
  • Travelers are looking for drive-to, outdoorsy destinations.
  • Promote off-season deals, private tours, and kid-friendly activities.

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With vaxications on the rise, we can expect to see travel picking up throughout the North American summer season in countries where vaccines have been rolled out effectively. It comes as no surprise that a recent Expedia Group travel trends report found that people are excited to travel, mainly accompanied by those who they’ve been closest to during the pandemic. Travelers’ most popular companions in 2021 will be their children, their “quaranteam” or bubble, and immediate family outside of their quaranteam. 

Families are eager to get out there and enjoy the outdoors together, and remote work and school make it easy to take “flexications” — trips to drive-to locations where time is split between work and fun activities. You know what they say about all work and no play!

Wondering how families are planning to travel in 2021? Here are some stats from the report to give you an idea: 

In the U.S.:

67% of families who took a flexication in 2020 would take another one this year.

65% of families plan on traveling more than they did pre-COVID. 

56% of parents were already planning the next family vacation in January. 

55% of parents feel extremely confident about 2021 travel. 

Around the world: 

63% of families prefer outdoorsy destinations. 

60% of families want to travel to a new destination rather than somewhere they’ve been before. 

a woman hiking with kids

As you can see, families are ready to venture out, even if it’s close to home. So what can you do with this information in mind? Here are some things families will be looking for as they plan their flexications. 

  • Drive-to locations: Even as confidence in travel grows, there are still safety concerns when it comes to flying. Many families will opt for road trips to nearby locations that offer a change of scenery from their own four walls.
    • If you’re running PPC ads, target audiences in your state or within easy driving distance. 
  • Off-season deals: Thanks to the flexibility of remote work and school (and those handy WiFi hotspots), parents and caregivers no longer have to wait for the school year to end to take their family vacations. This means they can take trips in the off-season, when destinations are not quite as crowded and accommodations are cheaper.
    • Promote any deals you offer during the off-season and capture some business during your less-popular times of year. 
  • Outdoor fun: We’ve spent a lot of time cooped up at home — from work, to school, and more — so it’s time to get outside!
    • Promote all your outdoor experiences, like nature walks, kayak tours, snorkeling, and anything else that fully immerses guests in nature. If you previously offered lunch in an indoor setting, consider taking it outdoors. 
  • Family-friendly activities for all ages: Since many people are traveling with kids, they’ll be looking for activities that can be enjoyed by all ages.
    • Use badges on your activities so parents can quickly identify kid-friendly tours on your website, making the decision to book even easier! 
  • Private experiences: Even while mask and distancing requirements are loosened many families will still be looking for private experiences that they can enjoy without having to worry about other guests wearing masks or whether they’ve been vaccinated.
    • Promote your private experiences and any deals you offer for group bookings. 
  • Safety precautions: Safety first! Precautions like sanitizing stations and limited capacity are here to stay for the foreseeable future.

After the difficult year our industry has faced, it gives us hope to see families gearing up to enjoy trips together this year. Travel plans for 2021 are well underway for most families, so make sure your calendar is up-to-date and you’re prepared for your busy season.

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