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Aimée Smith, 16 December, 2020
As we look forward to the opportunity to travel again, we consider which will be the most popular destinations – and travel trends – of 2021.
1) Delight in the detail
It’s the little details that make for the longest-lasting memories. The colours. The welcome. The birdsong. A hillside embossed in lavender, a view that stretches for miles, and a dinner of delicious local produce.
After such a long wait for a break, we don’t want to rush, but to have time to take in all the details. That’s why we hope travel will be slower in 2021, and delve deeper.
There are a number of ways to see and discover more on holiday; our favourite is to travel self-guided – walking, cycling or journeying at our own pace.
2) Great British breaks
Although we very much hope that international travel restrictions will soon be a thing of the past, 2020 has reminded us of just how much there is to see here at home. We know that many of you feel the same, and we’re sure holidaying in the UK will continue to be popular for some time to come.
There are several brand-new holidays in our UK-wide walking collection, from the magnificent Northumberland Coast to the idyllic water meadows of rural Oxfordshire, following the Thames Path in its 25th anniversary year.
3) Unknown regions
Tranquil, uncrowded spaces seem a more appealing prospect than ever at the moment; thankfully, we can introduce you to plenty of these. Many of the European regions we visit tend not to be very well known – in some cases even by the population of the country in question!
To experience beauty and tranquillity in equal measure, we’d recommend our walking holiday in Italy’s quiet and traditional Apennine Mountains, or our new cycling break in timeless northern Portugal. Both are firmly off the tourist trail, and the hospitality you receive is warm and genuine.
4) Supporting local
Small, independent businesses are at the heart of local communities, and very often cannot be bettered for price or quality. Inntravel holidays are centred on such family-run businesses – from charming, personal hotels to knowledgeable bike providers and dedicated taxi drivers.
There has been a renewed focus on supporting local in 2020, and we hope this continues into the New Year – among other things, tourism gives many of our excellent suppliers the means to stay in the towns and villages in which they were brought up.
5) Low-impact travel
2021 has been designated the European Year of Rail, as we all re-focus our efforts on travelling as sustainably as possible.
Rail is by far the most environmentally-friendly way to reach your destination, leaving a considerably fainter carbon footprint than both flying and driving. At Inntravel, we have many years’ experience of arranging international rail journeys, and we’re able to take you just about anywhere you wish to go – including Italy, Portugal and even Scandinavia. Environmental benefits aside, rail is a wonderfully relaxing way to travel, with a generous luggage allowance, comfortable seating and breathtaking views.
6) Try something new
Most of us have had to push our technological boundaries this year, and there’s no denying that innovations such as video-calling have been an invaluable support – even if we’d much rather interact in person.
Another innovation that continues to go from strength to strength is the e-bike, which has developed quickly over recent years to become a sleek and streamlined modern machine. We are now able to offer e-bikes on all our cycling holidays; you don’t need any previous experience to use them, and they really do transform the cycling experience.
7) That big trip
We imagine quite a few travel wish lists were re-written this year, and priorities re-defined. Certainly, several of you have told us that the lockdowns and limitations of 2020 have made you all the more determined to fit in ‘that big trip’ sooner rather than later.
In the Inntravel collection, few trips come bigger than ‘Norwegian Highlights’, a two-week thriller that combines the magical Lofoten Islands and spectacular western fjords with journeys on the Flåm Railway and Hurtigruten coastal steamer. For something more tropical, the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores offers unforgettable walking and whale-watching.
8) Time to reconnect
We’ve all suffered a degree of isolation in 2020, and reconnecting with family and friends will be high on many agendas. Making new connections will also be important, and there are few better ways to do this than through travelling.
All Inntravel holidays offer the chance to immerse yourself in local cultures and communities, but few do this better than ‘Life in an Alpujarran Village’, on which you gain a unique insight into rural southern Spain, or ‘Slovenia’s Enchanted Valley’, a gloriously unspoiled valley with a strong cultural heritage.
9) A year to remember
2021 is already shaping up to be a special year for many of our destinations, with the Scottish Borders preparing to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of its most famous son. You can visit Sir Walter Scott’s magnificent home – from where he penned many famous works – on our Borders walking holiday.
There’s also cause for celebration in Slovenia, which has been declared a 2021 European Region of Gastronomy, while those enjoying our Grand Tour of the Peloponnese will pass the site of the Spartans’ famous last stand at Thermopylae – on its 2,500th anniversary.
10) Book with confidence
Wherever you holiday in 2021, and however you choose to reach your destination, we recommend travelling with a trusted operator. It doesn’t have to be Inntravel – although we’d obviously be delighted if you were to choose us!
Before booking, check that your operator has a track record of issuing timely refunds, and that it offers a flexible amendment policy. Securing comprehensive travel insurance is also vital – you can find out more about our recommended cover here.
Choosing the right operator will mean you can book and travel with confidence, and enjoy your holiday to the full.
If you are a UK citizen and planning to holiday in the EU or other Schengen countries in 2021, there will be some changes that will affect you. We've detailed what you need to check, and where to look for further information, in our 'Brexit Advice'.