What Will Travel in 2021 and Beyond Look Like?

Written by Thomson Safaris

curious lion cubs in serengeti

Is 2021 the year travel makes a comeback? If so, what will it look like, and what does it mean for you?

Here’s how we’re thinking about the future of travel.

We’re All for Fall

Over 107 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. as of early March, according to the Center for Disease Control. This is exciting news! As more people get vaccinated, the demand for travel will continue to rise. This means countries will start reopening borders to meet that demand.

Maybe you’ve heard the terms “revenge travel” or “replacement vacations.” These buzzwords indicate how eager we all are to get back out into the world. Expect a lot of pent-up demand to arise in Fall 2021 as international regulations lift. Also, expect to see flights, hotels and travel businesses operating at full or nearly full capacity. We recommend getting a head start on your plans to ensure you are not elbowing for space later in the year, when more people are going to be making their plans.

The Same Serengeti

sunrise and clouds in serengeti

The Serengeti is the pride and joy of Tanzania (and one of the most beautiful places in the world, according to Condè Nast). We’re glad to say this sprawling wildlife sanctuary has been doing just fine without international travelers. The year-long Great Migration continues, with some 2.5 million wildebeest, zebras, lions, cheetahs, hyenas and more moving through the endless plains.

herd of elephants in serengeti national park tanzania

When travelers return to the Serengeti, they will have access to the same beautiful landscapes, wildlife and comfortable seasonal camps as a traveler normally has. They will also play a critical role in saving the responsible tourism industry that is critical to Tanzania’s economy. It provides employment, food and education for communities while also fueling wildlife conservation efforts.

No matter when you go, here’s what won’t change about your safari.

Expect Small Groups

When you travel in a small group, you reduce health risks for yourself and your fellow travelers. We predict this will be a trend for the foreseeable future as travelers look to strike the perfect balance between security and accessibility.

Small group travel has been central to our travel philosophy since we opened our doors in 1981, and for good reason. With small groups, you have a more intimate, memorable and easy-to-navigate time on Tanzania’s endless plains.

Now, we’re making small group travel even better. We’re limiting guests to a maximum of four per vehicle when you’re out on safari. This means each guest is guaranteed a window seat and access to the pop top roof for fresh breeze and 360-degree viewing opportunities. These measures reduce your contact with strangers, while also keeping you contained within your trip’s “bubble.” A win-win-win!

Check out our updated protocols page and read about our Standard Operating Procedures.

Travelers Will Prefer Private Choices

What’s more secure (and more memorable) than small groups? Private groups! Some travelers are already planning to go on completely private safaris later in 2021 and beyond. By traveling only with people from their own personal “bubble,” these travelers further reduce their contact with strangers and stay far from crowds.

Private travel itineraries are loaded with perks, too: exclusive vehicles, exclusive guides and exclusive activities tailored just for your group. Private trips are fine-tuned to your tastes, with preferred dates and private lodging.

A private safari is a no-brainer for those who want the most peace of mind in their travels. Here are five reasons you might want a private safari.

Peace of Mind Matters

No matter when, or where, people travel, they deserve to feel comfortable with their vacation choice. It shouldn’t feel like a risk to simply reserve space on a trip. As 2021 progresses, travelers will be more likely to reserve their dream vacation if the company they work with offers flexible booking policies and generous time for rescheduling and cancellation.

At Thomson Safaris, we’ve reworked our policies with this in mind. Our Book Now, Pay Later policy allows travelers to reserve space on a safari without placing a deposit. This flexibility helps travelers comfortably secure space without any financial commitments.

Making the Most of Travel

We’ve all been stuck at home for a long, long time, and many travelers will be looking to offset this by making their airplane ticket stretch farther. One way they will do this is with trip extensions. When you book an extension through a travel operator like Thomson, you get that company’s specialized knowledge regarding destinations, activities, lodging and logistics. Plus, you avoid juggling your plans between multiple services, which can be a hassle and even create itinerary conflicts.

safari extension to zanzibar

Another way we predict travelers will make the most of their plans: indulge in extra touches during their trip. Some travelers are choosing balloon safaris over the Serengeti, while others have opted for additional nights in award-winning lodges.

Safety First

Above everything else, safety precautions will remain a fact of life for travel in 2021 and beyond. That means social distancing, mask-wearing and frequent handwashing won’t be going away anytime soon.

Until they do, we’ll be keeping up with CDC recommendations and adjusting our Standard Operating Procedures as necessary. We’re also keeping an eye on what other countries around the world are doing. We sometimes modify our protocols accordingly to ensure you can have the trip you have always wanted.

Overall, travelers are looking to the future with tempered optimism – they have every reason to do so. In 2021 and beyond, they are looking to have new travel experiences and make new memories to replace the ones they lost.

Have a question? Want to talk travel?