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COVID-19 Changing Travel Trends: Road Trips, Ski Towns, Renting A House Among Top Choices In 2021

DENVER (CBS4) - There is no doubt that COVID-19 had a huge impact on travel so far in 2020, and a new survey commissioned by Airbnb identified three major trends expected to continue in 2021. Driving to Breckenridge and renting a house with family or friends would combine most of them.

"In 2021, travel will continue to be less about tourism and more about living, working and connecting safely away from home," Airbnb officials said.

The major trends include:

  1. With more people working from home and many students still doing remote learning, people are expected to do more traveling outside of traditional vacation seasons;
  2. Concerns about safety and cleanliness are driving a preference for private homes over hotels;
  3. International travel is expected to be less popular, with more people wanting to stay closer to home and use vacations to reconnect with friends and family.

When it comes to domestic travel, 62% of the people surveyed were interested in taking a vacation within driving distance of home. National parks, winter ski towns and beach towns are becoming the most popular destinations.

Some of the top spots include:

  • Breckenridge, Colorado
  • Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
  • Davenport, Florida
  • Palm Springs, California
Breckenridge, town view from Mount Baldy
Breckenridge, Colorado (credit: iStock/Getty Images)

In addition to remaining closer to home in 2021, Airbnb reports a shift to more remote and socially-distanced rental options. Renting an entire home is now the most popular type of lodging, and cabins and cottages are also among the top five.

Renting an entire space is part of the trend Airbnb calls "pod" travel.

"Whether it means traveling to be close to family members, or reuniting to quarantine with a group of friends, 'pod' travel is here to stay for those who want to safely be together while reducing risks associated with socializing with others," Airbnb officials stated.

Researchers found more than half of the trips searched for next year include three or more people, showing how people are traveling together.

Travelers are also seeking unique experiences, and searching for spaces known for using less energy and producing less waste, including:

  • Treehouses
  • Yurts
  • Barns
  • Cycladic houses
  • Domes

"Though travel restrictions are still in place, US travelers are still dreaming of their next far flung adventure, as reflected in the top trending destinations by search for trips in 2021."

Popular international destinations include:

  • Bogotá, Colombia
  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Hampton, London
  • Maafushi, Maldives
  • Salon-de-Provence, France
  • La Misión, Mexico
  • Ischia, Italy



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