I am beyond happy to report that TRAVEL IS BACK! And in a big way. After two years of lockdowns and border controls, fear and isolation, the world is reopening and people are making up for lost time.
As travel advisors, we are seeing a subtle shift in priorities, though. Why and how people take vacations has changed. Compared with pre-pandemic travel, summer vacations now have a slightly different character which manifests itself in several ways.
First, vacations suddenly became a financial priority. Yes, even in the face of inflation. Presumably, this is because planned trips were canceled (pent-up demand) or travel budgets went unspent during the pandemic (saved funds). In 2019, 55 percent of Americans did not use all their paid-vacation time. Studies show that in 2022, 34 percent of travelers are planning larger budgets than for pre-pandemic vacations, and 18 percent say that travel will be their highest spending category this year.
Secondly, travelers want to seize the moment by choosing new destinations and experiences. More people are booking once-in-a-lifetime trips than ever before. There’s a “Don’t wait. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed” philosophy evident with travelers today.
Lastly, multi-generational or extended family vacations are very popular now. People missed regular contact with loved ones, so they want to reconnect and enjoy some leisure time together.
The changes in these three travel values explain another travel trend — the surge in villa vacations. Villas are available throughout the U.S., the Caribbean and Europe in virtually every size, from one to 20 bedrooms. Let’s look at how villa vacations complement the changing travel values.
Cost: While villa vacations are indeed luxurious, they’re often less expensive than comparable resort vacations. To compare, calculate the per person, per night price. For example, a four-bedroom villa that rents for $6,500 per week, divided by eight people, divided by seven nights, comes to $116 per person per night. Assuming double occupancy, that’s a savings of $476 per couple over a $300 per night hotel room for a week.
Wow-factor: Imagine watching the sunset over the rolling landscape from the garden of your Tuscan villa. Or maybe the luxury of a private pool with a view of the Caribbean Sea is more your style. Have the refrigerator pre-stocked so everything you need is there when you arrive. Or, if not having to cook is your idea of luxury, just add a chef to your rental. Of course, housekeeping staff to keep everything tidy and a concierge to arrange local excursions can also be at your beck and call.
Togetherness: A private villa vacation is perfect for extended families because multiple bedrooms allow for individual space while still enjoying togetherness in the communal living space. There are quiet spots for babies (and grandpas) to nap, room for active kids to play and seating for everyone to share a meal together. Villas also offer privacy from the public.
The pandemic changed how we do many things, travel included. But if that means vacationing like an A-list celebrity in a beautiful destination, with luxury amenities and all the comforts of home, surrounded by those we hold most dear, I’m OK with that. To find a villa vacation that is perfect for your needs, get in touch with your favorite travel advisor.