‘Upsizing’ Could Become a Major New Travel Trend

Many people have become penny-pinchers over the past year, after losing their jobs or struggling to stay afloat in certain industries. Many have also managed to save a lot more, as things like dining out, going to events and commuting have become obsolete for several people because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tourism companies and travel advisors should be aware that not everyone is looking to save a ton of money when they do decide to travel again. Instead, with the high pent-up demand for travel, people may be more eager than ever before to splurge on that bucket-list trip they’ve been dying to take since lock-downs began.


GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, asked respondents around the world whether they were concerned about their current personal financial situation. While thirty-four percent stated they were extremely concerned, thirteen percent stated they were not concerned. That’s more than one in ten travelers that could be ready to spend more on a big trip and for a longer one, too.

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“Many of the travelers that make up this 13% are likely to be white-collar workers that can work effectively at home. Due to spending the vast majority of their time being confined to their homes in the past year, the urge to travel would have built up,” said Ralph Hollister, Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData.

“This urge, combined with a significant increase in savings, could mean that many of these travelers will have developed a ‘treat yourself’ mentality, to combat the impact of the pandemic which has increased boredom and frustration for many. This mentality could be present as these consumers start planning their next holiday, which could result in them spending more on room upgrades, business class flights and higher quality rental vehicles,” Hollister said.

The potential trend is already seeing some traction in the cruise industry. Earlier this year, two cruise lines saw record-breaking numbers of customers booking world cruises. World cruises are known for being relatively expensive, luxurious and long.

Oceania’s Around the World in 180 Days world cruise sold out in a single day in January, while Silversea’s South Side Story – All the World’s a Stage cruise throughout the Southern Hemisphere sold out in one day earlier this month. The cruises are both for 2023 but demonstrate that a striking number of travelers are more than ready to splurge for those pricey bucket-list experiences.

Margie Jordan, the owner of Jordan Executive Travel Service, noticed the trend among her own clients: “I’ve definitely noticed more people wanting to plan longer vacations… We’ve spent a year in crisis mode with many areas in repeated lockdowns with ever-changing entry guidelines. The stress of that alone is enough to send luxury travelers as far away as possible from negative news. They have the resources to travel and just need to know if they can go and where they can go. At the beginning of the year, trip requests included places like Fiji, the Maldives, private villas on exotic islands. It was very clear that they wanted to go far, feel space and stay in their bubble.”

Maldives. (photo via Konstik / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Maldives. (photo via Konstik / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

David Hartman, Luxury Travel Advisor at Fantastic Endeavors, Inc., says social media can play a large role in compelling people to travel bigger: “The pent-up demand and savings is creating a buzz on social media. People are envious of friends posting about their booked trips and soon their trip experiences. ‘I wanna go there too’ will drive the trend of big trip spending in the future due to social media.”

But Jordan also made the case that upsizing would be a temporary trend, as more people are able to travel regularly for the first time in a year: “Pent-up demand typically puts travelers in the mood to do more. Upgrade. Fly first class. Go further and cross something off your life travel list. As those affected by the pandemic decrease and things begin to return to something normal, I think we’ll see travelers settle in and lose the fear of things being closed again. Travel will return to what we know it to be.”

It’s clear that the demand for travel has never been greater, and that could cause travelers to seek out new, luxurious experiences and ultimately spend more on their upcoming vacations.

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