It’s a tough time for the travel industry with the COVID-19 pandemic, and I know so many of us are itching to get out there and see the world again. I was recently honored to host a Smithsonian Associates event “Travels with Darley: The Best Destinations for 2021” addressing this topic. We welcomed over 140 guests for an hour and 15 minute presentation on what’s next in travel, including new trends and travel resources. A huge thank you to those who came and all the encouraging feedback!

If you missed this Smithsonian event, no worries! Here is an interview on tips and destination recommendations.

As a follow up, I wanted to share some insights into what’s trending for 2021 and how and where to book travel.

Smithsonian Event 10/20/20
Me and Bebe getting ready for the talk

2020 is indeed an overwhelming year for keen travelers like me who enjoy waking up to a fresh day in new places. I knew that I wasn’t the only person missing travel and thus wanted to share my thoughts on what travel would be like in 2021.

Some 2021 Travel Trends

Local Vacations and Staycations Rise, as Will Local Pride of Place 

Local vacation, RV travel and wellness vacations will continue to be popular. This includes travels to national forests and national parks. One thing to keep in mind is responsible recreation during this time, but also some unique ways to visit these locations. Check out Recreation.gov to find some of these and accommodations and campsites, including historic fire lookout towers. There are actually 170 fire lookout towers that you can rent listed on Recreation.gov!

Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, Wyoming
A historic fire lookout tower you can rent in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, Wyoming for just $40 a night at Recreation.gov
The view from Spruce Mountain Lookout in Wyoming’s Medicine Bow National Forest. You can rent this on Recreation.gov.

Live Abroad for a While During the Pandemic

One out of the box idea is to live abroad during the pandemic. As winter sets in, remote working in destinations like Barbados, which offers a welcome stamp program that allows remote workers to work and live in Barbados on a special visa, is getting buzz.

Other destinations offering Extended Stay Visas to U.S. Citizens, including the Republic of Georgia, which has “Remotely from Georgia”. You can work and stay in Georgia 360 days without a visa. There are some requirements, including having a $2,000 minimum monthly salary and a 12-day quarantine in a hotel at your own expense.

Another Caribbean destination offering extended stays is Anguilla. You can stay under 3 months costs for $1,000 for individuals and $1,500 for a family of four. These “entrance” fees cover two Covid-19 tests, a digital work permit and other costs.

Barbados’ Welcome Stamp Program

Schoolcations, provided by resorts with educational amenities, like Kimpton’s program offering virtual learning officers onsite and the Grand Hotel’s on Mackinac Island, may be attractive for a break for families and are also trending now!

In 2021, we also look to COVID successful destinations such as South Korea, Cambodia, and Hawaii a trending upward.

Travel insurance companies are witnessing a surge in demand. And to encourage people to travel again, airlines and cruise companies are enhancing health protocols, having flexible booking practices and providing travel incentives.

I shared many more tips during my presentation on great destinations for 2021. Please lookout for my next events to learn more and attend!

Resources for Travelers

Helpful Websites

  • CommonPass : Perhaps similar to Global Entry and Clear, this new program is being developed and tested that would allow individuals to access their lab results and vaccination records through an app on their phone, including their COVID status, so it could be easily shared and validated when traveling from airport to airport.
  • Recreation.gov : Search and book campsites, RV sites, cool fire lookout towers and accommodations in national forests and on public lands.
  • Some FAQ’s on “Cancel For Any Reason Insurance”
    • Normally, costs between 10% and 12% of  your trip value
    • Needs to be purchased within 10 to 20 days of booking
    • You don’t get all of your money back: typically 50% or 75% of vacation expense 
    • Need to cancel at least 48 hours prior to trip departure
    • If an airline or cruise line or anyone offers you a voucher, check with your policy before accepting
  • United Airlines : “Explore Destinations” is an interactive website tool that allows leisure passengers to see the lowest fares to many cities in a one view. Allows you to also search by specific interests, such as cities known for their brewpubs or parks.

Fun Articles to Peruse

Destination Links & Resources

Work Abroad During COVID

Barbados Travel Protocols for Safe Entry and COVID hotline 246-536-4500

Barbados Welcome Stamp Program to live and work abroad

Remotely from Georgia to work in Georgia

Information on some of our Favorite Destinations

Hawaii Information on Travel during COVID-19

To read more, check out my previous interview with Forbes on 2021 travel trends.

This Smithsonian Associates program made possible in part by the support of the Korea Tourism Organization

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