After two years of travel turmoil due to the coronavirus pandemic, the world is set to experience a return to the golden age of travel. With restrictions easing and borders opening, 2022 will undoubtedly be the year of the once-in-a-lifetime travel experience. Travellers have been dealing with cancelled or postponed trips for years and are now embracing the old adage: “there’s no time like the present”.  Whether the dream is to cruise the Nile River in Egypt or walk the ancient Machu Picchu in Peru, people are booking the most extraordinary bucket list adventures – and they’re willing to splurge to do it.

The year of the once-in-a-lifetime travel experience

Machu Picchu

Expedia is calling it the year of the GOAT, or the “Greatest of All Trips”. The company is naming extravagant bucket list holidays as the biggest travel trend of 2022, after its 2022 Travel Trends Report found that 65% of respondents intend to “go big” on their next trip. The report also found the top-searched international destinations for 2022 travel are Rome, London and Paris, along with Bali and Mexico.

Meanwhile, HomeToGo’s travel trends report found that searches for Tuscany in Italy are up 141% and the South of France are up 88%.

Amadeus is also seeing considerable increases in bookings for once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences, with bookings to Peruvian cities near Machu Picchu up by nearly 50%, searches for safaris in Africa up by 36%, and flight bookings to Jordan’s Petra up by 22%.

The American Express 2022 Global Travel Trends Report found that 55% of respondents plan to book a once-in-a-lifetime holiday this year. The report also found that 74% of respondents are booking trips for 2022 even if they have to postpone or cancel later, and 62% intend to travel more in 2022 and take two to four trips this year.

So why are more travellers ready to spend big to ensure 2022 is their year of the once-in-a-lifetime travel experience?

Ready to indulge

Venice-Simplon Orient Express

Most travellers have not dipped into their travel funds for almost two years, so they’re financially ready to splurge on a memorable once-in-a-lifetime travel experience.

A joint trending in travel report by the World Travel & Tourism Council and found that 70% of leisure travellers intend to spend more on travel in 2022 than they have in the past five years. International spending is expected to​ rise by a massive 94% in 2022.

The American Express report found that people are not only willing to travel more, but are ready to spend more to do it. A whopping 86% of respondents plan to spend more or the same on travel in 2022 compared to previous years. Expedia has also found that travellers are more willing than ever before to spend big on travel.

Travellers are already putting their plans in motion, with American Express Travel bookings up 24% compared to 2019. Meanwhile, HomeToGo’s average booking expenditures have also increased by 54%, compared with 2019 figures.

The company also found that previously pent-up travellers are seeking more luxurious destinations and more spacious accommodation in 2022, despite the higher costs.

Importantly, travellers are being more thoughtful about where they spend their money and are seeking out brands that support local communities, such as Luxury Gold. The American Express report found that 81% of respondents want the money they spend while travelling to go back into the local community.

Seizing the moment

After losing two years to the pandemic, people are now feeling a sense of urgency to travel. They’ve been longing to get back out into the world and they don’t want to miss out on visiting the people and places they love, seeing bucket list destinations, and celebrating important life events. To make up for lost time, more people are now booking those remarkable once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences.

So seize the moment now with a bucket list adventure. Whether it’s a safari in South Africa, a trip to see the cherry blossoms in Japan, or a journey around the most opulent cities of old Europe, 2022 is going to be one extraordinary year.

Where will you travel in 2022 for a bucket list adventure or a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience?