Increasing booking numbers show that more Germans want to travel again. But what will summer vacation be like this year – especially given the war in Ukraine?
The desire to travel is great, but the Russian attack on Ukraine is overshadowing the summer holidays. How will this affect travel behaviour? What goals are required? And which is more common: early booking or last minute? Here are six predictions for summer vacation.
1. If you can, travel: there is a lot of catching up
Whether at the beach or in the countryside: In the summer there will be a strong catch-up effect when it comes to vacation – and it’s not just the travel industry that assumes it. “The craving for diversity, outdoor activities, and detachment from everyday life have increased,” says Kristina Miro, a psychologist and travel therapist.
The reason: People have been living with the restrictions caused by the Corona pandemic for a long time. Therefore, the importance of the holiday increased, so Miro. A change of location also improves mood: “Holiday trips are associated with positive experiences, feelings of freedom, and relaxation,” she explains. Many people lack that.
In addition, there is a kind of “learning effect” from the two years of the pandemic: in the summer, infection rates usually drop. This means “a holiday, for only a short time,” according to Miro, especially in Europe.
Christine Heinen of the German Travel Association (DRV), which represents tour operators and travel agencies, is hoping for a stronger summer of 2021. She says the need is great. “It is likely that a sales level like before the pandemic will not be reached until 2023/24.”
2. The war in Europe: is it worth the next visit?
Heinen says whether and how reliably the Russian attack on Ukraine will affect reservations and travel for Germans is at this point in time. But it is clear that military conflicts never contribute to security planning.”
Psychologist Miro doubts that “some people will think twice about whether the next trip is worth it.” However, the longing for the distance is very palpable. “I suppose people will travel especially carefully this year and value these travel experiences more than before,” Miro says.
3. Target directions: Germany is still in demand, the Mediterranean is growing
“At least a third of Germans will go on vacation in their own country,” says Kirsten Heinen. In turn, more trips to Germany can be found in the programs of tour operators. Heinen explains: “In turbulent times, those who want to travel tend to choose destinations they already know and where they feel comfortable.”
Psychologist Miro advises anyone who has a strong need for control and security to take a vacation in Germany. “Here you don’t have to worry about getting stuck somewhere,” she says. Instead of flying, you can travel by car, rickshaw, or train. When in doubt, it is easier and faster to go home.
Air travel is becoming increasingly popular again. “Holidays in Greece, Spain and Turkey will flourish in the summer,” says DRV spokeswoman Heinen. Plus Egypt. Portugal and Croatia, for example, are already well booked.
Tour operators such as Dertour, Tui, FTI, Alltours and Schauinsland-Reisen report that the demand for long-distance destinations is also increasing. Flights to the USA, the Caribbean or islands in the Indian Ocean – such as the Maldives or Mauritius – are booked. Almost all flight destinations can now be reached again.
4. Longer, more comfortable and more private: Holidays can cost more
Some people now make up for less vacation in recent years with more rest. “Some people are spending more time on vacation, booking a higher room class or a better hotel than they would have done before the pandemic,” says Kirsten Heinen. The organizers are preparing according to the motto “Treat yourself again”.
FTI is expanding its division of large four- and five-star resorts. In some remote destinations, guests can book their own villa with private pool. The group expects vacationers to spend up to 20 percent of the money on their trip. Demand for private pool rooms and hotels in higher star categories is also increasing for travel in Dertour, Tui and Schauinsland.
5. Package tours are common: the need for security
The need for security is still great, not only in the holiday destination, but also when booking a flight. “Organizing becomes more difficult if you are constantly worried about whether the trip will ever take place or if there are other circumstances,” says psychologist Miro.
She recommends package tours because the tour operator here takes care of all the information and execution – and usually vacationers are better protected here than the trip they bundle themselves.
6. Although flexible tariffs: decide a lot in a short time
Many people will book in no time – even if some have already decided on their vacation destination. So far, early booking fulfills our need for “security, structure and planning,” says Christina Miro. That has changed in the pandemic. Some automatically feel booking is safer. “This way you can better assess whether you can start the journey and reduce unpleasant feelings such as insecurity and disappointment,” the psychiatrist explains.
Risks of last-minute bookings: Strong demand in the short term can drive up prices. In addition, it is very likely that not everything will be available anymore, so that the choice is more limited.
If you want to plan for safety and want to save something, take advantage of early bird rates. Many tour operators still offer discounts on summer vacations. If you want to protect yourself, book a flex tariff. The holiday can be canceled or rebooked free of charge until a certain time before departure. Here you should read the terms carefully.