To say that the last two years have been tough for the travel industry would be an understatement. Not since the Second World War have we seen so many people stuck inside, avoiding all forms of travel. Things have started opening up in 2021 and we can be hopeful for 2022 and beyond.
With that in mind, what do you think travel will look like next year? Are there going to be any rule changes we need to know about? What trends can we expect? You may already be looking ahead to summer 2022 for your family holiday, so here’s what you might have to deal with when travelling:
A new visa waiver system
Right now, if you want to go on holiday to France or Spain, you can do so without a visa. UK citizens still have the freedom to travel to and from countries in the Schengen area without needing to apply for a visa – provided you’re staying there for 90 days or less.
However, the rules change slightly in 2022. We don’t quite know when the rules are going to change, we just know that by the end of 2022 we will have to fill in an ETIAS application form before travelling. This is the European Travel Information and Authorisation System, and it is a form that grants you a visa waiver. In essence, if you pass all the right security checks and are deemed a safe traveller, you can enter the EU without a visa.
It’s weird because nothing technically changes as you won’t need a visa, there’s just an additional hoop to jump through that wasn’t there before. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for when this comes into action, but expect it at some point in 2022.
Fewer travel restrictions
Hopefully, 2022 will also bring fewer travel restrictions to the party. We don’t want to get too carried away here, but the evidence is promising. Already, England is scrapping its traffic light system for international travel arrangements. If you’ve tried to go away in the last year, you’ll know how awful this was. Which countries are green and which ones are red? What does it mean if a country is amber, can we still go there??
It created so much confusion, so the government is scrapping it from the 4th of October. In its place, we have a much simpler green and red light system. Basically, the amber category is gone and any countries not on the red list are deemed safe to travel to. This will make life so much easier when deciding where you want to travel; all you need to do is check the red list, then pick any country that’s not on it!
The English government is also changing the rules regarding COVID tests when entering the country. If you are travelling back from holiday from a country that’s not on the red list, you won’t need a test if you are fully vaccinated.
While these changes only affect England, the rest of the UK is predicted to be following suit soon. Also, these updates are believed to stay in place until the New Year, where we could see even fewer restrictions in place. Basically, the great hope is that, by summer 2022 and the peak holiday season, you will have fewer hoops to jump through to go abroad. It might not be back to normal, but it should be much easier for you to go on holiday with fewer things to worry about.
Expect more travellers than ever before
One thing that’s almost for certain is that you will see more travellers than ever before. A lot of us didn’t travel this year, mainly because of restrictions making life difficult. We didn’t have the money to afford a family holiday and multiple PCR tests, so we all chose to have staycations instead.
In 2022, if everything continues according to plan, expect to see more travellers than ever before. People will be keen to get away and see more of the world that they sadly missed out on for the last two years. Unfortunately, this will mean a couple of things for us:
- Bookings will fill up faster
- Everything will be more expensive
Consequently, you really need to start planning ahead and booking stuff sooner rather than later. Don’t expect to get to spring 2022 and be able to book a cheap summer holiday for your family! Everywhere will either be booked up or stupidly expensive. The sooner you book, the cheaper it will be for you and your family.
Also, just generally expect everything to be a bit more expensive. As mentioned in the intro, the tourism industry suffered a huge hit. Many airlines grounded their planes and haven’t even launched some of them into the air yet. So, companies are hiking up prices to compensate for all the money they missed out on due to lockdowns and COVID.
More alternatives to planes
This is something that we could expect next year, and there are a couple of reasons for it. Firstly, as mentioned above, we will see more travellers than before. This can scare a lot of people that wish to go abroad as they don’t want to sit on a plane with loads of other people. Instead, they look for different ways to travel, like via trains. You could say that the pandemic has encouraged this behaviour, but there’s something else there too.
Of course, climate change is a huge issue, and it’s believed that air travel is a big contributing factor. After seeing just how cleaner oceans were without everyone travelling around, many people are opting for more eco-friendly forms of travel, like trains. So, perhaps your next family holiday won’t see you at the airport after all!
Understandably, a lot of this is just opinions and predictions. We can definitely say that travel restrictions are easing towards the start of 2022, but who knows if that will continue? Mainly, you need to think about everything if you want to plan a family trip next year.