Now is the time to start thinking about where to travel next year. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thought of choosing your destination—it’s a big world out there!—you might find it helpful to know where other travelers are going, and why. Whether you prefer a relaxing wellness-focused getaway to the tropics or a high-altitude adventure in the mountains, these travel and tourism trends and predictions for 2022 will help inform your decision.
1. Self-care and purpose-driven travel
After being cooped up for so long, travelers want to take a trip that’ll positively affect their well-being. At the same time, they want to positively contribute to local communities, in a symbiotic relationship that makes travel beneficial for both sides.
Want to rejuvenate your mind, soul, and body in a lush, eco-friendly paradise? Costa Rica is the destination for you. It’s a place where you can feel adventurous while seeing wildlife in the jungle, relaxed while lounging in natural volcano-fed hot springs, and inspired while meeting local organic farmers and wildlife conservationists—all on the same trip! And if you’ve never had a traditional casado lunch, you’re in for a treat.
- Experience real-life paradise on our Costa Rica: Rainforests, Volcanoes & Wildlife tour →
- See what “la pura vida” really means on our Week in Costa Rica: San José, Arenal & Guanacaste tour →
Getting to Belize is relatively inexpensive and easy given its proximity to the U.S. But the country offers such a diversity of environments—beaches, barrier reefs, rainforests, and ancient archaeological sites—that you’ll forget how close you are to home. Plus, its underrated status means it’s filled with hidden gems.
- Explore Central American biodiversity on our A Week in Belize: Ruins, Reefs & Rainforests tour →
2. Escape to the outdoors
After having spent so much time at home, is it any wonder that travelers are wanting to spend more time in nature, among lakes and lagoons, mountains and meadows? Traveling to outdoorsy locations with more trees than people, away from the hustle and bustle of cities, will be one of the biggest travel trends of 2022.
To get off the beaten path with a group of like-minded travelers, check out our Adventure Tours in far-flung destinations like Peru, New Zealand, the Galápagos Islands, and more.
Banff, a resort town in Alberta, Canada, is a gateway to some of the most stunning scenery in the Rockies, from jagged snow-capped mountain peaks to crystal-clear lakes that are surreally turquoise. The town is located within Banff National Park, which offers opportunities for hiking or more relaxed sightseeing on the scenic Rocky Mountaineer train.
“My wife and I have been to over 120 countries and all seven continents… and I can honestly say that the Canadian Rockies rank among the very best in terms of being the most pristine and picturesque,” said traveler Art. “The Rocky Mountaineer train ride was a surreal experience with the ever-changing spectacular scenery.”
- Roll through the Rockies on our Canadian Rockies by Train: Banff, Lake Louise & Vancouver tour →
- Make postcard-worthy mountain memories on our Canadian Rockies Adventure: A Week in Banff & Lake Louise tour →
Between quaint coastal towns like Gargano, the rolling green countryside of Maremma, and the wild, knife-edge peaks of the Dolomites, rural Italy has something for every adventurous traveler. The desire to get outside and have authentic local experiences fueled by farm-to-table food is giving travelers to Italy a reason to embrace off-the-beaten-path destinations.
- Bask in the glow of the Tuscan sunshine on our Tuscany Adventure: Lucca, Siena & Maremma tour →
3. Affordable getaways
Seeking affordable vacations isn’t exactly a new travel trend, and everyone travels on a budget that works for them. Still, there are a few destinations—some far-flung and some closer to home—where travelers can typically get more bang for their buck. Those same spots are sure to surprise and delight foodies and culture vultures alike.
Ljubljana is an underrated European destination, but it won’t stay that way for long. It’s perfect for history buffs, foodies, and outdoors enthusiasts alike—and, to top things off, it’s less expensive than its Eastern European neighbors.
- Discover the romance of Old-World Europe on our Croatia & Slovenia: The Old-World Adriatic tour →
Turkey offers something for every U.S. traveler. Whether that “something” is eating delicious food, unwinding in seaside resort villages, or strolling through bustling cities, Turkey has a bucket-list experience for you. “Of all the seven tours I have taken with the EF family, this was the best,” said traveler Jack. “Fabulous Tour Director and exposure to some of the best sites, sounds, food, and drink in Turkey.”
- Experience the magic of East meeting West on our Grand Tour of Turkey →
Mild year-round weather and easy, low-stress access makes the American Southwest a perfect destination for travelers who want to experience a colorful desert landscape that feels out of this world. Plus, the region’s unique blend of indigenous, Mexican, and American influences means its contemporary culture and cuisine are as rich as its history.
“If you want to see the world but also learn about culture and history, EF Go Ahead is the way to tour,” said traveler Linda about her trip to the national parks.
- Discover the natural icons of the Southwest on our U.S. National Parks: The Grand Canyon to Zion tour →
- Visit kaleidoscopic landscapes on our U.S. National Parks Adventure: A Week in the Southwest tour →
4. Sustainable and eco-friendly travel
It’s no secret that we at EF believe the world is an amazing place worth protecting. That’s why, on March 9, 2021, EF announced Hello Zero, our vision and commitment to voluntarily offset all of our global carbon emissions. Traveling sustainably can (and should!) be a goal of every individual who’s traveling the world, and we think eco-friendly travel will be an important travel trend for 2022. There’s one destination in particular where feeling good about your environmental impact is as easy as feeling good about visiting the country in the first place.
Already a top European destination for nature lovers—think of exploring the Jungfrau plateau, the mountain pass nicknamed “the top of Europe,” or hiking in the shadow of the Matterhorn—Switzerland is increasingly committed to sustainability and eco-friendliness. Rather than taking a plane or bus, you can travel the country by low-emissions train. (Beyond the environmental benefits, taking the train is one of the current travel trends that has so many advantages.) As people look to travel responsibly, the verdant Alpine landscapes of Switzerland will grow in popularity.
Plus, when you head to Switzerland in 2022, you’ll be backed by our industry-leading EF COVID Cares Promise. “As always, our Tour Director was fabulous. Dionysia did an outstanding job. Regulation changes in Switzerland could have been a nightmare. It was handled with the professionalism that is a Go Ahead trademark. Thank you for a wonderful trip,” said traveler Theresa about her Switzerland, Alsace & the Black Forest tour.
- Soak in Alpine scenery and culture on our Switzerland by Train: Lucerne to Zurich tour →
5. Social traveling
The people you meet while traveling are as important as the places you visit. That’s especially true for solo travelers. But if the thought of trying to befriend strangers at a foreign bar makes you a little anxious, we totally get it—and we’d recommend joining a guided tour. By going solo on a guided tour, you get all the freedom of traveling by yourself while being able to easily meet new friends and enjoy the safety and support of a group. The exciting possibilities of socializing abroad are getting people giddy about visiting these three destinations.
Scandinavia has been one of our travelers’ favorite destinations, and for good reason. It offers a mix of plunging fjords, lavish royal palaces, rich history, and stylish, progressive cities filled with trendy places to eat, drink, and meet people. Scandinavia’s popularity means no matter which of its five countries you visit, you’ll find other travelers who want to socialize, too. Even visiting Scandinavia in the winter is worth it.
- See the wonders of Northern Europe on our Scandinavia: The Capitals & the Fjords tour →
One of the first countries to reopen to travelers in 2021, Greece has managed to make the experience of traveling right now feel relatively painless. That means it’ll continue to attract travelers who appreciate its great weather—lots of sun, minimal rain—for dining and socializing outside.
Get the inside scoop from our Greek Tour Director Christiane on what it’s like to visit Greece right now. Or take it from solo traveler Janice: “What started out as wishful thinking became real,” she said. “After finishing my MBA, I rewarded myself with a solo trip to Greece and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I’m so grateful… for the opportunity to meet people and make lifelong relationships. For anyone thinking of going on a solo trip, I highly recommend it.”
- Get to know Greek’s storied islands on our Greek Islands for Solo Travelers: Crete & Santorini tour →
Mexico’s proximity to the U.S. means it’s convenient for a short trip, but it has the exciting, vibrant feel of a destination abroad. And it’s relatively inexpensive, to boot. If you haven’t heard by now, Mexico City has a thriving food scene, with innovations coming from Michelin-starred restaurants and street-food carts alike. What better way to enjoy delicious, authentic Mexican food than with new friends on a guided tour?
- Experience the ancient and the modern on our Highlights of Mexico: Oaxaca to Mexico City tour →
6. Just saying “Yes!” to that once-in-a-lifetime trip
There’s no time like the present to take the bucket-list trip you’ve always dreamed of. After an extended period without travel, people are seeking trips on which they’re sure to make lasting memories. That’s why a surge in once-in-a-lifetime trips—the kind you’ll be telling your grandchildren about for years to come—is one of our travel predictions for 2022.
Egypt has always been a bucket-list destination. It’s home to the Great Pyramid of Giza, the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the World and the only one you can still visit. History is everywhere in Egypt. There’s Alexandria, the port city once marked by the tall lighthouse that’s also an Ancient Wonder, the Valley of the Kings, and sprawling Cairo. In November 2022, Egypt’s past will become a little more accessible and interactive with the long-awaited opening of the archaeological Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza. Going solo? No problem. Egypt is one of the best places to be a solo traveler on a guided tour.
- Tour ancient temples and tombs on our Egypt & the Nile River tour →
- Go back in time on our Ancient Egypt: Giza, Luxor & Cairo tour →
Germany is poised to have a comeback among travelers because its famous, festive events are poised to, well, come back after a two-year hiatus. Oktoberfest is making its return, along with giant steins of beer and hot Bavarian pretzels. So will Germany’s famous Christmas markets and their warming Glühwein. And in the Bavarian Alps, Oberammergau will host its 42nd Passion Play, postponed from 2020. It’s been performed every 10 years since 1680, with a few exceptions. Read more about the storied festival here.
- Experience Germany’s most iconic festival on our Oktoberfest: Jewels of Alpine Europe tour →
- Witness a centuries-old Bavarian tradition on our Oberammergau 2022: Venice, Innsbruck & Munich tour →
- Feel festive in storybook locales on our Christmas Markets of Germany, Switzerland & Austria tour →