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TRAVEL TRENDS

2022

First things first

In 2021, the world awakened from its Covid-induced slumber. Together, our confidence was restored, just as fresh plans were made. Blinking into the sunlight, we began to travel again.

Put another way: 2021 walked so 2022 can run. And next year is going to be filled with big moments and exceptional encounters. But every year in travel has its own unique colours and contours. New ways of seeing. New ways of being. What follows, then, are our predictions for how you’ll travel in the year ahead.

01

#1 BFG: The Big Family Get-together

Covid kept us apart. But as its shadow shortens, we’re taking stock and putting things right. Next year, travellers will return to the embrace of their families – and not within the confines of their homes but striking out for new shores and new sights. This is about making time for quality time.

Ultimately, this is an antidote to the past eighteen months. While some families experienced the boredom and strain of the same four walls, other extended families didn’t see each other at all. The Big Family Get-together is about righting this - and with our best foot forward.

For families, the key trend for 2022 is intrepid. These bookings are about adventurous, multi-generational trips - going large and going hard. From cultural immersion to ecological expeditions. Blink pop-up camps and cutting-edge hotels. Fed up with the built up, these families – for the most part – aren't interested in cities. They’re seeking fresh air and the great outdoors.

02

#2 Butterfly Cities

The city is back. While we kept our distance during the height of the pandemic, we’ve missed the buzz and we’ve missed the beauty. Next year, we’ll be returning to the very heart of things. Cultured, metropolitan, immersed. And like us, these cities have also evolved – showing off their resilience, breaking new ground. Creating change. Inspiring difference.

Our old favourites feel fresher than ever. New York, Paris, London, Rome. But other wildcard cities are making their mark. Budapest, Lima, Cairo, Ulan Batur. Travellers are finding the confidence to try new urban centres and to feel out their difference.

For example? We’ve always thrived when curating special access and experiences in the world’s most fascinating cities. In Havana, we’ve booking hands-on film-making classes. In Rome, meanwhile, we’re signing families up to gladiator school. The food markets of Lima. The coffee houses of Kigali. But we’re also twinning and we’re pairing (Vienna and Prague, Venice and Rome).

03

#3 The pursuit of the opposite

Safari. The wilderness. Volcanic ranges and rugged islands. In our mind, these things embody the ‘opposite’ - the flip side of big buildings and noisy cars. And next year, travellers will seek out the world untainted by crowds and queues. A world more ancient than our own, and with deeper roots. This will happen in nature. It will happen ‘out there’. And it’s all about huge, impactful encounters. Contrast and alterity. Difference and drama.

'For travellers, this pursuit of the "opposite" is ultimately about newness, a taste of the unknown. And after months of diminished horizons, they’re facing it with newfound confidence and incomparable elan. There’s boldness here – of travellers who’ve been digging deep and seeking sights and experiences that they’ve long dreamt of and have now put into action. Every trip has been a literal breath of fresh air.’

Tom Marchant | Black Tomato co-founder

For example? Where sustainability, community, and landscape meet. Like rhino conservation experiences in Botswana or – with Field Trip – learning first-hand about women’s narratives in Israel. These encounters are about experiencing the unknown, the opposite of our own daily lives.

04

#4 Going it alone

The demand for solo travel has boomed. Cooped up and worn out, Covid made many of us reassess our goals and our wants. Here, on the other side, many travellers are seeking to commune with the world on their terms – going solo, going alone.

“With travellers seeking Get Lost expeditions or solo city sleuthing, we’re seeing an appetite for both wilderness and society. Where some are seeking absolute isolation, others are seeking community and the metropolitan”

Tom Marchant | Black Tomato co-founder

For example? One traveller went alone to Mongolia – helping nomadic herders to move their winter camp, hunting with eagles, and horseback riding across the mountains. It was a daring and delightful experience straight out of the most classic of adventure novels, and her photos were filled with genuinely mind-expanding moments.

Esther, another traveller, wrote glowingly on the sense of freedom and independence that flowed from her Get Lost adventure. In her own words, it was simply “like nothing else”. This is about escaping the grind. Mixing things up. Setting challenges and pushing your comfort zone. And we’ve loved planning every minute and moment of it.

05

#5 Highs and lows

During Covid, many new clients realised the benefits of using a travel advisor. A trusted resource, an experienced navigator. They’ve found comfort, reassurance and excitement in what we can offer. Repeat clients are becoming yet closer. While we’re meeting many more new clients who’ve never used a tour operator before.

For many, this has been about bringing sustainability to the fore. And there’s no better example of this than the continued rise of ‘low and slow’ travel; of clients who’ve flown to their location while continuing their journey via train, bike and boat.

This is about taking your time and really drinking your destination in. Dwelling, reflecting, processing, and realising that when it comes to the world, there really isn’t any rush. And over the next months we expect to see countless travellers take this more serene and flowing approach to their travel, not worrying about accounting for every second, but opening themselves up – with our help – to the emergent and the unexpected.

06

#6 Friendtrips

As with families, so with friendships. Covid pulled us apart, with meetups cancelled and reunions put on hold. Next year, friends will be righting this wrong; approaching us to help them reconnect on both jam-packed experiences and restorative escapes alike. From villa buyouts to sprawling safaris.

Most important, for them, has been making the most of their time away. It’s why they’re choosing not to go DIY, turning to us to help them extract the most out of their escape.

For example? Helping a group of friends to camp beneath an ultra-rare total solar eclipse in Argentine Patagonia. It fell to us to organise every element and ingredient, leaving the travellers to enjoy the experience without worrying about the planning or logistics.

07

#7 Getting ahead

Today, travellers are looking and booking further ahead than they ever have before. Plotting massive escapes and memorable expeditions, we’ve seen a surge in long-lead travel bookings for 2022 and 2023. New Zealand, Japan, the Maldives, safari. These are bucket-list destinations and ‘trip of a lifetime’ plans. They're optimistic and forward-thinking.

By booking far in advance, these travellers have something to look forward to – a date in the diary, a pin in the map. We’ve witnessed the likes of Chile, Ecuador, Israel, Jordan and Southeast Asia. And for the most part, these experiences are epic, adventurous, and euphoric – from sailing down the Nile to meeting the mountain gorillas of Rwanda. They’re big ticket and bucket list. They’re irrepressible. They’re unforgettable.

In America, travellers are celebrating the return of the two and three-week holiday. It reflects the return of travel, of post-Covid confidence. But it also embodies a go-getting attitude; a desire not to miss out, and to make up for lost time.

Tom Marchant Profile Image
TOM MARCHANT Black Tomato co-founder

Tom Marchant is the co-founder of award-winning, tailormade luxury travel company Black Tomato. Recognised as an innovator and leading authority in the industry, Tom founded Black Tomato in 2005 with the aim of creating a business that reflected the needs and personalities of clients for whom the existing travel market offered nothing unique.

BLACK TOMATO

Since 2005, Black Tomato have created immersive, luxurious, and personalised trips across the world for their network of discerning and worldly travellers. Each Black Tomato itinerary is tailored expertly for the traveller at hand, placing an emphasis on the rare, the undiscovered, and the truly authentic.