Are you ready for that long-anticipated vacation? While doing some research, you may have come across the term ‘Revenge Travel,’ as it’s been trending since the start of the year.

You’re probably wondering why people seem to be using it so casually when revenge isn’t always so cavalier? Really, the concept is to seek revenge on the postponement of travel. To enact their revenge, people want to go on extra trips or splurge a little more than they typically would because they’ve been deprived of travel for so long. Meaning, those with delayed travel plans will start to explore with a vengeance as soon as they can.

The reason everyone wants to travel seems to be obvious, but what does revenge travel even look like? Top people from across the travel industry share their insights on why the sentiment for revenge travel is so strong.

scenic view of a river cruise ship on the water

Uniworld European cruises of two weeks or longer are up more than 30 percent.

view of a suite on a river cruise

La Venezia Grand Suite on a Uniworld Boutique River Cruise.

people sitting on a sunchair on a river cruise deck

Maria Theresa Sundeck on the SS La Venezia with Uniworld.

Ellen Bettridge, CEO and President of Uniworld River Cruises says people are not only ready to travel, she says “they want to go big on their return into the world.”

In fact, in April, a 10-night US$7,000 per person European cruise for 2022 sold out within 24 hours. Then in May, a 46-night trip to nine countries, aboard five luxury super ships generated similar interest.

“Get back out there and explore the world once again.”

Travelers not only want to leave their own zip code, but they’re also prepared to spend more on their next trip. Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold President, Guy Young, notes that he sees the same trend towards more and more people “going big.” Since people haven’t been able to travel for over a year, Young says they’re “ready to splurge on longer and more luxurious vacations.”

With vaccines rolling out and borders reopening, Bettridge says she’s also noticing an increased interest in Europe. However, she reasons that guests will be willing to travel to just about anywhere to “get back out there and explore the world once again.”

The Wild and Great Outdoors

Lucille Sive, CEO of The Travel Corporation’s African Division, believes there’s a ton of pent-up demand from travelers who are tired of being at home and have been dreaming and saving up to travel to exotic destinations. “For our clients who have postponed, they’re adding more experiences and upgrading their accommodations to make up for lost time. Our clients want to get out, see, hear, and feel Africa.” Bucket list moments like seeing the gorillas in Rwanda are the sort of revenge travel experiences people are booking.

Treehouse in a safari lodge

Baobab Treehouse at Xigera Safari Lodge in Botswana.

Image: Adriaan Louw

Vice President of the Automobile Club of Southern California, Filomena Andre, says that vacations in the great outdoors are also trending. “Getting out into nature has increased in interest, not only because it had the greatest appeal during the pandemic; ample spaces, beautiful scenery, and ability to provide social distancing, but also because travelers have had the opportunity to contemplate and appreciate what nature has to offer.”

Andre notes that while people are staying a bit closer to home right now, that will change. “Destinations like Hawaii, Mexico, Caribbean, and the US are top sellers, but more people will gravitate toward destinations that open, such as Europe and Alaska, as the recovery progresses.”

aerial view of New River George National Park

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve in West Virginia has the wide open space that travelers are craving.

Image: Brand USA

What Else is New?

There’s no denying travel won’t be the same as it was pre-pandemic. So, what will travelers be seeking other than open spaces?

According to Uniworld’s Bettridge, exceptional service and a bit of luxury will top the list of post-pandemic desirable. “After this chaotic year, there’s no need to take on any additional stress. Travelers want that taken care of for them, and that’s why boutique river cruises have proved so popular.”

Purposeful travel is also on the rise. Travelers want an authentic experience and to “give back” as much as possible.

“The saying that ‘you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone’ is pretty relevant here.”

Because of the pandemic, they’re looking to support communities where they can. People are looking to travel with this in mind and want their travel dollars to be a force for good. They want to travel sustainably, go places that help preserve cultures, and make genuine connections again.

People are also looking to get out and enjoy their destinations at a much slower pace. After all, most of us aren’t rushing around these days. Having the option to travel at a more leisurely pace is just what these travelers are looking for in order to really immerse themselves. People who want to go at a slower pace want to travel to single-country destinations, take it easy, and spend more time exploring.

Rolling back the clock

People are anxious to catch up on lost time, and travelers are looking to get away with their friends and/or family more than ever. With the lack of connection and much-missed quality time, there’s even more desire to spend time together, no matter the destination.

Allison Villasenor, Managing Director of Travel and Product Innovation for AAA Northeast, says, “The saying that ‘you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone’ is pretty relevant here. It’s safe to say that many of us took traveling for granted, assuming we’d likely experience a new place or two each year. The pandemic brought about a pause that grounded us, and now that we can move around again, we’re more ready than ever.”

In the end, vengeful or not, Villasenor says that ultimately travel is about wanting to reconnect, “Travelers are seeking unique experiences that they can share with their loved ones while reconnecting with the world.”