Mark Hodson of 101 Holidays tells us about travel trends and the type of holidays people are booking for 2022.

When it comes to holidays, Brits tend to be defiant. Rules may change, dreams may be dashed and the future may continue to look uncertain, but still we make plans. The travel inspiration site, 101 Holidays, says its visitor numbers remain high in spite of the spread of Omicron - currently up 15% on the same period in 2019, before the pandemic.

The site’s editor, Mark Hodson, says travel companies are working their socks off to keep the bookings coming in, by offering low deposits, flexible booking terms, free date changes and help with Covid tests and paperwork. Here, he speaks with tour operators and hoteliers to discover the travel trends emerging for 2022.

Multi-generational villas


Villa companies are reporting heavy demand for extra-large family villas, especially in the summer school holidays. Often, it’s the grandparents who are doing the planning - and picking up the bill. Properties with a “granny annexe” plus restaurants, a beach and supermarket within walking distance are top of the wish list. In Mallorca, Vintage Travel recommends Es Fasser, sleeping up to 12, on the edge of the lovely village of Calonge.


CV Villas has a number of multi-gen villas, some with the option of a cook service – Villa Balbina on the Algarve also has its own gym, Jacuzzi and heated pool.

Hotel book-outs


Groups of friends and families are increasingly opting for an exclusive hotel stay. In the Lake District, Gilpin Lake House sits in a 100-acre estate; you can book the entire house for up to 12 people and get your own indoor pool, hot tub and private dining. On the Isle of Skye, i-escape suggests the remote eight-room Hame Hotel overlooking Loch Vatten, or Torre di Moravola, a beautifully-restored medieval watchtower in Umbria with panoramic views and seven rooms.


Villas within hotels


Families are snapping up villas with full hotel service on tap. Sardatur Holidays recommends the luxury all-inclusive Ikos Resorts which offers spacious villas and suites in its hotels in Greece and Spain.


In the Maldives, many resorts offer villa-style accommodation – Turquoise Holidays recommends the two-storey beach villas at Constance Halaveli, which has a choice of restaurants, a kids club and luxury spa.

Bucket list honeymoons


What happens when your wedding plans go awry and your honeymoon is postponed for two years or more? You plan an even bigger and better honeymoon. That’s what the top-end tour operators are reporting with couples spending more and staying longer. Abercrombie & Kent reports rising demand for big-ticket honeymoons such as this gastronomic tour of South Africa, combined with some beach R&R in the Indian Ocean. Dehouche has adventurous honeymoon itineraries in South America including Chile, the Andes and Easter Island.


Party houses


Think of all those big birthday and anniversary celebrations since early 2020 that were either cancelled or severely reduced and it isn’t hard to understand why the chance to let your hair down with family and friends is high on the 2022 list of must-dos. Oliver’s Travels has a dazzling choice of party houses which you can rent, usually with the option of full or partial catering.


The 18th-century Inglethorpe Hall in Norfolk sleeps up to 20 in style whilst The Big Domain has found a fabulously remote Scottish Lodge with its own Ceilidh barn.

Travelling solo


Companies that specialise in solo travel are reporting a healthy uptick for 2022. House party-style holidays are particularly popular, including gulet cruises in Turkey with Friendship Travel, and Solos Holidays’ ClubSolos group trips in the UK, the Med and Caribbean.


Activity and special interest holidays are also selling well, including group hikes with Ramblers Walking Holidays and cookery breaks in Italy with Flavours Holidays.

Adult-only hotels


Whether or not you have children, isn’t it nice sometimes to stay somewhere without the little darlings? Simpson Travel has taken the idea of adult-only hotels and made it even more tempting with its collection of boutique gems in the Greek Islands and Turkey – and demand is strong for 2022. In Crete,Arosmari Village Hotel has just 10 cottages, set in tranquil gardens on the edge of a charming village. Local cuisine, an honesty bar, a shepherd’s hut and pretty pool all add to the grown-up escapism.


Dogs welcome too


Families who acquired lockdown puppies, or whose who became increasing attached to their dogs over the past two years, no longer want to put them in kennels while they go on holiday. Companies such as Sykes Cottages and Canine Cottages are reporting record demand for dog-friendly cottage rentals in the UK – especially ones with wide open spaces on the doorstep.


Pick one with an enclosed garden for peace of mind, such as Starlight Cottage in the Brecon Beacons.

Experiences


The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is already sold out for 2022 and booking strongly for 2023. It’s the epitome of a unique travel experience and it seems lots of us are queuing up to be wowed. Kirker Holidays offers the VSOE and other jaw-dropping rail journeys such as The Royal Scotsman and El Transcantábrico in Northern Spain. The Northern Lights are another of those must-do experiences – Best Served Scandinavia has a range of breaks including the chance to view the Northern Lights from a comfy bed in a glass igloo.


Or how about watching wildlife passing your treehouse suite at Sir Richard Branson’s Ulusaba in South Africa.

December 2021