June 10, 2023

First we had a rise in ‘slow, immersive holidays’, then there was talk of ‘give back vacations’, followed swiftly by ‘hyper-local trips’ – if nothing else, the pandemic has shown that there has been a change in the way we want to travel.

Identifying the latest trend is Original Travel, which is predicting that ‘gratification travel’ will be the next big thing.

The tour operator, which specialises in tailormade tours, reports that it is booking longer, more expensive and more decadent holidays than pre-pandemic, with nearly a quarter (23%) of current bookings being for trips of 15+ days and the average price of a holiday in Q1 of 2022 18% higher than Q1 of 2019 – and this only looks set to grow.

When Original Travel asked its 9000+ followers on Instagram whether 2022 will be the year they finally take that trip they’ve always wanted to take, 78% said yes.

Tom Barber, founder of Original Travel, says: “After years of taking travel for granted and then losing our right to roam, guilt-free ‘gratifications’ are all about casting off the shackles of lockdowns and quarantines to embrace travel and all its pleasures once more. No more waiting for ‘one day’ – now is the time to treat yourself and visit that place you’ve always wanted to visit, enjoy the experiences you’ve always wanted to try and generally take the holiday you’ve always wanted to take.”

What does this mean in reality? This is the type of travel which has long been on your bucket-list– the dream trip you hoped you’d be able to do one day. From seeing gorillas in Uganda to hiking through the Himalayas, these are the types of holidays which will be savoured and remembered forever. To cater to the demand, Original Travel has launched a new collection of gratification-worthy trips.

“We have all been dreaming, planning and anticipating 2022’s holidays for nearly two years, so it’s no surprise that the types of holidays we’re booking now are more ‘decadent’ in one way or other, with people wanting to treat themselves after such a long period of abstinence,” continues Tom.

“Decadence means different things to different people; for some, it’s about luxury, for others it’s about hedonism, richness of experiences or being completely off the grid. The ‘gratifications’ we are booking are highly itinerised trips made up of multiple destinations, excursions and activities and often for 3G (three generational) families or groups of friends,” he says.

“Recent examples include a seven-week diving trip to Indonesia and Palau, a five-week summer family sabbatical to the US and slow, meandering rail trips through Italy and France. Not only is travel back, but it’s back in the best possible way, and in keeping with our Travel Less, Travel Better mantra.”

The tour operator ethos is to put responsible travel at the heart of all its trips. It not only absorbs the carbon footprint of its international flights, but also car-hire and other flights (even if booked independently). Every booking also contributes to its Foundation, which supports nearly 100 humanitarian projects in 30 developing countries. To date, nearly £1.5 million has been invested to support five key areas: child protection, vocational training, economic development assistance, preservation of cultural and natural heritage and safeguarding the lifestyles of indigenous peoples.

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