2022 Travel Goals: Cultural Immersion and Dream Destinations, Says Amex

According to a new trend report published by American Express Travel

Winding road in the Italian countryside with cypress trees on either side. there is a complex of buildings next to a portion of the road

Andrea Comi / Getty Images

Judging by the end of mask mandates and travel quarantines, 2022 is shaping up to be a year where travel most closely resembles what it was like pre-pandemic. If 2020 was the year of staycations and house rentals, and 2021 was the year of domestic travel and outdoor adventure, 2022 marks an emphasis on impactful and luxury travel both domestically and internationally. At least according to the American Express Travel 2022 Global Travel Trends Report.

According to the report—which surveyed 2,000 people in the U.S. and an additional 1,000 people in Australia, Canada, Mexico, Japan, India, and the U.K.—most travelers are looking to spend more on their vacations this year. When asked how much they’re planning to spend, 86 percent of respondents said they expect to spend the same or more than they spent on pre-pandemic vacations. When comparing to 2021, 72 percent of respondents plan to spend more money on domestic travel, while 64 percent plan to spend more on international travel.

That’s due, in part, to people finally booking their dream vacations. People are seemingly willing to skip buying a new car if it means that they can check some items off their bucket list. Consumers are most excited to visit Europe, with the continent being the first pick for 35 percent of people, compared with 15 percent for North America, the second most popular region. Travelers are most excited to visit Italy, with France, England, Spain, and Greece making up the rest of the top five.

While people are looking to spend more on travel in 2022, that money isn’t being spent mindlessly. Travelers want to have a positive impact on the places they visit, with 62 percent of respondents expressing a desire to be more thoughtful about where and how they travel, while 81 percent want their money to go to the local community. The most popular ways of doing so for respondents are: eating and shopping at small businesses, visiting a landmark, and visiting a national park.

But travelers don’t just want to have a positive impact; they want to immerse themselves in other cultures. Seven out of 10 people are interested in cultural immersion, ranging from a simple walking tour to a cooking intensive or even a homestay where travelers share a residence with a local, a genuinely unparalleled way to get familiar with a new culture. 

It’s only three months into 2022, but if these trends prove accurate, this year will see a lot of high-spending bucket list travel, emphasizing engaging with local communities. Sounds like a perfect vacation to us!

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  1. American Express. "American Express Travel 2022 Global Travel Trends Report." Accessed March 29, 2022.