(CNN)– As more and more countries reopen their borders to eager tourists, a new buzz phrase has emerged on social media: revenge travel.
The term has been used to describe trips as varied as family reunions, splurge vacations, and visits to favorite haunts, leading to a question: what does it refer to?
The term “revenge” often has a negative connotation, belying the sense of joy and excitement that many people get from taking their first vacation in over two years.
But the idea of ”revenge travel” seems to be more a matter of love of travel than hoping that a specific destination will repay you. Unless, for example, Romania has stolen your girlfriend or Peru has fired you from your job, it sounds strange to take revenge on a place.
Perhaps the “revenge trip” can be interpreted as revenge against the pandemic, or against covid-19 itself.
Really. What is it about?
“Revenge travel is a buzzword in the media that originated in 2021, when the world started to reopen and people decided to make up for lost time,” says Erika Richter, vice president of the American Society of Travel Advisors. (ASTA).
Part of the problem is that there is no good way to describe the current mood of travel around the world. The term “post-pandemic travel” is not entirely accurate, as the pandemic is not over in many places. Different countries and regions operate with different deadlines, and while some have already lifted all entry restrictions, others remain strictly controlled or even closed to foreign visitors.
Richter agrees with the general sentiment behind the concept, even if he doesn’t use the term “revenge trip.”
“It’s another way of saying, ‘Hey, life is short. I want to book that trip. I want to spend more time with my family. I want to connect with humanity and with nature. I want to explore the world and find experiences that make me feel alive. ‘”.
She’s not the only one in the tourism industry struggling to figure out how to talk about “revenge travel” as a trend.
“I don’t think the prefix ‘revenge’ is appropriate for what travel should be,” Rory Boland, editor of Which? magazine, tells CNN Travel. He calls “revenge trips” an “ugly term.”
However, he acknowledges that people have clearly connected with the phrase.
“What it’s trying to capture, I think, is the desire that many people have to travel again, to see new places and meet new people, after a period that has felt static and monotonous.”
Who is doing it?
Whether or not they use the term “revenge trip,” many travelers are reporting that they are taking their first big trip since the start of the pandemic.
Deborah Campagnaro, who lives in British Columbia, Canada, is one of them.
She retired from her investment services job of over 30 years during the pandemic and was looking forward to a vacation to celebrate with her husband. The couple took a group trip to Nepal in 2016 to trek the Annapurna Circuit, a challenging trek around some of the highest peaks in the country.
They liked the trip so much that they had planned to return to Nepal, this time with a personalized route. The lockdowns related to the pandemic and the weather difficulties forced them to postpone it several times. Finally, they were able to confirm their tickets and reservations for September 2022.
Campagnaro and her husband are going to treat themselves to more time and experiences instead of lavish resort stays. They will be staying in Nepal for a whole month and have added a few days in the lakeside city of Pokhara as a gift.
“That wouldn’t have happened before,” he says of the trip. “We do it now because we can. It’s very, very nice to have some down time there after hiking.”
Rhode Island resident Brittney Darcy is also looking forward to a trip that has been postponed due to the pandemic.
This 26-year-old has dreamed of going to Paris since she was a little girl watching her favorite movie, “Sabrina.” But the trip planned for the summer of 2020 with her boyfriend was canceled when covid-19 broke out.
Now, you’ve finally rescheduled your dream vacation, but with more stops and a few improvements. Instead of five days in Paris, he will spend two weeks in France and Italy.
“I took a trip across the country during the covid-19 pandemic but it wasn’t enough and I’ve always wanted to go to Paris and Italy and never have. We’re young and why not?” she told CNN.
The money saved by not traveling for two years is being invested in improving your vacation. Instead of making a stopover in Iceland or Ireland, Darcy and his boyfriend paid more for a direct flight from Boston.
Darcy admits that he had never heard the term “revenge ride,” but once he did, it was a perfect term to describe his trip through Europe.
“Covid has made me less austere. You only live once, so it’s better to spend my money on experiences.”
Recover lost time
One thing is clear: as vaccines become more widespread and doors open again, people around the world are itching to get out again.
Travel booking company Expedia tracks search data online related to travel and tourism. In 2021, the biggest increase in average travel search traffic, 10%, occurred in May, the week after the European Union voted to extend its contract with Pfizer and approve the vaccine for use in adolescents.
Expedia’s survey revealed that 60% of consumers had plans to travel domestically and 27% to travel internationally in 2022.
And many of these travelers are willing to spend more money on a vacation than in the past.
Two years or so of staying home means some people have saved money and can now splurge on a fancier hotel, a first-class plane ticket, or a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Additionally, more and more companies have permanently changed their remote work policies in the wake of the pandemic.
A Pew survey released in February showed that 60% of workers with jobs that can be done from home said they would like to work remotely all or most of the time when the pandemic is over, if given the choice.
For some people, working remotely doesn’t necessarily mean working from home: it could mean trying an Airbnb in another country and spending several weeks there combining work and travel.
Some destinations are openly trying to attract remote workers. Caribbean islands, such as Barbados and Anguilla, have offered visas specifically for remote workers or “digital nomads” as a way to boost tourism.
Whether they call it a “revenge trip” or not, it’s clear that people have changed their mindsets about travel since the pandemic began, and that feeling of “oh finally!” has a lot of power to sell flights and hotel packages.
One of the people participating in this trend is Christie Hudson, Expedia’s head of public relations, who worked on the company’s travel survey.
“Honestly, I wasn’t too surprised. [los resultados de la encuesta]simply because the conclusions were so much in line with how I personally felt,” he says. “During my last weekend getaway, I booked several spa appointments and upgraded our flights to first class. I felt like I deserved it.”