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Vrbo family travel trends and popular vacation rentals for 2021

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  • Due to COVID-19, domestic destinations and private vacation rentals in nature have seen big spikes as travelers prioritize safety and isolation.
  • Expect these trends to continue into 2021, especially for families, according to Vrbo’s new travel trend report. 
  • The report is based on a survey of over 8,000 people, as well as Vrbo travel demand over a 12-month period.
  • We break down the top four family travel trends from the report’s findings below, plus highlight top-rated Vrbos to book. 

The travel trends triggered by the pandemic this year show little sign of slowing down as the new year approaches. As travelers continue to prize safety above all else, family travelers especially are seeking lodging in private homes (doctors consider these low risk for virus transmission) in drivable, domestic destinations.

The vacation rental platform Vrbo announced its 2021 Travel Trend Report, which identifies some more specifics surrounding where, why, and how families will likely target their travel in the coming year amid the ongoing pandemic. The report compiled data from a survey of over 8,000 people, as well as taking into account Vrbo travel demand from families over a 12-month period.

According to the report’s findings, 82% of families are already making plans for 2021. They’re likely to put a continued emphasis on road trips, and hybrid work-leisure trips. In terms of lodging styles and locales, visitors are seeking cozy cabins, as well as homes in natural settings close to lakes, rivers and streams. And overall, families say they plan to go big whenever it’s safe, with most planning to take a trip to a domestic bucket-list destination whenever conditions support doing so.

And, the trends also highlight that families are considering mental health along with physical health and safety. In fact, 22% of travelers surveyed said a vacation would improve mental health and act as self-care. 

“It’s so great to see how these trends are tied to mental health because for so long, we’ve kind of ignored mental health. And it’s so important, especially now,” pediatric psychologist and parenting coach Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart, explained in a Vrbo news release. “Neurologically, our brain doesn’t like monotony because we lose our motivation. We become exhausted, agitated and irritable when it’s too much of the same stuff, so changing your environment is important.”

Dr. Lockhart also notes that “any change of scenery makes a difference that can help support families and kids, and their mental health.”

To highlight some of the best rental options in keeping with Vrbo’s family travel trends, we selected listings with the following characteristics: 

  1. All listings are for entire private homes with plenty of space for families and multiple bedrooms.
  2. All are highly rated with near-perfect ratings, and a minimum average score of 4.9 out of 5.
  3. Our picks are right for a range of budgets. Average nightly rates range from just $80 to $500 per night to start.

It’s important to keep in mind that while there are some promising options on the horizon, there’s currently still no vaccine for the coronavirus, and the pandemic remains uncontrolled around the country. Therefore, there are risks associated with any travel, and no absolute guarantee of safety. We always recommend travelers follow CDC safety guidelines, wear masks, maintain social distancing, and wash hands frequently.

These are the top family travel trends and places to book on Vrbo in 2021.

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