Skyscanner Horizons - The Return of Travel

This report published by Skyscanner contains valuable insights to enter a new phase after a year like no other.

Glancing Back, looking forward

Highlighting the outcomes of a permanent shift in the way we live, work and travel, Skyscanner is sharing the latest insights on what this new world of travel will look like. Its privileged position to gather and share global insights makes the Horizons Report an extremely valuable tool for the travel industry.

The Return of Travel – Skyscanner publishes global trends report


Glancing Back, looking forward

This report published by Skyscanner contains valuable insights to enter a new phase after a year like no other. Highlighting the outcomes of a permanent shift in the way we live, work and travel, Skyscanner is sharing the latest insights on what this new world of travel will look like. It's privileged position to gather and share global insights makes the Horizons Report an extremely valuable tool for the travel industry.

The data reveals insights into demand, habits and behaviours, so we can drill down into what travellers are doing in 2021. For the first Skyscanner Horizons report, traveller activity has been analysed on a global scale to uncover those big, shared stories, and dug deeper to discover regional and market trends.

Trip planning rises alongside confidence levels

Average booking horizons are nearing those of 2019, tracking at 75 days in a sign that travellers are confident they can get away this year. Booking horizons are currently 80 days in EMEA, 70 in AMER and 54 in APAC.  

Average trip duration is up too, particularly for trips longer than 20 days. Globally, the average trip length for 2021 is 16 days – up from 14 days last year and the year before. Broken down by region:  

  • APAC: 18 days (up from 13 in 2019)
  • AMER: 17 days (same as 2019)
  • EMEA: 15 (up from 14 in 2019)

Travellers are hedging their bets for year-end trips

Travel dates are being pushed back to later in the year with September, October and November comparatively more popular than two years ago. Searches for medium-haul (3-6 hours) flights are also comparatively higher (+11%) compared to 2019. Travellers are also staying closer to home from June to September and then looking to travel further afield from October.

The rise of the second city - smaller destinations are increasingly popular  

Aside from New York and Paris, travellers are gravitating towards smaller, coastal or island destinations such as Cancun, Crete and Palma. The following is the change in search rank for the top 20 destinations in 2021 vs. 2019:

Couples, families and groups are choosing new destinations

Half of the top 20 destinations for these different traveller types are new for 2021, with Bali topping the list for couples, Sochi the highest new entrant for families and Crete for groups.

Prices are cheaper and travellers are spending less

In some markets such as Europe, ticket prices in Euros up to 15% cheaper than pre-pandemic. And travellers are taking advantage of this, spending less on flights.

But it’s no longer about the cheapest ticket

On Skyscanner platforms, travellers are now selecting tickets 28% more expensive than the cheapest on offer, suggesting that other factors alongside price, such as flight duration, the number of stops and COVID-19 safety are increasing in importance.

Average trip duration


Globally, the average trip length during 2021 is 16 days – up from 14 days last year and the year before, with the biggest increase in trips over 21 days. Travellers are after that one big getaway and it’s at the expense of shorter trips and city breaks.


Key Takeaways

Published on:
April 2021
About the contributor