Last year our family set up out on an epic trip out West, hitting the Grand Canyon, Vegas and Disneyland. Now just the thought of that type of vacation seems so far away as we wonder if it’s even feasible to leave the state without having to quarantine ourselves out of precious in-school hours.

But just because travel looks a lot different this winter break, that doesn’t mean there aren’t family bonding experiences to be had and adventures to be taken. A new travel trend report from Vrbo shows just how much travel has changed during the pandemic–and it’s not all bad.

According to Vrbo, eight out of ten families (82 percent) are already making plans for 2021, and those plans include frequenting freshwater, snuggling in cozy cabins and (finally) taking that bucket list trip.

Outer Banks, North Carolina /©

The Vrbo 2021 Travel Trend Report revealed road trips and flexcations (a vacation of work and play) are here to stay.

  • 59 percent of families say they are more likely to drive instead of fly on their next trip.
  • 61 percent of U.S. families said they are more likely to visit an outdoorsy destination than an urban one.
  • 52 percent of travelers who took a flexcation this year found the experience refreshing and 67 percent said they would do it again.

People are also seeking destinations where they can be in the great outdoors. Homes by lakes, rivers and streams will definitely continue to be big in 2021 as families look for the chance to do activities such as fishing, camping and hiking.

Among the top five:

Emory, Texas – A place between two lakes filled with largemouth bass that’s also home to the A.C. McMillan African American Museum.

Slade, Ky. – Home to Red River Gorge, a hot spot for hiking, climbing and water sports. It’s also close to Mammoth Cave National Park which is rich with the history and stories of African American cave explorers who helped lay out the hundreds of miles of cave systems that make up the park.

Outer Banks, N.C. – A scenic beach destination that’s especially popular among New Jersey families.

Perhaps my favorite trend to come out of the pandemic is the quest for coziness. Vrbo says that the demand for cabins and increased by 25 percent while searches for chalets were up almost 20 percent.

This secluded cabin with boats near Jenny Jump State Forest looks like a dream. It sleeps eight, which means you could potentially bring along another family in your “bubble.” With a wood-burning fireplace and all the amenities you could ask for; it would definitely make for a memorable vacation spot without leaving the Garden State.

That’s not to say I’m not looking forward to getting my passport stamped again sometime in the near future. Another interesting outcome of the survey was that 65 percent of respondents said they are planning to do more travel than they did pre-COVID when things get back to normal. Fifty-four percent of people surveyed said they are more likely to take their bucket list trip and be more adventurous with travel.

As for me, I can’t wait to plan that family vacation to Greece we’ve been fantasizing about long before the pandemic. Having to stay home really does make you realize how much you miss travel, and how much there is out there to see and explore.