As we continue to adapt to the new norms of 2021, one thing that can keep us moving forward and in the right direction is planning ways to have more positive experiences and make new happy memories. This can be as simple as spending more virtual time talking to friends and family or even planning your future vacations together.

In a recent study, Hilton uncovered that 89% of Americans claimed their travel memories are some of the happiest of their life. Since the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled nearly everyone’s travel plans last year, 188 million Americans believe they are currently experiencing a travel memory deficit. As Americans’ confidence in travel is rising, many people are looking at their calendars and beginning to re-plan their missed vacations.

As an expert in the field of happiness, and someone who is currently planning a future trip with my own family, I know firsthand about how the anticipation of exploring a new destination, and the thought of spending quality time with my family outside of our home, has increased my personal levels of happiness exponentially after a tumultuous year.

One of my favorite trips, and in my opinion the simplest to plan, is a one-tank road trip exploring your own city or a neighboring state. In 2021, my family and I will look to nearby national parks and hiking trails for a breath of fresh air and a change of scenery. Between the beneficial exercise, new environment and boost to our mental health, an outdoor adventure can be exactly what we all need to find a changed perspective and to make new, happy memories during the year ahead.    

Even though the pandemic continues to change how the travel industry operates, many of us have found a greater appreciation for travel over the past year.In fact, 44% of Americans have linked travel to improved relationships with their family members and friends. With a pent-up desire to explore, grow and truly enjoy travel in 2021, 66% of Americans said they will stop putting off their dream vacation and make it a priority once restrictions are lifted. My family has always wanted to visit Santa Fe, New Mexico and we are so excited to make that travel dream a reality as we enjoy the time spent together planning and the anticipation of exploring somewhere completely new.

The act of travel has shown to be more than just going to a destination away from home, but rather a means of creating joyful, memorable, and invaluable experiences in our lives. As families and friends come together to make travel plans this year, it will be interesting to see how their travels shape them as individuals and what new memories they will make along the way. Many people have claimed that the best versions of themselves have come out while traveling and this trend is sure to continue as we navigate through the new norms of 2021 and plan our future vacations.


  • Amy Blankson

    Contributor @ThriveGlobal, Happiness + Technology Expert

    Digital Wellness Institute, Author of #TheFutureofHappiness

    Amy Blankson is the CEO Of Fearless Positivity, Co-Founder of the Digital Wellness Institute, and bestselling author of The Future of Happiness.  A graduate of Harvard and the Yale School of Management, she’s the only person to receive a Point of Light award from two US Presidents.  She is also a member of the UN Global Happiness Council, a Fellow of the World Innovation Organization, and is a contributor to numerous publication including Forbes, HBR, and Psychology Today.  Her work focuses on how to cultivate happiness and well-being in the digital era.