What are the top travel trends for 2022?

Hotel in Sydney
Aiden Darling Harbour

Top 8 Travel Trends for 2022

Now that peregrination is firmly back on the agenda, what weird and wonderful ways will we see travel change and evolve in 2022? 



Shhh… do you hear that? That’s the sound of suitcases being zipped up by the thousand, as travel-hungry wanderlusters make their way back out into the world. But for many, it’s been a while. Are we a bit rusty? How have our priorities changed? And how has the world around us adapted to the new normal? What’s the future have in store for us wide-eyed travellers?


Here are the top travel trends as we see it for 2022.


#1. Clean air for complete confidence


Mask wearing may be here to stay for a while, and we’re all pretty used to that by now. But what about those times when you’re alone indoors and you just want to whisk the darn thing off… How can you be sure the air you’re breathing in is safe and clean? Travellers have never before been as focused on air quality as we are today. And hence, hotels, restaurants and cruise ships across the globe are stepping up their hygiene and clean air practises to the maximum.


As a hotel built during the height of a pandemic, at Aiden Darling Harbour we were able to incorporate state-of-the-art filtration systems and cleaning technologies into our building. In fact, ours is the only hotel in Australia that MERV-13 (or F7) filters in each in-room air-conditioning unit and continuous 24/7 hydroxyl supply and dispersion throughout the whole building’s ventilation system which can assist in neutralising volatile organic compounds and microbial particles (including COVID-19). Meaning guests can breathe easy knowing they are accessing clean filtered air that’s exclusive to their room and not shared with anyone else.



#2. Relaxed policies and restriction-free travel


Change is inevitable. And in uncertain times, change is expected. So it goes without saying that travellers want more flexibility than ever when planning and booking their trips. Many hotels, tour operators, attractions and restaurants have now relaxed their policies to give guests a complication-free experience if they find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to postpone or cancel their plans.


If you’ve made a reservation with us at Aiden Darling Harbour and need to make a last-minute change to your travels, we have a 24-hour cancellation and refund policy in place. And we always encourage you to reach out to our hosts to see if we can help with alternate arrangements should you find yourself in a pickle.



#3. Going green and feeling seen


Year on year, we’re becoming more mindful of the effect our actions have on our earth, both in our day to day and as we travel around the globe. Travelling light is a growing trend which now goes way beyond adding a few bucks to your airline ticket to offset your carbon footprint. We’re now packing bamboo toothbrushes and refillable water containers into our recyclable, reusable bags when we travel, and seeking out sustainable experiences, hotels and destinations to enjoy as an extension of the practises we have in place already at home.


We’ve made conscious efforts to minimise our environmental impact at Aiden Darling Harbour, from our building design, such as using recyclable materials and original structures in our construction,  to our features and facilities. Our 88 guest rooms are equipped with a recycling bin, refillable luxury bathroom amenities, and refillable glass water bottles (with chilled filtered water available at Moda still and sparkling water filling stations on each floor). We’ve put a ban on single-use plastic water bottles and have even sourced slippers with soles made from cornstarch. Plus we run as paperless as possible. Every little bit counts.


#4. Travelling tech savvy


Contactless digital tech is on the up and up in our everyday lives, so it’s no surprise there’s an increased call for it in travel and hospitality. (Whoever thought the QR code would make such a strong comeback!?) This trend is growing in popularity not only for the convenience it provides, but also to help us navigate our travels in times where less human contact may be preferred.


While we love providing a personalised in-person experience for our guests, we’re also fast adopters of tech at Aiden Darling Harbour, and we have incorporated digital features into our hotel in a variety of ways. From the moment go, travellers can check themselves into the hotel via our contactless check-in kiosks, receiving a digital room key via smartphone. Many of our in-room materials are available online such as our compendium guest directory, while our super speedy complimentary Wi-Fi means you can connect up your devices anytime, and access complimentary Chromecasting.



#5. Going beyond the hotel bar


We travellers are savvy souls. We know we can get all those expensive hotel mini bar items at the convenience store next door for a third of the price. And gone are the days when people were happy to eat all their square meals in the same place for days on end. Travellers want to have the freedom to explore local options at their leisure, like we would at home. And if that means having breakfast at a local cafe instead of in the hotel and ordering Uber Eats straight to their room for dinner, then have at it, we say! At least, that’s the attitude of some hotels, who have readily relaxed their policies on food and beverage.

At Aiden Darling Harbour, we encourage our guests to go with the flow. We’re surrounded by exceptional restaurants, bars and cafes in our neighbourhood, and we want guests to get out and explore! But we also offer eat and drink options on-site for travellers who are keen to stick around, like a cafe-style breakfast, great coffee and a wine-bar style evening menu in Wayfarer’s. We’ve done away with mini bars and instead offer ready-to-fill mini fridges in each guest room. And if there’s anything a guest wants brought up to their room, we can make that work too, like a nightcap with our signature cocktails or a bottle of Champagne on your balcony as you watch over the lights of Darling Harbour and Sydney’s CBD.


#6. Paying only for what you need


We’ve all been there. Paying big bucks for a five-star hotel stay with all the bells and whistles, then realising on departure that we hardly made the most of it all because we were too busy exploring, relaxing, working or sleeping! Some new hotels have cottoned onto this phenomenon, designing their experience to exclude outdated, little used or simply unnecessary hotel services and additions, and focusing on smart stay essentials only. This allows them to price rooms more affordably, while still delivering an excellent hotel experience to guests.


One of the best examples is the good old mini bar – a feature many guests don’t use, so you won’t find them here at Aiden Darling Harbour. You can instead stock your own goodies in your in-room fridge. Our rooms are compact and thoughtfully designed, making best use of each inch of space. Rooms are kitted out with luxury items and smart stay essentials, all the things you need and nothing you don’t. We have partnerships with fantastic local gym, e-bikes and parking facilities already available in our neighbourhood, rather than taking up more space with (and charging for) our own. And our team of hosts are multi-skilled and here to help in a variety of ways. Consequently, staying with us won’t burn a big hole in your pocket.




#7. Staycations are here to stay 


The notion of “discovering your own backyard” may not be new, but with overseas travel off the agenda for many in 2022, domestic travel and staycations are on the rise. Whether it’s dashing off to a regional town you’ve always wanted to see, staying in your own suburb and seeing it through fresh eyes, or heading into the big smoke to soak up the splendours of the city, travelling locally will continue to be popular with the masses this year. And there’s something quite satisfying about discovering something new in a well-trodden patch of turf.


At Aiden Darling Harbour, we’re fortunate to call Pyrmont our home, on the cusp of Darling Harbour and with immediate access to the CBD via pedestrian bridge. If you don’t know Pyrmont, it’s a fascinating harbourside village of Sydney filled with tree-lined streets, heritage listed terrace houses, waterside prominades and parks, alfresco cafes and historic pubs. And if you think you know Pyrmont, we challenge you to take a deeper look. For starters, have you found these hidden artworks kept secret even from many locals? Explore the neighbourhood on a guided local walking tour with Local Sauce or see it from the water in style on a private luxury sailing expedition with Sydney By Sail. So much to see and do… but is there ever enough time?


International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney. Credit: Destination NSW

#8. The rise of the work holiday


Whoever thought that come 2020, so many of us would be working from home? While many of us have thrived in our new home office habitats, embracing comfy pants and nailing Zoom calls, there are just as many pining for their workplace of old, missing the watercooler chats and “did you catch the game?” small talk with colleagues. Enter the revamped work trip. Knowing how valuable in-person meetings and interactions can be, organisations have begun incorporating regular gatherings for colleagues into their calendar. And we’re not just talking after-work drinks. We’re seeing everything from off-site workshops and planning days to multi-night team bonding trips and remote working days in cafes, pubs and other central locations.

Staying a stone’s throw from the city but in a character-filled inner city suburb means you have the best of both worlds for a work trip – access and disconnection simultaneously. We’re fortunate at Aiden Darling Harbour to offer such a location, just minutes walk from the water, a quick zip to the city, metres from the ICC Sydney, Australia’s first fully-integrated harbourside convention, exhibition and entertainment venue, and The Star Sydney with its function spaces, eateries and casino.



Have we missed something? Have you spotted a travel trend edging its way into the spotlight in 2022? Share with us!

Aiden Darling Harbour is located on the fringe of Sydney’s CBD in the village of Pyrmont, with easy access to all forms of transportation, leading to all great Sydney venues and events spaces, including many on foot! If you’re looking to spend the night with us in Sydney, browse our collection of room types here to find the perfect fit for your stay. Any questions? Get in touch with our team at hello@aidendarlingharbour.com.au or call +612 7203 8600.

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