Travel News

Here are the Top Google Search Trends in 2021 Concerning Travel

a hand holding a phone with a map on the screen
Written by Charlie

We are getting close to the end of 2021 and that means Google has released their list of what made the top search trends in the year. With Google being the largest search engine, that is a lot of data to sift through and here is what they tell us that “we” have searched for the most or have had the largest search trends, as it pertains to travel. Here is the Google search trends in 2021 as it pertains to travel.

The Top Google Search Trends in 2021

The Google year in review had a lot of information and I scanned through it to see the topics or searches that involved travel this year. Of course, this was definitely not a normal year for travel with many countries being closed off to people from other countries, due to Covid restrictions. But, that just meant that people ended up searching for some things that they had never really searched for before.

Where Can I Travel?

After the lack of travel in 2020, it is no surprise that one of the largest search trends (involving travel) was (it was 3x higher than ever before) was “where can I travel“. This was searched for as a trending search worldwide as people tried to figure out where they could actually travel to, due to the Covid situation.


Another highly searched for term this year was about staycations – a vacation where you stay in your own city. With many people unable to travel or nervous about traveling too far from their home area, staycations were definitely something that people wanted to know more about.

In fact, I would say that people were more interested in staycations in 2021 than 2020, largely because more hotels were open and functioning in 2021 than they were in 2020. But, the worldwide #1 search term in relation to staycations was “Hong Kong” since they have had (and still have) some incredibly tough restrictions on movement and travels.

Which Language?

Here is another one that pertains to travel and it is not a huge surprise for a few reasons. In the category of “how long does it take to learn”, the top trending search was “how long does it take to learn Japanese?”  Of course, the 2020 Summer Olympics were held in Tokyo this summer but just months before, Japan closed itself to visitors except for the athletes. Still, as people watched the Olympics, I am sure there were many people thinking about the Japanese people and their language.

a screen shot of a computer

The Tokyo Olympics had a lot to do with people being interested in Japanese

However, Japan is also an incredibly beautiful country with rich culture and great food so it is not hard to imagine that people may have been dreaming of the day that they could once again travel to Japan. If you cannot travel right now, why not try to learn a language to be better prepared?

Well, if Americans were searching that question, my guess is that the answer likely scared many away as it is said that Japanese is the hardest language to learn for English speakers. They classify it as a language that takes 88 weeks to learn it.

Travel Term That Trended for the First Time

Due to the ramifications of Covid, there were many elements of our regular lives that had been impacted. One of these was travel and people started making a search trend, for the first time ever in the US, as a result.

“Where did all the rental cars go?” was the question that many people had. This trend happened all the way back in April as the demand went through the roof. This, combined with some companies losing vehicles/letting leases go, caused people to have a very difficult time locating rental cars in popular areas – and even in unpopular areas as those locations shipped their cars to the more frequented locations.

This was probably also the time when many people who booked through online travel agencies figured out that their rental reservation was not necessarily a guarantee, even those who booked through the car rental companies directly still had problems at times.

Thanks to the demand skyrocketing, prices also went up, even as gasoline prices in the US began to really start going up. If you have any points or free day certificates (like with National), those were much more valuable this year!

Let’s Hit the Road!

However, the lack of rental cars or their rising prices did not scare everyone away from that roadtrip. In 2021, Americans searched for “road trip” more than ever before. People wanted to get out and explore places around them or on the other side of the continent.

a car driving on a road

“Road trip” was something people searched for a lot

With tourists from Europe and the UK blocked from the US until November of this year, that meant that some very popular summer destinations that would normally see a lot of European tourists became less crowded and also likely offered better deals for those that did not mind taking the drive.

What To Do With Kids?

After months of being inside and dealing with the school restrictions, the thing to do with kids that topped the trending list around the world was camping list with kids. People wanted to get outdoors and with this being the top trending search for what to do with kids, it is highly likely that the great outdoors saw more first-time campers in 2021 than ever before.

Lugares Para Visitar En

That is Spanish for “places to visit in” and this was actually searched in the US more than ever before as people looked for places to visit, but in Spanish.

Bottom Line

There is a little look at what people in the US and around the world searched for this year that pertained to countries and travel. No surprise that some of these Google search trends in 2021 appeared as it was still a confusing year for travel!

Wildcard search I noticed – people actually searched for “Y2K” more in 2021 than ever before! I thought that was long ago forgotten!

Did you search for any of those topics or similar?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.