New research from Google has revealed that meaningful travel with a rise in celebrating “life moments” (milestone birthdays, anniversaries, retirements, etc.) is one of the key travel trends in 2022. We take a look at the trend with commentary from our Safe Travel Partners.

Many major life moments related to the relationship of Shane Jones and his wife Barbara Haight have been celebrated by a trip to Prague.

“We first went there as friends years ago, and it’s where we fell in love,” said the founder of Worldwide Adventure Guides, a North Carolina-based adventure travel company he and Haight founded in 2015. “So, on a subsequent trip, it’s where I proposed to her.” In 2008, it’s where they had their wedding and where they’ve celebrated every landmark anniversary since (including one for the “seven-year itch” that 42 friends attended).

“Life moment” travel — the act of celebrating or marking a major achievement or life change with travel — is hardly new. Jones and Haight are proof of that. So are the countless number of honeymoons taken since the late 1800s.

What is new is people are going to be planning more of these trips in 2022, according to new Google research. What exactly is the point of life moment travel, and why is it on the rise?

Why Life Moment Travel?


Photo © Har Rai Khalsa, a winner of the Global Rescue 2021 Photo Contest

Kalon Surf, a luxury surf resort set on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, where the Pacific Coast meets the rainforest, has always been a popular place for guests celebrating life achievements. They’ve been visited by guests celebrating a career change, have organized 30-year wedding anniversaries with the whole extended family in tow and have been the site of milestone birthdays as well as retirement travel. Recently, they even hosted one famous individual who was celebrating the end of some judicial procedures.

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“When you combine a vacation with a big achievement, you’re locking the memory of that achievement in, rather than just letting it go by,” said Kjeld Schigt, Kalon’s owner and director. “That’s important for people. I had to learn that myself. I had to learn to celebrate achievements. I think doing it in trips like this is an excellent way because it is about paying tribute to whatever you’re celebrating and giving it the right space and memory to do so.”

Why on the Rise? 


Photo courtesy of Ubuntu Travel

According to that Google study, more than half (56%) of Americans are likely to participate in a life moment such as a wedding, a move or a new job at some point in the next two years. Of that same group, 78% are considering travel related to those moments.

And you can bet it’s associated revenge travel — pent-up demand to travel freely again (or as freely as can be under COVID restrictions).

“Milestone celebrations have always been a big part of our business, but we’re seeing many guests inquiring about adventures that have been on their bucket lists for quite some time,” said Jenna Chase, director of operations for Ubuntu Travel, a travel agency specializing in luxury, bespoke African safari tours. “After many lockdowns and years of isolation, we’ve found guests are eager to start creating memories and conquering their travel bucket lists.”

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Kalon Surf’s Schigt agrees.

“Because of COVID, people kind of woke up and said ‘Life is short, anything can happen, so why wait?’” he said. “Enjoy those moments as much as you can. Take those experiences, and no one can ever take them away from you. They continue to be a memory, they continue to live on.

Safe Travel Partners and Life Moment Travel


Photo © Avi Sion, a Global Rescue 2021 Photo Contest submission

Jones and Haight don’t just plan their own regular life moment trips to Prague. They also plan travel for others through their company, Worldwide Adventure Guides, which specializes in trips to destinations like Kilimanjaro, Everest Base Camp, Ecuador and Machu Picchu, where the duo has developed close connections with the community over the last 30 years.

“Anytime anyone wants to go on an adventure is great,” said Jones. “But it really means something special to me when they let us know it’s for a big birthday or a retirement. It’s something they’re going to remember for the rest of their lives, so I have to admit, it puts a little pressure on us. But if we can make it all the more special, the better.”

Chase of Ubuntu Travel admits it’s just as exciting for their team as it is for their clients. 

“We had the pleasure of assisting a few surprise engagement proposals recently — one happened just a few months ago that was very exciting,” she said. While the woman reached out to plan the trip, the soon-to-be fiancé followed up behind the scenes to work with the family-run travel company for a surprise sunset safari proposal.

“I remember going into the office the day he was doing it, and we were all abuzz waiting for him to send pictures,” she said. “It brought so much joy to our day. Celebrating these milestones can be just as memorable for us. We love seeing the experience through others’ eyes.”