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The impact of COVID-19 on city breaks

Monday, September 13, 2021

A survey run among 20,000 fans of city breaks suggests a significant change in their travel habits.

According to the survey — conducted by a Dutch publisher of city guides, time to momo — city break travellers now prefer to take a car (69%) or even a train (18%), rather than a plane (13%). This might be affected by multiple factors, including the current uncertainty of flights — passengers are used to the flights being cancelled and receiving travel vouchers instead of a monetary refund. The latter happens despite the EU law obliging the airlines to refund the full price of a cancelled flight.

Top city break destinations in 2021

The turn to cars also significantly affects the travel destinations of the fans of city breaks. London, New York, Prague, and Barcelona are no longer in the top 10. Instead, cities like Berlin and Paris, easily accessible from the Netherlands by car, have taken the top 2 spots on the list. Even when the travellers decide to take a plane, they primarily pick an EU destination — all current top 10 destinations for city breaks are within the EU borders, as shown below.

  1. Berlin (previously 4th)
  2. Paris (previously 5th)
  3. Vienna (previously 8th)
  4. Valencia (previously 1st)
  5. Rome (previously 6th)
  6. Porto (new on the list)
  7. Stockholm (new on the list)
  8. Copenhagen (new on the list)
  9. Lisbon (previously 3rd)
  10. Seville (new on the list)

More planning and awareness

The report also highlighted the importance of planning city breaks in pandemic times. More than 75% of the respondents said that they carefully pick their city break destination and plan their trip. This includes booking tickets for museums and other attractions in advance and carefully reviewing the local corona rules.

City break travellers also prefer to stay in a hotel room (44%) rather than an apartment (28%). As René Bego, founder of time to momo, suggests, this could be partly caused by the guarantee of regular cleaning at hotels, which is especially crucial in the COVID era.

Did you know that you might be able to claim a cancelled flight refund or a flight delay compensation even 6 years after the original flight date?

Check your eligibility now!