Can you believe that 2018 is already reaching its final days? Did you accomplish your vacation resolutions this year? Where you able to travel further, immerse yourself in a new culture, or go somewhere you’ve never been? The ways we research, places we travel, and experiences we look for, are ever changing. Here are the top travel trends of 2018, and a sneak peek of what 2019 has in store for travelers!
Top Destinations of 2018
According to Forbes, there have been some extra hot destinations during this last year of travel.
- Sydney, Australia – With the reopening of the iconic Sydney Opera House, this city on the bay, was rejuvenated for visitors down under.
- New Orleans, Louisiana – NOLA celebrated its 300th birthday this year, so the colorful celebrations in creole country were packed all year long!
- The Palm Beach, Florida – With over 47 miles of beaches, this relaxing haven, saw a lot of ‘new’ this year. A new spring training facility, a booming foodie scene, including a market hall, and pro surfer, Kelly Slater’s new wave park is almost ready to open.
- Buenos Aires, Argentina – 2018 was especially exciting for this eclectic city. Sporting events and the arts were highlighted all year long.
- Marrakech, Morocco – This ancient city gained new life as an upscale travel destination part to the opening of the Yves Saint Laurent Museum.
- Reykjavik, Iceland – Whether it’s soaking in the Blue Lagoon before your flight back home, or a journey, bundled up, to see the Aurora Borealis, Iceland is hot on a traveler’s radar.
Life with technology is part of the norm, so the desire to escape from reality and get back to our roots with nature is becoming more and more popular among travelers. If you just can’t come to terms with pitching a tent, and packing all of your food for your stay, but you are craving a slumber under a million stars, glamping is the popular choice. Connect with nature, but still have the comforts of a king-sized bed and high thread count sheets wrapped around you. Pack your boots (and cashmere sweater) and check out our story all about glamping and how to prepare!
Experiential and Transformational Travel
Whether you seek to escape the nine to five or seek an off-the-beaten-path local perspective, travelers are looking for more than a tan on their vacations. Wellness amenities such as yoga mats, on-site spas, and bike rentals, all the way up to full-blown retreats, are on travelers’ wish lists. Travelers are booking tours, culinary experiences, personalized guides, and other tailored experiences to immerse themselves in the local community.
We Vacationeers are continuing to turn to Instagram and other influencing social media sites to stumble on dreamy destinations that are captured with another traveler’s lens. Bloggers, models, solo and family travelers, have developed large followings on social media and are speaking directly to their audiences daily. The trend continues for ‘Followers’ to follow these influencers in their traveling footsteps. Have you booked travel this year based on the beauty of Insta?
Booking By Mobile
Booking by smartphones is continuing to increase. According to Google Consumer Insights, 48% of American travelers are comfortable researching, planning, and booking their entire trip on their mobile device. In other countries, this percentage is even higher!
70% of requests to Google Assistant are expressed in natural language, meaning that people are getting more comfortable having conversations with computers. According to Google/Phocuswright, over 1 in 3 travelers across the world are interested in using digital assistants to research or book travel, and they’re already searching for everything from flights and things to do in a destination. Travelers are also using assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa to research travel.
Last Minute Bookings
Last minute travel bookings are up this year. According to Google Data, travel-related searches for “tonight” and “today” have grown over 150% on mobile over the past two years. 72% of all mobile bookings made by U.S. travelers happened within a 48-hour window prior to the booking. According to Google/Phocuswright, more than 60% of travelers would consider an impulse trip based on a good hotel or flight deal.
Travel Budgets Are Increasing
Travel spend increased this year. The average international trip for American travelers now costs over $6000. According to Squaremouth, Norway was the most expensive destination for American travelers, with an average trip cost of almost $10,000!
Travel apps continue to surge in popularity and feasibility. Travelers can feel more comfortable about being away from home with apps to help make travel as smooth as possible. Track traffic with Waze, keep in touch with friends and family back home with WhatsApp, check security wait times and airport amenities with GateGuru, and convert and split the bill easily with Splitwise.
Looking Ahead to 2019!
Have you already conquered the trends of 2018? Luckily, 2019 is just around the corner and will continue to be a year of travel. Here are a few trends on the rise this new year.
Follow Your DNA
Have you considered retracing your ancestor’s footsteps? Thanks to the developments in genetic testing, DNA kits, and accessible historical records, travelers are finding it easier than ever to travel back to their lineage, forging stronger connections with people and cultures along the way.
With travel prices continuing to rise, travelers will look to off-season options. To avoid the crowds of summer in popular destinations like Venice, London, Paris, and more, consumers are willing to trade warmer temperatures for something other than a bumper to bumper, overpriced tourist experience. According to Intrepid Travel, 70% of Americans are now considering overseas winter trips.
More than ever travelers are seeking out shorter stays in their own backyard. Travelers are looking for experiences and luxurious accommodations to relax, and get away from it all, so finding a resort or unique accommodation that can offer an extra special stay without the hassle of plane tickets, is becoming more and more important in the planning process.
Adventure for Your Palette
The continued rise of celebrity chefs and quality cooking shows, many travelers are going the distance to find authentic food experiences. While Southeast Asia and Europe have always been popular foodie destinations, other places are popping up on a traveler’s radar as a place to taste. Love craft beer? Consider a 2019 pilgrimage along the West Coast to sample IPA, Saison, or stout.
Solo and Multigenerational Travel
According to Lonely Planet, solo travel is on the rise, and travelers will be looking to book more experiential and transformational experiences. On the opposite side of the travel spectrum, multigenerational travel will also see a spike. Travelers will bring their entire family along, and therefore will seek more space in their accommodations.
Discover the Undiscovered
A final prediction to 2019 travel is the desire to uncover the undiscovered destinations. Travelers want to avoid the crowds and carve their own path using a local’s perspective. Less popular destinations will begin to pop up on your travel bucket list next year.