What trends are shaping the way we travel?

Experiential travel seems to be the thing of 2018 as people increasingly seek out experiences and activities rather than just lounging around and soaking up the sun. We have become increasingly eager to immerse ourselves in culture and traditions, wishing to truly experience the destination. 

Are people really basing their holiday decisions on where they can take the best Instagram shot? Are young holiday-makers taking fewer trips to European cities or islands for booze fuelled weeks of debauchery, instead to delve into the culture of a place?

With increasing overtourism people are opting for the quieter, less “touristy” counterparts. In Japan, for example, travellers are heading towards the lavish shrines of Nikko instead of Kyoto, in Spain people are opting for the lesser known but equally beautiful cities.

I wondered what the latest trends in travel are, what has performed well this year and what looks set to shape the way we holiday next year. Here’s some of the trends that most interested/bemused me (I’m NOT a travel trend expert dare I add)…

Child’s play

According to one study, just over two fifths of travellers (42 per cent) plan to visit a destination that makes them feel like a child again in 2019. I suppose we have seen that reflected in all aspects of life; many a “trendy” pop up bar features sprawling ball pits, I see plenty of grown ups whizzing past on scooters around London. 

“just over two fifths of travellers (42 per cent) plan to visit a destination that makes them feel like a child again in 2019”

Is it any wonder with the strains of modern life that people want to revert back to the simpler days of their childhood? In the hyper connected world we live in, people are eager to escape from it all and resort back to simpler days. This also explains why people are opting for more remote destinations that offer the feeling of isolation, being cut off from their hectic lives back home.

Gastronomical travel

If you’re anything like me, then food is a pretty crucial part of everyday life. It is especially important when I’m away on holiday. Culinary travel is set to continue to prove popular amongst tourists seeking out the best gastronomic experiences . Perhaps this is in part thanks to Instagram. As we attempt to capture the perfect shot of our food, will it inevitably send followers off salivating in our footsteps? 

After a visit to Italy this summer, I would more than happily return (hello Traverse 19 in Trentino), lured by the prospect of eating more delightful Italian food, scoffing the incredible pasta made by the locals or sampling the drinks (aperitivo anyone?).

It’s little wonder then that many travellers are basing their holidays around their bellies. Whether it’s from exploring the amazing food markets of South East Asia, sampling the Bibimbap in Seoul or the exquisite seafood Spain has to offer, we are travelling with food on the mind.  


As a lover of history – what better way to immerse yourself in days gone by, than by using the latest VR technology? Museums are utilising these advancements in tech, to transport you back in time through this immersive experience. 

These technologies also have the power to transform outdoor spaces, offering tourists guided walks of the city. You can find virtual tours supplemented with the knowledge of the locals, to provide you with an all round informative experience. 

With the increasing capabilities and sophistication of VR/AR, would we ever reach a point where we’d be reluctant to leave the confines of our house to physically travel if we can be realistically transported to far flung destinations from the comfort of our own living room? I’m not so sure on that one…

Genealogical travel

Apparently DNA tourism looks set to be a big trend for 2019. Sales of home DNA kits have risen exponentially. This time last year, AncestryDNA sold 1.5 million home kits over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. The ease at which we can now find out about our genealogy has fuelled our fascination with finding out about our ancestors, allowing us to connect with our history and the places we once came from. 

“our fascination with finding out about our ancestors, allowing us to connect with our history and the places we once came from”

I’m not sure I’d be convinced to base a holiday around where my distant family once inhabited (although this depends I suppose where exactly I’d be heading…) but I can certainly see the appeal of tracing back your roots.

Chasing those starry skies

People are now travelling to see the stars, seeking out the constellations by visiting destinations renowned for having clearer night skies. For 99% of people in Europe and America the night sky is obscured by artificial light, so again, it will come as no surprise that for some people escaping this is enough to shape their travel plans.

Having visited New Zealand, I remember being amazed at the clear starry skies above me. The region around Aoraki/Mt Cook on the South island is known as one of the best stargazing sites on earth and it was truly breathtaking. When you live in a city polluted by light, fog and fumes there is something very magical about being somewhere peaceful with a blanket of stars hanging over your head.

Who knows, one day soon we could see travel trending beyond our skies with the advent of space tourism. But until then, I’m more than happy taking my holidays on planet earth…



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