Last year’s travel trends are this year’s travel realities. So what are the trends that will drive next year’s travel economy? We dug into the research and gathered the top travel trends according to the latest industry reports* in order to show you what to keep an eye out for in 2018. Here’s what to expect in the year ahead as compared to the trends of 2017.
In light of the growing overtourism problem in major cities around the world, travelers will increasingly search for off the beaten path destinations in the coming year. The rapid growth of tourism in cities like Amsterdam, Paris and Venice has caused locals to feel pushed out of their own cities, with visitors taking over their city streets, public spaces and even housing, which naturally decreases the quality of life for residents.
With this in mind, more travelers than ever will opt for destinations that are similar to the major cities yet less crowded and less expensive. Rather than following the tourist trail to Barcelona for example, cities with impressive cultural offerings such as Seville and Valencia will be next on the list.
Tools such as momondo’s Anywhere Search option allow travelers to see the prices of alternative destinations on a map. To use the Anywhere Search function, search for a flight on momondo by choosing your departure airport and in the return search box, type in “Anywhere,” select your dates and click search to discover a list of new destinations ranked by price or by location on the map.
Authentic culinary tourism
Last year was all about eating only the most Instagram-worthy meals (looking at you avocado toast) and going to the most highly acclaimed restaurants. The future of culinary tourism however will move away from expensive dining to more authentic food experiences. Visiting local markets and dining with locals in their homes (made easier by websites like EatWith and Meal Sharing) will be major interests for travelers exploring new destinations.
Even entire vacations will be planned around food, with destinations being chosen based on their culinary offerings. Japan will be of particular interest next year for foodie travelers for its unique cuisine, traditional markets and innovative themed dining experiences.
Achievement is the new experiential
Trips are no longer just about sightseeing and checking countries off your bucket list. One of next year’s up-coming travel trends is all about achievement travel. travelers tired of doing the same old thing will seek out travel experiences that will allow them to achieve a goal or accomplish something they have never done before. Challenging situations like completing a marathon for the first time, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro or walking the Santiago de Camino for example will play a major factor in where travelers decide to go next year.
This is similar to last year’s experiential travel trend, which was all about becoming immersed in the local culture, connecting with the community and developing a rich knowledge and understanding of the place. But next year there will be more focus on what you can get out of yourself rather than what you can get out of the community.
Read more: The best marathons in the world
Work and travel
Rather than continuing last year’s ‘bleisure’ trend (mixing business with leisure), business travelers in 2018 will extend the concept for even longer periods of time. Nowadays more employees than ever before have the freedom to extend professional business stays by a couple extra days or even weeks for personal trips, which is why the ‘bleisure’ trend really took off last year.
Next year however, extending a business trip by a few days will not be enough. Instead, working full-time or even part-time as a digital nomad for a month or more will become the next thing to do. With access to reliable Wi-Fi almost all around the world, advances in online communication tools and professional co-working spaces in major cities around the world, it will be easier than ever to live and work in different destinations for longer periods of time. Programs such as Remote Year help to facilitate these experiences.
Read more: Tips on how to become a full-time traveler
Many hotels will focus next year’s efforts on creating large communal spaces for guests, rather than enlarging the size of individual rooms. Today’s travelers increasingly seek out accommodation with designated spaces to hang out in and mingle, similar to a hostel concept. These open lounge areas will be the focus point for social travelers who are looking for the comfort and privacy of a hotel, as well as the additional benefit of meeting new people and networking. Marriot’s millennial-focused Moxy hotels for example are equipped with specially designed lounges with bartenders and in-hotel coffeehouses that are open 24/7.
New hotel technology
Investing in new technology will be a major priority for hotels next year. In particular, many hotels will dedicate higher budgets to improving Wi-Fi services with higher speeds and wider bandwidths. In an effort to make guests’ hotel stay more simple and seamless, hotels will be investing in things such as artificial intelligence, automated check in and check out and mobile applications that cater to guests’ needs inside and outside of the hotel.
One such app is the Hilton Honors app, which allows guests to order room service, book spa treatments and even arrange airport transportation from their mobile phones. With easy access to hotel features and services from the palm of their hands, guests are able to personalize their stay while allowing the hotel staff to focus on the guests’ experience.
Solo travel was a major theme in 2017, especially solo female travel. There will continue to be more options and inspiration for solo travelers next year, but travel in 2018 will see a major spike in interest in multigenerational travel. Family members of all ages, including parents, children and grandparents, will be traveling to reconnect and create new memories together. Options for all ages will be a necessity for travel brands, whether it be accommodation or activities, they will need to cater to not just one age range.
Conscious travel is in
Sustainable travel was one of the most talked about buzzwords in 2017, but 2018’s newest travel term will be “conscious travel.” While sustainable travel mainly focuses on a traveler’s carbon footprint and the local economy, conscious travel includes an added element of community.
More than ever, travelers will be mindful of their impact on the economy as well as the lives of those living in the destination that they are visiting. In addition to making a conscious effort to go on eco-friendly tours and buy organic produce at local markets, travelers will be spending their money in ways that benefit the local economy and community, rather than large corporations and foreign investment companies. That includes opting for small boutique hotels over big chain hotels and local shops over international malls.