From cultural exchanges and eco activism, to virtual agents and a ‘less is more’ mentality – here are the biggest travel trends for next year.
After sifting through their stats, Booking.com have revealed their top travel trends for 2019.
In the new year, travellers will be looking to add more purpose to their trips.
When looking at the most popular kinds of trips with purpose, 68 per cent of global travellers would consider participating in cultural exchanges to learn a new skill, followed by a volunteering trip (54 per cent) and international work placements (52 per cent).
Easy does it
In past years, travellers have heard a lot of buzz around artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and speech recognition. In the coming year, the winning innovations will be those that can seamlessly offer these technologies as a practical solution to travellers. Think keyless room-access with your phone, personalised travel tips or a robotic concierge who can communicate with guests in their mother tongue.
Research has shown the innovations that will have travellers most excited include real-time luggage tracking through a mobile app (57 per cent) and having a single app for travel planning, booking and travel needs (57 per cent).
It seems that 2019 will be all about seamless travel.
Watch this space – uncharted territories
NASA will start construction of its Lunar Space Station in 2019 (launching in 2022) and we’ll continue to see considerable investment in orbital spaceflight.
This comes at a great time where 40 per cent of travellers say they're excited about space tourism. While we wait for space travel to be offered to the mass market, it seems adventure seekers will be chasing other-worldly accommodation, with 60 per cent of travellers saying they want to stay under the sea.
Up close and personal
Say farewell to generic travel guides and hello to short-form, relevant and personalised destination content.
A third of travellers want someone or something to do the hard work and make travel recommendations for them and around 41 per cent want travel brands to use technologies such as AI to make travel suggestions based on past travel experience. In fact, over half would be excited about tech travel innovations such as a digital tour guide, bringing them a truly bespoke experience.
Travellers will continue to become conscious about social, political and environmental issues when selecting destinations.
Currently, almost half feel social issues in possible travel destinations is important when choosing where to go and 58 per cent choose not to go to a destination if they feel it will negatively impact the people who live there.
Plastic not-so fantastic
Millennials and Gen Z travellers will look for sustainable experiences in their destination, while accommodation providers will look to reduce their plastic usage and increase their sustainable credentials.
An overwhelming majority of global travellers (86 per cent) say they would be willing to spend some time on activities that offset the environmental impact of their stay, with over a third willing to clear plastic and litter from a beach or other tourist attraction.
The experience curator
Travel with experiences at its core was one of 2018’s major travel trends but 2019 will take it even further.
For almost two thirds of travellers, experiences are now valued higher than material possessions, 2019 will see travellers packing in many different and authentic experiences, from where they eat and sleep to how they shop or watch their favorite sports game with an emphasis on creating moments that will bring us joy and comfort long after the fact.
Maximising the micro
Over half of global travellers plan to make more weekend trips in 2019. The new year is predicted to see travel take a turn to bite-sized, curated itineraries over a shorter amount of time.
With continued innovations in transport, from more flight routes, easy, on-demand car rentals and real-time public transport insights, the micro trip will become more varied and tailored, making shorter trips more personal and rewarding. Along with this, you can expect more unique accommodation offerings.