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The Next Big Thing: Travel Trends to Look Out for in 2018

by Octavia Drughi

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Ran out of exciting ideas on where to go or what to do on your next vacation? Popular tourist destinations no longer tickle your fancy? 

You’re not alone. The trends are shifting, and what might have seemed like the ultimate travel craze last year, may no longer be of interest to many today. This is why we at Tripaneer.com are always trying to stay one step ahead by identifying the emerging trends before they hit the headlines. 

To find out what will be the next big thing when it comes to themed travel, we surveyed travelers from all over the globe. With around 700 respondents, we were able to discover some interesting patterns, and are excited to share the up-and-coming travel trends of 2018 that you must keep an eye out for!

Millennials and female travelers are setting the trends


solo female traveler


Millennials are the fastest-growing segment of consumers when it comes to travel. In our survey, 35% of our respondents belong in this generation, followed close behind by Generation X and Xennials. When it comes to travel, they’re the ones pulling the strings and setting the trends. 

Millennials, more than any generation before them, are concerned with making a difference. This appears to be evident to travel too. They are constantly looking to enrich their lives through meaningful experiences, which usually mean a combination of staying active, connecting with nature and striving for cultural immersion. Similarly, Baby Boomers, who make up 23% of our respondents, are inclined towards learning more about themselves and trying all those things they feel they might have missed out on. 

Moreover, the whopping majority (70%) of our respondents are women. Taking into account that, according to the George Washington University School of Business, nearly two-thirds of travelers today are women, it’s safe to say that they are leading the way in the travel industry. Judging from their answers, women travelers are bold and independent when it comes to planning their vacations. 

They tend to go against the grain and prefer unexplored destinations, trying new experiences and discovering local cultures and traditions. In short, they no longer go for sightseeing or the usual beach and spa holidays; they want real adventure! Wildlife safaris, surf holidays and exploring the world’s most scenic national parks are amongst the type of travel they would like to experience.

Independent travel is booming


map for traveling

In 2018, the popularity of independent travel will continue to rise.  An increasing number of travelers will act as their own travel agents, planning their own vacation itineraries and booking trips and tours online. 

The majority of our respondents (54.5%) will rely heavily on reviews found on the Internet and on the recommendations of friends and family (21%) when planning their excursions. While 16% of travelers would rather not plan at all, as they prefer the element of surprise. 

Just like in 2017, when only 8.3% would ask a travel agency for help, only 8.7% will prefer to book a guided tour or use a travel agency.  

When asked to choose the three aspects of a successful getaway, the destination takes the reign while costs (budget) came in second. This goes to show that travelers are still ‘price-driven,’ which also explains why budget holidays are becoming more popular

All-inclusiveness is no longer a necessary ingredient for a great vacation, with only 8.1% looking for this feature. Cheap flights and budget destinations enable travelers to travel more often, be it long-term or for short escapades and city breaks. 

Off-the-beaten-path destinations are on the rise


adventure travel

Traditional and popular tourist destinations like Paris, New York, Barcelona or Sydney and static beach holidays, which have been dominating the industry for the past decades, continue to get their fair share of attention. But travelers are beginning to scratch beneath the surface and look towards barely touched places, slowly outdating these old-school trends. 

Exotic destinations take the trophy, with 35.1% of our respondents preferring them. South and Southeast Asia are on top of our respondents’ bucket list, with Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines stealing the spotlight. 17.2% prefer to go to a more ‘Off-the-beaten-path’ type of travel found in these destinations:

  • South American countries: Chile, Ecuador, and Colombia
  • Central American destinations: Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Guatemala
  • Caribbean Islands: Cuba and Jamaica
  • African countries: South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana, and Namibia
  • And Eastern European countries: Croatia, Romania, and Hungary

Active holidays take center stage


active holidays

Adventure travel is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the industry as it’s expected to grow at a CAGR of 45.99% between 2016 and 2020. 

In 2017, 34% of the people we surveyed wanted to try a new sport or improve a specific skill on vacation. In 2018, 39.3% of our respondents will opt for holidays that enable them to stay physically active.

Furthermore, 38% would like to try a new sport/outdoor activity while on vacation. Travelers are looking for active holidays combined with discovering sights and cultures, such as:

  • Visiting Machu Picchu in Peru 
  • Trekking the Andes
  • Embarking on the Appalachian Trail 
  • Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Hiking the Annapurna Circuit 
  • Getting to the base camp of Mount Everest 
  • Seeing the Northern Lights

Authentic and enriching travel experiences 


authentic traveling

Just like in 2017, travelers will focus more on the experience and on enriching their lives and less on facilities or amenities. Immersing themselves in the local way of life and absorbing the culture of a place is what our respondents (39%) believe make a great vacation. In 2018, only 1.6% of our respondents will travel to visit friends and family. Bleisure is no longer an emerging trend, as only 4.6% will mix work with pleasure.

More than ever, travelers are craving authenticity. The advancements in technology have made the world a more accessible place, but they are also making us feel less emotionally connected.

In this day and age when experiences are being diluted, there’s no better way to taste a country’s cuisine and culture than by tracing its roots and mingling with the locals. African safaris, European train trips, exploring Mongolia and its fascinating nomadic tribes, visits to Buddhist and Hindu temples to rejuvenate both the body and mind. This brings us to the next and most important travel trend of 2018…

Travel as a means to invest in yourself


educational travel

In 2017, half of the travelers we surveyed wished to travel solo on their next vacation, in 2018, however, the focus will be more on inner exploration. The majority of our respondents (46.7%) would like to work on their body, mind, and soul by going on yoga, meditation or martial arts retreat, on a life-changing trek in the Himalayas or on a spiritual journey to the very birthplace of yoga itself – India, Nepal, and Bhutan

We’ve all heard the saying “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”. More and more people view travel as an investment in themselves. As a result, the popularity of wellness travel will also continue to grow as travelers will increasingly use their holidays as a way to reconnect with their inner selves and invest in experiences that will help them to change their lives for the better.

Want to do yoga on your next trip? Check out which are the top 10 yoga destinations for 2018!

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