Is traveling more part of your New Year's resolution? You won't be alone. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), there were 1.4 billion tourists in 2018. That number grows about 3–4% every year, so you can expect even more tourists to be out and about in 2020. Here are five travel trends for the new year.
Green Travel Will Get Red Hot
Travelers are becoming more aware of their carbon footprint. From movements like Extinction Rebellion and activists like Greta Thunberg, people are doubling down on sustainable travel and looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact. Travelers are shunning planes and looking for eco-friendly travel options, including traveling via train or traversing the great outdoors on foot. It's also likely that airlines will scramble to find eco-friendly solutions for air travel to lure back customers.
Unique Experiences Will Reign Supreme
Inc. reports that 72% of surveyed Millennials would rather pay for an experience than a possession. Experiences are going to get more specific and more unique for travelers in 2020. The internet put a lot of travel agencies out of business when people could book their own airfare and hotels with a few clicks. But there is a new generation of travel agents emerging. Their focus isn't just booking your accommodation and flights but curating a travel experience just for you.
Hundreds of companies are popping up that promise to create bespoke experiences for travelers based on their budget, their dreams, and their goals. These agents can book cooking lessons for you in Bali or find an English-speaking, history-loving tour guide for you in Paris. Travel agencies are taking over the planning of a trip and providing unique, tailored experiences to clients from start to finish.
Solo Travel Will Go Social
Solo travel is more popular than ever. Instagram inspired millions to get out there and snap selfies at the world's hottest locations. But traveling on your own can get lonely. To combat the side effects of solo travel, 2020 will see the rise of more social solutions including co-living travel options. Valerie Tschappat wrote about co-living for Medium, explaining the benefits of the trend. You can rent space in a home and gain access to all the normal at-home amenities, including kitchen space, laundry, and Wi-Fi. That way you can save on accommodation while also having someone around to go on local adventures with. Traveling Lifestyle has a list of some of the best co-living spaces currently out there and available for your next adventure.
Tourists Will Shun the Over-Touristed
Over-tourism is a big problem for some areas. Places such as Venice and Bali are overrun with tourists, causing issues for the people who live there as well as the surrounding environment. CNN reports that half a billion tourists will visit the same 300 cities, putting a strain on the resources of those locations. Fortunately, travelers are becoming increasingly aware of the issues of over-tourism. They are eager to skip the crowds of selfie sticks at major destinations. Instead, they want to focus on immersing themselves in local culture off the beaten path. You'll see more people traveling to far-flung, remote, and unknown locations in 2020. Instead of Venice, people will opt for Slovenia. Instead of Bali, people will head to Sumatra. You are much more likely to get a more authentic travel experience when you aren't battling for space with other tourists.
More Couples and Families Going Nomadic
The dream of hitting the road and never looking back is becoming a reality for more and more people. The new year will see even more adventurers choosing the nomadic lifestyle. Thanks to the rise of careers that aren't location-dependent, more people have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world. USA Today reports that "van life" is on the rise, with more millennials choosing to live in RVs and converted vans alongside retired snowbirds. Not only does it cut down on costly living expenses, it gives you more freedom to travel.
But it's not just the young, wild, and free opting for van life. Some families spend years on the road, homeschooling their kids while they take in the greatest sights the United States has to offer. Some nomadic families even travel together, combining resources and tipping each other off to great locations. It makes paying for a mortgage sound less and less appealing. With many of these families documenting their travels online, it's exposing more families to the possibilities of leaving it all behind.