Curious what travel in 2020 will look like? I got you. At the beginning of last year I asked a group of travel bloggers what they though travel would look like in 2019. I asked them to tell me what they thought the trends were both in terms of styles, fads, and destinations. They gave wonderful and wide-ranging answers and it was obvious to me that they were out there in the field and as such, knew what they were talking about.
So I’ve done it again.
But this year, rather than only looking ahead, I’ve asked some of that same group of bloggers to look back at what they predicted and how they saw that prediction play out through the past 12 months. Along with them I’ve invited some newcomers into the fold to share their predictions for what travel in 2020 will look like.
The General Outlook for Travel in 2020
Street art and graffiti are here to stay. More and more cities around the world embrace graffiti artists and even conduct street art festivals or graffiti block parties on an annual basis. It’s a win-win situation since local artists get a chance to express themselves and tell stories about their culture or highlight issues that need recognition through their craft while using streets and buildings as their own private canvas. At the same time, this visual storytelling is used to beautify urban landscapes, strengthen community bonds and attract both domestic and international tourism . These festivals have been a great success so far, and we’re anticipating that more and more cities would throw similar events in the near future.
-Maya and Sari, Chasing Lenscapes
When I think about what travel will look like in 2020, and based on the trends I have seen doing cultural travel in South America. There will be an increase in immersion-style travel. As more people seek authentic experiences and begin to discover the benefits of connecting deeply with locals, there continues to be a wave of new and engaging methods to learn about culture rather than the typical day tour or isolated backpacking experiences.
-Daniel, Layer Culture
Instagram was a driving force in the travel industry in 2019, to put it mildly. There were travel guide posts based around a destination’s “Instagrammability”. Tourists are swarming to photogenic hotspots, to the point where some cities are taking measures to limit overwhelming tourism.
While people will always love to share travel on social media, its intersection with over-tourism and sustainability will be more relevant in 2020. I predict #mindful travel practices will be increasingly trendy on the ‘gram this year!
-Kaisa, Glam Granola Travel
Travel is not slowing down. People are getting more and more comfortable getting out into the world. Solo travelers are forever on the rise. This year there is definitely attention on how to be greener. Flying less, packing reusables, and keeping your money in the communities you’re visiting. In my opinion, these are all excellent trends to move us forward. My hope for this year is that the obsession with traveling for the ‘gram dissipates and we can travel more because we love seeing the world – and don’t have to show it to anyone.
-Caitlin, that’s me!
Where People are Traveling in 2020
Last year, I predicted that more people would be travelling to the Middle East in 2019. That has indeed happened, though I feel that not all of the increased tourism to the region has been positive. The Middle East is rich in history and culture, and has plenty to offer the open-minded adventurer. Sadly, it seems that the Middle East’s reputation as a “dangerous” place has attracted a lot of the wrong attention – attention from people who want to use these places as a backdrop to show how “brave” and badass they are, rather than people who have a distinct interest in the culture. Ethical matters have been raised recently. Influencers travelling to places like Syria and Saudi Arabia has been a cause of concern for many.
In 2020, I think that the current political climate in the Middle East may mean that people approach travel in the region with some nervousness again. I think that slow travel will be adopted by many, as current environmental issues are starting to really make people think about their carbon emissions. I don’t think a no fly promise is necessary, but perhaps people will find some alternative – like interrailing in Europe, or exploring their local area, instead of hopping from one country to another.
-Melissa, High Heels and a Backpack
Travel has never been easier. And as my 2019 prediction stated, with that comes crowds. Over-tourism is rampant in some of the most beautiful parts of the world that can’t handle the influx of travelers. The good news is places like Bali, Thailand & Venice are making dramatic changes in how they handle tourism. With tourist taxes and temporary closures of popular areas, they can allow the environment to recover and not let the promise of tourist dollars ruin their natural beauty. For 2020, I see an increase in travel to places like Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, and other off-the-beaten-path countries. Backpackers seeking more solitude and natural beauty and traveling to places that over the past decade or two have been left out of the tourism boom.
-Geena, Bartender Abroad
How People are Traveling in 2020
Sustainable travel and eco-tourism were hot topics in 2019. We saw several popular destinations close their doors to tourists temporarily or put a cap on the number of visitors in an attempt to reverse the tides of environmental damage caused by over-tourism. Booking.com released a report saying 70% of global travellers would be more inclined to choose an accommodation if it was eco-friendly. There was a big move towards traveling light, and the push-back against unethical wildlife tourism continued to gain steam.
I think eco-tourism is poised to become even more mainstream in 2020 as our awareness around climate change and other related issues deepens. One of the big challenges travellers will face is greenwashing – misleading information or marketing spin that’s not backed up by actions. Another challenge we now face is deciding whether to travel at all. Conversations around carbon offsetting as a way to dampen the impact of long-haul flying, for example, are likely to become even louder.
-Emily, Wander Lush
As the interest in the vegan lifestyle continues to grow, it’s only natural that there will be an increased interest in vegan travel as well. Maintaining a vegan diet at home is easier than ever, but what about staying vegan when you’re traveling in a foreign country where you don’t know the local cuisine or the local language?
A number of vegan travel companies are stepping in to fill this need by offering specialized vegan tours. Travelers who join these tours can rest assured that they will be able to taste delicious local specialties without having to worry about trying to explain to locals what they do and don’t eat. Two fairly new vegan tour companies are Veg Jaunts and Journeys, which offers small group tours to Italy, Portugal, and various other European destinations, and World Vegan Travel, which specializes in luxury vegan trips to destinations that include France, Vietnam, and Rwanda.
And of course, some mainstream companies are also starting to respond to the demand for vegan tours. Long-standing tour operator Intrepid Travel now offers vegan culinary tours of Thailand, India, and Italy.
-Wendy, The Nomadic Vegan
Flying excessively is something to leave behind in the last decade or two. The number of online resources dedicated to alternate modes of transportation has grown so much that it’s not that difficult anymore to figure out how to get there without a massive carbon footprint. Making a DIY itinerary using the train, bus, or sail boat is gaining traction, but also very self-reliant modes of transportation such as long-distance kayaking, hiking, and hitchhiking. And the destinations? The travel pioneers will ditch the capital city trip in favor of secondary and tertiary cities or small quiet villages good for contemplation. Think Montpellier instead of Paris, Utrecht instead of Amsterdam, Coimbra instead of Lisbon or Porto.
-Iris, Mind of a Hitchhiker
Have you ever felt like you needed a second vacation to recover from your holiday? Taking a trip is exciting, but it can also be stressful. This is why wellness-focused holidays are on the rise. You can improve your yoga practice in India, enjoy indulgent treatments in spas around the world or adapt new healthy habits on strict programs in Europe. While some wellness retreats even focus on specific exercise regimes, like Pilates or running, others include a variety of daily fitness activities. In 2020, expect more travelers trying to enhance their wellbeing abroad in some of the world’s most beautiful destinations.
-Alison, Dance Dispatches
2020 is the year for going abroad on a working holiday. These visas have been a fantastic option for under 30s to backpack around, work and live in a new country for a long time. But what’s new is that, with the trend being for younger people to graduate later, live at home longer and settle down later, a lot of countries have negotiated working holiday visas for citizens up to 35. There’s never been a better time to have the experience of living abroad!
-Daniella, Live in 10 Countries
What travel trends are you seeing as we get into this new year? What do you plan to do this year? Are you changing the way you travel in 2020 compared to 2019? Let us know if you agree with these trends or are seeing different ones, leave a comment down below!
The Country Jumper contains some affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for reading!