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New Travel Trends, 2020 Edition

We scoured the Internet so you don’t have to. Spoiler alert: these travel trends are eco-friendly!

It won’t come as a surprise that many of the new travel trends for 2020 are eco-friendly, sustainable and carbon neutral. There’s no question about it, travel is changing – for the simple reason that it must.

We’re moving into an era where globetrotters want to do right by Mother Nature, even if that means changing the way we explore our planet forever. This year’s new trends forecast that travellers will be choosing quality over quantity, electric car road trips, meaningful adventures, and all the while striving to discover places in a way that impacts them positively.

So how can you embrace these new travel trends, apply them to your vacation days and amplify them to the next level? The good news is that airlines, hotels and even tour operators are committing to green travel – so maybe you don’t need to travel less, you just need to travel better. Our favourite new travel trends in 2020 will show you how.

person standing in front on trees at daytime
Travel goes green in 2020 | © Ali Yahya/Unsplash

Holiday trends in 2020

One of the top resolutions people make at the turn of a new year is to travel more. Over the last decade, we’ve seen people prioritise travel as a way to live life to the fullest, experience growth, practice self-care, and tackle burnout. So we’re taking more vacations, but we also want to get more out of them. In 2020, the idea is to give back to the destination – and holiday trends are switching up to reflect that!

Alternate destinations get their moment in the sun

In answer to the havoc caused in countries where overtourism is at a critical point, you have the option of visiting alternate regions and cities. Over half of globetrotters say they would happily opt for a different destination within their dream countries if it meant less of an environmental impact. According to this report, 2020 will be the year of travellers going off-piste to second cities and second regions.

Taking it slow

Travellers will be choosing a pace that reduces their environmental impact and heightens their sense of adventure. Think along the lines of electric cars, sailing across the world and cycling too. Sounds good to us, the whole point of a holiday is not to rush, and this is one way to turn a vacation into more of a voyage!

a man on cycle in the countryside
Piatra Arsă, Romania | © David Marcu/Unsplash

Technical experience

Finding local options gets easier in 2020 as tech-led companies connect you to accommodation, people, tours and experiences you wouldn’t come across normally. This makes it easier for you to travel more sustainably and local.

Micro to macro

Travellers thinking of the bigger picture – aka planet Earth – will ditch long-haul flights and choose “microadventures” or “microvacations” that don’t require them to get on a plane. Not only is our concept of travel changing but also what we want to get out of it.

In the past, taking a trip meant hopping on a plane to a far-flung country, today a vacation is less about sightseeing and more about taking time out. Globetrotters will choose jetlag-free destinations that are closer to home and don’t require being in the air. This means they can continue to travel frequently without any environmental impact.

The journey becomes the vacation

Overland adventures will take the world by storm as people choose to avoid flying. Public transport such as trains and buses will become viable modes of transportation to get from one end of the planet to the other. From 2020 onwards, travel will be less about the destination and more about the journey. Overland adventures along the Silk Road, Trans-Siberian Express, Route 66, and modern Hippie Trail will be all the rage.

Luxury travel trends in 2020

In 2020, luxury travel will embrace responsible tourism. According to this article by Forbes, sustainability will prove to be a cornerstone for high-end luxury travel. Although this lavish niche has a long way to go, zero-waste and carbon-neutral experiences will become the standard in 2020.

sunloungers fronting buildings near mountain
Luxury travel will be more eco-friendly in 2020 | © Manuel Morono/Unsplash

Luxury travel goes green

Sustainability and luxury will go hand-in-hand in 2020 – which if you think about it makes sense. When you want to buy local at home, you generally have to pay more, the same rules apply in-destination and likewise tapping into some of the world’s most sustainable local experiences will be worth every penny.

Meaningful travel

Travelling for the sake of it is a no-fly zone in 2020. Meaning, luxury globetrotters will look to embrace experiences that support local communities. Hotels will provide travellers with opportunities to give back. For example, the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi encourages guests to participate in their coral reef regeneration project: Coralarium.

Feeling off

Travellers in the know will tap into luxury travel during the off-season but without the airfare. Most globetrotters will use the money they save on flights to splurge on experiences closer to home outside of peak travel season.

Adventure travel trends in 2020

Going green doesn’t mean less adventure. The shift towards sustainability encourages travellers to embrace their adventurous spirit as they find new ways to explore the world without spoiling it. In some ways, you could say they are more determined and daring than ever.

Grown-ups take gap years too

Taking a year out to travel is no longer for students. More people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s will hit the pause on their careers for a travel sabbatical.

man and woman sitting in front of RV trailer
More people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s will indulge in long-term travel | © Blake Wisz/Unsplash

Reservations needed

Foodies are really going to sink their teeth into the world in 2020, but it’s not just about eating. From farm-to-table and sustainable local eats to seasonal produce and eco-friendly restaurants – globetrotters will prioritise responsible dining.

Astro-travel

This is the one we’re most excited about. As we individually try to make sense of our universe, globetrotters will look to the stars and the cosmos in search of answers and travel. Thanks to the nature of dark sky gazing, these locations are environment-forward as they have to limit light pollution.

three tents under stars
Sierra National Forest, United States | © Cameron Vaughan/Unsplash

Upskilling escapes

Experiential is so last year, this year’s buzzword in travel is upskilling. Learning holidays will be more popular than ever, as travellers look to do more than just fill up their Instagram feeds and top up their tans. These experiences are no longer about cooking with Nonna in her Italian kitchen – if you can think it up, you can probably do it. So channel your wildest dreams, because the sky’s the limit.

Wellness antes up

From 2020 onwards, wellness and adventure will be more aligned than ever – and it’s no longer limited to heading off to a spa for a week or two. The wellness retreats of the future are about challenging yourself and pushing the mind, body and soul. Wellness travel will now be about testing your endurance through physical and emotional feats, from training with elite athletes to polar plunges and boot camps, it’s no longer about comfort.

a man on rocks climbing
Wellness retreats will reach for new heights in 2020 | © Brad Barmore/Unsplash

Based in Toronto, Sahar is a full-time content editor for Days to Come and part-time travel junkie.

Turkish delight and traditional sweets in a market in Istanbul
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