Expedia and Condé Nast Traveller come together to share predictions of what's hot in travel for 2020 and by using extensive knowledge and Expedia UK travel data, five travel trends have been highlighted to inspire you to start planning for next year, accompanied by the best destinations for each.
Curate an unforgettable experience at an off-season escape, visit destinations which immerse you in art, get a great deal at alternative world wonders, cleanse your body and soul or get mingling with locals to learn secret recipes. Whichever route you choose, it's time to plot your next escape.
Spring brings 'shoulder season' prices and thinner crowds to the Greek Isles as temperatures creep into the twenties. Expedia has found that hotels in Greece this year were 80% more expensive in July than they were on average across the first half of this year. So, coast down to a cabana on Santorini's beaches.
In San Francisco, autumn promises clear blue skies and sunny California days perfect for cable car rides and bike rides across the Golden Gate Bridge. Wine connoisseurs can spirit themselves to Napa or Sonoma wine country, where it's harvest time.
Swap beats for bliss and enjoy the Balearic isle of Ibiza like a local in March. Relax on cool, sunny days and take a short drive to San Carlos with its hippie vibe.
When British schools are in term time, try Devon for a peaceful escape. Dramatic cliffs, rolling moorlands and sparkling waters make up the coastal paradise.
Learning with Locals:
Scratch behind the tourism screen and delve into local activities. For instance, not many know that New York City has a surf culture: Mike & Mike of Locals Surf School in Rockaway Beach, Queens.
An ocean away, in Prague, street art celebrates Czech pride visible in the city's famous mural. Staying at hotels such as the Art Hotel with in-house exhibitions opens your eyes to local talent and the city's culture.
When in Rome, combine cuisine with local learning. Travellers have reviewed Rome as the top city for cooking activities on Expedia, so why order a classic dish when you can enter a nonna's kitchen and learn to whip one up, Prosecco thrown in!
Another gastronomic adventure is in Croatia with families from the Istrian peninsula. Accompany them on a truffle hunt that ends with a lunch of truffle-infused delicacies and local wines.
The Alternative Bucket List:
Conscious travellers are weighing up popular sights with sustainability. For example, this year Expedia has seen a 200% rise in interest for the candy-coloured slope of Vinicunca or 'Rainbow Mountain' instead of the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu, which has strict ticket rules due to high demand.
Utah's 'Mighty Five' national parks are also witnessing overcrowding. A tip: head to state parks like Goblin Valley instead. They are sparsely dotted by tourists and have a thousand jaw-dropping rock pillars, weathered into goblins and mushrooms shapes.
Traffic-filled roads leading to Stonehenge have authorities considering a tunnel, but archaeologists fear it will disturb the ancient site. Instead check out Orkney Island's Standing Stones of Stenness. This UNESCO monument is older than Stonehenge and is near Orkney's other Neolithic curiosities, including Skara Brae, a preserved village predating Egypt's pyramids.
A trip to Vietnam's Halong Bay today involves navigating through hordes of tours. An alternative is a 20-minute sail from the Philippines' Coron Town to Coron Island that recreates a similar experience with shipwreck diving, lagoons and white-sand beaches.
Interactive art is increasingly putting the heart in travel, especially at the world's best permanent art parks. Hakone is Japan's Zen antonym to Tokyo. Valleys, hot spring baths, ryokan inns and Mount Fuji enter your photo frame, as do more than 100 artworks at Hakone's Open-Air Museum.
Hidden almost as well is Tippet Rise off the one-road town of Fishtail, Montana. Snow-capped Beartooth Mountains are the canvas for the sculpture park, boasting names like Alexander Calder. Summer sees acclaimed classical musicians provide a musical interlude to the sculptures.
The Taj Mahal is one of India's greatest architectural marvels, but away from its hustle is a folk-art wonder at Chandigarh's Rock Garden, India. It's the lifelong work of roads inspector Nek Chand Saini, who created a miniature fantasy kingdom by interlinking waterfalls and giant swings from waste bottles, tiles and glasses, to cover over 40 acres of protected forest.
A similar realm lies hidden among 60 acres of forest outside Benque Viejo Del Carmen, Belize. A hike through tangled trees takes you to Poustinia Land Art Park, where artists use cars as greenhouses and computer monitors as thought-provoking artwork.
Wellness for the Mind:
The practice of wellness for the mind has been gaining popularity from those who struggle to feel rested due to their inability to switch off. In fact, over 80% of global travellers now take trips where the goal is their mental wellness1.
Find your zen at Emerito, a digital detox retreat in Italy's Umbria valley founded by former fashion designer Marcello Murzilli. Housed in a contemporary monastery, solo travellers dine silently, go on meditative walks and find answers to important life questions.
In Romania, Transylvania, try the Akasha Wellness Retreat. Combine yoga with wine or vegan cooking with a natural mediation studio in the middle of a national park.
Paradis Plage in Agadir, Morocco helps young adults ride the wave to meditative bliss on beachfront yoga pavilions, then find their balance on a surfboard on Morocco's Atlantic coast.
For Ayurvedic techniques designed to calm and align the body and mind, escape to Kalutara, Sri Lanka's boutique Plantation Villa surrounded by fragrant coconut, cinnamon and pepper plantations where yoga, meditation and veganism transports you to a higher plane.
Mark Tavender, Director of Product and Marketing at Expedia comments, "Travel is not a one-size-fits-all experience; these trends perfectly show this. People of all ages want to experience the world in all its forms, from taking time off to recharge our minds to enjoying human connection in different cultures. On the most part we are time poor but also becoming increasingly conscious of the growing threats to Earth, so commit more hours to researching our next trip. As one of the world's leading travel brands, we hope to help travellers easily plan and book everything from amazing accommodation to flights and activities, making holiday planning hassle-free."
1 Findings taken from Expedia's Vacation Deprivation 2018. 11,144 employed adults aged 18 and older were asked by Northstar about work-life balance in September 2018 2 Findings taken from Expedia.co.uk after analysing UK customers travel behaviour from 2018/2019
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