The arrival of a new year always brings about a wave of fresh travel trends and must-do ways of wandering, but it’s also an opportunity to reshape the way we impact the globe. Here are 12 travel trends and tips, according to Exodus Travels, that will help make 2019 “The Year of the Thoughtful Traveler:”
1. Fighting the War on Plastics
With the help of advocates such as David Attenborough and his popular program, BBC’s Blue Planet, the world is starting to realize the detriment single-use plastics are having on the Earth. Drastically reducing the use of plastics in-destination is essential to the ongoing development of sustainable travel, which is why Exodus Travels decided to “ban the bottle” and eliminate all single-use plastic bottles on all trips by the end of 2018, saving over 1.3 million water bottles by offering travelers alternatives to single-use bottles.
2. Rethinking Your Wild Encounters
As the use of animals for entertainment continues to come under scrutiny, traveling nature-lovers are seeking responsible, 100 percent hands-off wildlife encounters as a result. From observing sea turtles, monkeys and sloths from a safe distance in Costa Rica to avoiding Thailand’s “tiger temples” and spotting the elusive creature on a wild safari in India instead, the demand for responsible animal encounters that focus on conservation is driving real change in destinations around the world.
3. Empowering Vulnerable Communities
With the rise of social consciousness leading to a change in the way people travel, the exploitation of kids in developing countries (such as voluntourism in orphanages and school visits) has reached a tipping point, and empowering female tourism workers to succeed in-destination has become more important than ever. For adventurers looking for meaningful ways to impact the destinations they visit, initiatives like Exodus’ Inspiration Project (which takes schoolchildren on safaris and camping trips), and Freedom Kit Bags project (which supplies women in low-income Nepalese areas with sanitary wear) are creating positive change in communities around the world that are responsible, respectful and non-invasive.
4. Sand Dunes Are Making a Comeback
Whether wayfarers are driven to chase sand dunes via 4WD in the increasingly-popular Oman or inspired to spend a week in Jordan by the upcoming remake of Disney’s Aladdin, which was filmed there, Exodus has seen a shift in public perception in destinations and the number of travelers returning to the Middle East. Culturally curious sightseers are heading back to Egypt for a front row seat of the pyramids, to cruise down the Nile traffic-free and to learn from locals. Go now to beat the crowds.
5. Taking a Travel Virgin Abroad
The team at Exodus is predicting an influx of “travel virgin” trips for 2019, where jaded jetsetters who have “been there, done that,” can reawaken their passion for adventure by taking people with empty passports to see the world. Exodus believes sharing the joys of discovering a new country with a “travel virgin” can give you a fresh perspective and allow you to see the world with clear eyes.
6. Adventures for Active Oenophiles
Wine tasting will always be a popular way to spend a week abroad, but 2019 is primed for a new sip and savor trend: Cycling wine tours. More and more, wine-lovers are willing to stray from the beaten path in pursuit of a more full-bodied, active experience. From two-wheeling your way through world-famous vineyards of Chateauneuf du Pape, taking a cycling tour of the Loire Valley’s wine capital, Vouvray and pedaling through the Prosecco Hills, there’s no better reward for a day of outdoor activity than with a hard-won glass of vino, vin, or bubbly.
7. The Circle of Life Will Move Us All
The recently released trailer for Disney’s remake of "The Lion King" is already causing travelers to seek out experiences that will get them closer to the real-life versions of beloved animated characters. The much-anticipated 2019 film is sure to send travelers roaring into safari-rich destinations to see the circle of life firsthand.
8. Trekking That Takes Us Back in Time
Exodus has seen a significant increase of walking and history aficionados booking lesser-known pilgrimages in search of self-discovery and immersive cultural experiences for 2019. Whether it’s delving into Japan’s Kumano Kodo pathway or visiting the lesser-known path of Sigerico (from Canterbury to Rome), these ancient trails are about to blow up the travelsphere. The popularity of these iconic trails comes from their ability to help people unplug, follow in the footsteps of history, and discover the world’s most authentic and original “beaten paths.”
9. Spending Less and Staying Longer
Travelers are also opting to go abroad less often while increasing their trip lengths. This cuts down on costs, allows for a more immersive experience and goes a long way in making a visitor feel like a local. Taking it slow and staying for longer also reduces one’s carbon footprint, allowing adventurers to have a more positive impact on the communities they visit. Instead of a short stay in Europe or the Caribbean, dedicate a couple weeks to trek Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit or spend a month to explore Southeast Asia.
10. Llamas Are the 2019 “It” Animal
Despite this animal’s track record for projectile slobber, travelers can’t help but love llamas. It may be that these wooly creatures look adorable on t-shirts and mugs—or it may just be the eyelashes—but the llama has been labeled “the new unicorn” thanks to the Netflix release of the animated show "Llama Llama." This popular program, based on the award-winning and best-selling book series about childhood moments and adventures—and voiced by Jennifer Garner—is sure to inspire more llama-focused encounters abroad for 2019.
11. Ditching the Ship and Exploring the “Medi” On Foot
With the excess of cruise ships now flooding busy Mediterranean ports, active travelers want more ways to escape the crowds so they can spend time exploring cultural and historical sites at their own pace. Walking one’s way through the wonders of the Greek Islands is a more sustainable approach to experiencing a destination than a carbon-heavy cruise ship, and unveiling Malta’s legendary coastal charms allows visitors to discover local gems only reachable on foot. Culinary nomads can also indulge guilt-free in the Mediterranean’s food and wine.
12. There’s No Place Like (Someone Else’s) Home
Travelers in 2019 are after an especially warm welcome and the comforts of a home away from home—when overseas; so, they’re turning to family-run operations. Whether taking in village life during a homestay on the Mekong Delta or resting up after a day of exploring through the countryside of Andalucía, these unique stays are about more than just experiencing a family’s everyday life firsthand; choosing locally run properties also contributes directly to a community’s economy, offers adventurers the chance to be fully immersed in local cultures, and create lasting connections with their hospitable hosts.