When it comes to analyzing travel trends, Expedia has uncovered a variety of themes across flights, hotel stays, searches, bookings, and experiences. Based on robust analyses of U.S. traveler data, Expedia’s 2020 Travel Trends show a hunger for roads less traveled this year.
“When we looked at where travelers went in 2019, we saw that the biggest growth in demand was happening for destinations that aren’t the usual tourist hotspots,” said Christie Hudson, head of PR for Expedia North America. “For example, instead of Venice or Rome, the top trending Italian destinations were in Sardinia and the Italian Riviera. But we hope this report shines a light on new places to explore for 2020.”
According to the report, activities and attractions are more than just an add-on to a trip. Often, they’re one of the top considerations when travelers are choosing where to go and where to stay.
Furthermore, Americans strayed from the rivers and lakes they were used to this year: Expedia data reveals many travelers were chasing the wonder of waterfalls in 2019.
Meanwhile, Virtuoso, the global luxury travel specialist network, unveiled its “Wanderlist” for 2020 after surveying some 20,000 travel consultants about what they are seeing as popular and in-demand.
Virtuoso’s must-have travel experiences are:
Surfing Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach, which is just outside the city center and extremely popular with locals and visitors. Serious surfers hang out at the southern end of the beach, while novices occupy the northern stretch, where waves are often smaller.
Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics are taking place July 24 to Aug. 9. Beyond the Games, travelers will be enamored with Japan’s gorgeous scenery, dynamic cities, culinary delights and cultural heritage.
The Great Migration in Tanzania and Kenya offers the spectacle of a lifetime as millions of zebras, wildebeest and antelope traverse the landscape in search of food and water while attempting to elude predators in the midst.
Living like a local in Italy is now one of the top trends for travelers, who can rent a room or rent a villa. Either way, espresso or wine bar, amazing food is but steps away. Travelers are indulging in learning the language and taking master classes in art and cuisine.
A movement is afoot to support the Bahamas after the devastating impact of Hurricane Dorian, which severely damaged Grand Bahamaand Abaco islands in September. Tourism comprises 60% of the nation’s economy and revenues from visitors boost recovery efforts. Virtuoso’s nine resorts escaped with little to no damage; they are open and receiving guests.
Private jet travel is not just for celebrities and CEOs. Travelers can touch down in legendary spots, such as Easter Island, Petra in Jordan, and the Taj Mahal in Agra. Country-hopping in style on a specially outfitted jet while relaxing comfortably in a leather seat with attentive on-board crew assisting with every need is not just a dream and is easily arranged.
Exploring Antarctica: Cold-weather spots are hot as travelers seek out destinations with unspoiled scenic beauty. Travelers can kayak with humpback whales, watch penguins in their natural habitat and even take a dip in the frigid waters.
Sailing through the Panama Canal is still a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This century-old engineering marvel is even more impressive up close on a full transit cruise, where the ship sails though the canal. It takes a day to traverse the 50 miles of locks as the ship makes its way from ocean to ocean.
Slow travel is exquisite when it means travel by rail. The majesty of the Canadian Rockies unfolds before passengers with a train journey aboard the incomparable Rocky Mountaineer. Panoramic surroundings pass by, seen through glass-dome coaches, as passengers savor local cuisine, and here the history and lore of the land through expert hosts.
Tonga: it’s the ultimate unplugged escape. This Polynesian kingdom is comprised of 140 islands, mostly without residents. Climate is temperate and tropical scenery serene. Guest soak up on the sun at private beach resorts, snorkel in crystal-clear waters and explore jungles in blissful solitude.