The UK’s top travel journalists, photographers and influencers reveal the trends they see developing in 2020 — plus a short list of where to go in 2020.
Travel trends to expect in 2020
Sustainable travel will grow
We’re all becoming more mindful of the impact travel has environmentally and the needs of the eco-warriors and the cash-strapped or budget-conscious are converging, says John Ruler, a freelance writer and photographer. That mindset will affect the places we go, how we get there and what we do once we arrive. It’s about flights, yes, but so much more. Leisure train travel will increase, predicts writer Juliet Rix, the award-winning journalist, editor, broadcaster & author (@juluetrix1), ‘as people feel more environmentally guilty’. (According to Conde Nast Traveller, one European train operator ‘is betting on higher demand already, with a 30 per cent increase on services from Paris to destinations in Switzerland.’)
Waste in hotels or accommodations will become less acceptable to travellers and they’ll want to know that everything from the food they eat to the attractions they enjoy are doing the right thing when it comes to sustainability.
Sustainable travel version 1: Cycling will rise
One way in particular that sustainable travel will be felt is that more people will enjoy the scene from two wheels, choosing to travel or explore by bicycle, says Stuart Foster of Go Eat Do. That could be something like mountain biking as a part of a larger holiday or actually getting from place to place on two wheels. Looking for inspiration? Check out Stuart’s article about cycling the Lakeside Way at Kielder Water and Forest Park.
Sustainable travel version 2: The family car will play less of a role
People will be taking fewer short breaks and holidays in their own family car, says Alastair McKenzie from MechTraveller.com. Instead they’ll be using subscription car rentals (like Drover, where you can rent a car with one monthly payment for car, breakdown cover, servicing and maintenance) and car share networks. Find out more with Alastair’s post about how car ownership is evolving. (@Mechtravel on Twitter, @Mechtraveller.com on Facebook)
Brexit delays will continue
Whether you’re for or against it, the ongoing Brexit situation means British families will wait til later than usual to plan and book their annual holidays, says Forster of Go Eat Do. That comes from people looking at currency values, the overall impact of Brexit and their own situations, including job security and personal finances. While Boris Johnson rallied voters with ‘Get Brexit done’, its impact will continue to be felt when it comes to holiday bookings.
Before you groan, this is the new buzzword for luxury in a more aware era, says Lisa Gerard-Sharp, an award-winning lifestyle, travel, wellbeing, arts writer and editor. ILTM Cannes has dubbed 2020 “The Year of Conscious Luxury”: It’s ethical luxury with sustainability at its heart – and experiences that resonate with travellers’ values. It’s for those craving for connection with the locals, conservation, intellectual pursuits, authentic personalised itineraries, and covers everything from mindfulness to foraging courses.
Luxury will extend to by-the-cabin yacht
Plenty of us want to sail on a private craft, landing on sugar sand beaches and enjoying the have-yacht lifestyle. Now we can all do this, with by-the-cabin charters, says Petra Shephard. You book your individual cabin and sail with others. Petra tested the experience with an individual cabin and ensuite bathroom with Dream Yacht Charter – the catamarans sail in 16 destinations worldwide, from Bali to the Balearics. It’s a great way for solo travellers to go by yacht without having to charter an entire vessel or corral a large group of friends. Petra tried out the by-the-cabin yacht experience in the Grenadines — read her piece about cabin charters in Silver Travel Advisor now.
Families will travel independently
Family holidays will increasingly be independent travel, says Kirstie Pelling of Family Adventure Project, with getaways shaped to fit individual families’ interests and budgets, instead of predictable package deals. This trend will be driven by the younger generation, she says, partly spurred by concern for the environment. We’re also seeing families becoming more interested in taking holidays that reflect who they are and their values, and thinking of family holidays as an opportunity to teach their children about the world.
More drinks, less alcohol
We’ve all become a lot more aware of how much we’re drinking and in our opinion, a great cocktail or a glass of Champagne never goes out of style. However, low alcohol or no alcohol drinks and experiences are bubbling up, says Susan Schwartz, who blogs at A Lush Life Manual, and runs cocktail tours in London. Less alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails will continue to grow in popularity not only because of health concerns but also because of the growing number of producers creating interesting mixers and other ingredients, making them just as tasty as the full-proof versions. (Check out Susan’s list of great non-alcoholic cocktails to be found at London’s top bars.)
WHERE TO GO IN 2020
A few places that top travel experts are going
The Guild will be heading as a group to this island between Sicily and the North Africa coast in March for its Annual General Meeting. Expect to see articles, photos, videos and insight into its gardens, diving sites, stunning architecture, temples, fishing villages & harbours and more.
Wondering what to do in Malta?
We’ll definitely be arming ourselves with the Bradt Guide to Malta and Gozo.
Another way to get some cultuah in Malta is with the European Baroque festival, where the gorgeous churches and other fine buildings act as a backdrop for classical & period concerts, says Geoff Moore of The Travel Trunk.
Check out some of the best cheap eats, too, as suggested by Kash at Budget Traveller.
Voted one of the best places to live, this city in British Columbia, Canada, has been called ‘Manhattan with mountains’ with ‘equal parts India, China, England, France and the Pacific Northwest’ by The New York Times. BGTW member Natasha Blair has it on her list. You should too.
Juliet Rix is heading to this former Soviet republic. Go there yourself to explore its history and culture, including its mosques, mausoleums, and sites linked to the Silk Road.
Spain and its islands
Families will be discovering more of the delights of mainland Spain along with those of the Canaries and the Balearics, says Jennifer Howze of Jenography.net, including experiencing the power and heat of volcanoes and staying in less touristed areas. Former ‘party central’ destinations such as Tenerife and Lanzarote are now touted as great family spots and more and more coverage is about the welcoming kid-friendly vibe families can find at wineries, smaller towns and laid-back resorts.
Flanders has long been one of the most prosperous areas of Europe and incredibly popular with tourists. Perhaps too popular, some think. Bruges is restricting tourism, curtailing new hotels in the city centre, discouraging city-centre coach tours and addressing the impact that cruise ships have) in an attempt to remain a great place to visit without the mass crowds and problems of other ultra-popular destinations. That means we’ll be enjoying ‘slow’ things to do: seeing opera in Ghent, appreciating the stylish life in Antwerp, enjoying beer trails, books, beaches all around the region.
While Brexit has divided opinions across the country, the appeal of the UK to visitors continues to grow: international tourist numbers are predicted to hit record numbers in 2020. It’s the 250th anniversary of Wordworth’s birth (head to the Lake District), the 150th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death (go to the festival in Rochester), and the 50th anniversary of Glastonbury (rock out to Paul McCartney and Diana Ross). Buzz among well-travelled Brits is growing for classic getaways (sweet cottages in beautiful parts of the country) and truly unplugged (some might say spartan) retreats – think: no phone, limited wifi, and your only neighbours are great views, sheep and/or seabirds.
Where are you going in 2020 and what trends do you see when booking travel in the coming year?