As 2017 winds down, many of us are planning epic end-of-year jaunts to celebrate the holidays or the New Year. But for some of us, we’re looking forward to what exciting new adventures 2018 will hold, and for those of us planning travel, there’s a whole lot that’s different than ever before. From mono-moons to travel that pays tribute to the generations or lands that came before us, here are the major 2018 travel trends we’re keeping an eye on for next year.
Solo travel has been increasingly popular in recent years, as people follow the lead of their favorite movie and book heroines to explore on their own, without the trappings of an extended group or itinerary. This is also incredibly popular with women who are trying to have a bit of alone time, or a mono moon of sorts, before making a big change in their career or their personal life. “It’s not hard to understand why,” says Jessica Bisesto, senior editor at the travel deals finder TravelPirates (https://www.travelpirates.com/).
When you venture out on your own, you can more easily dive into a different culture, make new friends, and completely leave your comfort zone at every corner. “We’ve been creating solo travel deals on the regular to meet the ever-growing demand of our audience—which primarily consists of women—and they’ve rapidly become our most requested deal posts,” says Bisesto.
Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite is a great destination for the solo traveler. There’s a ton to do right on the property or you can explore Yosemite National Park. Their “Yosemite Renewal Wellness Retreats” are especially good for people traveling alone and offer a great balance of time with other travelers and opportunities for quiet solo reflection. Retreat activities include hiking, guided meditation in Yosemite National Park, healthy eating, spa treatments and creative workshops. The perfect place to celebrate yourself!
There are many situations where someone may be traveling with in-laws or grandparents, or even an extended family group, leading to multi-generational journeys that take on entire new elements of exploration and significance for each generation. Whether you are traveling with your families, or taking part in a skip a generation trip, where the grandparents take the kids on vacation without the parents (so you can have a vacation of your own!), multi-generational travel is absolutely a thing that’s becoming bigger.
“Whether traveling to celebrate a birthday, graduation or anniversary, families have never spent more time on vacation together than now,” says Bisesto. “Families of all shapes and sizes are able to bond and create new memories thanks to multi-generational travel, and many tour companies across the globe offer are catering to this newfound popularity by offering a wide variety of activities that suit any age group, such as cooking classes, walking tours, boat cruises and more. Are family moons about to become the new buddymoons?
Double destinations are growing as a trend, and are especially exciting in that these trips let you double up on your trip and see the best of two— or more — destinations. The best part of all is that oftentimes these double destination trips can prove to be the cheapest. “For instance, you've wanted to get to Paris and are also open to seeing the Blue Lagoon in Iceland along the way. WOW Air is an Icelandic-based low-cost carrier, which allows US-based travelers to venture to Europe on the cheap with the option of adding a stopover in Iceland.
Get the best of both worlds, from the canals of Amsterdam to Iceland's stunning scenery,” says Brian Kelly, known as The Points Guy (https://thepointsguy.com/)
Now more than ever, couples are forgoing relaxing beach honeymoons in place of adventurous destinations combined with luxury accommodations. For example, Clayoquot Wilderness Resort. “With 25 white canvas guest tents that feature full bathrooms, luxury linens, king beds, oil lamps and antique furnishings, and wood stoves, this resort situated in a World Biosphere Reserve Area allows honeymooners to be fully engrossed in nature without bypassing the luxury accommodations,” says Lindsey Epperly of Epperly Travel.
The 600-acre property also boasts a waterfront lounge, spa, a number of adventurous activities and extraordinary cuisine.
Or the Ranch at Rock Creek is an all-inclusive luxury ranch in Montana that strikes the perfect balance between peaceful bliss and adventure. “With activities like horseback riding, archery, mountain biking, hiking and geocaching, you'll earn your visit to the spa. If yoga is more your style, you'll love the outdoor sessions in beautiful backdrops. Relax on your back porch every afternoon and have your choice between lodge or "canvas cabin" accommodations,” says Epperly. When it's dinnertime, enjoy fun food/beverage pairings such as a local craft beer pairing dinner; complete with country fried bison and crabmeat topped French fries.
This year, one of the most popular gift ideas are the at-home DNA kits that allow you to know your family’s heritage after as little as a quick cheek swab. And, of course, a great next step after learning your lineage is to make a journey to the homeland you never knew was a part of your history. “Heritage-based travel has never been more prominent,” says Haley Woods, Founder of the Girls LOVE Travel Facebook Group, which has become a supportive community of nearly 500,000 members. “Many of our members are taking DNA tests to trace their roots and then planning trips to immerse themselves in the culture.
I’ve found that people are inspired by capturing photos in places that held value to their grandparents or great grandparents, for example, the house they grew up in or a school they attended,” says Woods. A lot of this heritage-based travel planning should pick up steam at the beginning of the year, after people receive ancestor-based DNA tests as holiday gifts.
As global warming and climate concerns take over a lot of the national—and international—dialogue, so has a renewed interest in all the beauty that nature has to offer, right at our fingertips. “Plenty of beautiful national parks are located throughout the United States allowing visitors the opportunity to take in jaw-dropping mountains, glaciers, deserts and more. Whether you’re looking to camp, hike, enjoy some sand boarding or whale watching, travel to national parks has remained a steady and popular option for cheap domestic trips,” says Bisesto.
If you really want to experience some old school romance, take your love to Garner State Park and dance under the stars. Since the 1940s, young folks have gathered at the park’s concession building for a nightly jukebox dance under the open sky. Uvalde County offers a rustic, timeless, small-town American vibe that will leave you feeling truly spellbound.
Sometimes the best way to see a new destination is on the ground, and train travel makes that easy. A fantastic mode of transportation for those with a bit more time on their hands and a thirst for incredible views, travel by train has recently become more popular. “Travel companies across the globe have been bringing back the comforts and luxuries of travel by train. Tourists are able to travel long or short distances in spacious cars in countries around the world allowing them the opportunity to see the perfect combination of nature and charming towns,” says Bisesto.
See more: The 10 Most Instagrammed Cities of 2017
Wine-specific destinations are on the rise as the craft beer phase begins to slow down. “2017 saw a considerable increase in experiential events, and newlyweds are taking that trend with them on their honeymoon,” says Heather Jones, Catering Sales Director at Wente Vinyards in California. “Gone are the days of just laying on a beach, or never leaving the hotel room. Couples want their time together to be full of memorable experiences, so choosing locations that can offer that are gaining in popularity.
Whether it’s a hiking trip, a wine blending class, or a round of golf, couples are customizing their trips to maximize fun.”