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Top 7 Travel Trends to Watch for in 2019

Simon Migaj/Unsplash

More people are traveling now than ever. That increase is bringing about big changes in the way we see, interact with, and move through the world. From the rise of volcano tourism to digital nomadism to bleeding-edge hotel room conveniences, here are seven travel trends to look for in 2019.

Active Volcano Trekking

From Kilauea in Hawaii to numerous eruptions in Indonesia to Mount Etna in Italy, 2018 was a busy year indeed for the world’s volcanoes. All that activity, coupled with mainstream media buzz and the explosion of social-media-driven travel, is bolstering the cottage industry of volcano tourism. Iceland, Costa Rica, Japan — adventure travel outfitters are leading more and more hikes up and around some of the world’s most active volcanoes. It’s an exhilarating and altogether dangerous experience and a trend that’s sure to explode (get it?) in 2019.

Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica Genevieve Poblano/The Manual

Better Travel Through Technology

We’re all looking for a more seamless and convenient travel experience. Often, that means leaning on more technology and removing actual human beings from the process. Ten years ago, the best high-tech conveniences could only be found at the swankiest hotels. Now, even mid-range hotels like Yotel are offering luxuries like smartphone-enabled room keys, robot butlers, and a kiosk-driven self-check-in process. It’s smart business from the hotels’ perspective, and guests are happy to accept anything that makes their stay a little easier.

The Rise of the Digital Nomad

Many travelers are traveling in a whole new way. The days of the simple, summer-long backpacking trip around Europe are coming to an end as some young people are moving to a lifestyle of perpetual travel. It’s the rise of the so-called “digital nomad,” and it’s changing the face of travel in a big way. With the wide-spread availability of high-speed internet connectivity in even the most remote corners of the globe, more companies offering their employees the option to work from home, and with millennials’ increased value of experiences over “stuff,” it’s a trend that’s set to explode in the coming years.

digital nomad
Westend61/Getty Images

Less Is More (and Cheaper)

These days, budget-savvy digital travelers are happy to skip typical hotel room amenities — big-screen HDTVs, rain showerheads, and brand-name toiletries they’ll likely never use — in favor of a dirt-cheap stay. Pared-down, Japanese-inspired capsule hotels are popping up for the first time in countries like England, Switzerland, and Russia, while luxury hostels are fast becoming a thing as well.

Destination-Worthy Hotel Amenities

In 2019, hotels will work harder than ever to woo travelers with one-of-a-kind amenities to make their properties “destination-worthy” in their own right. DogHouse Columbus opened a hotel inside a craft brewery; New York City’s The Freehand Hotel offers creative arts programming like nude drawing classes led by a local artist; and one Mexican distillery hosts its overnight guests in giant tequila barrels. Many properties will do whatever they can to set themselves apart from the competition.

barrel hotel
Matices Hotel de Barricas/Facebook

Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride

Not long ago, travel involved planning — lots and lots of planning. These days, booking your flights, hotels, and car rentals nine months in advance is no longer required. The availability of real-time destination information, last-minute travel deals, airline flash sales, and the flexibility of today’s workforce are all fueling people’s ability and desire for spontaneous travel.

Will Travel for Food

Thanks in no small part to Anthony Bourdain, food tourism became big business in the last decade. That trend is set to explode in the new year. Lesser-known destinations are drawing the creativity of new chefs looking to make a name for themselves outside of the world’s more popular cities. This migration is also fueling an increase in fusion food in unexpected places. Montreal, for example, now represents more than 50 ethnic cuisines, and the popularity of the Korean-Mexican bulgogi taco has made Southern California a must-visit destination among foodies.

Mike Richard
Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South…
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