From artificial intelligence-inspired holidays to activities that offset the environmental impact of your stay, 2019 promises to be an enthralling year for travel.
Pepijn Rijvers, Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com says: 'With technological advancements, an ever more connected world and a continuously growing consumer appetite for the best travel experiences, we’re poised for groundbreaking developments, taking travel to unexplored heights.'
While we might know where we're hoping to travel to, it's about time we start thinking about what we want to do when we get there and the trends everyone will be jumping on this year.
Here's our go-to list of 2019 travel trends, to fulfil all your wanderlust dreams in the New Year:
Maximising the micro trip
Over half of global travellers (53 per cent) report that they plan to take more weekend trips in 2019, which will mean big business for local economies.
2019 will be the year of 'bite sized travel' - squeezing in more curated travel itineraries into shorter time frames. Thanks to improvements in flight routes, transport, cheap flights, on-demand car rentals and accommodation, micro trips will become increasingly more popular and varied.
The chance to stay in unique and remarkable types of accommodation during short getaways will also reportedly become more trendy so get those yurt and caravan bookings in, ASAP.
For a great selection of Weekend travel bags, here's our guide.
And here is a list of most popular European cities for weekend breaks.
Plus, a selection of cool vintage airstreamers you can totally book for a holiday.
Think of 2019 as the year for the conscious traveler, with everything from human rights and equality to improved working conditions and environment issues influencing people's decisions about potential travel destinations.
Almost half of travellers told Booking.com that they feel social issues in possible travel destinations are of real importance when choosing where to go. Meanwhile, over half choose not to go to a destination if they feel it will negatively impact the people who live there.
Safety, regardless of gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation are also of great importance to explorers. Platforms such as Destination Pride are harnessing the power of multiple data sources to provide travellers with a ranking of how LGBT+ friendly their chosen travel destination is, while destinations and organisations will increasingly step up their support for women travelling alone.
Booking.com data reveals that almost one in five (19 per cent) travellers plan to travel to attend a Pride festival in 2019, most prominently younger explorers with almost a third (30 per cent) of 18 to 34 year olds.
Easy does it
Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, speech recognition - these are the innovations that'll slowly take over and simplify the way we holiday in 2019.
As Booking.com says, think keyless room-access with your phone, personalised travel tips or a robotic concierge who can communicate with guests in their mother tongue.
Travellers are reportedly now more enthusiastic about real-time luggage tracking through a mobile app (57 per cent) and having a single app for all their planning, booking and travel needs (57 per cent) than the prospect of using self-driving transportation in their destination (40 per cent).
2019 will also see more tech developed for use pre-trip at research stage. Almost a third (31 per cent) of global travellers admit to liking the idea of a 'virtual travel agent' in their home, and one in five want to see technology such as augmented reality helping to familiarise themselves with a destination before they arrive.
Talk about trippy (get it?).
Check out our list of ultimate 'travel gifts' here.
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4Up close and personal
2019 is the year to seriously look at how your travel information is consumed and used.
A third of travellers (34 per cent) admit to wanting someone or something to do the hard work for them, and make travel recommendations. Meanwhile, around two fifths (41 per cent) want travel brands to use technologies such as AI to make travel suggestions based on past travel experience.
Over half (52 per ent) says they'd be excited to use a digital tour guide, bringing them a truly bespoke experience so next year is definitely a time to watch out for companies using better ways to curating and delivery our picture-perfect holidays at the click of a button.
NASA will start construction of its Lunar Space Station in 2019 (launching in 2022) and we’ll continue to see considerable investment in orbital spaceflight in 2019.
Four in ten travellers admit to being excited about the prospect of space travel in the future and are open to considering the experience themselves (38 per cent).
Until space travel becomes a reality (2019 isn't the year for that, just yet), people will still be wanting to explore uncharted territories here on Earth in the coming year.
For example, 60 per cent of travellers say they they want to stay in accommodation under the sea.
Over half (56 per cent) of global travellers agree travelling has taught them invaluable life skills, and 2019 will see a rise in people’s desire to learn something new - this may include volunteering and skills-based holidays - while on holiday.
Generation Z will reportedly become more acutely aware of the need to question expensive university degrees over and against life skills that can be learned while travelling.
Trips with a purpose will become more popular in 2019, with 68 per cent of global travellers considering taking part in cultural exchanges to learn a new skill, followed by a volunteering trip (54 per cent) and international work placements (52 per cent).
Travel with experiences at its core was one of 2018’s major travel trends but 2019 will take it even further, says Booking.com. Almost two thirds of travellers (60 per cent) value experiences higher than material possessions, now which will mean 2019 will see travellers packing in many different and authentic experiences. From where you eat and sleep to how you shop, there will be more of a focus on comfort and happiness, than materialistic opportunities.
In 2019, two fifths of travellers (42 per cent) plan to visit a destination that makes them feel like a child again so watch out for more tactile exercises (think ball pits and bouncy castles) for your more traditional thrill-seeking adventures.
Check out our experience gift guide here.
Plastic not-so fantastic
According to WRAP, the amount of plastic waste generated annually in the UK is estimated to be nearly 5 million tonnes so it's no surprise the environment will be a hot topic of conversation in 2019.
Booking.com predicts millennials and Gen Z travellers will look for sustainable experiences in their destination choices in the new year, while accommodation providers will look to reduce their plastic usage and increase their sustainable credentials.
A staggering 86 per cent of global travellers reportedly told the holiday company they would be willing to spend some time on activities that offset the environmental impact of their stay, with over 37 per cent willing to clear plastic and litter from a beach or other tourist attraction.
Investment in sustainable start-ups so be a big talking point. Expect to see a number of new travel start-ups and individual enterprises committed to pioneering a more eco-friendly future for our planet’s destinations will come to the forefront in the coming year, with intriguing technology at the core of their solutions.