World travel is expected to continue expanding and evolving in 2019.  Where and how you travel is a social marker that identifies you and connects you to the world. 

Instagram-able Travel

Social Media is rocking our world, and travelers today enjoy the bragging rights of the world’s iconic destinations.  No surprise here that Millennials are making trip plans based on photogenic spots to share on Social Media. Bragging rights abound while trekking Chile’s salt flats and lagoons, dune-bashing in the deserts of Dubai or bathing the elephants in the jungles of Thailand. 

In a hyper-connected world, we also note an opposite trend: escaping from contact with technology and “switching off” mentally.  While off-the-beaten-path destinations have been popular for a while now, travelers are now finding attractive those places that are not only difficult to reach, but are wild, remote, and isolated once they arrive. Space and serenity can be found in the emerging destinations of Ethiopia, Antarctica and Iceland. 

The hottest trend is expedition cruising.  Travelers want adventure experiences and more active, in-depth exploration: to Antarctica, remote islands in the South Pacific, exotic African ports, journeys around Iceland, or Tasmania in Australia.  The unique Galapagos Islands are high on bucket lists.  More than 30 new expedition cruise ships are being built in the next few years. 

Multi-Generational or Solo Travel

For the last decade vacationing together with extended families has grown in popularity: grandparents, parents and children, and multi-families with all the cousins! While that will be a trend well into the future, the rise of the solo traveler is here, too. 

Traveling solo means one can experience the world without having to yield to the tastes, objections or preferences of others.  The solo traveler may be seeking to fulfill a personal experience or achieve a dream of accomplishment, such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.  It is the perfect opportunity to be self-indulgent on the beach, hire a driver for a private tour of the Amalfi coast, find a spiritual connection at a yoga retreat in India, shop the Christmas markets of Germany or take in a rugby game in New Zealand. 

There are many opportunities for solo travelers today to meet with others. Some of our favorite tour companies and cruise lines offer small group travel geared to like-minded people without the high added cost of a single supplement.

Safety is always a concern for traveling solo, so choose destinations wisely; that’s where help from a travel professional makes sense.  New Zealand, Norway, Costa Rica and Switzerland are some of the top countries for solo travel.

Immersive Travel  

“Living like a local” is continuing to grow while at the same time there is a reason to travel like a “tourist.” Iconic sights such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Great Wall of China and the Mayan ruins are worth the visit, but travelers often want to combine that with co-mingling with locals.  What could be more memorable than getting the feel of what it’s like to be an insider while enjoying an experience that is off the beaten track?

With the rise in sustainable tourism and a desire to support local communities, travelers will seek experiences such as shopping at markets and feasting on authentic cuisine in a local’s home, opting for a bus instead of a taxi, and finding those quirky gems on the roads less traveled. 

In Tehran, for example, female travelers will take the local female-only train cars where they can buy everything from make-up to lingerie without leaving their seats. 

For the ultimate immersive experience, choose a volunteer abroad program and do something meaningful for others, while eating working and laughing with those you are helping.   Volunteering can be combined with sightseeing, mingling your tourist desires with an eye-opening experience that brings lasting friendships and increased awareness about the world around you.

About the Author: Sue Shimkus is president of Lake Zurich Travel; she and her team are professional travel clients available to help families achieve their travel goals in 2019. Learn more at LZtravel.com or call 847.438.5551.