It might seem like everyone you knew was in Bali last year. And looking into the new year, my 2019 prediction is that travel will continue to boom. Whether it’s the flood of low cost airlines into new markets or the Instagram effect…we’ll never know.
But one thing is for sure, travel is all about tailored experiences in 2019. Here’s my rundown of the top trends for the new year from Caribbean trips to ecotourism initiatives.
- The Caribbean continues to bounce back in a big way.
Many of the Caribbean islands hit by Hurricane Irma and Maria are well on way on their way to recovery by now. As islandslike Puerto Rico used reconstruction efforts to improve infrastructure and upgrade or retool their tourist experiences, you can expect the Caribbean to be a top destination in 2019.
Adding fuel to this fire is the fact that there are more American flights to the Caribbean than ever before, according to OAG, a global travel data company.The group estimated that the number of nonstop flights from the US to the Caribbean jumped 18% from 2013 to 2018.
For consumers, especially those living in smaller cities like Charlotte, Denver or Boston, this means that access to the Caribbean is easier than ever before. And depending on where you are going, this could mean cheaper flights.
- Ecotourism is driving business decisions in a big way.
Green travel is not a new concept. As more and more tourists show their interest in vacationing responsibly, we’re seeing ecotourism initiatives pop up around the globe.
“Striking a balance between celebrating the natural surroundings and creating a stunning environment will be an interesting juxtaposition we feel we’ll increasingly see more of in 2019,” said James Cabourne, owner of Paradise Beach in St. Kitts and Nevis.
These business practices run the gamut from fully sustainable boutique hotels to resorts that are going green with one aspect of their operations.
- Boutique travel agencies will continue to boom, offering unique tailored trips around the world.
Millennials are known for wanting unique experiences. And as companies increasingly continue to cater to them, the industry is seeing more travel agencies offering off-the-beaten track itineraries. Some organizations that have piqued my interest recently include EEAbroad, an agency that offers academic and cultural programming in Cuba; and Jet Black, a company that offers tailored trips to countries in the African diaspora.
- Thanks to low-cost airlines, Hawaii will be even more accessible than before.
A five hour flight from the West Coast, Hawaii has always been a bucket list destination. But this past year thanks to the entrance of low cost carriers into the market, ticket prices from the mainland will continue to drop. Thinkless than $500 from the East Coast or the Midwest. Set up a price alert with Kayak or Airfarewatchdog and get ready to pounce when prices get low.
- While interest in tropical islands like Sri Lanka and Bali continues to grow exponentially, some travelers opt for smaller, remote islands.
Destinations like Bali, Indonesia and Sri Lanka are the go-to beach escape for those looking for some adventure along with their lounging. But as interest in them continues to grow, others are starting to look for escapes to less traveled places. According to Pinterest, searches for less-traveled islands are up 179%.
- Solo travel continues to gain interest.
The concept of solo travel continues to grow. Fueled by the need to explore at your own pace, the idea is no longer niche. And as we look into 2019, it’s only expected to grow more; according to a study by Travel Leaders Group, 36% of respondents said that their future travels would include at least in part one solo trip.