Nakations and ancestry travel are some of this year's biggest travel trends

As we welcome the new decade in 2020, more people than ever will travel the world. We’ll also be more aware of the impact of travel, with 2020 set to be the year of sustainable travel. From nakations to ancestry travel, we look at 10 of the top travel trends for 2020.

Slow travel

slow traveller reading a book seville

Travel is as much about the journey as it is the destination – and the rise of slow travel proves it. Slow travel was the top key trend featured in ABTA’s Travel Trends 2020. This year, more travellers are choosing to slow down and explore destinations on a deeper level.

An unhurried itinerary lets you soak up the destination and form more genuine local connections. It takes off the pressure of packing in a bunch of tourist hotspots each day. Slow travel is also likely to reduce your footprint, as you’ll spend less time moving between destinations and more time supporting the local economy in one place.

You can get a taste of the slow travel trend with our At Leisure trips. These trips take in the destinations at a relaxed pace. They feature later starts and two or more nights in each destination.

Ancestry travel

traditional craftsman ancestry travel

A surge in interest in ancestry has led millions of people to send their DNA to a lab and find out where they come from. An MIT Technology Review report found that by 2019, over 26 million people had taken a DNA test at home.

The test results have inspired a new tourism trend, with many people going in search of their roots. More travellers are planning holidays to the places where their ancestors come from.

With television shows like Go Back to Where You Came From and Airbnb’s recent partnership with DNA lab 23andMe, we expect to see a steady rise in ancestry travel in 2020.

Nakations

If you’ve ever felt the thrill of a skinny dip, you’ll know how liberating it is to be without clothes. More travellers are ditching the busy cities, technology and even their clothes in favour of getting back to nature.

If you want to embrace your vulnerability and inner naturist in 2020, consider taking a holiday in the buff. There are plenty of options around the world, including nude beaches, camping, canoeing, yoga, hiking, and even nude cruises.

Vegan hotels

A 2016 study by Oxford Martin School researchers found that if the whole world went vegan by 2050, it could save eight million human lives. It could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion.

In November 2018, The Economist predicted that 2019 would be the year that veganism would become a mainstream lifestyle. They were right.

The number of vegans in Great Britain has quadrupled between 2014 and 2019. The number of vegans and vegetarians is expected to make up a quarter of the British population by 2025. In the United States, the number of vegans has grown from 0.5% of the population in 2015 to 6% in 2017.

As more people choose plant-based products, the travel industry has also started catering to vegan and vegetarian travellers. Saorsa 1875 is leading the charge after becoming the UK’s first vegan hotel when they opened in June 2019.

The Perthshire hotel has 11 rooms with strictly no animal products such as silk, wool or feather bedding. They also have a restaurant that is completely plant-based. We expect to see many more vegan accommodations and experiences in 2020.

Undertourism

two travellers in the green Georgia mountains

Rather than heading to popular destinations like Venice and Barcelona, more travellers are choosing to explore less visited destinations.

Why elbow your way through the crowds for a glimpse of the Trevi Fountain in Rome, when you can have the stunning mountains of Georgia all to yourself? Why wait in line to get a picture of Japan’s cherry blossoms when South Korea has equally beautiful displays?

We’re committed to combating overtourism by taking guests to lesser-known destinations and easing the strain in more popular places. In 2020, we’ve launched trips to up-and-coming destinations like Scotland, Georgia and Armenia.

GET INSPIRED: Georgia and Armenia Uncovered

Travelling with respect for indigenous people

red uluru sunset

Travelling with respect for indigenous people will become more important than ever in 2020.

Climbing Uluru was banned in October 2019 out of respect to the indigenous Anangu people of central Australia. The Anangu have long requested that visitors do not climb the rock. It’s a deeply sacred site and they feel responsible for the injuries and deaths that happen when people climb Uluru.

Meanwhile, more tour operators are partnering with indigenous people to explore their native lands. The tours offer travellers the chance to learn about indigenous cultures from indigenous people.

We’re committed to travelling in a way that honours indigenous people. We’ve launched several new trips in 2020, including a seven-day Tasmania trip that includes the Wukalina Hike. This Aboriginal-owned and operated hike takes you through the sacred homeland of the indigenous palawa people.

Similarly, we’ve partnered with Native Americans in America’s Southwest to offer immersive trips into Native American heritage. We’ve also launched a special trip to Colombia in 2020.

The trip includes a rare cultural encounter with members of a local indigenous mountain tribe. Colombia’s leading anthropologist Dr Giraldo will be your exclusive guide. Dr Giraldo has worked for many years to establish trust and respect with the tribe who rarely contact the outside world.

Personalised touring

Trafalgar cooking class travel trends

More travellers are seeking customised holidays in 2020. Personalised touring was one of the top five key travel trends featured in the ABTA report.

Trafalgar is leading the way, with hundreds of trips that offer extra free time and Optional Experiences. From foodie experiences to family adventures, you can tailor the perfect trip.

Climate-neutral trips

Electric train travelling through snowy Swiss Alps

The climate crisis will be one of the world’s biggest issues in 2020, and travellers are becoming more aware of the environmental and social impact of their holidays. More individuals and companies are pledging to balance the negative impact of their trips through carbon offsetting.

Some top ways to carbon offset your trip include working with sustainable and local hotels and tour operators, donating money to renewable energy and environmental projects, ditching single-use plastics and avoiding animal exploitation.

For more than a decade, Trafalgar has committed to leaving a positive impact on the people and communities we visit, to protect wildlife and marine life, and to care for the planet we call home. Powered by our parent company the TreadRight Foundation, we’ve supported over 50 sustainable tourism projects across the world through donations, grants and on the ground support.

Electric planes

aeroplane wing in clouds travel trends

With an increasing demand for more sustainable travel options, the future of flying looks set to be electric. As one of the top five key travel trends featured in ABTA’s report, electric aviation is just around the corner.

The new concept of flygskam (flight shame) has inspired travellers to think more carefully about their carbon footprint when they travel. While more people are turning to more eco-friendly train travel, airlines are under pressure to reduce their environmental impact.

Airbus’s electric E-Fan X aircraft will take to the skies in 2021, and Israel’s Eviation is planning for its all-electric commercial plane Alice to take off in 2022. Rolls-Royce plans to launch a test flight of its electric plane, ACCEL, in 2020, while Easyjet aims to have a fleet of electric planes by 2030.

Space tourism

rocket launch space tourism travel trends

We’ve been waiting for space travel ever since 2004 when Richard Branson launched Virgin Galactic. After a few setbacks, the company achieved the first suborbital space flight in December 2018. They carried their first passenger (a team member) in February 2019.

Virgin Galactic is now ready to take tourists on 90-minute suborbital trips into space on the VSS Unity. They’ve already published photos of their new departure lounge at Spaceport America, and the company says they expect to take paying passengers to the stars in 2020.

Over 600 keen space tourists have bought tickets to take the short space flight since they first went on sale in 2004. The original price was $200,000, but you’ll now pay a cool $250,000 for a ticket out of Earth.

Besides Branson, SpaceX plans to take Japanese billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa, around the moon in 2023. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space company also plans to send its first tourists into space. They’ll be launching crewed test flights of the New Shepard spacecraft in 2020.

Which travel trends will you explore in 2020? Let us know in the comments below…

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