As the world leaders in group travel for over 72 years, we understand that today’s traveller is constantly evolving. In preparation for the year ahead, we’ve compiled research from The Good Life study, as well as insights from our Trafalgar experts and sustainability partners, to predict the eight hottest travel trends for 2019.
1. You’ll look for experiences over sights
“They’re looking for more immersive experiences, cultural connections, and it’s all age levels… looking for the alternative holiday is now becoming the norm.” – Dan Christian, Chief Digital Officer of The Travel Corporation
70% of people think that trips where you have new experiences are more important than those where you see all the sights. By visiting skilled artisans, family-run businesses or having an exclusive Be My Guest dinner in a local’s home, you’ll form genuine connections with the people who know the destinations best.
We now have 103 unique Connect with Locals experiences and 157 Dive into Culture experiences globally across all of our itineraries. These Trafalgar-exclusive experiences give you a deeper understanding of the places we go, while allowing you to see the world through a different lens.
In Siem Reap, Cambodia, catch a glimpse into the lives of the villagers of Peak Sneng during your visit, while making a difference by helping to cover the cost of water filters and other items of necessity. You will also learn about traditional craft, meet with villagers, see their local school and talk to the children. There is also an opportunity to learn traditional skills such as palm hat weaving or folding Lotus flowers into works of art. This is just one of many authentic experiences we offer as part of our JoinTrafalgar programme.
2. You’ll travel with a conscience
“Consumers should really look for a company that talks about their commitment to sustainability and can give concrete examples of what they do.” – Ellie, Soul Travel Blog
Travelling with a conscience is going to be a big focus in 2019 – in fact, a third of travellers look for a company that is sustainable when researching their next trip. But with a growing demand for sustainable tour operators, it is essential that travellers research beforehand to find out what companies are actively doing in the area of sustainability.
As part of our JoinTrafalgar initiative, powered by the TreadRight Foundation, we aim to leave a lasting legacy for the betterment of people, places and the planet. Travel easy knowing 63% of our itineraries now contain at least one visit to a UNESCO World Heritage site, enabling these moments of history to be preserved for generations to come.
We’ve also been working with TreadRight to improve wildlife protection. Through education and awareness, we aim to provide travellers a greater understanding of what is an acceptable way to treat animals.
“If you’re taking a picture of any kind with big cat, for example, that’s just not natural… selfies and animal riding are two of the issues where travellers can make a change to impact this.” – Zach, TreadRight Foundation
You’ll now find that 100% of our Asia itineraries include a JoinTrafalgar experience. In China, we support the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding – a non-profit research and breeding facility for giant pandas and other rare animals. By visiting this research centre, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the incredible work the centre is doing to boost population levels and the importance of protecting these gentle giants.
3. You’ll empower women through your experiences
“Tourism can really make lasting change for girls and getting women into the workforce… you see the kind of heritage and cultural activities that tourism tends to support, a lot of them can be female led.” – Zach, TreadRight Foundation
In 2019, make a lasting difference to a local community by empowering the women that live there. At the Iraq Al Amir Women’s Cooperative in Jordan, local women are taught to hand make a range of cultural handicrafts, which in turn has attracted tourism to the area. By visiting the cooperative, tourists are creating a viable, sustainable business that helps local women have a better quality of life.
“[The women] are really inspirational to their own local communities, they are local heroes… With more outside visitors coming to Iraq Al Amir, the woman had got more respect from the men in the village.” – Ellie, Soul Travel Blog
Similarly, in Perugia, Italy we visit skilled artisan and inspirational woman, Marta Cucchia. She is the fourth generation of women in her family to run the Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzetti workshop, keeping the ancient art of Perugian hand-weaving alive. As part of our JoinTrafalgar initiative, you can meet Marta at her workshop and discover the fascinating craft up close, while learning how your visit helps to preserve the weaving heritage.
Already, 15% of our exclusive Be My Guest experiences are run by women with more to be supported in the future.
“It is women who are leading the protection of these cultural touchstones.” – Zach, TreadRight Foundation
4. You’ll travel all year round
“Working to ensure year-round tourism… sustaining a business for longevity and legacy means driving tourism activity beyond the peak season.” – Gavin Tollman, CEO of Trafalgar
61% of people agree that being in places with large crowds is a negative aspect of travel, so it’s a no-brainer that travelling out of Europe’s peak summer months can actually lead to a more enjoyable trip. With overtourism being more of an issue than ever before, Trafalgar champions a dissemination approach to trip departures. By making more off-season itineraries available (13% of our Europe & Britain itineraries are available off-season) there is more choice for autumn, winter and spring trips, which in turn helps to break the bottleneck effect of overtourism by staggering travel across the year.
When in Lisbon on the Wonders of Portugal, join our Local Specialist for a sightseeing tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Jerónimos Monastery – without the crowds. Not only will our winter trips allow you to experience a typical summer destination like Portugal in a whole new light, you can also look forward to more affordable, off-peak flights!
5. You’ll explore the up and coming European countries
“We will see more demand for some of the former Soviet Republics including the Baltics and even as far afield as Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan” – Michael Unwrath, Trafalgar’s European Head of Product
Through our The Good Life study, we found that 20% of people would be more likely to get off the beaten track in order to connect with local people. Plus, with the increasing popularity of low-cost airlines it’s now easier and more affordable to access previously unheard of European destinations than ever before.
Eastern European and Scandinavian countries have become increasingly popular over the last year, with more unique places like Finland, Slovenia and Russia being booked by travellers. With the Northern Lights, imperial palaces, medieval castles and some of the world’s most charming cities as major drawcards, it’s no wonder these destinations are at the top of people’s lists. On the Best of Finland Russia and the Baltic States, join Anatolij and his family on their Belarus farmstead for an exclusive Be My Guest dinner, with rousing accordion choruses and a few (or many!) shots of vodka. It’s these unique cultures and lesser-known experiences that we predict will attract more visitors to Europe’s highly underrated countries.
6. You’ll opt for guided trips to spend quality time with loved ones
Results from our The Good Life study showed that more than half of people think travel is enjoyable but stressful. With our bespoke itineraries and dedicated Travel Directors guiding the way, we are able to take the stress out of travel so you won’t have to worry about a thing. In fact, the memories made with your loved ones, fellow guests and Travel Director might even surprise you.
“Guests are different every time and make each trip special – but I will never forget the emotion of organising and witnessing a renewal of vows for one of my guests who had Sicilian roots like me. There were tears of happiness all the way through the ceremony and still today, it brings back a smile.” – Anna Spadola, Italy
Dedicated Trafalgar guest, Rosie from Australia is the perfect example. Her desire to travel was first ignited by her grandparents in the 1960s following their trip overseas with Trafalgar. She has since explored the world with us for over 18 years and has even inspired generations of her family to join her adventures. Is it time to book your next family holiday?
7. You’ll seek out new cultures in the Middle East
“A sense of perspective is gained through experiencing different cultures.” – The Good Life Study Blog
Countries in the Middle East are making a comeback. In 2018, we saw an increase in popularity for Egypt and Jordan, with visitors shunning the common misconceptions about safety and instead, focusing on the destination’s impressive UNESCO-listed sites, lunar-like landscapes and hospitable locals.
This year, we introduced more cultural experiences in Jordan by partnering with the inspiring women of the Iraq Al Amir Women’s Cooperative, as well as locals from Hyatt Zaman for a night under the stars in a Bedouin camp near little Petra. There, you can relax amidst the surrounding dunes and hills, enjoy a traditional Bedouin dinner with live ‘Rababah’ music and learn what life is like for a desert nomad.
8. You’ll look for authenticity on social media
“85% people look for authentic experiences to gain perspective on holiday.” – The Good Life Study
In today’s digital age, more of us are turning to social media for destination inspiration and trip ideas – however, consumers scrolling through their Instagram feeds are becoming savvier about travel images that are staged, over-edited and lacking authenticity. That’s why we empower our passionate tribe of Travel Directors to share their stories from the road. By following our Travel Directors on social media, you’ll score a genuine insight into what your future trip might be like and discover why these fun and knowledgeable guides are the backbone of our brand.
How will you travel in 2019? Let us know in the comments or share your stories on social using #SimplyTrafalgar.