Overtourism, wellness and technology (including self-driving cars) are among the latest trends in the travel industry right now. Here are our picks of the top travel trends for 2019.
1. “Safari” experiences beyond Africa
Five-star tented camps and romantic notions of Hemingway on safari are no longer reserved for Africa. As of late, travelers’ Out of Africa fantasies can be satisfied, well, out of Africa. This year, some super-pampering tented properties have opened in Southeast Asia, including the Capella Ubud, Rosewood Luang Prabang and Shinta Mani Wild. The exquisite, Bill Bensley-designed Capella offers a luxurious take on what it would have felt like to be an explorer at the turn of the last century in Bali, transporting guests in stilted tents (some of which sit 200 feet above the ground and have hanging rope walkways) filled with antiques and with plunge pools. Also the creation of Bill Bensley is Shinta Mani Wild, a 15-tent glamping lodge on a 5,000-acre national park in Cambodia where guests can arrive via a 1,200-foot zip-line. The landscape surrounding the lodge is home to wild elephants and monkeys, and the resort has partnered with conservation companies and the Cambodian Government to protect the area from deforestation and poaching. Over in Laos, Rosewood Luang Prabang’s combines the meditative peace of being in lush, virtually untouched forests, amidst winding rivers and waterfalls, with prime access to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Luang Prabang. Accommodations range from tented camps to private villas with pools. Guests can choose from a variety of experiences, like visiting an elephant sanctuary or the Sense spa, for meaningful immersion into an ancient landscape, without sacrificing modern indulgences.
Related: Where to Go in 2019
Opening later in 2019 is Kasiiya in Costa Rica. Located on the lush Peninsula Papagayo, Kasiiya was designed by French architecture firm AW and its rooms are meant to feel like “rafts that float in the jungle.” The eco-friendly property—which aims to have not just minimal, but zero, impact on the environment—will have a distinctive focus on spirituality and wellness.
2. Overtourism shining a light on less crowded places
Overtourism is a growing problem and many popular destinations—such as Barcelona, Venice and Amsterdam—are addressing overcrowding. While overtourism is most often associated with cities, cultural heritage sites and natural wonders are also at risk. Angkor Wat has roped off parts of the main complex to protect it from the thousands of daily visitors, and Machu Picchu now limits visitor numbers and is considering a new cable car system. As a result, many travelers are considering more off-the-beaten path alternatives to classic travel destinations. Ethiopia, Bolivia, Colombia, the Azores, Puglia, Namibia, Greenland and Slovenia have been attracting attention as relatively undiscovered destinations where travelers can still feel like explorers—for now.
Related: Overtourism: Finding Solutions
3. Wellness hits the skies
The wellness trend has been a hot topic for hotels for years, and it’s just now expanding to airlines. Air France offers guided in-flight meditations and just revamped its lounge at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport, adding a Clarins spa and relaxation area. Singapore Airlines has partnered with pioneering wellness resort Canyon Ranch for its ultra-long flights, to develop stretching videos and healthy menu options like grass-fed beef short ribs with turmeric cauliflower mash. To combat post-flight fatigue, Equinox and Delta have teamed up with “Sweatlag,” a strategic jet lag–focused workout routine that is designed to be done in a hotel room.
4. A better way to do group travel
Whereas some group travel used to be considered impersonal and for the masses, many companies are now offering tailor-made, small group trips with a focus on special experiences. Indagare has expanded our roster of Insider Journey trips and partnered with brands like Architectural Digest and DesignMiami/ to offer behind-the-scenes access in destinations including Ethiopia, India, Israel, Chile, Uruguay and more. After attending our November Insider Journey to Egypt, one of our Paris-based members reflected: “We had access to the most knowledgeable guides and archeologists in all of Egypt. Standing two feet in front of the Sphinx with the former Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs was an overwhelming experience. The most pleasant surprise was that we were able to meet and to appreciate our fellow travelers and therefore were able to share the experience with new friends. It was just too perfect.”
5. Travel Tech
From virtual reality to chat bots, technology is making it easier to travel and to do it as efficiently as possible. More and more hotels now come with in-room iPads so you can order room service or schedule a spa treatment without even picking up the phone; automation like this is expected, with digital, Siri-like concierges in the near future. Self-driving cars are in trial phase around the world, and Japan is planning on rolling out the technology in Tokyo in advance of the 2020 Olympics.
Contact Indagare for assistance planning a trip. Our specialists can book you at the hotel that is right for you and plan great meals and custom activities.