Five Unusual Travel Trends To Expect in 2018

January 24, 2018

With every new year comes a barrage of new research and articles on travel trends that will define the year ahead. Finding answers to questions like, “Where are travelers going?”, “How are they booking?” and “What are they doing in destination?” can be overwhelming to navigate and discover. However, at Development Counsellors International (DCI), one of our resolutions for the new year is to help make yours easier. That’s why we’ve sifted through the data to find the top travel trends for 2018 we believe will have the biggest impact on your bottom line.

1. Flying Solo This isn’t necessarily a NEW trend for 2018, but no Travel Trends list would be complete without highlighting the ever-increasing confidence in solo travel. In January 2017, Google searches for “solo travel” reached an all-time high. As a result, so did the number of media outlets writing about the topic. 2017 was a year chock-full of “how to travel alone” guides, and 2018 is expected to be the year many travelers take the plunge and set sail for distant shores alone.

2. Nuclear War We’re not referring to the creeping anxieties reminiscent of the cold war caused by tumultuous international politics. We’re talking about a dynamic shift in the nuclear family, defined as a set of parents and their children. A new study from StatsCan found that 19.2% of Canadian households with children are single parents. There are over two million single-parent families in the UK, and nearly 20 million in America. As family travel continues to increase, it’s important to remember that family packages shouldn’t be ‘one size fits all.’

3. Adventure ≠ Adrenaline A new study from Adventure Travel Trade Association found that risky adrenaline activities are favored 45% less than ‘experiencing a new culture’ in the definition of adventure travel. AARP in their 2018 survey of travel trends found that that 49% of Americans traveling abroad like the idea of touring with a local. In 2018 and beyond, authenticity will replace adrenaline for the adventure travel segment.

4. Emerging and Endangered Remote destinations like Ethiopia, Bhutan, Paraguay and Kazakhstan have experienced dramatic increases in tourism numbers according to the World BankSTA Travel reports increased bookings to areas like the Arctic, New Zealand and other ‘endangered’ destinations weathering the effects of climate change. Travel to emerging and endangered destinations is expected to continue in full force in 2018, and fortunately so too, will an interest in sustainable tourism.

5. Hedonistic Sustainability How many times did you hear the phrases ‘over-tourism’ or ‘sustainable tourism’ in 2017? The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) even dubbed it “The Year of Sustainable Tourism in Development.”  But travelers are realizing that practicing sustainable tourism doesn’t have to mean making sacrifices to their itineraries. Justin Francis, CEO of Responsible Travel, cites an increase in traveler interest in locally-owned accommodations or homestays; hiring of local guides; eating at locally-sourced restaurants and taking day trips to visit local producers and artisans, and buying their products. Travelers in 2018 will give back to the community, but not without getting a little something back in return.

Are there any other trends you’ve noticed and would like to share  about travel in 2018? Let us know @AboutDCI.

Kate Penniall

Written by Kate Penniall

Kate has worked in research for a variety of entities from a large public company to a local arts and music festival. As DCI's Research Associate, Kate assists both economic development and tourism clients with their research needs.

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