One of my favorite things about international travel is watching travel trends emerge in destinations and spread from country to country.
Every sector of the travel industry experiences trends with each coming year, whether it be dishes at restaurants, designs at hotels, features on cruise ships, or amenities on airplanes. Certain things take off right away across the world, such as avocado toast (still a huge thing by the way–almost every restaurant in the western world that serves breakfast offers avocado toast now and they didn’t ten years ago) and certain things sometimes stay regional. Then there are things for which your country is known but then spread to other countries as well. A good example of this is zip lining in Costa Rica. There are hundreds of places where you can zip line in Costa Rica, but you can also do this in other areas of the world such as India, China, Australia, Cambodia, and most others. They just don’t offer as many as in Costa Rica.
The following are some of the current travel trends I have noticed emerging within the last 5 years, and these trends are spreading far and wide across the globe.
1. Pass me a beer. The craft beer and microbrew industry has truly exploded, and no matter where you are, virtually every tourist destination has at least one microbrewery. Once established, it becomes an experiential part of the fabric of the destination. The next time that you are, well, anywhere, google “microbrew near me,” and see what comes up.
2. Take care of the planet. Especially in the luxury travel market, sustainability is a huge focus. At many of the luxury hotels around the world, you will see them touting their focus on the environment and on a healthy planet. In the Maldives for instance most of the resorts have now done away with plastic bottles, and are using glass and/or refillable bottles. Several islands also have their own recycling centers, where they are taking things such as cans or other items, and converting them into other things for sale, or items to use in the resorts such as bags, hats, and more.
3. Go outside and pluck me some dinner. The farm-to-table concept has been a thing for a number of years now, and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. It is safe to say that every major city in the world has at least one popular farm-to-table concept restaurant. This often goes hand-in-hand with my number two trend of sustainability. In fact, a number of properties around the world have their own gardens where they are growing the produce for the meals served at the hotel. These gardens offer an experiential component for guests as well, and many properties are delighted to give you a tour. Furthermore, many resort restaurants now offer plant-based menus.
4. Beige is so chic: boho chic. Having recently attended a luxury travel show in Seville, Spain, I noticed one huge design trend; many of the newest properties in Europe and beyond are incorporating a kind of boho chic style, where much of the decor is the color of a rope, an egg, or a burlap sack. This is not to say that the design is not beautiful nor luxurious, quite the contrary. There is a definite trend towards using high-end fabrics and materials in soothing colors, especially those that blend with the outside surroundings. You see lots of natural woodgrains and very minimalist decor. Of course there are exceptions to this trend, and I can think of several hotels that have very colorful, glistening, splashy bars and common areas. Still, the boho chic design is very in right now.
5. Next port: USB. At hotel rooms across the globe as well as in planes and on cruises, there has been an influx of USB ports offered, especially in the newest places. It has kind of become the world’s answer to a truly universal adapter.
6. Glamping. I’m sure that almost everyone knows by now, but glamping is essentially glamorous camping. Generally the tents come with an actual bed, a bathroom with indoor shower, and additional seating. There is glamping in the Sahara Desert in Morocco, in the mountains in India, in vineyards in Spain, alongside ruins in Peru, all over Australia, and in countless other places I haven’t mentioned.
7. Keep it clean. One of the leftovers from the COVID-19 pandemic is a renewed emphasis on keeping things sanitized. At the best hotels, your hotel room will come with added amenities to help you stay germ-free, such as face masks and antibacterial hand wipes, gels, and sprays.
8. Take it outside. Picking up on number seven, in hotels, cruise ships, and restaurants, you will notice that the newest venues often have an outdoor component or open-air concept. This is another repercussion of the pandemic, as many people tend to feel more safe and comfortable in outdoor environments.
9. I vant to be alone. Greta Garbo may have been ahead of her time when she uttered this now famous line in the 1932 film Grand Hotel. Now more than ever, people are gravitating towards small, intimate, private experiences over those with large crowds. Experiences like private yacht charters are on the rise as people seek to have more control and customization. Since the pandemic also taught people that life is too short, they are willing to pay to have the exact experience they desire, and with smaller numbers.
10. Self care is sexy. Whether it is yoga retreats, meditation seminars, or simply experiences that focus on quality healthy foods, there is a huge trend throughout the travel industry on personal wellness and well-being. It doesn’t matter if you are traveling to Mumbai or Montreal, you will notice that the newest hotels are offering more elaborate spas than ever, aimed at helping their guests to relax, rejuvenate and possibly even transform.
Have you noticed any of these, or other trends I didn’t mention? Which of these trends do you think will fade away, and which are here to stay?