No question: 2020 has been one for the books. Never fear, though; we will come out of this stronger than we were before with a new, innovative look at travel. Some elements of our favorite treks will remain the same and some will be different. Through the balance of the year, however, we see a few key themes unfolding. If you’re keen to know the top travel predictions for 2020, read on.
Travel Trend 1: Train trips and RV excursions
In recent months, some travelers have taken to blanketing inveterate fliers with “flight shame,” owing to the concerns about COVID-19 and the airline industry’s rather checkered response to safety requirements. Even for those without strong feelings, tendencies are leaning toward excursions that don’t involve flying. To wit, we’re likely to see car travel and RV rentals ramp up in the months ahead. We may also see people turning once again to trains – especially if they can reserve their own compartments.
Travel Trend 2: Camping 2.0
In the era before Coronavirus, camping was an outdoor treat. It involved tents and campfires and usually small plots out in the wild reaches. This type of camping will certainly continue, but for those who aren’t avid campers and don’t want to muck with hotel rooms and flights, camping may be repurposed in less remote environs. We’re thinking glam car camping (complete with trunk bars and string lights), urban camping (when/where that’s allowed), and backyard camping. We may even see some attempts at indoor camping. Honestly, how else are you using that unfinished basement?
Travel Trend 3: Virtual travel
This is already well underway, but it’s likely to take a leap as we sail into the rest of 2020 and 2021. With the increasing affordability of VR headsets, gaming consoles, and AR technology in our smartphones, some of us may be content to forego travel hassles and focus on virtual vacations instead. Oculus to the rescue; the VR company has a whole library of “world experience” apps you can download and play on your VR headset. Some are free, but at most, cost $5. What’s more, they’ll take you back in time so you can see how various ancient sites looked in their heyday. $5 for a virtual experience instead of $1,000s for the real thing? It’s a tempting alternative …
Travel Trend 4: Pet-centric adventures
We know; pets have long been a prime consideration for travel. But for most, that consideration was less about where to take them and more about where to board them. As we turn our sights toward domestic travel, however – especially with international travel restrictions still in place – Fido becomes more inspiration than hindrance. We wrote about several places that are ideal for bringing the pooch or kitty, so be sure to check out our picks. Your four-legged friend will thank you.
Travel Trend 5: Ancestry travel
Every generation has its contingent of ancestry travelers – those keen on finding familial roots in scattered destinations across the world. Recent events, however, have reignited appreciation for family and heritage, which is likely going to inspire some treks to the past. Here’s a bit of a twist: People won’t just be visiting cities or sites associated with family, they’ll be hunting down the homes of relatives and ancestors. With sites like Ancestry.com (which includes directories and addresses), this is becoming increasingly possible – and popular.
Travel Trend 6: Food and farmers’ market tours
As restaurants come back online with limited capacity in the Coronavirus era, finding a reservation will surely be a tricky business. So tricky, in fact, travelers may avoid the hassle altogether and opt for a different culinary experience – one driven by seasonal markets. Instead of looking forward to that five-course meal in Paris, you may find yourself mapping out a meal in an Airbnb using local produce, charcuterie, bread, and cheese. Or, you could just picnic your way through vacation. In short, we see a new appreciation for artisanal, farm fare surfacing in the warm months ahead.
Travel Trend 7: Tours of American landmarks
There’s been a lot of upheaval in the U.S. of late and with international travel restrictions and complications still a reality – likely for several months – we’ve been forced to look inside our own borders for travel inspiration. What’s more, we’re at the juncture of unique political and societal events; these will no doubt precipitate many reactions, but we believe one will be the pursuit of re-education. We see Americans rekindling an interest in our collective history and exploring the markers of our progress and development. From renewed interest in iconic landmarks like Mount Rushmore and the Washington Monument to more urban tours that reveal how struggling colonies blossomed into industrial boomtowns, and eventually, mega-metropolises, we will come to rediscover America.
Travel Trend 8: House swaps
Yes, the hotel industry is on its head trying to figure out new sanitation methods while limiting capacity to ensure customer safety. And yes, Airbnb is in a similar boat. So what do we do? As we look to scratch our travel itch, the likeliest solution is that we find safe havens we know. Thus, the house swap. Here’s how it works: Families (or single friends) with homes in different locations across the U.S. choose to swap locations for a bit. Keys or codes or exchanged, but no strenuous effort is put into cleaning or prepping the space. It’s family, after all. Granted, you’ll still want to make sure everyone is healthy before moving ahead, but this does seem a lot less stressful than managing reservations and proprietary protocols.
Travel Trend 9: Neighborhood crawls
For those with limited mobility or concern about travel in general, even the most innovative travel hacks may seem too much. That’s why we see neighborhood groups taking on half or full-day neighborhood crawls. The operation is simple: An organizer decides on an itinerary in a nearby neighborhood – one with its own personality, commercial offerings, and activities. A handful of neighbors jump in to explore the area together and voilà – a low-maintenance, limited travel trip that still offers a fresh perspective. With popular apps like NextDoor able to help with organizing, communicating, and planning, neighborhood crawls will be a cinch.