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These are 2019’s Top Travel Trends

Road trip in the autumn

Far from the usual palm tree-lined getaways that used to frequent travellers’ Wander Lists, in 2019 people are on the lookout for something out of the ordinary for their next holiday…

Ah, the wonders of the internet. From personal blogs to online travel agencies, flight booking sites and even destination inspiration, every step of locking in that next holiday you’ve been dreaming about is now available at your fingertips, from anywhere in the world. Add to the mix the rise of image-focused social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest and it’s becoming easier and easier to pinpoint where people want to travel, year in, year out, and why. So what’s on people’s radars and what’s trending in travel in 2019? According to Pinterest, it’s not what you’d expect. Think: alternative accommodation, utter seclusion and socially and environmentally responsible travel, to start. Here are the most popular travel-related searches that took place in 2018, and recommendations on how to make each option the best trip possible.

Adventure Travel

+693% in searches

Adventure travel is continuing to rise, with specific activities such as swimming holes, abandoned amusement parks and cave diving being especially-trending searches. Queenstown, New Zealand’s unspoken adventure capital, tops the list for more exciting feats. Travellers have the option of jumping off the Kawarau Bridge via their world-famous bungy-jump, trying the massive canyon swing or maybe opting for the more familiar, but still exhilarating, zipline or paragliding ride. For the thrill-seeking novice, try a more organised tour or adventure cruise, where you’re guaranteed to get outside of your comfort zones.

Cenote on the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico
Cenote on the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico
Choose Your Own Adventure
20 Thrilling Travel Experiences for the Adventurous Spirit
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Small Town Travel

+276% in searches

Free from tourist hot spots and the stress and expense that come with fast-paced cities, small towns offer a more relaxed, leisurely style of holiday where destination immersion and ‘living like a local’ are achievable goals, if just for a few days. And the best part is, no matter the country, there are always hidden gems beyond the big smoke that are rife with opportunities to interact with the locals and get a feel for the surrounding culture. Explore the quaint town of Linz, Austria for its harbour and large graffiti gallery, or for the ultimate in European charm, head to the Luberon in France with its medieval hilltop villages and verdant valleys. Closer to home, the New South Wales’ Southern Highlands region and town of Orange are full of food and wine delights.

Linz, Austria
Linz, Austria

Surprise Destinations

+192% in searches

While the well-known and oft-travelled locations are dependable, the thrill of taking a spontaneous trip never gets old, does it? Nothing ventured, nothing gained and jetting over to somewhere completely different with little to no expectations might be exactly what a well-seasoned traveller needs. Try an eye-opening foray to Rwanda, with its emerging tourism, or take a look at our three-part list of 2019’s most exciting – and surprising – destinations.

Canopy walk in Nyungwe, Rwanda
Where to Travel in 2019 – Part One
With global tourism reaching saturation point, new and largely undiscovered destinations are becoming harder to find. Here, we present Part One of our three-part Destination NEXT Series showcasing our top 30 exciting, surprising and rapidly trending places. Far from the madding tourist crowds, these hot spots offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences to thrill even the most well-travelled globe trotters.
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Less-travelled islands

+179% in searches

With global tourism booming and destinations getting busier and busier with tourists, it’s no surprise that more of us are seeking out secluded destinations for our holidays. And despite what you might think, it seems it still is, in fact, possible to find an exotic escape without the crowds. For a start, there are 118 islands in  French Polynesia alone, ranging from competitive spring break destinations to more intimate hideouts. Still in the South Pacific you’ll find a string of lesser-known Tahitian islands, and in Indonesia, the Komodo National Park and islands of Flores, Sumatra and Sumba. For those seeking an ultra-luxury getaway, does it get more exclusive than Gladden Private Island, meant for one couple?

Gladden Private Island
Gladden Private Island Aerial View

Dog-Friendly Holidays

+146% in searches

A pet-inclusive holiday saves the trouble of making arrangements for dog care and allows tourists to enjoy both the sights and the extra company. While some accommodations are far from catering to these furrier travellers, quite a few do cater to dogs. The French Riviera’s Hôtel le Cap Estel, for example, even gifts a surprise welcome basket for your four-legged friend upon check-in, along with a special three-course meal prepared by the hotel’s Michelin-star restaurant.

Dog on boat

Abandoned Castles

+142% in searches

No less impressive in person than in photos, it’s no wonder castles always attract a healthy amount of visitors. The historical structures are often accompanied by acres of lush, green grounds and beautiful, intricate architecture, making the ancient buildings enticing for history buffs and design enthusiasts, nature lovers and lovers of luxury.  From England’s Cornwell Manor – a popular film and television spot – to Ireland’s Lisheen Castle – backed by rolling green hills – Europe is home to several, fairytale-esque options. Scotland, in particular, makes for a castle-hopping adventure that’s hard to beat.

Glenapp Castle in Scotland
Glenapp Castle in Scotland
The High Road
From Edinburgh through the Highlands to Inverness, this is the ultimate castle-hopping road trip through Scotland
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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

+142% in searches

Rio de Janeiro is Brazil’s primary tourist attraction and the only specific destination to make Pinterest’s trending travel list for 2019. Rightly so, too, because this colourful city truly has it all, and its iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, blue beaches and popular Corcovado and Sugarloaf mountains are just the beginning. For more ideas, look through our recommended itinerary for Brazil, including some must-sees in Rio de Janeiro and neighbouring cities throughout the country.

Abercrombie & Kent | Christ the Redeemer, Rio De Janeiro
Christ the Redeemer, Rio De Janeiro

Autumn Scenery

+94% in searches

Summer might be the most sun-soaked of the seasons, but autumn is nothing short of golden… literally, and certainly the most photogenic. There are countless locations around the world that beautifully showcase the season’s leaf-filled walkways and changing trees, but the popular Macao particularly flourishes during these chillier months, since it marks the start of their event season. Other picture-perfect options include Queenstown and nearby, quaint Arrowtown in New Zealand, which  even has an annual Autumn Festival. And then, of course, there is the beloved New England, U.S.A. and Montreal, Canada to feast your eyes on.

JW Marriott Essex House New York
JW Marriott Essex House New York

Zero-Waste Travel

+74% in searches

After decades of being a commonly-neglected factor of many holidays, sustainability is on everyone’s lips these days, especially those in the travel industry – including hotels and resorts and  cruise lines. As a traveller, you can do your part by opting for reusable travel items, supporting local businesses and being aware of your overall consumption while travelling – just a few easy habits to remember while exploring the world.

Hilltop Reserve bathroom, Six Senses Ninh Van Bay
Hilltop Reserve bathroom, Six Senses Ninh Van Bay
An Investigation into Sustainable Travel
As global tourism booms at an unprecedented rate, the environment is straining under the pressure leaving many of us wondering, are we loving our planet to death? We take a deep dive into the green revolution and the travel brands committed to change.
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Bike Tours

+64% in searches

Furthering the mission for a more sustainable environment, cycling is an up-close way to experience a new place and many destinations have integrated the travelling cyclist into their tourism. Imagine riding through rolling vineyards, an ancient fortress town and colourful fishing villages on a tour of Spain’s Basque Country and Rioja wine region or cycling the tracks of Europe’s iconic long-distancing train connecting Paris and Istanbul. An efficient way to tour at your own pace, bikers can stop at any time to explore in greater detail before pedalling to their next location.

Electric bike riding along Lake Silvaplana on the Inn cycle path, Switzerland.
Electric bike riding along Lake Silvaplana on the Inn cycle path, Switzerland.

Bus Travel

+32% in searches

If you’re the kind of person that feels better when on solid ground rather than in the air, why not opt for a bus tour? Opt for the more touristy hop-on hop-off excursions, or something a little more unique, like a two-week culinary tour of Italy’s lesser-known regions. And of course, when travelling in Europe it’s hard to beat touring via train, particularly the iconic Grand Train Tour in Switzerland or the Belmond British Pullman, which travels the English countryside in a glamorous, vintage-styled train.

Reykyavik, Iceland
Reykyavik, Iceland

Hot Springs

+32% in searches

A relaxing addition to combat any travel stress, hot springs, both natural and via a luxury spa, have become a popular experience among city-dwelling travellers. Attempt a bike tour of Japan, where riders can roam through a land of Shinto shrines and Buddhist monasteries, soaking tired legs in traditional onsens along the way. Wait until the springtime and kill two birds with one stone – visit natural springs towns and catch the  cherry blossoms in full bloom. While Japan is a clear hot springs hub, there are also other global options, such as the awe-inspiring landmarks in the Ecuadorian Andes, where tourists have the option to spend a night at a resort with pools heated by volcanic hot springs, or the Hoshinoya Guguan in Taiwan, the first luxury hot spring property in the area.

Cherry Blossoms in Kinosaki Onsen
Cherry Blossoms in Kinosaki Onsen

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