Trending in Travel: 8 Trends to Spice Up Travel

By Tory Gentes, Insights Director, Nimbly Insights, Lebanon, NH,trgentes@gmail.com

As researchers, some of us are on the road…a lot. We pack up, venture out, return home, sometimes skip unpacking, and venture out again. It can be exhausting! This is a reminder to bring the same curiosity to travel as we do in our work. We might as well because we spend a lot of time doing it.

If we stay heads down, working furiously between layovers, these fascinating travel trends may go unnoticed. Pick your head up, come out of the fog, and capitalize on your newfound knowledge of these travel trends. You might discover ways to spice up your own travel. Alternatively, you might miss the trending connections to the very work and research we do every day. Looking at travel trends holistically offers insight into the collective drive and desires we have as humans.

If you need further convincing, you’ll find that a variety of industries we work within are impacted by some of these trends, and your knowledge could be creative fuel for your projects. Here are eight trends to spice up your travel.

  1. The Unexplored Deep

People are starting to look down
for travel instead of up, looking to catch a glimpse into the unexplored deep. It’s becoming increasingly trendy to explore the vast amount of earth’s undiscovered ocean. While submarines used to be made for scientific research or military use only, it’s not the case anymore. Don’t fret, you don’t need your own submarine;  however, you do need a bit of cash and patience to be on the waiting list for options like the Poseidon Resort in Fiji where you can stay in an underwater luxury hotel.

Alternatively, you could book a submarine trip, considering options like Neyk Submarine, the result of collaboration between Ocean Submarine, MTU, Bosch, and Rolls Royce. It’s a teardrop-shaped luxury underwater capsule complete with an airplane cabin style, leather seats, a full bar, galley, and library. Want more? Ocean Gate aims to bring costs down for comprehensive commercial expeditions, including their 2020 offering of a Titanic Survey Expedition.

From underwater hotels to deep-sea exploration, adventurous tourists and research enthusiasts are finding new ways to scratch their curiosity.

  1. Airports as Destinations

Airports are becoming full-blown destinations complete with museums, spas, playgrounds, movie theaters, video gaming centers, art, world-class eateries and shopping, light shows, and the list goes on. Since we spend so much time in airports, it’s a nice change of pace to be welcomed as a guest as they do at Indianapolis International. Cities around the world are following the trend and redesigning their airports in a way that represents their city while welcoming travelers as esteemed guests. Terminal B at Philadelphia International underwent a $30 million makeover and created boutique-y spaces sprinkled with delicious eateries and more than 1,000 free-to-use iPads. JFK airport recently opened the TWA Hotel located in the winged TWA Flight Center. The hotel captures the spirit of the Jet Age through thoughtful design, which includes rooms complete with rotary phones, a cocktail bar created out of a restored TWA plane, and fully soundproofed windows. It’s safe to say, the granddaddy of all is Singapore’s Changi Airport, which boasts an indoor forest, a 130-foot waterfall, and a “Walking Net” suspended eighty-two feet above
the ground.

  1. Micro-cations

Unfortunately, for many of us, the luxury of long vacations is over—or maybe they never started! However, a lot can be packed into a short trip with some travel hacks and planning. In fact, according to the 2019 Vacation Confidence Index, released by Allianz Global Assistance, fifty-seven percent of Americans did not take a vacation longer than four nights last year. Instead, seventy-two percent of Millennials said they took at least one “micro-cation” in 2018. Forty percent of Gen Xers acknowledged it’s easier to take time off work for a short trip, while thirty-eight percent of Baby Boomers said they used their time off to attend an event (not needing more than five nights).

The pros of micro-cations include not needing extensive time off from work, cash savings on fewer hotel nights, and potentially no jet lag or adjustment to changing time zones. If you’re the lucky one who ends up snoozing on flights, consider leaving after work to arrive at your destination in the morning. Other pro tips include looking at flights going west to gain some hours back, considering destinations where you can land in the morning and fly back in the evening, or looking for busy travel routes with hourly flights. Guaranteed, when someone asks, “what did you do this weekend?”, your answer will likely evoke some FOMO (fear of missing out).

  1. Underground Supper Clubs

These food-fueled gatherings are popping up all over the world, but what is an underground supper club? Imagine “pop-up dinners” with thirty strangers, always-new locations, and surprising dishes. Often, these dinners are hosted in homes, with the chef and menu left a mystery. There’s beauty in the surprise and an incredible opportunity to join like-minded people in a community who share food and good conversation. Underground supper clubs are not limited to in-homes; restaurants also get in on the action. Some of the most popular US clubs and restaurants include Hush in DC, Sunday Dinner Club in Chicago, and The Naked Lady Room in NYC.

  1. Follow the DNA

Ancestry report products such as 23andMe and Ancestry.com send you a visual breakdown of where your ancestors came from. This has sparked a movement of travelers who plan their trips to destinations based on their ancestry reports. This is no surprise, as humans have an innate drive to understand our roots and where we came from. In the words of Robin Hauck (EF Tours), “As long as there’s been travel there’s been an appetite for visiting where our ancestors are from. What’s changed is DNA technology has become so much more accessible.” Businesses are following suit with targeted services and experiences that help satiate this desire.

For example, My Ireland Family Heritage and My Irish Connections offer personalized genealogy tours. Tours are equipped with drivers and researchers who work with you side by side to uncover registers and archives that surface the towns and houses from your origins. This movement has impacted other industries such as Airbnb, which has partnered up with 23andMe to offer heritage travel recommendations to their customers.

  1. Homeware Hotels

Homeware companies are now opening their own hotels and, you guessed it, guests can buy many of the products that outfit the hotel. Two years ago, MADE.com spearheaded this trend by opening MADE Hotel in Manhattan. At the beginning of 2018, Muji (a Japanese brand) opened two spots in China (Shenzhen and Beijing) where goods for sale include toothbrush stands, feather pillows, oak chairs, duvets, and clear plastic shampoo bottles. The Soho House recently opened a spot in Mumbai with thirty-eight rooms where they sell everything from bathrobes to crystal glassware. Traveling and shopping already go hand in hand—why not!

  1. Cinema Lovers and Book Readers Unite

Seeking destinations based on a favorite author, book, or book festival is gaining in popularity. For example, Hannibal, Missouri, offers travelers a Mark Twain-themed trip where you explore historic highlights by horse-drawn carriage and open-air trolley—complete with the best Mark Twain impersonator in the business. Travelers can also go deep into the ancient caves that held young Twain’s fascination. Alternatively, travel around book festivals, such as the Baltimore Book Festival, is growing in popularity. Enthusiasts get the opportunity to see their favorite author in the flesh and get their classics signed.

Similarly, popular TV shows and movies have brought travelers to specific destinations. Take the Game of Thrones sensation, for example. The Bellagio in Las Vegas has been known to pay tribute with its GOT-themed fountain show. GOT filming locations like Northern Ireland and Croatia have also seen an influx of travelers looking to get in-person views of the show’s stunning backdrops.

  1. Solo Travel: Co-living

While hostels allow solo travelers to stay budget friendly and join a community along the way, they are often not the best option for guaranteed cleanliness and access to professional work spaces. An alternative is co-living. Think a modern commune for solo professionals. These are generating excitement among both locals and out-of-towners. WeLive, a sister company to WeWork, is a leader in this space, offering apartment complexes
in New York and Crystal City. These trendy shared social spaces are complete with event programing such as yoga classes, community-centric amenities such as a chef’s kitchen and game center, in-house hospitality, and top-tier tech. Terms are flexible, and travelers can stay for a few days or months. The Collective, in London and NYC, has a similar offering with co-working spaces, event space, and serviced living. Roam.co is another company offering spaces in Bali, San Francisco, Miami, and Tokyo. Roam boasts private suites and bathrooms, co-working spaces, quiet breakout rooms, 24/7 laundry, and a commercial kitchen.


So there you have it! Eight travel trends to spice up your own travel. Venture on, my friends, and remember to stay heads-up on your layovers, otherwise you might miss the opportunity that travel provides.

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