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2019 Travel Trends that I actually want to follow

I am not a trendy person, I will be honest. And as I age, my choices in food, fashion, lifestyle are veering more and more towards “going back to the basics”. So, I am surprised that I wanted to write this post. As the calendar rolled into 2019, and the internet was abuzz with forecasts of all kinds, I couldn’t help but enthusiastically nod yes on six trends in travel that I was already loving.

Travel reflects changing mindsets and culture, social and economics shifts. I grew up in Delhi in the 90’s and at its core, travel was about a large group of friends and family, hill stations and road trips in summers. Today, with greater disposable incomes, cheaper flights, options of bnbs, technology, a change in mindset and world views, people are travelling more than ever before. And the expectation from travelling is changing constantly.

Travel leaves an impact, not only on the traveler but also on the destination. And as travelers we need to be more conscious of that. I don’t think that there is any perfect way to travel, it’s all very personal, and it should be that. What is important though is to travel responsibly and respect local culture, peoples and the environment.

The trends this year are a strong reflection of the above – of changing expectations and a growing consciousness. So, it feels right to share these, maybe they will offer you some inspiration, maybe they will resonate with your ideas about travel, and you will also nod a yes 🙂 .

Multi-generation travel

Nuclear families with hectic lives find it difficult to meet their family members on a regular basis…and multi-generation travel is a great way to spend quality time.

Source – www.traveltrendstoday.in

The husband’s side of the family decided to start a yearly trip –spanning 3 generations and age groups from 3 to 70! To me, this seemed like a very complex idea – people like different things, one man’s meat is another man’s poison if you know what I mean. But surprise, surprise, the “tradition” is three years running now. And you know why? Because while differences will continue to exist, this is a wonderful way to bond and spend quality time, in a way that no meal or coffee allows for.

Travelling together with a group is something I grew up with, but as an adult, it fizzled out. Somewhere, I deliberately kept away because I wanted to do things my way and I gravitated only towards a select small group. There is absolutely nothing wrong in travelling solo or with a limited group, in fact it’s got amazing perks as well. Yet, a part of me has truly enjoyed the big group experience. It teaches you a lot of adjustment and patience, getting your way and giving in equally. And travelling with multiple generations actually makes for some very interesting perspectives, I found myself trying things that I wouldn’t have considered otherwise, even enjoying them. It adds a dimension to travel that makes for lot of stories and memories.

The Great Rann of Kutch worked wonderfully well for a large group.

Experiential Travel

There’s been growing demand around culinary travel, cultural exploration, and activity-based travel experiences for a number of years now. But the demand for experiential travel shows no signs of slowing down.

Source : skift.com

All travel is an experience, but for me, there is no better way to know a place than its food and every time I travel, I keenly scout for cooking classes, local café’s, food tours. I also love destinations that allow for sightseeing with long walks, bicycle tours, hikes, anything physical(that basically helps me digest food and get ready for the next meal 😀 ).

These options aren’t too hard to find today, all big travel agencies have tailormade experiences and if you search the internet, you will find smaller bespoke options. Even AirBnb has an “Experience” section which has some great options. Doing some cool experiences can be such an incredible add on to your trip and show you a totally new way to look at a destination. I was in Madrid for a work trip and extended it just by a day to see a bit of the city. I ended up taking a cooking class that I found on TripAdvisor, it was expensive and seemed a tad commercial but since I didn’t find a better option, I ended up going for it. It turned out to be such a fun experience, with a market tour and cooking with a varied group. It helped that we were chugging Sangria all along, but it was exciting to meet people from so many different countries, drink and chat over a self-made meal of Sangria, Gazpacho and Paella.

Cooking classes are a fun way to meet new people and bond over food.

Tackling Overtoursim

Tourism is growing year on year, and while people want to travel and explore, destinations may not have the required infrastructure to support this influx. If managed well, tourism can be great for local economy, but governments and authorities need to plan the eco-system better(which in my view doesn’t happen mostly, especially in developing nations). This article from CNN talks about  places, where overtoursim has had a negative impact on local flora, fauna, to the extent that the damage has been irreversible.

As a consumer it’s frustrating as well. You spend your hard-earned money and time on a place, only to be standing in queues, jostled or have a watered-down experience because there are just too many people. I remember I was in Kasauli, a hill station in Himachal Pradesh, on the Independence Day long weekend and there were just so many people and so much noise in this tiny quaint town that I vouched not to travel peak season or long weekends.

I decided to better my own research before finalizing on a place– sometimes there is a window of opportunity right outside the peak season when the weather is still right, but the crowds have started leaving and the costs have come down. This is the gold mine. If I am still travelling peak season, I make it a point not to stay in busy areas and definitely look for activities that don’t have involve crowds. I am not a big fan of exploring popular sites and museums so that makes it easier. As a traveller, I feel that it is your right to plan and enjoy your experience, and the responsibility of that is in your own hands. At the same time, we need to be more mindful and not leave a negative impact on the destination we visit. I was shocked and disheartened when I read about Leh, a stunning part of Jammu and Kashmir, now choking with overtoursim after it was popularized by the movie 3 Idiots. Cafes have been built to services tourists and photo opportunities created around Pangong lake, there is more construction but it’s unregulated in a region so ecologically sensitive and remote. This article by cntraveller was published in 2018 and shows how unplanned tourist influx can be extremely damaging. We all play a role in this, and we need to be mindful of that.

Tourists and locals at National Tulip Day, Amsterdam 2017

Rise of Responsible and Sustainable Tourism:

Every industry is undergoing sustainability reforms and have begun taking dedicated initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint. Travelers would prefer brands which provides human touch and social commitment to fulfilling environmental responsibilities.

Source : hindustantimes.com

I feel this movement is still in its infancy, but it is a positive one and in the right direction. I believe that anyone who travels, to whatever extent is privileged. Come to think of it, there are so many more pressing matters in people’s lives, and not everyone has the time, money or inclination to go on a trip. So, it is an absolute privilege to be able to travel. And I don’t want to misuse that privilege. Which means that I don’t want to be reckless, insensitive or dismissive about the impact travel creates. Part of it, unfortunately isn’t totally avoidable – whether it is catching flights or staying in hotels that aren’t exactly eco-friendly. Part of it is totally in my own hands – using an efficient means of transport to the extent possible like a bicycle or public transport, refilling water bottles and limiting plastic discard, not wasting food, trying to buy things from local artisans rather than high street stores, even if they are cheaper, eating local rather than at a fast food chain, staying in a bnb, there is so so much that everyone can do at an individual level. I am a firm believer that every drop adds to the ocean. We need to be willing to do our bit, even if it is small.

Handweaving at Bhujodi, Gujarat.

Micro Trips

2019 will be the year of ‘bite sized travel’ – squeezing in more curated travel itineraries into shorter time frames. Thanks to improvements in flight routes, transport, cheap flights, on-demand car rentals and accommodation, micro trips will become increasingly more popular and varied.

Source : Booking.com

I am dying to follow this one. 2018 was a year that travel slowed down for me. I moved back from Amsterdam and spent most of my energy settling my home, a new job and catching up with friends and family. While I did take a couple of trips, it felt like had I planned smarter, I would have been able to do a few more shorter ones. I was dying to go to the Sula Fest in February, Serendipity Goa in December, skiing in Gulmarg in March, but it just did not happen. I have this idea in my head that I need to travel for weeks on end and only then can I do a place justice, and it does make sense if you are taking a trip to another part of the world, but it’s also limiting since I work a full-time job.  There are a number of cool experiences, treks, tours, food trails, festivals that lends themselves extremely well to 3-4 days. With good planning, you can take advantage of long weekends and holidays. I want to do more of this in 2019, especially with busy lifestyles, jobs and commitments , this is a wonderful break to catch up with close friends and family and try something new.

Kayaking in Naukuchiatal, Uttarakhand

Healthy holidays are the new norm

We have entered the era of the healthy holiday, driven by young people who want to be sober enough to take a flattering selfie. But the staggering rise in wellness tourism – now worth $639bn globally and growing more than twice as fast as general tourism, isn’t just down to young people. Wellness resorts are targeting all ages, with holidays for every stage of life, from fitness stag dos to baby moons, mumcations and menopause retreats.

theguardian.com

There was a time in my life when a holiday meant indulgence and nothing else, and since I love food, my natural gravitation towards it on a trip meant that I wanted to try everything, at every meal for weeks on end. I was younger and my body dealt with it just fine. But towards my late twenties and now thirties, I realize that I don’t feel as good about it anymore. It isn’t a happy feeling when you feel sluggish and bloated, and it takes away from enjoying a place to the fullest. Even on a trip, specially on a trip, I like to get my hours of sleep, catch on books, eat local food, pace my drinks. While I haven’t specifically gone on a holiday with only wellness in mind, it is definitely something I want to do this year. India is a treasure trove of Yoga, Ayurveda and there are some wonderful resorts that are wellness inspired. Basically, the idea is to return home feeling rejuvenated and energetic, rather than feel exhausted and sleep deprived, isn’t it?

Path of Gods trek, Amalfi Coast, Italy

How have your travel choices evolved? What are you looking forward to doing more of in 2019? Would love to know!

 

 

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. I really enjoyed this post Ankita ♥ I love these trends too, although we have to be careful in picking which trends to follow for sure. I would love to take a cooking class in a new city, that is something I have never done before and it sounds interesting and super fun!

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    • Hi Ellieslondon! Thank you so much, and yeah, I hope you try a cooking class soon! It’s great fun and also lovely to recreate those dishes back home. I find it a good way to relive my experience a bit :-).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Really enjoy reading about other people’s travel ideas/ I am planning on climbing Kilimanjaro in September. Most of my blog this year is going to be about the training I am doing. Seeing some amazing places that are right on my doorstep. Blessings Joy

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