6 Travel Experts Predict the Next Big Trends

Members of our 2018 Travel Vanguard share their visions for the future of travel.

6 Travel Experts Predict the Next Big Trends

One travel expert predicts that a significant trend will be finding ways to get away from the excesses of tourism.

Photo by Christopher Burns

When we talked to our 2018 Travel Vanguard, we asked them the big questions: Why they love travel and how they hope to make the world a better place. We also asked these world travelers about where they see travel going. Here are their predictions, from slow travel to airline food on-demand (even in coach).

1. New ways to escape the crowds

Sven Lindblad, CEO of adventure cruise company, Lindblad Expeditions

“People are well aware there’s been a massive explosion in travel, partially driven by countries with new ability to travel. Places will be overused. So the significant trend is to find ways to get away from the excesses of tourism. People will find ways to provide that opportunity. The idea of being able to feel special is what people hunger for, not St. Mark’s Square in the middle of the summer.”

2. Experience a slower pace on trips

Bruce Poon Tip, founder of group-tour company G Adventures

“Slower travel. We’re at this place where people book holidays and want to pack in a lot of things into shorter periods of time, but there’s a tipping point where we’re going to want slower holidays, [where we’re] not moving around as much. I think that will go very well with the more-remote-spaces trend.”

3. Order airplane food with the touch of a button

M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International

“More airlines will offer à la carte food on demand through online touchscreens. Right now it’s a big missed opportunity. It will happen and will make huge profits. I also expect more Airbnb-style options for boats and yachts.”

4. Increased tech-driven travel logistics

Kevin Dallas, CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority

“‘Frictionless travel’ . . . innovation and technology have the potential to create a new golden age of travel in which passwords, check-in queues, keys, currency exchanges, roaming charges, etc. melt away, enabling travelers to get the experiences they want with less of the pain associated with travel.”

5. More trips for the over-50 contingent

Evita Robinson, founder of the Nomadness, a travel community and lifestyle brand for millennials of color

“I think it’s going to be [travel] focused on people over 50. Our trips have people from all ages in them; I’ve had 65-year-olds on my trip who will party and dance the 25-year-olds under the table!”

6. Cool hotel conference spaces

Andrew Zobler, founder of the Sydell Group, a luxury hotel brand

“I feel passionately that the larger meeting-house hotel has been really neglected by people who are creating interesting hotels. I think everyone has concentrated on smaller hotels . . . and I think the next era is basically people doing interesting things to larger hotels, so that all these young, entrepreneurial companies have a place to have their meetings.”

Jennifer Flowers is an award-winning journalist and the senior deputy editor of AFAR.
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