Have you been experiencing wanderlust or craving an adventure while scrolling through your favorite social sites or blogs? If you feel like everyone you know has experienced an epic adventure lately, you’re picking up on some travel trends.
According to a General Travel Study released by Expedia at the beginning of 2018, 74 percent of American respondents said they’d prefer to cash in on experiences instead of products, signifying a major shift in the way people are spending their extra money. Add in that adventure tourism has skyrocketed—it’s expected to see a 46 percent annual growth rate through 2020—and it’s no surprise that swapping an ordinary beach vacation to truly experience nature seems so appealing. Read on for four more reasons why we think adventure travel is a trend you’ll see everywhere this year.
Major Influence From Gen-Z
Data from the new Expedia study points to the fact that that Gen Z (people aged 22 and younger) has a ton to do with the emerging trends—71 percent of young respondents love adventuring enough to get a part-time job, sell their clothes or furniture to save money for a trip, and say they’d even break up with a significant other to go on a previously planned trip. It’s no surprise that the same set of people say they love being active while scoping out a new spot; with sites like Pinterest, travel-themed blogs and vlogs, there’s endless adventure inspiration to choose from.
The Instagram Effect
It makes perfect sense when you consider that social media studies show that people are traveling for the Instagram post—and the more envy-inducing the image, the more likable the post or video is. Not convinced that adventurous social shares can actually drive people to take a trip? A recent paper from the journal Tourism Management introduced the concept of “SRS,” or social return scale, to predict 758 US travelers’ intention to visit Cuba across models that varied based on time (one year, five years and 10 years) and positive social feedback. Researchers found that social validation can be just as influential as considerations like weather or price when travelers are deciding where to visit. (We’re not that surprised—remember seeing Blue Lagoon all over Insta?)
A Self-Care Connection
Outdoor activities and travels that help contribute to a happier, healthier life have become a priority over the last few years, rounding out other important components of self-care such as sleep, diet and exercise. Influence from young generations rule here too: Forrester found that millennials and Gen Z-ers account for a whopping 69 percent of people who sport fitness wearables to keep a pulse on their training and health. Who wants to lay by the beach for days or over-indulge on an all-inclusive trip when you can sneak in steps while seeing sights on foot or actively enjoy your surroundings?
Affordable, Nature-Based Accommodations Are Easier to Find
Airbnb has exploded in popularity in recent years, helping make adventure travel on off-the-beaten paths more affordable for guests who might not be inclined to really rough it during their entire stay; even more, Airbnb has become a bona fide way to uncover and book trendy, nature-based accommodations in places that were previously tough to access or impossible to find. According to a recent post on The Points Guy, “Over the past year, non-traditional homes have seen the largest increase in bookings. Airbnb travelers are staying in off-the-beaten-path-type places rather than typical city homes. Based on Airbnb data, more travelers are looking to experience nature firsthand in the new year with bookings for yurts (+155%), ryokans (+600%) and RVs (+133%).”
Need some inspiration to plan an adventure you’ll remember forever? Lonely Planet listed exploratory cruises as a popular way to get an adventure fix this year. REI also profiled some top trips, naming Tanzania, The Alps, Patagonia, the Great Smoky Mountains and the Galapagos Islands as places to experience the great outdoors.