Trends & Insight
January 16, 2018

Trend Watch: Eight travel trends we expect to see in 2018

At AMA, the future of travel is one of our most hotly discussed topics. The year 2018 is set to be an exciting one for the travel and tourism industry with alternative wellness breaks, bucket list getaways and immersive experiences driving the agenda. This year holidaymakers will continue to become savvier, planning in advance and carefully managing budgets to tick off travel wish list destinations. As January leaves us dreaming of warmer climates, here are AMA's travel trend predictions for the year ahead.  

1. Transformative travel

Health and wellness reached new levels of trendy in 2017. This year, those trends will intensify, as destinations around the world look to tap into the now hugely popular health-conscious travel market. According to almost twice the number of travellers will look to achieve wellness on holiday compared to 2017, while 59% of travellers hope to prioritise experiences over material items. Transformative travel is set to be top of the booking agenda as people continue to seek new ways to improve their health, cure ailments and return from a holiday revitalised.

2. Design matters

More of us are expected to opt for designer boutique hotels in 2018, according to Thomas Cook. The travel company states the rise in the number of boutique options has come as a result of our increased desire to book safe and aesthetically pleasing hotels. Those hotels that place emphasis on interior design, food and positive atmosphere are set to take guests by storm this year, highlighting the importance of well-designed, unique and attractive accommodation.

3. ‘Bucket list’ breaks

According to nearly half (45%) of travellers asked said they travel with a bucket list in mind, with the majority of those (82%) aiming to tick one or more destinations off their list in 2018. Almost half of travellers said they would like to tick one of the wonders of the world off their bucket list this year. With instant gratification forever at our fingertips, it seems experiences will take priority over our modern needs in 2018. According to Lonely Planet the top destinations gracing 2018 wish lists include Chile, South Korea and Portugal.

4. Immersive travel experiences

With the majority of people’s workplaces requiring little to no physical activity, people are looking to test themselves whilst travelling. An Amex studyof 1,000 people found 91% would focus on meaningful life experiences over their profession. The idea of making your holiday your own personal adventure is more appealing than ever before, with people looking to use holidays to find their real passions and absorb different cultures.

5. Alternative travel

2018 has been predicted ‘the year of alternative travel’ with a number of holidaymakers opting to make their A-B route the most exciting part of the trip. Epic road and rail journeys are a high priority for travellers in 2018 according to, as are remote and challenging destinations, as well as electric transport alternatives. Other alternative travel trends include off-season travel, which will see an increase as we continue to be mindful of our holiday spending.

6. Digital switch off – escape the screen

As a nation forever attached to our screens, it’s about time we stepped our wellness levels up a notch. According to Intrepid Travel, wellness holidays will increasingly be on trend in 2018, with rural locations maximising tourism opportunities through an emphasis on health and wellbeing rather than high-speed wifi.

7. Travelling on two feet

There’s often no better way to get to know a new place than exploring the landscape by foot. In 2018, walking holidays are set to grow in popularity with over half (56%) of travellers saying they would like to undertake a hiking holiday in 2018 according As we become increasingly conscious of our holiday budgets, this new travel trend could be the perfect solution for cost cutting while away.

8. Go Green – responsible tourism

Following the positive reaction to programmes such as David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II responsible travel is set to take centre stage in 2018. Going green has become increasingly popular in the last few years, and as tourism boards continue to catch on it is now more accessible than ever. In 2018, sustainable urban travel is set to make its mark. Opt for cities seeking to make a positive impact, such as those shortlisted to become the European Green Capital in 2018.

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