According to a poll of more than 1,000 of its Travel Leaders Group of North American travel advisers, Travel Leaders has analyzed the latest booking trends, reviewed destinations likely to receive a boost from social and political influences and new tourism developments as well as has taken into account the increased interest in undiscovered regions to determine the places that will be on travelers’ radar in the year to come.

The top destinations in the US for 2020 are: Hawaii, Alaska, Orlando, New York, Las Vegas, Washington, New Orleans, Chattanooga, Chicago and Key West.

The top International destinations that we are seeing for 2020 are: Ireland, Scotland, the Galapagos Islands, Florence and Venice, Africa, Greece, Egypt, the Riviera Maya, Iceland, Machu Picchu, and of course, the Caribbean.

What about cruises? According to the CLIA, there were an estimated 30 million travelers who have taken a cruise this year with an estimate of a 6% climb for 2020. Did you take a cruise this year?

We are seeing different trends in travel changing! More people say that they are tired of visiting the same rental condo, theme park, or resort year after year and right now is the perfect time to change up plans, do something new and different for 2020.

These epic vacation ideas that people have seen on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest have made them more curious and are ready to step out of their comfort zone and do that bucket list vacation that they’ve thought about for years! People have read about these destinations, seen where others have gone and have now decided that they want their turn!

Some of the Top Trends for 2020 are: culinary trips, solo and women travel, rejuvenating travel, the bucket list travel, and sustainable travel.

Culinary Trips — Of course, one of the best ways to explore a new country is by tasting their food and wine. Whether taking full-immersion cooking courses, hiking through vineyards and orchards for tastings, hunting down the best urban street food, or scouring new farmers’ markets, culinary tourists are increasingly fanning the globe in search of authentic food experiences. A recent survey commissioned by the World Food Travel Association found that of the 170 million leisure travelers in the U.S., more than 30 percent chose trips based on the availability of culinary activities. From a tasting tour of China’s regional cuisines to a cooking class in the foothills of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, these 10 food-focused experiences are among the tastiest in the world.

We are also seeing more and more people taking the mid size or river cruises for the cuisine that it has to offers. The food quality is something passengers pay more attention to these days so the cruise lines have been making great efforts to improve the quality of the food served in their main dining rooms, but food on a luxury line will almost always be several steps above what you’ll find on a mainstream or premium cruises. But even in the biggest mainstream ship, you’ll often find luxury ingredients like steak and lobster available at least one night of a cruise.

Women and solo travel— People who have never traveled alone often describe their first solo trip as an almost religious experience. To take in new surroundings unfiltered by the prejudices, tastes, or preferences of a traveling companion can be heady stuff. Traveling alone gives you the chance to indulge yourself fully.

We have several tour companies that Travel Leaders works with to where each trip comes equipped with a Chief Experience Officer (CEO) responsible for enriching your journey, offering local insight, and pursuing great experiences. Regardless of your age, you’ll be in good company, with about half your group travelling solo, too. These type trips attract people from all over the world who are interested in the same thing that you are! Did you know that one in four people planning a trip in 2020 said they will be going alone?

Rejuvenating vacation — As the year comes to a close and discussions start to center around New Year’s resolutions, chances are you’re clamoring to reset the calendar year with an enriching, wellness-inspired vacation. Whether you want to boost your personal and physical well-being with an active trip filled with yoga, hiking and fitness classes or relax and recharge with soothing spa treatments and nutrition consultations in a calming atmosphere, there are plenty of places to seek a much-needed reboot.

They say that rejuvenating vacations will send you home feeling better than ever! Is there anything more indulgent than a spa day? We think not!

Bucket list travel — Do you have some place on your bucket list? For example, one of the top bucket list vacations we are seeing this year is the Northern Lights. Why? Travelers are increasingly looking for an authentic and unique experience without compromising the destination visited! Iceland has a diverse landscape—the country is home to volcanoes, glaciers, icebergs and hot springs—and offers a variety of nature activities including hiking, fishing and bird and whale watching. There is growing winter tourism not only to see the Northern lights, but also because of the charm of the winter, dark evenings, snow, frozen waterfalls and all kinds of winter activities. In addition, Iceland has experienced a boost from Hollywood. Films like “Interstellar,” “Oblivion” and “Noah” and the hit television show “Game of Thrones” were filmed in the country as well as Disney’s “Frozen” movie.

Another bucket list travel destination that people are interested in is Machu Picchu and it lives up to its fame as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It is indeed a wondrous site to see, so don’t let the need to check off a box on your to-do list get in the way of taking the time to really appreciate it.

Have you ever heard of “sustainable travel” vacations where travel brings us up close to some of our planet’s most stunning natural wonders and connects us with cultures around the globe?

Tourism and sustainable travel has the potential to alleviate poverty, hunger, gender inequality and environmental degradation in the world’s most vulnerable regions. But, the collaboration and a collective road map are all relevant players—including government ministries, businesses and community leaders and travelers that have a clear path toward change.

Through the work of governments, companies, NGOs and local communities, you can unite and use tourism to achieve the right balance between economic development, green growth, and protection of their natural and cultural assets.

We are seeing that Millennials are the fastest growing consumer segment of this type of travel. They are active, adventurous, connected and socially conscious, and Millennials want to engage with places they care about; they want to give back.

You’ve always heard that seeing the world is more educational than a high school or college class. Every destination has something unique to teach visitors, and immersing themselves in a completely different world is the best learning experience. You can’t imagine how different life is in another place until you see for yourself. So, come and conquer some fresh territory this year. It’s the perfect time to do something different and experience something new! You’ll revel in the rush you get from your exploits. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment. And you’ll return home with the best souvenir of all: a memory of your incredible adventure.

Barbara May is owner of Travel Leaders for more information on planning your next vacation, give your travel specialists at Travel Leaders a call! For our Collierville location, call 901-853-6200 – by appointment only. For our Memphis office, call 901-377-6600 located at 2765 Wolf Creek Pkwy., Ate. 104, Memphis, TN 38133, next door to David’s Bridal.

Article and pictures by Barbara May/Owner of Travel Leaders

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