Fasten your seat belts – there are some very interesting travel trends on our radar. In 2020 more people will turn to travel advisors, professional photographers, and even astrologers to help get the best out of their trip, while in the business world, experts predict a rise in Canadian airfares and an increase in “bizcations.” Japan is a top destination for sports, wellness, and wine, and on the adventure trail, eco-conscious travellers will reject over-saturated tourist attractions in favour of roads less travelled.

Find out more about what changes you can expect this year in the tourism world as well as what fresh, quirky trends are coming your way. 

1. Wellness Travel

Travel trends for 2020 Photo: Paradis Plage Surf Yoga and Spa in Morrocco

Photo: Paradis Plage Surf Yoga and Spa in Morrocco

In their 2018 Vacation Deprivation survey, travel giant, Expedia interviewed over 11 thousand employed adults about work-life balance, more than 80% said vacation is a chance to  “hit the reset button on stress and anxiety.” At the Paradis Plage Surf Yoga and Spa resort in Agadir, Morocco, you can chill out in a yoga class, then surf the Atlantic coast. Closer to home, try equine meditation at Grail Springs Retreat for Wellbeing, in Bancroft Ontario. “It’s amazing when the horses share a breath with you,” says Alicia Khan Thompson, a Toronto-based wellness travel advisor.

2. Japan 

Wellness treatment on Japan’s Kyushu Island/ Photo: JNTO

With contemplative traditions dating back hundreds of years, Japan (which will see a massive increase in visitors for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics) has always been a wellness destination. After the games, get away from it all in Kagoshima – a seaside city on Japan’s Kyushu Island where you can indulge in hot spring experiences like being buried in warm, soothing black beach sand. Another Japanese hotspot for 2020 is Yamanashi wine country, less than two hours from Tokyo by train in the central Chūbu region. Grape seeds and wine-making techniques were brought here 1,300 years ago by Buddhist monks via the Silk Road. Today, there are over 60 wineries in Yamanashi, at the foot of Mount Fuji. 

3. Gramping, or Skip-Gen Travel

Travel trends for 2020 Skip Gen How 3 Generations Did Greater Palm Springs, Family Style! ~ Family Fun Canada

Photo Credit Amanda MacKay

Skip-gen travel, or “gramping,” is when grandparents travel with their grandchildren, leaving the middle generation at home to relax. Drawing on data from over 22,000 travellers, reports that 71% of grandparents believe that parents should spend time alone without their children. In the United States, a grandparenting study by the American Association of Retired Persons ( AARP), found that three-quarters of grandparents had travelled with three or more generations in the past year, while about one-third of grandparents have taken their grandchildren on skip-gen trips.

4. Bleisure Travel 

In an effort to maintain work-life balance, millennial business travellers are more likely to book a ‘bizcation’ that combines business and pleasure, rather than rushing to catch the first flight home. Also known as “bleisure travellers,” these customers are closely watched by market experts in the hotel industry, who note their fondness for boutique hotels and local restaurants, as opposed to chain hotels. The ultimate blurring of work-life lines is personified by digital nomads such as Derek Baron, AKA Wandering Earl, for whom ‘working from home’ means working from anywhere – or everywhere – in the world. 

5. Higher Airline Prices in Canada

Swoop Canada Ultra Low Cost Airline

Low cost…but at what price?

Tacking a few extra days to your business trip is a smart move because, according to the 2020 Global Travel Forecast published by Carson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) and the Global Business Travel Association, Canadian airfares will rise by 3.2% in 2020. This is due in part to the December 2019 sale of Westjet to the private investment company, Onex, which paid well over market value for its purchase. The silver lining is that Onex plans to continue Westjet’s expansion internationally, and increase routes to Eastern Canada.   

6. Astrology-based travel 

Have you ever felt an inexplicable pull toward a destination? It might be in the stars! Halifax-based Astrologer Mj Patterson says there are several ways to plan your journey using astrology. A solar return means going to a different place for your birthday to achieve a different outcome for the year. Astrolocation is when you spread your birth chart across the map of the world (you can try this for free at astroclick travel). Finally, trip charts, a system devised by Edmonton-based astrologer Inge Lohse, plot your journey based on the exact moment that you turned your key in the door to leave home. “You are always working against the astro-weather,” says Patterson,  “so just prepare. It’s like when you read a map…you are reading your cosmic map.”  

7. Next level photography 

According to leading international travel agency network, Virtuoso, destination photography services are one of the major travel trends for 2020. The Canadian-based company, Flytographer, provides photographers in hundreds of locations around the world. In Africa, Extraordinary Journeys offers wildlife safaris, complete with top quality Olympus cameras, professional camp photographers and guides in Botswana, Namibia, or Zimbabwe, among other places. In Paris, have your headshot captured at the famed Studio Harcourt, where movie stars and models like Katharine Hepburn and Clark Gable were photographed in shadowy, black-and-white portraits since the 1930s. 

8. B-side destinations

Remember the 45 RPM vinyl records with a hit single on the A-side and a lesser-known track on the back?  B-side travel destinations are secret gems hiding behind greatest hits. For example, while UNESCO considers Stonehenge to be the most sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the world, its neighbour, Avebury in Wiltshire is the largest (and here, you can touch the stones!) But do your research: although Expedia reports a 200% rise in interest last year for Peru’s Vinicunca or “Rainbow Mountain” as an alternative to Machu Picchu, some travellers complain that Vinicuna is being over-hyped on Instagram and that the sudden influx of tourists  – over 1,000 per day – is causing soil-erosion. So perhaps, at least in the case of Peru, there’s nothing better than a greatest hit.

9. Pay as you go airport lounges

travel trends for 2020: pay per go lounges

Plaza Premium Lounge: No frequent flyer points required!

Independent airport lounges are one of the world’s best-kept secrets, but not for long. In 2020, more travellers will be accessing pay per go airport lounges to enjoy comfortable seating, hot buffet food, and even luxuries like massages and spa treatments in between flights, without having to earn their way in. Priority Pass offers an annual membership which provides access to over a network of 1300 lounges managed by third-parties, whereas Plaza Premium Lounge, the world’s largest independent airport lounge network, offers luxurious lounges at 30 major international airports around the world. A brand new trend in airport lounging for Canada is the inclusion of a dedicated family area in the new Plaza Premium Lounge at Toronto Pearson, scheduled to open in Spring 2020. Now the kids can get pampered too!

10. The re-birth of the travel agent

Finally, who can you depend on to discover the best airport layover, the perfect photographer, or the unique immersive local experience that will transform your annual vacation into the trip of a lifetime? Your trusted travel advisor! Tim Morgan, Director of Business Strategy in Canada for the travel agency network, Virtuoso, says that contrary to some people’s perceptions, travel advisors never went away. In fact, he says, they’re now thriving in an era where people seek out expertise to manage their most precious resource: their free time. 

11. Ancestry tourism 

travel trends for 2020 Travelling Your Roots – The Journey Home to Scotland - Lord Macdonalds Drive - Credit Kaeleigh MacDonald

Lord MacDonaldès Drive – Credit Kaeleigh MacDonald

Ancestry, or heritage travel – going back to your roots, based on a DNA test – will be one of the fastest-growing travel trends for 2020, says Luxury Travel Magazine. According to an April 2019 study commissioned by online marketplace broker Airbnb, the number of travellers using Airbnb for tracing their roots has increased by 500 percent since 2014, with guests aged 60-90 most likely to book a trip. In the United Kingdom, research says that 23 percent of long-haul visitors to Scotland seek a connection with their Scottish ancestry. 

Click here to read our story about one couple who went back to Scotland to trace their roots.

12. A crackdown on the sharing economy

According to a 2019 study conducted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the growth of the sharing economy in short term rental accommodation has “raised a number of questions related to fair competition, safety and security and the impact that such holiday rentals can have on a destination.”  Some destinations, such as the city of Dubai, and the region of Flanders in Belgium have already taken steps to regulate the accommodation-sharing economy. In the ride-sharing world, London England is leading the way in establishing strict rules for the licensing of ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft. 

Wherever you go in 2020, we wish you happy travels!