The Hottest Trends in Travel Right Now

The hottest trends in travel change frequently. A new survey though helps to capture what we’re obsessing on now and what we’ll be doing in 2020.

Travelers in 2020 are seizing the day and prioritizing trips now, powered by the belief that customized experiences are the best investment of their money and time, according to the latest Virtuoso® Luxe Report. Global luxury travel network Virtuoso annually surveys its travel agency members and their advisor sales force across 50 countries to predict what lies ahead in the coming year. The Luxe Report reveals consumer inclinations in high-end and experiential travel.

“Carpe diem” travel is fueling the desire to savor as many new destinations and exciting experiences as possible in more authentic ways. While travelers still want to journey in comfort, the new definition of luxury is personalized adventures shared with family and friends. 

The Luxe Report unearthed six trends highlighting how upscale globetrotters continue to assert their influence in the travel-sphere for 2020.

  1. Untouristed and Unexpected: With some favorite destinations seeing an untenable rise in demand, the well-traveled luxury set is seeking remote, unspoiled destinations to avoid crowds at over-touristed locales. Advisors report a rise in requests for places ranging from the culturally distinct to those steeped in nature, including Borneo, Greenland, and Oman.
  2. Country Coupling: Trips that mix locales are trending, especially ones with surprising combinations. Travelers may pair a ski adventure with a beach finale, or a city stay with a jungle adventure, or a well-traveled place followed by a little-known spot to mingle with locals. The focus is on varied experiences that enrich the trip with each stop.
  3. Tasty Travels: Culinary travel has transcended “trend” to become its own niche, with amazing food and drink now considered essential to any trip. Cooking classes, eating in private homes, Michelin-starred restaurants, farm-to-table visits, truffle hunting – culinary experiences are as varied as travelers themselves, and allow foodies to go beyond a seat at the table. Dining has become such a focus that some travelers are requesting restaurant reservations at the same time they book their flights – sometimes even before.
  4. Group Getaways: Travel unites those who share common interests, and travelers want to connect with like-minded people. Gen X-ers, Boomers and even Matures are traveling to bond with friends and others who share their passions or are at the same life stage. Women’s travel is on the rise as well, including soft adventure trips and affluent girl getaways to unplug, relax and play. Groups of couples are also traveling together, including buddymoons, where newlyweds bring pals along for the fun.
  5. EQ Encounters: Today’s traveler is seeking more profound experiences leading to increased emotional intelligence. Pushing beyond their comfort zone combined with genuine interaction among locals provides travelers with a deeper appreciation for the people and cultures they encounter. Foregoing the usual attractions and instead opting to tap into their passions, such as a tasting with the owner of a local winery, a motorcycle tour or a personal shopper to guide them through the latest pop-up stores. They also want accommodations that reflect the destination – inns full of character, small neighborhood hotels, and private homes.
  6. Enjoying the Journey: Embracing the philosophy that the journey is half the fun, upscale voyagers are using exclusive services including meet-and-greets planeside to avoid the stress of changing terminals, locating gates, or waiting in customs lines. The Private Suite at Los Angeles International Airport offers a members-only terminal where travelers are escorted through TSA screenings, driven to and from aircraft in BMWs, and provided a room to relax in between flights.

Key findings from the 2020 Virtuoso Luxe Report:


Top Travel Trends

Top Emerging Destinations

1. Multigenerational travel

1. Croatia

2. Authenticity

2. Antarctica

3. Active or adventure trips

3. Iceland

4. Family travel (immediate family)

4. Japan

5. Celebration travel

5. Portugal


Top Global Destinations

Top Adventure Destinations

1. Italy

1. Antarctica

2. Greece

2. Alaska

3. France

3. Galapagos Islands

4. Japan

4. South Africa

5. Croatia

5. Iceland


Top Millennial Destinations

Top Cities

1. Greece

1. Paris

2. Bali

2. Barcelona

3. Croatia

3. Florence

4. Iceland

4. Rome

5. Cambodia

5. London


Top Family Travel Destinations

Top Honeymoon Destinations

1. Hawaii

1. French Polynesia

2. Italy

2. Italy

3. Orlando, FL

3. Greece

4. Costa Rica

4. Bali

5. England

5. Maldives


Top Solo Travel Destinations

Top Travel Motivations

1. Italy

1. Celebrating a milestone

2. England

2. Excitement of discovering new destinations

3. U.S.

3. Spending time with loved ones

4. France

4. Rest and relaxation

5. Spain

5. Crossing off Bucketlist items

The hottest trends in travel show a more sophisticated and adventurous traveler is emerging. This is a trend we heartily encourage.