We can now book and compare flight and hotel prices with the click of a button, search aesthetically pleasing destinations on Instagram and book to stay in a stranger’s house on the other side of the world.

What’s next? Booking.com has released a report revealing its predictions on the biggest travel trends for next year. 

Pepijn Rijvers, Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com, said: “2019 is set to be an exciting year for travel. With technological advancements, an ever more connected world and a continuously growing consumer appetite for the best travel experiences, we’re poised for ground-breaking developments, taking travel to unexplored heights.”

From conscious travelling to volunteer trips and even flights into space, below are the eight things every discerning traveller will be thinking about when booking next year’s trips…

1. Say no to single-use plastic

This year, London has taken big steps towards eliminating single-use plastic. Here at the Standard, we started The Last Straw campaign to get eateries across London switching to paper straws to help save the environment, which has been a success. Next year, the issue of single-use plastic will continue to be a hot topic and travellers will look into the sustainable practices of their destination and the places they choose to stay.

According to Booking.com’s research: “Millennials and Gen Z travellers will look for sustainable experiences in their destination, while accommodation providers will look to reduce their plastic usage and increase their sustainable credentials. An overwhelming majority of global travellers (86 per cent) say they would be willing to spend some time on activities that offset the environmental impact of their stay, with over a third (37 per cent) willing to clear plastic and litter from a beach or other tourist attraction.

“Expect to see a number of new travel start-ups and individual enterprises committed to shaping a new future for our planet’s destinations emerge in the coming year, with intriguing technology at the core of their solutions.”

2. The rise of the conscious traveller

49 per cent of people feel social issues in potential travel destinations are of importance when choosing to go and 59 per cent of people choose not to go to a destination if they think it will negatively impact the people who live there.

The research continued: “Reflecting increased global interest in social issues such as human rights, equality and working conditions, 2019 will see a more conscious traveller become evident, with even more questions being asked around social, political and environmental issues in potential travel destinations before making a decision on where to go.”

3. A focus on curating experiences

While ticking a country off your bucket list is all well and good, actually experiencing the country and culture while you are there can give you a more authentic, memorable experience. The research found that 60 per cent of people value experiences over material possessions and there will be a number of experience-based travel operators popping up in 2019.

4. Micro-breaks are on the rise

Half of global travellers (53 per cent) said they plan to take more weekend trips in 2019. Weekend breaks are easy when you live in London, with a number of budget airlines flying out of the capital, a jaunt to Europe, Africa or even the States is possible in a weekend or long weekend. Shorter breaks will result in a more curated itinerary and there are a number of new flight routes for 2019 to check out for your holiday planning. Closer to home, staycation trips around England, Wales and Scotland are also a great micro-break ideas and the ideal way to explore the UK.

5. Ease is everything

In 2019, technological travel innovations that make travelling easier and offer practical solutions will be welcomed with open arms. Think keyless room access with smartphones, personalised travel tips and real-time luggage tracking through apps.

According to the Booking.com research, 57 per cent of people would like a single app for all their planning, booking and travel needs (for anyone looking for a lucrative start-up) and 31 per cent are keen on the idea of a ‘virtual travel agent’ in their homes, which can help to answer travel queries before you go.

6. Personal fulfilment

Travelling has long been a way to learn new things about yourself and a way to learn important life skills and 2019 will see travellers choose destinations that can add more purpose to their trips. There will be an increase in volunteering and skills-based vacations as well as a heightened interest in international work placements.

One company helping to facilitate this is Remote Year who facilitate travel and accommodation for individuals hoping to work remotely, meaning they can combine travel with work.

7. Unchartered territories

Space tourism is about to become big. Huge, even. With Virgin Galactic, Space X and Blue Origin all promising to take civilians into space – something 40 per cent of people are excited about and want to experience for themselves. While space tourism is right around the corner, other unchartered territories are piquing traveller’s interested with 60 per cent of people claiming they want to stay in accommodation under the sea.

8. Personalised AI travel recommendations

According to the study, 41 per cent of people want travel brands to use AI to make personalised travel suggestions based on past experiences. Digital tour guides are also on the horizon as they will be able to deliver short-form, relevant and individualised content depending on your itinerary.

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