American Express Travel specialists revealed their top travel trends for 2009, including the continued growth of trends that have been building steadily over the past year. Though some emerge out of this year’s economic downturn, others show travelers determined to create new and fulfilling travel experiences despite the economy.
Second City Travel— Visiting smaller, lesser-known cities within a destination can yield a more affordable, though equally enriching, vacation experience. For example, visiting Birmingham, England instead of London; or vacationing in Calgary, Canada instead of Toronto.
Tried and True Travel— Travelers are expected to return to destinations that they know and love in greater numbers. Not only is it a safe way to ensure an enjoyable vacation, it allows travelers to explore destinations more thoughtfully, while giving them a true sense of costs.
Closer to Home Travel— Expanding beyond this year’s “staycation” trend, travelers are expected to seek “closer to home”, affordable alternatives to overseas destinations. For example, visiting Montreal instead of Paris.
Vacation Home Rentals Support Multi-Generational Travel— Vacation home rentals and villas that offer multi-generational families a “home away from home” experience while on vacation, will continue to gain popularity.
Value Vacations Expected to Grow— Value oriented vacations, such as all-inclusive resorts and cruise lines that continue to expand their offerings will become more appealing to travelers that had not considered them in the past.
Other trends indicating that some consumers are moving forward with their travel plans regardless of the economy are:
Climate Sightseeing— A growing number of travelers are moved to visit destinations threatened by climate change such as the Galapagos, Machu Picchu, Alaska and Canada’s Churchill, an area whose polar bears are threatened by extinction.
Authentic Travel and Niche Tours— According to American Express travel agents, demand for vacations driven by special interests will continue to rise in 2009. Among these, agents named both “authentic travel”— experiencing a destination more intensely through longer stays and deep cultural immersion— and niche tours, where groups of people with like-minded interests travel together.
Solo Travel— Travel agents expect to see a rise in solo travel due to lifestyle factors, and the rising age of couples getting married.