The start of a new year is the perfect time to look at travel trends for 2020. From ethical safaris to minimalist holidays, we reveal some of the trends set to revolutionise travel.

Eco-conscious travel

As the climate crisis gains momentum, it should come as no surprise that one of the top travel trends for 2020 is eco-conscious travel. Choosing our ‘Greener Choice‘ flights helps ensure you’re travelling on a flight that produces less CO2 than the average for that route. Our Global Travel Trends 2020 report revealed that in the EMEA, our ‘Greener choice’ flights helped 19% of travellers – almost one in five people – to find more efficient flights.

Undertourism – avoiding the more popular tourist destinations and visiting somewhere a little more unusual – is a great place to start when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint. Choose Hamburg over Berlin, Malmö over Stockholm, and Naples over Rome. You can pick up return flights to Hamburg from £26 if you travel in February. Or head to Malmö from £57 in the same month, perfect for a Valentine’s escape that won’t break the budget.

You could also consider using a site like co2nsensus.com to offset your flights or donating money to renewable energy projects.

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Solo female travel

Between 2015 and 2017, Hostelworld saw a growth in female solo bookings of 45%. Travelling alone may not sound like much fun, but everybody should give it a go at least once. Stepping out of your comfort zone this year is not only an opportunity to explore a new destination and soak up local culture, it’s a massive confidence boost too.

Try getting off the tourist trail and visiting destinations where you can really experience life as a local. It may be a little scary packing your bag and setting off for climes unknown, but preparation is key. Make sure you have travel and medical insurance, learn at least the basics of the local language, and keep friends and family back home posted when you arrive in a new place.

Japan is a popular destination for women going it alone for the first time. So why not book a trip to Osaka, Kyoto, or Tokyo? Japanese cities are safe for solo female travellers and have a respectful culture. Plus, travelling solo means you can slurp up that second bowl of ramen without worrying what anyone else is thinking. Yum.

Vegan hotels

A survey carried out by Sainsbury’s in summer 2019 predicted 25% of Brits would be vegan or vegetarian by 2025 – great news for our planet. Statistics from the Vegan Society show that if the whole world turned vegan by 2050, eight million human lives would be saved, and greenhouse gases would be reduced by 75%. So it’s only natural that vegan hotels are one of the top travel trends for 2020, catering to the increasing number of us opting for a plant-based diet.

The first fully vegan hotel in the UK, Saorsa, opened in June 2018, with a purely plant-based menu in its restaurant and no wool, feather or silk duvets or pillows in its rooms.

Further afield, La Vimea in Naturno is a 100% vegan hotel – the first of its kind in Italy. Book your plant-based stay here and you’ll enjoy a wide range of delicious vegan dishes prepared with locally sourced produce – with daily yoga sessions to help you unwind, too. Return flights to Innsbruck – the nearest airport – start from £43 return in February.

Ethical animal tourism

Swimming with dolphins, spotting humpback whales on a boat tour, or riding an elephant – all these animal encounters have the potential to negatively impact animals in the wild. While there’s no denying getting close enough to see a lion yawn or spot elephants bathing on safari is a once in a lifetime experience, there are ways to minimise your impact on the environment and wildlife by choosing ethical animal tourism.

Here are a few things to bear in mind:

  • Opt for ethical safaris with tour operators who support local conservation efforts, like Expert Africa, who were awarded a 5-star award for responsible travel practices in 2010 by the Assocation of Independent Tour Operators (AITO).
  • Visit sanctuaries which care for animals that can’t be released into the wild. Elephant Jungle Paradise Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is one of the best ethical sanctuaries around – you won’t find any elephant rides or animals in captivity here.
  • Don’t visit centres where dolphins, whales and seals are kept in cramped conditions in captivity. Instead, book a boat tour and see these magnificent creatures in the wild. Opt for smaller boat tours run by independent, ethical operators like A Bay to Remember in Cardigan Bay, Wales.

Minimalist holidays

After the food, booze, and gift extravaganza of the Christmas holidays, we’re all ready for a minimalist holiday, one of the top travel trends for 2020. Spartan holidays are all about keeping it simple – travelling with as little as possible while undergoing a digital detox at the same time. It’s the perfect excuse to leave your smartphone at home and free yourself both physically and mentally from your daily routine.

Spartan holidays often involve staying off-grid or in more remote locations, like the Fireside Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming or Emerald Lake Lodge in Yoho National Park, Canada. Take off on a hike without your tech, spend time connecting with your surroundings by getting creative with a pen and paper, or enjoy meditation and yoga. You’ll even find minimalist holidays where you can learn a new skill, like cookery or painting. It’s all about experiencing a destination fully without the everyday distractions of the modern world.

Which of these exciting travel trends for 2020 will inspire your next trip?