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The hottest travel trends to watch in 2019

written by Intrepid Travel September 28, 2018
Turkmenistan's Darvaza Crater

After 30 years in the travel game we’ve learnt (unsurprisingly) that the world’s a pretty big place – and the rapid pace of change means there’s always something new to be discovered.

That’s why, once a year we stand in front of a map, cross our arms, furrow our collective brows and ask the big question: ‘what will be the biggest and hottest travel trends of 2019?’ Here’s what we found.

Cycling in Iceland.

Getting active while travelling is on the rise. Photo by Damien Raggatt.

Being active and finding calm

Ever since sitting was declared the new smoking people have been looking to shake up their routines to include more active movements, and that attitude now extends to how we like to travel. But rather than disappearing into the depth of Patagonia for a week-long hike in the bush, we’re finding better ways to mingle being active with sightseeing. It might be mushing your own husky sled through the Canadian Rockies, lacing up for a hike along the Great Wall of China or cycling around the moonscapes of Iceland.

If all that sounds like too much, there’ll be just as much emphasis on slowing down and enjoying stillness too. Yoga retreats are booming across Asia, especially in places like India where you could wake up with an Ayurvedic yoga session, cook your own vegetarian lunch by midday and in the evening spot stars from your jungle lodge in Wayanad.

Ortakoy Mosque in winter.

Istanbul’s Ortakoy Mosque is dusted with white powder snow.

The joy of off-peak travel

There are so many benefits when it comes to travelling in the cooler months. Not only is it cheaper and easier to book hotels and restaurants (and let’s face it, tour companies 😉 ), there’s also less tourists. More and more travellers are taking advantage of the off-season and getting a different experience in destinations that usually only get a look during the summer months. While Turkey is generally a summer destination, travelling in winter means you’ll also witness unique spectacles like the Blue Mosque topped with white powder snow, or the lunar landscapes of Cappadocia turned into a winter wonderland. The same can be said for Canada, where frozen lakes and waterfalls create an enchanting experience straight out of a fairy-tale.

Russian banquet.

Russia and its food scene are hot property after the 2018 World Cup.

Adventures for your taste buds

With the rise of celebrity chefs and quality cooking shows (ones that don’t involve a swearing Gordon Ramsay), many travellers are now going the distance to find authentic food experiences. While Southeast Asia and Western Europe have always been popular foodie destinations, travellers are looking further afield to find something unique. Russia is enjoying extended time in the sun following the World Cup in 2018, which is probably when travellers first realised the country has a lot to offer in terms of flavours (as well as the diversity of vodka on offer). The booming craft bar scene on America’s West Coast is also a new pilgrimage for beer aficionados looking for the perfect burger to accompany their IPA, saison or stout.

Mosque in Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan is hot property in 2019.

Central Asia is on the rise

Uzbekistan’s decision to simplify their visa process has created a boom in travellers keen to discover the country’s turquoise architecture, Silk Road history and futuristic cities. But the tourism surge isn’t just confined to Uzbeki borders. Neighbouring Turkmenistan is also hot property thanks to the region’s rich history, historical ruins and unique cultural experiences. Earn some serious bragging rights with a visit to Darvaza Crater, a 70-metre wide flaming hole in the middle of the Karakum Desert that’s also called the Door to Hell, and camp out under the stars while eating a Turkmenistan-style barbecue.

Ready for a new adventure? Check out our full range of new trips for 2019.

Feeling inspired?

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travel zoom education March 22, 2019 - 4:00 am

Great article written!!

Aaron October 4, 2018 - 2:24 am

Biking through Iceland, right there on my bucket list. I’ve noticed how travel vloggers seem to be very active more often than not. Guess it’s the way to be nowadays.

Megan September 29, 2018 - 5:01 am

One of my goals for next summer is to visit central Asia for at least a week.


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