Travel Trends 2018

5 travel trends for 2018 we see in our crystal ball

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Winter is the new summer! Also, we want to travel slow, short distances and off the beaten track. Forget Paris and New York – we want to explore the smaller cities where no tourists go, in search of those genuine, down-to-earth experiences. Here are the top 5 travel trends we see for 2018.

Without further ado, here are this year’s travel trends:
– Winter as a peak season
– Close-cation
– Active vacation
– Cities less traveled
– Wellness slow-cation

Winter as peak season

1. Winter as a peak season

People have discovered travelling during the winter season, as vacations to see the Northern Lights, ice sculpture competitions and winter festivals become more popular. And of course, it’s long been a classic to seek out snow-covered mountain towns for a skiing/snowboarding adventure. With the exception of the ski resorts, travelling in winter comes with the benefits of good deals on accommodations and far less tourists to contend with.

It’s also worth mentioning that a wintertime vacation in northern Europe doesn’t have to mean snow. A lot of clever families are zipping off to tropical bubbles where you can strip down to your swimming costume. Fun indoor parks like The Reef, a pirate-themed waterpark in Denmark, and Tropical Islands, a beach resort in a truly gigantic zeppelin hangar in Germany, offer equatorial warmth where it’s least expected.


2. Close-cation

The staycation has entered public consciousness, but we see its cousin, the close-cation, rising in popularity. There’s nothing like the invigoration and memory-making that comes with getting to know a new place and staying overnight. And there’s something particularly adventurous about it being close-by, like you’re cheekily running away from home. Crossing a narrow sea to the other side, taking a local bus to the next town… It’s a great way to scratch the itch of wanderlust, and a more sustainable option to boot.

3. Active vacation

In an age when a whole lot of people work at a desk, the excitement and refreshment of travel is now being fulfilled by active vacations. Going on a multi-day mountain biking tour, taking a walking holiday across the beautiful hills of a foreign country, going “glamping” and foraging for mushrooms… these are the types of vacations being sought by people of all ages.

It’s becoming more and more popular for hotels to offer fitness packages so you can go for a week of sweating, toning and trimming and come back home feeling brand new. And speaking of rejuvenation, going for ice baths is becoming quite the craze, especially in Poland.

We’re also noticing a trend of fitness enthusiasts travelling to a neighbouring country to participate in their events and competitions. And for them, the preparation phase plays a big part of the whole experience. For example, we see a whole lot of Danes come to Sweden to participate in Gothenburg’s half marathon. Surely, travelling by sea helps these athletes keep their head in the right place as they make their journey 😉

Cities less traveled

4. Cities less travelled

We are seeing a trend where more people are getting curious about the smaller, subtler towns. The big bustling hubs, like London, Paris, and Amsterdam, will certainly continue to see a whole lot of tourists. But for a discerning crowd of travellers, they realise that the big cities can be overcrowded and expensive, with tourist traps lying in wait. Whereas the smaller cities, say Cork in Ireland, or Varberg in Sweden, or Gdynia in Poland, more freely offer up their local charms. It takes far less digging to have an authentic experience and find where the locals eat their meals, drink their drinks and enjoy their music. Accelerating this trend are services like Airbnb, which are opening up even the smallest of towns to travellers from afar.

Wellness slow-cation

5. The wellness slow-cation

As the hyper-connectivity of our modern world only escalates, travel opportunities involving the chance to unplug and truly get away are becoming more popular.

Travellers seeking inspiration are venturing into nature to participate in writing retreats, painting classes and meditation courses. Others looking to soothe body and mind are visiting natural hot springs and spas, with more and more travelling to the Baltic states and Eastern Europe in search of inspiring, less crowded locales and affordable massages.

With truly unwinding as the goal, “slow travel” is proving especially useful. Many have rediscovered the peace that comes with the classic forms of travel: taking a long, beautiful train ride through the countryside or sailing across a small ocean. There’s nothing like watching your worries slowly disappear over the horizon.

One of our customers travelling to Hamburg summarised this perfectly: “On a boat, as opposed to a plane for example, you get to enjoy the trip, rather than just bear it. You arrive rested, rather than stressed. To sit outside on the deck with a beer and enjoy a sunset, followed by seeing the sunrise as you pull into the harbour… it’s something everyone should experience at least once.”


The unexpected beauty of these trends is they all go together! It’s easier to unwind in a smaller town, where the pace of life is slower and the people more relaxed. If you’re travelling in winter and you don’t have long stretches of vacation to work with, going someplace close by will maximise your time. If your plan is to be active, smaller cities tend to have nature right on their doorstep. And so on and so forth.

How will you travel in 2018? /ylva.