12 New Travel Trends: US, Italy, Tokyo and Outer Space

Here, with data put together by, are 12 trends to look out for in travel this year.

By Eric Reed, The Street

Every generation puts its own stamp on travel. From the beatnik wanderers of the '50s and '60s to the invention of the American family road trip, how we see the world depends a lot on who is taking the trip and where they're coming from. Take, for example, millennials. Interconnected, getting older but often low on cash and, it is famously said, far more interested in collecting experiences than things, members of this generation are less likely to travel like their parents do. They invented the sharing economy and caused a new hostel boom around the world. They really like food and, to the consternation of travel agents, they really like to plan things on their own. Here, with data put together by, are 12 trends to look out for in travel this year.

12. Most Americans will stay domestic

[post_ads]Americans are famous homebodies on the world stage. About 40% of the population holds a valid passport, and in a given year far less than that will actually travel abroad. The catch is, going from there to saying that Americans never travel is an enormous leap. Yes it's true that in Europe and many other parts of the world far more people hold passports than they do in the U.S., but it's also important to remember just how big the U.S. really is. In their own country Americans can experience a broad sweep of diversity, culture, and landscape unavailable to most domestic travelers around the world. So yes, many Americans will stay domestic in 2017, but don't think that means they're missing out.

11. Everyone will spend about the same amount of time abroad

For travelers who do go overseas, there's an interesting factor most have in common: They'll spend about two weeks abroad. Why is that strange? Because it sweeps across generations. Boomers, millennials and gen-xers will all likely travel for about two weeks, and are equally likely to stretch or shorten those vacations. When you think about it, these are people at very different stages in life. Many boomers are near or in retirement, years during which they have plenty of time (and for some, even the money) to see the world. Ditto younger millennials, those in or just out of college with the opportunity to see the world on a shoestring. Meanwhile generation X has careers and families well under way. If anything, they should have fallen off a demographic cliff when it comes to time spent abroad, but no. It doesn't seem to matter how old you are, two weeks is the magic number.

10. Millennials travel alone.

Here is one trend that millennials seem to have pioneered: about 19% say they prefer to travel alone. This is relatively new on the travel scene. Over the past few decades guide books and culture have started to catch up with the idea of traveling by one's self, but as anyone who's done it can attest this is still seen as something unusual. "Won't you be lonely?" is one typical response. "Is it safe?" is another. Yes, the kids are all right, and to an increasing degree they've decided they'd like their pisco sours solo.

9. People wish for long-term travel

In the annals of the obvious, let's add a new chapter: People wish they could travel for a long time. If time and money were no object, two-thirds of travelers say they would happily see the world for a month or more. A full 26% said they would travel for more than half a year if given the opportunity. The unexpected part is the 32% of vacationers who'd come home early if they didn't really have to.

8. Home is where the dog is

So why do most people come home? Money and work are the top two reasons. Nearly 70% of all travelers say they travel for two weeks or less because they either can't afford a longer trip or they don't have the vacation days. International travel is an expensive luxury no matter how many Instagram memes get thrown at you. There's definitely a point at which the budget runs out. But here's the catch… For a full fifth of travelers, it's not money or jobs that brings them back on the 14th day. It's taking care of pets.

7. Tokyo is the No. 1 bucket-list city

OK, you can go anywhere in the world. Money is no option, time is no option. So, where do you go? It turns out Tokyo is the number one bucket list city for travelers in 2017, followed by Paris and Sydney.

6. Western Europe is the No. 1 region

[post_ads]Interestingly enough, while Tokyo is the most desired city in the world, as a region in general most travelers want to see Western Europe. While the rest of the world has steadily been catching up, Western Europe remains the standard when people think of an international vacation. Going to Paris or Berlin is seen as somehow "normal," while many travelers still consider a trip to China or Argentina as adventurous and off the beaten path. Rest assured, there are many paths outside the capitals of Europe and they are all quite well trod. Nevertheless, this is still a good choice. From Oxford University to Venice's canals to the Cyclades Islands (because Greece is, due to Cold War politics, considered western), you really can't go wrong there.

5. People want to see the sights and take pictures

What's the No. 1 activity people want to do? Sightseeing and photography. What's interesting about this trend is that it persists regardless of income. Although wandering about town with an iPhone might be a budget way to take a vacation, even travelers who make six figures would rather do this than indulge in high-end shopping or eating out. Of course, respondents might simply have meant that this is what they'd do first.

4. They'd also like to go to outer space
So let's go way, way off the beaten track. Where would travelers go if they could invent a hypothetical, magical wish list? Throw off the bonds of reality (already weakened, for those who recall No. 7) and it turns out that people have quite a few ideas. First, millennials ranked a school for magic and wizardry second place, and not by a little bit. Given the chance to take a vacation at Hogwarts, only about a quarter of the Harry Potter generation would put it front and center. So perhaps let's give travelers some credit. The No. 1 magical destination for travelers of every generation is outer space, the one place on the whole survey you actually can get to. And someday it very well might be a practical option.

3. Every generation disagrees on the ideal companion

So, let's say you're a millennial who decided not to travel alone. Who would you bring on your next big adventure? You'd best take that vacation apart from the extended family, because odds are good you've got a different pick than your parents or older cousin. Yes, every generation has a different view of the perfect travel companion. Millennials, perhaps burnt out from their practicality on outer space, would bring a fictional character on their next vacation. If they can't visit Hogwarts at least they can hear about it from the school's graduates (survivors). Boomers would like to have a daiquiri with world leaders. But we think it's the Gen-Xers that answered this question right. They would travel with a writer.

2. Men want a long vacation, women want lots of short ones

Although LuxuryTraveling's data focused on generational travel, they did also take a look at how men want to see the world vs. women. The two generally share most of their priorities. One of the biggest differences, though, is on how they'd break up their travel days. When given the choice between one, month-long trip vs. a bunch of two- or three-day trips per year, men chose to take all their vacation at once. Women, meanwhile, would prefer to spread out their time off, taking it in small doses. I suspect, however, that men and women alike would agree on a far more pressing issue: how do I get that many vacation days in the first place?

1. People save for travel by cutting small expenses
International travel can be expensive and it's not always easy for people to find the money to get out and see the world when there are bills and student loans to pay, retirement to save for and just the demands of everyday life. So, how do most people start planning for their trip? By cutting the little stuff. No matter how much money they make, "minimizing additional expenses" was the most popular way, respondents said, to save up for travel.


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Travel Magazine: 12 New Travel Trends: US, Italy, Tokyo and Outer Space
12 New Travel Trends: US, Italy, Tokyo and Outer Space
Here, with data put together by, are 12 trends to look out for in travel this year.
Travel Magazine
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