In the spirit of setting New Year’s Resolutions, travellers have the opportunity to reinvent themselves a little. Whether that’s to visit more destinations in the UK or make sure you are actually reading your travel insurance policy (!), let 2020 be the year you become a more sensible traveller.
Despite continuing uncertainty surrounding Brexit and global warming concerns that shadow the travel industry, travel is likely to increase in 2020 by an estimated 27%*. According to The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), people are planning to spend more money on their holidays over the next year, which is sure to come as a relief to travel companies and airlines following the fall of Thomas Cook in 2019.
For many, a holiday provides the perfect excuse to enjoy a cocktail by the beach whilst lathering on the Factor 50 but over the years some travel habits have posed a threat to the planet. Climate change activists, Extinction Rebellion sought revenge in 2019 by shutting down London on a number of occasions – whilst Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg drove home some hard-hitting campaigns and speeches.
Increasing sustainable travel is now at the top of many lists, and whilst corporate companies and the government have a huge task on their hands, there are some small changes holidaymakers can make to their holiday plans to help the environment.
So, with this in mind, what’s in store for 2020 – and which travel trends can we expect to see? From vegan hotels to electric planes, the new decade is certainly going to be a year for the books.
People often talk about needing a holiday to recover from the one they just had, but “Slow Travel” has recently resurfaced. The evolving trend that began in the 80s doesn’t refer to delays or slow services, instead it focuses on the art of taking your time and making a connection with the people, place and culture of the country you are travelling to. You could say the travel trend allows you to relax and simply enjoy your time away rather than rushing through it like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Slow Travel also takes on a more ethical approach that is less damaging to the planet. As another form of eco-tourism, it encourages travellers to respect their surroundings and environment by being more conscious of the world around them.
Veganism is on the rise and not only does it have amazing health benefits it is also incredibly sustainable for the planet too. In fact, vegan holidays have become so popular that leading tour operator TUI have a dedicated page to all the best places; Greece, Bali and Majorca are among the most popular places for eco-friendly vegan foods. Gone are the days of the same-old repetitive meals with limited options – many places in Europe now include extensive vegan options with some places dedicated solely to the plant-based diet. Veganism is definitely a travel trend for 2020.
Richard Branson’s newest cruise creation is due to set sail in 2020 and is sure to be a major trend for sustainable tourism. The Scarlet Lady boasts vegan burgers, CBD cocktails, yoga classes and a tattoo parlour – you could say, something for just about everyone! With sustainable technologies and the banning of single-use plastics, the Virgin Voyages have found the perfect balance of getting the most of what the Earth has to offer whilst also caring for it. With an old-school 60s vibe that couldn’t be more futuristic if it tried, millennials are bound to take cruising to the next level.
The Scarlet Lady isn’t the only thing due to set to take off in 2020. With talks about space tourism taking place since the early 2000s, Richard Branson now plans to launch a Galactic spacecraft. However, with the current climate conditions, people are questioning whether this is really a sustainable way to travel. The new travel trend has sparked a heated debate, but is still set to go ahead (Extinction Rebellion might find it slightly more difficult to glue themselves to this one though!). Perhaps, not the most sustainable form of tourism but it definitely seems to be a potential trend for the elite minority.
We have electric cars and busses so it’s only right that electric planes are in the future, and according to the Business Traveller, Rolls-Royce are planning to release one of the first electric planes in 2020 as a “third wave of aviation”. Eco-friendly and with lower flight prices, electric planes appeal to both airlines and holidaymakers. Quieter planes could also open new routes that were previously off-limits due to noise restrictions. Travellers looking to travel by electric plane will of course be happier with the lower cost, but also have peace of mind that they are helping to significantly reduce aviation carbon emissions. A travel trend we are all behind!
Yes, you heard right – flight shaming will be a thing in 2020. If you can get somewhere without causing mass pollution to our delicate planet you might want to take the opportunity or you could be facing the wrath of leading climate change activists. Those electric planes might be a good idea after all…
Train travel/ Travel destinations
It’s in all the political manifestos, and Greta Thunberg is talking about it a lot so it must be a big issue! It’s a known fact that train travel uses far less carbon emissions then planes, and with many holidaymakers looking to reduce their carbon footprint, travel within the UK as well as “staycations” are likely to increase. In turn, this travel trend will boost the economy as people generate money back into UK destinations. Also, tourists are more likely to try to reduce their carbon emissions by travelling to eco-friendly places as opposed to those that have high carbon footprint risks. As the UK has great rail links it could be a potential hotspot for people who are looking for a more sustainable way to travel!
Many millennial’s have a familial-like attachment with their pets so it can be difficult to leave them behind. However, political uncertainty and the fall-out from Brexit means the rules may be changing for pet travel. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, you will need to make sure that your pet fits the new requirements to go on holiday with you outside of the UK. According to the Gov.uk website, the current EU pet passport issued in the UK will not be valid for travel in the EU. So, if the law is subject to change make sure you keep up-to-date on what your pet travel is for 2020.
As travel trends and behaviours begin to evolve, tourists have started to sacrifice clothing in the name of climate change and the trend is likely to be very popular for naturists in 2020. The term ‘nakations’ was coined by those who are taking on a ‘less is more approach’ and the movement became a popular trend on twitter towards the end of 2019. In an attempt, to raise awareness about climate change and encourage travellers to take responsibility for their carbon footprint, naturists are vacationing in the nude, but will you be getting your kit off in 2020 to join this environmentally friendly trend?
Specialist insurance policies
The travel insurance industry is also joining the wave of sustainable tourism. Some travel insurers have removed any activities from their policies that may be deemed harmful to animals i.e. swimming with dolphins and husky sledding. The insurance industry is showing just how invested they are in the welfare of our planet by partnering with leading global charities. As if you needed another reason to make sure you get your travel insurance before going away – specialist travel insurers are definitely racking up the brownie points with their eco-friendly approach!