With the holiday season upon us, it’s time to start hammering out travel plans for the upcoming New Year. For the internationally-minded out there, it’s important to always stay ahead of trends and changes in the travel landscape. As we approach the horizon of the new year, let’s highlight some of the more prominent and noteworthy Expat Travel Trends we can expect in 2018.
Cold is Cool
With certain warm-weather destinations being oversaturated with tourists, especially during the holidays, expats will favor cooler climates and adventure trips over beachside lounging.
The Nordic countries and Iceland are seeing great highs in overseas travel. With the northern lights, glacier hikes, volcanic national parks, and geothermal lagoons, today’s tech-savvy travelers will find a peaceful refuge in the awe inspiring nature of the north – not to mention snapping some one-of-a-kind Instagrams.
With many popular tropical locations ravaged by natural disasters, and other high-season hot spots affected by global safety concerns, Nordic countries provide a mind-clearing escape from the chaos of the rest of the world.
The Road Less Traveled
Those who aren’t quite ready to pack their parkas and head to Reykjavik this year are still interested in authenticity over popularity. This adventurous drive to go off the beaten path means big spikes in previously underestimated destinations like the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), Portugal, Croatia, and Budapest. Not only do these countries provide an endless supply of history, culture, and beauty, their under-the-radar status means great savings for your wallet.
We’ll always have Rome, Paris, and London…but 2018 will show that travelers are putting a greater emphasis on safety, price, and unique experiences than on traditional tourism monoliths.
Boomers on the Move!
As the last of the boomers approach retirement age, they will take their nest eggs abroad in record numbers. For many, this will be a full-time move to a country with favorable exchange rates and idyllic climates.
For others, the overseas jaunts will be less permanent, with medical tourism serving as a motivating factor. The boomers are resourceful, economical, and unafraid. They see the big picture when it comes to traveling abroad in order to find the most affordable and effective medical care.
Many countries of the world offer first-rate medical facilities at incredibly affordable prices for Westerners (Panama, Singapore, Costa Rica, Thailand, etc.), allowing for people to both travel the world and receive medical procedures at a fraction of what it would cost at home.
Digital Nomads and Coworking Spaces
This year saw millennials ditching traditional corporate jobs in huge numbers, favoring a life of freedom, mobility, and adventure to the traditional white picket fence aspirations of previous generations. 2018 will only see this trend continue to gain momentum, as digital nomads spread their webs of connectivity across the globe.
Digital nomads are a modern-day mixup of bohemian freedom and spontaneity, mixed with the smarts and resources to turn ambition into reality – all with a wise eye on the future.
With the gaining popularity of international coworking/co-living spaces, expats will be better able to travel the world while joining up with like-minded movers and shakers to share ideas, camaraderie, and tools. Coworking locations are popping up all over the world, providing lodging, workspaces, and resources for those looking to maintain a steady remote career while not giving up on the pursuit of world travel and exploration.
New Boss, Same as the Old Boss
In the past, major booking sites like Airbnb, Expedia, Tripadvisor, etc. were used primarily to find overnight accommodations while traveling. However, these sites are now beginning to offer tours, experiences, and group meetups for those traveling abroad. 2018 will see a boom in these sites being used to curate entire trips (lodging, transportation, food, and recreation).
In addition, these online travel agencies are all beginning to offer bookable Airbnb-type apartments/houses, not just standard hotel rooms. This comes in response to travelers’ priorities shifting away from pampering and assistance, and towards a higher premium on location, affordability, freedom, and independence. In an effort to combat this, hotels are offering greater perks and incentives to bypass booking sites and book directly with them. The market has seen a nearly 30% increase in frequent stay members.
What all of this means is simple, travel has never been easier or more rewarding. As the world becomes smaller and more connected, past barriers are being torn down left and right. Instead of your career getting in the way of your travel aspirations, mobility is now an asset in the global workplace. All corners of the planet are now open and begging to be explored by those with the courage to break from the herd. This year, as the shimmering ball drops into 2018, make a resolution you actually want to keep – get out and see the world.
Tyler Sorce is an American writer and digital nomad currently living in Lisbon, Portugal. In a past life he was a chef in Manhattan and Paris, follow his travels and favorite dishes on Instagram.