Photo by Svetlana Gumerova on Unsplash

By Beth Johnston

Is travel a goal for you this year? It definitely is for me. Are you curious about what’s hot in travel this year as we begin a new decade?  

Here are my picks for the top travel trends. The educator in me has chosen to present them using the five W’s and one H (Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How).


The most common groups of travelers are multigenerational immediate family, and skip-gen (grandparents and grandchildren). Families want to disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other. This type of family bonding through travel has become a top priority.

Another hot trend is traveling with pets. Travelers want their pets treated like VIPs, and many hotels are accommodating this by incorporating special pet amenities. Pet-friendly activities and eateries at vacation destinations are becoming more popular. Top-notch pet care on flights is also expected; air-cargo pet disasters are a no-no.

Group getaways are not just limited to families. Many people are traveling to bond with friends and others who share similar interests, or those who are in the same life-stage as they are. Newlywed couples are opting for buddymoons or friendmoons instead of the traditional honeymoon. Destination bachelor and bachelorette parties are very popular. I celebrated my bachelorette party in Chicago, and my son has attended bachelor parties in Nashville and Vegas.


Sustainability remains a top priority in travel. According to an article in Forbes, it will be the cornerstone of high-end luxury. Green travel is becoming increasingly popular and essential. Most hotels and restaurants have eliminated single-use plastic straws, and some are converting to toiletries that are refillable and not small, disposable containers. 

The Greta Thurnberg effect of flight shame is causing travelers to become creative in their means of travel. Electric airplanes, luxury train travel, and boat travel are such alternatives. If you want to visit multiple destinations, pick destinations that are located close together and take one flight to get you to the right region.

Keep in mind that some destinations are suffering from overtourism (too many tourists, which can cause all sorts of economic and environmental problems for locals and their countries), and some undertourism (traveling to less popular vacation destinations) on your part may be much-appreciated by the inhabitants of less-visited places and your future self.

Eco-tourism, climate-neutral travel, voluntourism, and responsible travel are all buzzwords under the sustainability umbrella. With a little research, you may find that one of these takes on sustainable tourism may fit you perfectly!


No time for a week or more trip? Just take a micro-cation. These “tiny trips” are for people who can’t get away for long due to family responsibilities, work, or just a lack of vacation days. You can still unwind and recharge if you get away for a shorter amount of time (2-4 days). Doing this several times a year will help you change your perspective.

Low or shoulder season travel is a way to avoid the crowds in popular destinations. It’s also less expensive to travel during low season. If there are fewer people at your destination, you can have a more immersive experience. I have two different clients who traveled to Italy and Ireland in February. They were able to avoid the crowds and have some wonderful experiences.


Virtuoso released its top travel destinations for 2020 in October 2019. Here is a summary of their destination findings:


Top 5 Overall

  1. Italy, 2. Greece, 3. France, 4. Japan, 5. Croatia

5 Destinations on the Rise

  1. Croatia, 2. Antarctica, 3. Iceland, 4. Japan, 5. Portugal

5 Family Favorites

  1. Hawaii, 2. Italy, 3. Orlando, Florida, 4. Costa Rica, 5. England

Top 5 for Adventure

  1. Antarctica, 2. Alaska, 3. Galapagos Islands, 4. South Africa, 5. Iceland


People are traveling for different reasons. The top motivations for travel are:

  1. To celebrate a milestone
  2. To have active or adventure trips (involving biking, hiking, climbing, etc.)
  3. To discover their roots (ancestry travel)
  4. To have experiences that transform and lead to increased emotional intelligence (by seeing culturally distinct, remote, or unspoiled natural destinations)
  5. To fulfill a Wanderlist (bucket list) 


We have arrived at the ultimate question: how do you make your travel dreams a reality?

As you read through all of the travel trends above, which ones resonate with you? Explore your travel priorities. Who do you want to travel with? Where do you want to travel? What are your interests or passions, and how can you incorporate those into your long-term travel plan? What are travel destinations that hold no appeal for you? Often knowing what you don’t want helps you clarify what you do want. What is most important to you while traveling? Figure out your “why.”

Here are some simple steps to follow for your travel planning.

  1. Make travel a priority
  2. Figure out what’s holding you back. Is it money, time, responsibilities?
  3. Where do you want to go, what do you want to experience, who do you want to go with?
  4. Figure out a realistic budget and start saving
  5. Research everything

If you are someone who has the time, energy, and interest to complete the steps above on their own, hooray! Go for it!

If you lack the time, energy, resources, and know-how to do this type of travel planning on your own, don’t despair. 

Wanderlist® is a unique and innovative online tool developed by Virtuoso, the world’s leading luxury travel network, that marries “Netflix-style” technology with the human touch and deep expertise of a travel advisor. The result is a customized 3-5 year travel portfolio that will help you save time and money, but most of all help you prioritize what matters most — a clear path to fulfilling all your travel dreams. I believe Wanderlist will change the future of travel planning, and I’m thrilled to be among the first travel advisors to be able to offer it.

If travel is a priority in your life, you need to decide how you are going to accomplish your travel goals, whether that’s with the help of a travel professional or on your own. Either way, set your intention for traveling more. Maybe you will be the next travel trend-setter!

Beth Johnston


Orenda Travel was founded by Beth Johnston, a luxury travel specialist who believes travel holds the unique ability to change lives. Our custom-crafted itineraries speak exclusively to families’ unique needs, passions and sense of adventure. 

Beth was born and raised in Ann Arbor, MI and currently resides in Pinckney, MI. She is a retired elementary educator from Ann Arbor Public School (13 years) and Pinckney Community Schools 17 years). She is married to her husband, Dan and has three sons from her first marriage (ages 30, 28 & 25), a daughter-in-law, with a grandbaby on the way, and 3 step-children.

Beth Johnston | Luxury Transformational Travel Concierge


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