The beginning of the year brings on conversations about brand-new travel trends, trips, and destinations meant to influence our vacation aspirations. This year, Exodus Travels is challenging us all to resist what’s trending for 2020 and to focus instead on adventure for discovery and personal growth. From forging personal connections in unexpected ways and making our childhood dreams come true to unplugging without compromise and mastering the art of mindful exploration, here are 13 non-trends to help adventurers like you get the most out of your travel in 2020.
1. Back-to-Back Getaways
In the fight to preserve our planet, flying less is a great way to help lessen one’s carbon footprint. Booking two trips back-to-back and in the same destination not only allows you to spend less time in the air, but it also lets you see, do, and learn far more about a place than you normally would on a single trip. See Morocco’s Mountains & Imperial Cities from June 7-16, 2020, and, after a quick break in Marrakesh, take a deeper dive into the Summits & Spices of Morocco from June 18-22, 2020 and come away with a true appreciation for this amazing country.
2. Embrace the Layover
Another way to fit two trips into one flight is by building a second stay into your layover. Refuse to waste away for hours at the gate and instead take advantage of a well-timed stopover with a micro-adventure instead. Global hubs like those in Reykjavík and Lisbon offer amazing opportunities to see more of their homelands, and many airlines encourage stopovers from anywhere between six hours to eight days, depending on when and where you fly.
3. Step outside your social comfort zone
We all have a person in our lives who could really use a vacation. This year, whisk a friendly acquaintance off on a whirlwind escape and connect with someone in a whole new way. Exodus’ Refer a Friend program gives past travelers $100 off your next trip when you refer a new Exodus guest – and gives the new guest $100 off their first adventure — so there’s no better time to take a near-friend by the hand for a week of cycling through the lavender fields of Provence.
4. Find Unexpected Fun in Famous Places
To skip the crowds but not the fun, aim for unexpected experiences in well-known regions. Rather than beelining for crowded Barcelona, go further afield and discover the Secrets of Tenerife on a tour of Spain’s Canary Islands. Skip the lines of safari vehicles and instead explore South Africa’s Winelands, or pass over the crowds of Rome to cycle the backroads of Italy’s Prosecco hills.
5. Power Down
In a world filled with digital distractions, being able to truly unplug has become the epitome of self-care and indulgence. In 2020, challenge yourself to leave the tech at home in favor of a tech-free experience—you may be surprised how much more meaningful a getaway can become. Rather than scrolling and sharing, surf and stretch your way through a wellness-focused digital detox in Portugal.
6. Don’t be Scared of Off-Seasons
With so much to see and do in this wide world of ours, there’s really no such thing as a bad time to travel these days. It’s a good thing too because not many appreciate how magical it can be to Safari in Namibia at the tail-end of its rainy season in March when prices—and crowds—are on the low end, or experience Mexico at its best before and after the snowbird season in April and November.
7. Make Your Childhood Dreams Come True
Most of us caught the travel bug before we were even allowed to walk to school by ourselves, thanks to movies, video games and flipping through our grandparents’ National Geographic collections. For those looking for a fresh source of vacation inspiration, recollecting our childhood ambitions can be a great start. Whether your young self’s travel dreams included Jungle Book-driven visions of an India tiger safari, pirate-inspired longing to sail the high seas, or a Galapagos obsession brought about by biology class, honor your inner child in 2020 by fulfilling their quest-related fantasies with the trip of a lifetime.
8. The Heart of Adventure is in Hollywood
While last year saw wildlife-focused films like the Lion King inspiring animal-lovers to seek out their favorite characters in the wild, the big screen of 2020 is shining a spotlight on the thrill of adventuring abroad with premier films such as the Agatha Christie adaptation Death on the Nile starring Gal Gadot, and the star-studded adventure flick, Jungle Cruise. There’s no need for movie magic to live out your own daring hero’s journey, why not take your own cruise down the Nile or tackle the jungle on your very own riverboat on an Amazon River Cruise?
9. Face Your Fears
Travel is an incredibly powerful catalyst for curiosity, compassion and human connection—all of which are so important in our ever-changing world. Make this year about personal reflection and discovery by challenging your perceptions while taking an Egyptian odyssey, cycling through Colombia, or tracking leopards in Sri Lanka. Facing your travel fears in 2020 won’t just open your eyes to something new—it’ll positively impact destinations that rely on tourism as well.
10. Have a Very “Beary” New Year
With globetrotting grizzlies, and panda twins, bears are Exodus’ ‘it’ animal for 2020. Found on every continent except Antarctica, bears are powerful, beautiful, and perhaps most importantly, drivers for conservation. Catch a glimpse of polar bears hunting on the ice floes of Spitsbergenin Norway and see the mythical Ursus arctos fish for salmon along Canada’s Orford River. Follow a wildlife walk into Finland’s Brown bear habitat, or watch bears from a hide deep in the forests of Romania, and learn why these revered creatures are so crucial to their respective ecosystems.
11. Lay Waste to Excess – Buy Experiences Instead
From fast fashion to plastics, it’s well known by now that North America spends too much money on stuff, but a recent analysis found that 74% of Americans are prioritizing experiences over products or things. Choose exploration over excess by choosing to indulge in a Vietnam Food Adventure instead of buying lunch every day, or opt to explore Russia’s Kamchatka instead of buying that new car.
12. Foray into the Final Frontier
No, we’re not talking about space travel. While intergalactic tourism sorts itself out in the years to come, intrepid explorers can seek out a whole new world a little closer to home by taking a deep dive into our oceans. Plunge deep beneath the surface of our planet’s most mysterious destination via small ship cruise to regions beyond the tourist track. Surround yourself with 850 species of fish while snorkeling in the Seychelles, discover the fascinating underwater topography of reefs, atolls, and channels while diving daily in the Maldives, and see the Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for yourself.
13. Get Real About Travel
There’s no better time to practice the art of mindfulness than on a self-guided trip. There’s nothing more rewarding than realizing your own self-reliance, being real, and keeping calm as you lose your way along Spain’s’ Camino de Santiago, or walking the wine villages of Italy. Show yourself what you’re capable of on a bicycling tour from Vienna to Budapest, or reap the tasty rewards of persistence on a foodie-focused tour of Burgundy.