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Trends: Seeing Travel in 2020 with 2020 Vision

As you know, 2020 is the last year of a challenging and transformative decade. There is an uncertainly in the air, and opportunities for those who look hard, Here are our Louis Karno 2020 Travel Predictions for 2020:

In the wake of the awareness to over-tourism, more travelers want to experience and support local cultures. So less Epcot and more taking a cookie lesson in Paris, less Olive Green and more are making cheese in Parma. So, forget international cuisine, world decor and traveling in a bubble. Tourists are looking for authentic and memorable experiences – including interacting with locals and learning a skill. The end of the road for the big hotel? When Hilton and Marriott launch new local boutique hotel chains, you know they know something. The lesson here is simple, be true to who you are.

Traveling by train, again. Maybe it is the TSA and the long lines, maybe getting to the air port 2 hours before your flight — but rail-based travel is back because you can show up 15 minutes before boarding and lower your carbon footprint. With so many delays at airport, slow travel is looking pretty fast… Just ask Greta Thunberg. Night trains are on the rebound in Europe. And Amtrak just broke a passenger record. Plus, more Europeans are exploring Canada and America by rail. Many now prefer to take the longer route to experience the journey.

Meet Under-tourism.Sick of lines, high prices and selfies? This is the reaction to over-tourism — take a trip to a not-yet-popular destination. So, skip New York and explore Wilmington, skip San Francisco and check out Portland, ME. Look at US cities that are being reborn from Troy, NY, to Memphis - folks want a smaller, 2nd city to explore and enjoy. The small goes for rural areas - as travelers may look for lesser know national parks, and smaller locations that are not overflowing with cars and leaf peepers. They want open trails, God’s blue sky and clean air. Visiting lesser known helps counteract over-tourism and help the environment.

Nostalgia travel- in times like these, we tend to look back with rose-colored glasses. Back to a simpler time. This is nothing new – think field of dreams – but the twist is to reach the small town, the small city where life seems more honest and less political. And, hate to say it, safer – with the rise of attacks on tourists. And back to rail, a historic train journey counts towards slow and special trips.

Off peak travel.The thought of Paris in August or Vermont in October might be too much for many. So, look for the smart traveler to seek out the shoulder season, aided by low-cost air and new lodging options such as VRBO and AirB+B. You save money, hassle, crowds, and get a real feel for a place.

Dark screens. Families are seeing ways to escape screen separation. Meaning ways to get kids and parents out of their screens and talking to each out. Resorts with acuities had a line on this, but the need to disconnect is evolving. Once families wanted destinations where there was something for everyone – but now it is the safari, hiking, a cooking school, or a palce where you put the phone down and interact. And where that fails, grandparents take the grandkids. With parents working harder and longer, look for the grandparents to take the kids on a grand trip. So, no long weekends but a 10-14 day sojourn.

Food is always a factor, but there is a new trend here — forget Michelin stars and fancy cuisine, why travel 2,000 miles to get what you could up the street — look for Uber –local foods, arm to table and not too fancy. Travelers will seek out local gems — those eateries that feed-locals are off the beaten track — and source local food and recipes.

Forget Florida or Arizona, think Portugal and Panama, older Americans are thinking of relocating, and traveling to find better medical care and a healthy environment — and there’s a rising trend as 23% of twenty-somethings say they want to retire before 55. The high cost of healthcare, political headwinds, gun violence, and rising cost of living are helping travelers to look abroad and see this trend to heat up in 2020!

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