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How technology, trends and tastes will shape travel in 2019

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The travel landscape of 2019 will be shaped by a desire to acquire new skills and knowledge while on holiday. To travel more sustainably. And to go where few travelers have gone before.

That’s according to online hotel reservation site Booking.com, which released its travel predictions for 2019.

For the report, analysts gleaned insight from the 163 million guest reviews left by 21,500 travelers across 29 countries on their site, and came up with eight trends they predict will dominate 2019.

Here’s a look:

The Appren-trip
Be it learning a new language or taking a cooking class while abroad, travelers are seeking out experiences that will give them not only lifelong memories but new skill sets. The report found that the most popular kinds of “appren-trips” among travelers are cultural exchanges (68%), volunteering trips (54%) and international work placement (52%).

Technology and travel
While travel companies – be it airlines, hotels and cruise ships – are tripping over themselves to come up with services powered by virtual or augmented reality and artificial intelligence, consumers are interested in more practical tech applications like luggage tracking apps and self-driving transportation. Look out for voice-activated devices to help consumers with their travel plans, and augmented reality to serve as virtual guidebooks.

Uncharted territories
Next year is poised to chart a new era for space travel. Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic has proclaimed that he expects to be able to send people into space as early as next year, while NASA is set to start construction of its Lunar Space Station in 2019 as well. For those travelers who can’t afford the astronomical price of a ticket, the next best uncharted adventure on terra firma for 2019 is underwater accommodations.

Personalised itineraries
This trend predicts the demise of the generic travel guide and the rise of customised travel content via social media feeds. Around two-fifths (41%) of travelers said they want brands to use AI to offer personalised travel recommendations.

Conscious travel
The year 2019 will see consumers travel with a conscience, says Booking.com. More than half (58%) of respondents, for instance, said they will bypass a destination if they feel it negatively impacts the people who live there, the environment or culture, or supports an authoritarian regime that violates human rights.

Plastic pollution
The widespread crusade adopted by the travel industry – hotels, airlines, cruise ships – to ban single-use straws and curb the consumption of plastic waste will continue in 2019. A majority of respondents (86%) said they would be willing to offset their environmental impact by cleaning up local beaches, for instance, or crowded tourist attractions. This momentum will inspire new startups to emerge in 2019, proposing innovative solutions on how to green the industry.

Experiential travel
With more and more consumers realising that experience – not material possessions – create long-lasting satisfaction, travelers will spend more time and money on outings like sporting events, shows and gastronomic experiences over shopping in 2019, says Booking.com.

Micro trips
The proliferation of bargain basement airfares, the expansion of flight routes and increased mobility will spur more travelers to take more weekend “bite-sized” trips in 2019, says Booking.com. – AFP Relaxnews

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