These are the leading travel trends for 2020, according to Airbnb

Feb 13 2020, 7:33 pm

As we continue forward into the new year, travel trends have already begun to make themselves apparent on popular rental site Airbnb.

More often than not, travellers are actively seeking methods to participate in more unique and immersive experiences that are memorable, and are prepared to pay top dollar to do so.


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According to a recent survey conducted by Airbnb, “57% of Americans prefer to spend their money on experiences over things, and 37% plan to increase their spending in 2020, particularly women (39%) and young adults (Gen Z (46%), Millennials (48%)).”

Younger demographics are already pivoting towards experience-driven activities, with many Gen Z travellers being more inclined to spend their funds on holiday activities as opposed to older generations that are more conservative with their spending.

However, regardless of age and financial standing, Airbnb explains that five specific travel trends have risen above the rest for this year.

Nature calls


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Many nature-loving travellers are answering the call to the wild this year with a quarter of Americans (as well as 32% of millennials) planning on embarking on adventurous trips in the outdoors with adventure travel piquing the most interest amongst American travellers, Airbnb explains.

Additionally, immersive encounters in the great outdoors, such as nature experiences, are also seeing significant increases in popularity on Airbnb, particularly with Gen Z (190% year-over-year (YoY)) and millennials (102% YoY).

Most notably, hiking and trekking experiences are undergoing significant increases in bookings over last year.

As well, in 2020, guests are seeking to get more in touch with nature by choosing to stay in more naturally-themed accommodation such as igloos (up 83%).

Baby boomers, in particular, are “especially keen on campsites,” Airbnb notes, with an increase of 171%.

Travelling back in time


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According to Airbnb, “as travellers explore new places in 2020, stepping into the shoes of locals from long ago is a favourite way to get to know a destination.”

In fact, 32% of Americans are most interested in learning about historical backgrounds and culture this year.

History Experiences have seen an increase of 271% since last year, and in 2020, they are up 116% in bookings by international travellers, with the most active engagement among Gen Z (up 176%) and millennials (up 188%) compared to last year.

The interest doesn’t just surround delving into the past, however. Guests want to live in it as well.

“Homes on Airbnb featuring historic keywords in their titles (i.e., historic, era, WWI, etc.) have already been booked 50K+ times for stays in 2020,” Airbnb explains.

Unplugging and reconnecting


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Getting back in touch with the self is a huge trend for 2020, according to Airbnb, with many travellers seeking opportunities to slow down and center “their minds and spirits” when travelling.

Airbnb found that 40% of Americans said they would like to dedicate time to unwinding and relaxing on their vacations, with a quarter of them wishing to take part in activities that increase personal wellness while also disconnecting from technology.

According to Airbnb’s data, 12% of Gen Z intends to embark on a religious or spiritual trip, which is higher than any other age demographic.

Interestingly, many are choosing to embark on these journeys solo with 16% of Americans reporting that they most enjoy exploring a location by themselves while on holiday, which is reflected with Airbnb bookings for one guest increasing by 79% in 2020.

Short-term trips, long-lasting rewards


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Sustainability is a driving force for travel in 2020, and many people are willing to embark on shorter-term journeys with slower forms of transport if it means reducing their emissions and carbon footprint in the process.

According to Airbnb, over half of Americans want to spend money embarking on a long weekend trip, and an increasing amount of guests are also venturing to their destinations via car, with searches for listings that possess free parking increasing by 46%.

Many travellers are also embracing the “downsized lifestyle” with smaller, more simplistic accommodation options such as tiny homes increasing by 85% from 2019 to 2020.

Clean and conscious eating


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With plant-based food alternatives increasingly on the rise, mindful dietary habits are at the forefront of many travellers’ minds.

Experiences providing vegan options are up 579%, Airbnb states, and those that offer vegetarian options increased by 570% in supply in 2019 compared to 2018.

Hosts have heard the message loud and clear, and many are providing more variety with sustainable food options.

However, according to Airbnb, guests are also favouring “local carb comforts,” with Experiences such as baking (up 155%) and pasta (up 88%) seeing skyrocketing booking numbers for 2020.

“Overall, it’s clear food remains one of the biggest motivations in travel and connecting people to new places,” Airbnb explains.

“Food and drink Experiences are the most booked by foreign travellers to a new country, 13 and 35% of Americans say they most want to spend their time enjoying food experiences on vacation, with Gen Z and Millennials the most favourable groups.”

Emily RumballEmily Rumball

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