by Isabel Conway and Ed Finn
As we settle into a new year, and a new decade, Travel Times looks at some of the big travel trends for 2020.Travellers now and in the years to come will prioritize sustainability and the likely impact of their journeys on the planet, travel industry experts agree. ‘Slow travel’ by train or boat will continue to make inroads as a result of more carbon footprint diligence.
Ed says: train travel can be an exciting adventure in itself and once you’re on mainland Europe taking to the rails is often cheaper than flying between countries and cities. Contrary to popular belief journey times are often quicker because travellers arrive at stations in the heart of town rather than having to make a long commute from a faraway airport.
Isabel tips emerging destinations for 2020 that were once off limits – for instance Uzbekistan Tajikistan and Georgia (see www.traveltheunknown.com) part of the ancient and historic Silk Road, West Africa’s Unknown gem of Senegal (www.kamageo.com) and Northern Peru and Kuelap, older than Machu Picchu (see www.gadventures.com who offer a nine-day tour of this magnificent virtually unknown region.
Ed forecasts that Montenegro will be one of the hottest new discoveries, emerging from under the shadow of her neighbour Croatia whose stunning coastline is a magnet for millions of tourists annually. Montenegro’s profile is rising of late with mountains and beaches well worth discovering. The small country expects a big increase in tourists from Ireland flying the new Ryan Air route from Dublin to its capital Podgorica, only an hour distant from the beautiful towns of Kotor and Budva.
Isabel believes that soft adventure tourism will grow steadily becoming the new norm in this new decade. From expert led wild photography tours, kayaking and sailing in exotic warms seas to local hosted painting and cooking breaks in France and Italy, to hiking with the likes of Camino Ways (www.caminoways.com) Camino Portuguese which takes walkers from Porto to Santiago is tipped as a good alternative to over-subscribed existing routes as well as new Canary Islands (www.canariaways.com)routes.
France’s newest national park which borders Burgundy and Champagne took over a decade to create offering 2,000 km of hiking paths and 700 km of rivers for water sports. Easily accessed from Paris by a good rail network or by car you can get back to nature, try fabulous wines of the regions and also visit the iconic capital. See www.atoutfrance.com. Flights with Aer Lingus and Ryanair from Dublin, Cork and Shannon to Paris from €40 or take the ferry and car and reduce your carbon footprint with Irish Ferries (see www.irishferries.com )
Cycling holidays in Europe and Asia continue to grow steadily and as the world’s second most popular cycling destination France is a favourite but Holland and Belgium , famed for their extensive networks of cycle paths are also great options The Slow cyclists (see www.theslowcyclist.com)
We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to active travel. Global tour operators like G Adventures, Intrepid Travel, Exodus and Trail Finders are among the ‘soft’ adventure experts whose itineraries provide endless scope for memorable holidays away from fly and flop package choices.
A bus tour through Ireland may be just the thing also for a short break without the car taking you to Games of Thrones and other locations see www.wildrovertours.com Visitors from the Republic who discover Northern Ireland’s fabulous scenery and burgeoning foodie trails and Belfast’s great city appeal, museums, new hotels and shopping are in for treat.
Ed is a city lover and he will return to some of his favourite capitals like Berlin and Vienna, Budapest and Paris in 2020. Helsinki is on his radar too, having topped the 2019 World Happiness Report for the second consecutive year. The Helsinki Biennial is a big draw between June 12 and September 27.. FinnAir flies direct from Dublin to Helsinki from €198.
In 2019 Isabel also travelled extensively, notching up 14 countries which included Canada, Croatia, Uzbekistan, Lebanon and South Africa. She’s tipping Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and Nicaragua as long haul hotlist destinations for 2020. The Greta Thunberg effect and flight shame is her guilt trip too. But she argues that tourist revenue is vital for many far flung communities to support local economies.
The world is increasingly our oyster compared with even a decade ago. There’s a raft of new flights to destinations previously only accessed via the UK – Shanghai and Tel Aviv to name some of the newest. Also greater competition by carriers crossing the Atlantic to Canada and the US are benefitting consumers .United Airlines will begin direct daily direct services between Dublin and San Francisco in June in addition to non- stop flights from Ireland to New York and seasonal flights to Washington and Chicago.
High on Travel Times soft adventure wish list for 2020 is an exploration of Northern Utah (see www.visitutah.com) where you can glamp in classic American wagons at Conestoga Ranch ,Bear Lake in Northern Utah and enjoy stargazing in one of the world’s best dark sky locations. Experiential Lodging at Conestoga Ranch Conestoga Ranch has a variety of unique and luxurious lodging options at Bear Lake.
The ultimate in Glamping Luxury, their Royal and Grand Tents sleep between 2 and 6 guests, and include in-suite bathrooms! “Circle The Wagons” includes 4 and 6 person wagons: https://conestogaranch.com/
Under Canvas Zion
Under Canvas Zion bills itself as a lodging experience that is just as fabulous as the park itself. This glamping camp in America’s stunning Southwest is located on 196 acres, bordering Zion National Park in Utah close to trails offering off-the-beaten-path adventures, and spectacular views of the majestic red rocks that make Zion so famous. The camp seamlessly blends into its dramatic surroundings and features luxury tents that offer guests the opportunity to enjoy Utah’s spectacular desert without giving up the comforts of home. https://www.undercanvas.com/