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12 Tips and Trends to Make You A Better Traveler in 2019


By Mia Taylor, TravelPulse

The Year of the Thoughtful Traveler

Man walking through an outdoor market in Bangkok, Thailand.
The arrival of a new year inevitably inspires a wave of fresh travel trends and must-do approaches to wandering. But the leaders at Exodus Travels (a company known for focusing on low impact tourism and contributing to local communities), say the new year is also an opportunity to reshape our exploratory approach and improve the way we impact the globe.

For almost half a century now, the adventure tour operator has been working to help people do just that by combining walking, hiking, cycling and wildlife experiences with inventive initiatives that tackle such issues as plastic waste, exploitation, and social inequality. It is from this experienced perspective that Exodus offers up its 12 travel tips and trends for the year ahead, which it says prove that 2019 will be "The Year of the Thoughtful Traveler."


Fighting the War on Plastics

Plastic waste impacting travel destinations
With the help of advocates like David Attenborough and his popular program, BBC’s Blue Planet, the world is starting to wake up to the devastating effects single-use plastics are having on the earth, particularly the oceans and marine life. "Drastically reducing the use of plastics in-destination is essential to the ongoing development of sustainable travel, which is why Exodus Travels decided to 'ban the bottle' and eliminate all single-use plastic bottles on all trips by the end of 2018," said Exodus Marketing Manager, North America Robin Brooks.

In fact, over the past year alone, Exodus saved more than 1.3 million water bottles by offering travelers alternatives to single-use bottles. This is just one way that those traveling abroad can commit to reducing plastic consumption without compromising on their travel experience. (Eliminating plastic straw use and bringing along your own stainless steel straws is another option.)



Tip

Tiger safari
As the use of animals for entertainment continues to come under scrutiny, traveling nature-lovers are finally seeking responsible, 100 percent hands-off wildlife encounters. "From observing sea turtles, monkeys and sloths from a safe distance in Costa Rica to avoiding Thailand’s 'tiger temples' and spotting the elusive creature on a wild safari in India instead, the demand for responsible animal encounters that focus on conservation is driving real change in destinations around the world," said Brooks.

An additional activity to avoid unless you've done your homework is swimming with dolphins. PETA has long advocated against this offering, as the dolphins in captivity are often illegally captured, torn away from their families and then housed in incompatible groups, among many other issues.


Empowering Vulnerable Communities

Student's
With the rise of social consciousness leading to a change in the way people travel, the exploitation of kids in developing countries (such as voluntourism in orphanages and school visits) has reached a tipping point, and empowering female tourism workers to succeed in-destination has become more important than ever, says Brooks.

For adventurers looking for meaningful ways to impact the destinations they visit, initiatives like Exodus’ Inspiration Project (which takes schoolchildren on safaris and camping trips), and the Freedom Kit Bags project (which supplies women in low-income Nepalese areas with sanitary wear) are creating positive change in communities around the world that is responsible, respectful, and most importantly, non-invasive.


Sand Dunes are Making a Comeback

Egypt
Whether wayfarers are driven to chase sand dunes via four-wheel-drive in the increasingly-popular Oman or are inspired to spend a week in Jordan thanks to the upcoming remake of Disney’s Aladdin, there's been a significant shift in public perception of destinations and the number of travelers returning to the Middle East, says Brooks.

Culturally-curious sightseers are also heading back to the archaeological wonder that is Egypt for a front row seat of the pyramids, to cruise down the Nile traffic-free, and to learn from locals who have plenty of stories to share. Go now to beat the crowds.


Tip: Take a Travel Virgin Abroad

Iceland
The experts at Exodus are also predicting an influx of “travel virgin” trips for 2019, where jaded jet-setters who have “been there, done that,” can reawaken their passion for adventure by taking people with empty passports to see the world. "One never forgets their first time, and sharing the joys of discovering a new country with a 'travel virgin' will give you a fresh perspective and allow you to see the world with clear eyes," said Brooks.

From the excitement of seeing the Taj Mahal with a partner who has always dreamed of India to the thrill of witnessing a friend’s first glimpse of the Northern Lights in Iceland, globetrotters participating in this trend gain an entirely new appreciation for exploration by taking travel newbies on the trip of a lifetime.


Adventures for Active Oenophiles

Loire
Wine tasting will always be a popular way to spend a week abroad, but 2019 is primed for a new sip and savor trend: cycling wine tours. More and more, wine-lovers are willing to stray from the beaten path in pursuit of a more full-bodied, active experience.

"From two-wheeling your way through world-famous vineyards of Chateauneuf du Pape, to taking a cycling tour of the Loire Valley’s wine capital, Vouvray and pedaling through the Prosecco Hills, there’s no better reward for a day of outdoor activity than with a hard-won glass of vino, vin, or bubbly," said Brooks.


The Circle of Life Will Move Us All

Tanzania safari
The recently-released trailer for Disney’s live-action remake of The Lion King is already causing travelers to seek out experiences that will get them closer to the real-life versions of beloved animated characters. The much-anticipated 2019 film is poised to send travelers headed into safari-rich destinations to see the circle of life firsthand.


Trekking That Takes Us Back in Time

Kumano Kodo
Another developing trend for 2019 is that of walking and history aficionados booking lesser-known pilgrimages in search of self-discovery and immersive cultural experiences. "Whether it’s delving into Japan’s legendary Kumano Kodo pathway and rising to the challenge like a Samurai or tackling the lesser-known path of Sigerico; The Francigena Way from Orvieto to Rome, these ancient trails are about to blow up the travel sphere," said Brooks. The popularity of these iconic trails comes from their ability to help people unplug, follow in the footsteps of history, and discover the world’s most authentic – and original – "beaten paths.”


Tip: Spend Less and Stay Longer

Sri Lanka
True travelers are now opting to go abroad less often while increasing their trip lengths, says Exodus. This cuts down on costs, allows for a more immersive experience and goes a long way toward making a visitor feel like a local.

Taking it slow and staying for longer periods also reduces one’s carbon footprint, and allows adventurers to have a more positive impact on the communities they visit. Instead of a short stay in Europe or the Caribbean, dedicate three weeks to a trek in Nepal or spend nearly one month exploring Southeast Asia, suggests Exodus.


Llamas are the 2019

Inca Trail
Despite this animal’s track record for projectile slobber, travelers can’t help but love llamas. It may be that these wooly creatures look simply adorable on t-shirts and mugs. Or it may just be the lush, long eyelashes. Whatever the case, the llama has been labeled “the new unicorn” thanks to the Netflix release of the animated show Llama Llama.

This popular program, based on the award-winning and best-selling book series about childhood moments and adventures – and voiced by Jennifer Garner – is sure to inspire more llama-focused encounters abroad for 2019.


Tip: Ditch the Ship - Explore on Foot

Greece
With the excess of cruise ships now flooding busy Mediterranean ports, active travelers want more ways to escape the crowds so they can spend time exploring cultural and historical sites at their own pace. Walking one’s way through the wonders of the Greek Islands, for example, is a more sustainable approach to experiencing a destination than a carbon-heavy cruise ship, said Brooks.


There's No Place Like (Someone Else's) Home

Vietnam
Travelers in 2019 are after an especially warm welcome and the comforts of a home away from home when overseas. As a result, they’re increasingly turning to family-run operations.

"Whether taking in village life during a homestay on the Mekong Delta or resting up after a day of exploring through the countryside of AndalucĂ­a, these unique stays are about more than just experiencing a family’s everyday life firsthand; choosing locally-run properties also contributes directly to a community’s economy, offers adventurers the chance to be fully immersed in local cultures, and create lasting connections with their hospitable hosts," said Brooks.
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