For those who enjoy wandering the world and are wondering where to go next, perhaps the next question to ask is: What should you do once you get there?
We asked our Facebook group of European travel fans to vote on what they thought would be the biggest travel trends of the year. The results spanned from ecotourism to spiritual wellness -- naturally, we dug a little deeper and discovered several community members who had already tried and tested these trends.
Here are three of 2019’s most popular travel trends, as chosen and tested by our community.
1. Foodie tourism
Eat your way around the world, one city at a time. Food tourism is a way to immerse yourself in the local culinary culture of a place, prioritising your stomach above your other senses! We spoke to Joanne Monica an avid foodie who has travelled to many places to sample culinary delights.
Why do you think food has such an important role in the experience of travelling?
I feel that food reflects the intersections of a place, culture, and society. It’s a way of connecting with individuals on a personal level. There is nothing more rewarding than cooking and then sitting at a dinner table to share a meal with fellow travellers and locals.
Where have you visited just for the culinary experience?
I have been to Israel, Los Angeles and Amsterdam mainly for the food.
Food is always a central focus during my travels. I always research the foodie scene before travelling and often go out of my way to experience specific markets or restaurants I’ve heard of.
What was your best experience and why?
One of my favourite experiences was in Israel. I met a Palestinian family, went to the Arab market with them and we all cooked together in their home.
Another one was during a trip to Los Angeles. I bought beautiful produce from the Santa Monica food market and cooked for my host, who is now one of my closest friends.
Which cities or countries are on your list in future for foodie visits?
There are so many on my list: Hawaii, Brazil, Mexico, Rwanda, Uganda, Lebanon, Japan. The list goes on an on.
2. Wellness tourism
You can’t get closer to true RnR than a trip solely to rejuvenate and improve both mental and physical wellbeing. It’s the reason Hayley Budd a yoga devotee and London dweller, has gone on many yoga retreats around the world since 2014.
Where and when did you spend your yoga retreats?
I have been practising yoga for around six years now and went on my first retreat in 2014. I try to go on at least one retreat a year, or on a ‘yoga holiday’ with friends. I have been to Catalonia and Bali for a teacher training retreat as well as India, Ibiza, Grasse, The Cotswolds, Devon and most recently, Iceland. I always pick places I’ve never been to before, preferably in remote locations whether in the countryside, the jungle or the desert.
Why do you go to yoga retreats?
I fit the mould of the ‘stressed out City worker in London’ pretty well. I try and practice yoga regularly in London, but it’s more about making time here and there and then rushing off to the next thing. Going away on a retreat gives me the opportunity to immerse myself in the practice and switch off from my regular life – even if it’s just for a couple of days.
What do you gain from it?
I find yoga retreats important for my mental health to de-stress and unwind. It’s always a great excuse to switch off my phone and my laptop. They’re also a great way to meet new and exciting people. I’ve had the opportunity to meet a new group of friends from all walks of life who I now get to travel with.
The other thing, if you’re serious - or want to get serious - about your yoga practice, is that retreats give you the opportunity to learn a lot more and spend some proper one-on-one time with a teacher.
I’ve also had crucial realisations about changes I needed to make in my life while sitting on a rock in a remote place.
Would you encourage others to try it?
Definitely. I was a bit nervous before my first retreat, being new to yoga and going on my own. But all my worries disappeared pretty quickly. Most retreats will cater for all levels, even for complete beginners. Just do your research about what you want to get out of a retreat, or follow your favourite teacher somewhere.
To borrow a popular concept right now, yoga retreats are the ultimate exercise in ‘self-care’.
3. Ancestry tourism
Consider yourself something of a detective? Bring your family history to life and discover where you came from, like Jess Arnold, a travel enthusiast from the United Kingdom who travelled to Lithuania with her mother in 2015.
Photo: Jess Arnold and her mother in Lithuania
Where and when?
I went to Lithuania in 2015. My great grandmother was Lithuanian, from a place called Kaunas, and my great grandfather was Polish. They met in Lithuania during the war.
Why did you want to visit your ancestors’ land?
My mum really wanted to go so we went together. We both just wanted to explore Lithuania, have a look and find out more about our heritage. And we’d spoken to my grandad about it and he talked about how much his mother had loved it there.
Can you recall a special moment from the trip?
My mum and I got the train from Vilnius down to Kanaus, which is where my grandmother came from so we knew she would have obviously spent time there. We got the train down and explored the town, then there was a massive thunderstorm. We were exploring a castle and got stuck with the storm raging outside, it was absolutely hilarious. My mum and I were laughing and had such a fun time. It’s something that will stick in our minds forever: Trapped in the castle where my great grandma used to be!
Did it change your idea of your family?
It did. My grandfather never really spoke about his heritage and my great-grandmother was quite a terse, strict woman. Having gone there and learned about what they had been through, it gave me a good understanding to why she was how she was and everything they had been through. And it’s interesting to have a better understanding of our ancestry and have walked (slightly) in their footsteps. It felt really special.
Are you keen to try any of the trends we mentioned? Have you already been on a wellness, or even a silent retreat? Curious about retracing your ancestral steps across the globe? Let us know in our Facebook travel group.
This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by Lufthansa.