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Adventure Travel Trends To Follow

Adventure travel is a trend that’s here to stay. And it’s no longer a niche in the tourism industry. More and more travelers are looking for excitement beyond the usual vacation activities. According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), adventure travel consumer spending is estimated at $683 billion (excluding Asia). And that’s not even counting gear purchases.

But first: what exactly is adventure travel? After all, we all have different definitions of “adventure.” Some of us want to scale a mountain. Others want to just get close to that mountain. The common threads seem to be physical activity, natural beauty and cultural exploration. Tie these together and we’ve got a pretty good definition of the adventure travel experience.

Here are a handful of adventure travel trends and issues to keep an eye on in 2019 and beyond.


From stargazing and northern lights, to chasing astronomical events and full moon hikes, travelers are increasingly interested in “celestial” experiences. And they’re willing to plan entire vacations around them. There are more than five million hobbyist astronomers in the U.S. alone. And at least one-third of them travel every year for astronomy interests. Go here for an astrotourism deep dive.

Solo Travel

Is there anything more adventurous than striking out on your own? More than ever, people are booking trips for one — especially millennials. About 25 percent of millennials will plan a solo trip in the next two years. In order for destinations and travel agencies to optimize on the solo travel trend, consider:

  • Waiving fees for solo travels staying in double occupancy rooms;
  • Booking solo travelers together. Millennials are usually looking to meet people along the way. Hosting two solo travelers together can spark a lasting friendship.  

Wellness Meets Adventure

Wellness travel and adventure travel are increasingly blending. “Many travelers are turning to nature to find that peace of mind they’ve lost in their day-to-day lives,” writes the ATTA. That means that destinations and travel agencies should be looking at expanding their self-improvement offerings. Think paddleboard yoga, digital detox trips and meditation in natural settings.

Sustainable Travel

The adventure traveler is – naturally – going to be a more eco-conscious tourist. They’re going to be paying attention to the sustainability and carbon reduction practices of hotels and destinations. “If big hotels can make small changes, the ripple can be huge,” said Paula Vlamings, chief executive of Tourism Cares, recently told the New York Times. “Sustainability is more than energy conservation or recycling; it is about sustaining communities for the tourism product.”

Overtourism Backlash

Adventure travel is not without its consequences. The popularity of adventure travel hot spots (often thanks to social media) can cause serious damage. “More isn’t always better,” María Reynisdóttir, of Iceland’s Department of Tourism, told CNN. “We need to decide where we want to build up strong sites that are able to receive a large amount of visitors and which sites you want to leave more untouched.” Now, destinations are going to have to address these issues in order to preserve their assets. That will lead to limiting admission to these spots.