BELLEVUE, Wash., Dec. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Expedia.com® analyzed thousands of data points this year to identify the top trends in travel for 2018, and the results show that American travelers are increasingly interested in unique and novel experiences. Highlights from the report include the rise of secondary destinations like Chiang Mai, the Azores and Cartagena, and non-traditional lodging options such as tentalows and houseboats. In the activities and attractions space, observation decks and architectural landmarks saw the biggest growth, with cooking classes and other culinary experiences close behind.
"In this day and age, it's possible to have the exact type of experience and trip you want, whether it's visiting a breathtaking island off Portugal, or staying on a family farm where you can gather your own fresh eggs in the morning," says John Morrey, SVP Brand Expedia. "Being able to meet the needs of every kind of traveler is our driving force at Expedia, and why we strive to make it easy and affordable to find the perfect accommodation for any trip and bundle it with flights or car for even more savings."
Read on for more highlights from Expedia's 2018 Year in Review, including trends across destinations, air travel, lodging and activities.
2018: The Year of the Secondary City
Expedia crunched flight data from 20181 to determine the destinations seeing the most year-over-year growth, and it was clear that U.S. travelers are venturing beyond the primary tourist stops to seek out the culturally-rich offerings of secondary cities. Here are some of the most noteworthy trending destinations for 2018, all of which saw double- or triple-digit growth from last year:
Check out the full list of Expedia's Top Trending Cities on the Viewfinder blog.
Alternative accommodations are on the rise
While traditional resorts and hotels continue to be a favorite for U.S. travelers, Expedia.com data shows a growing interest in alternative lodging options. Here are some of the fastest-growing accommodation types for 20182:
Top trending activities include observation decks and culinary experiences
Activities and experiences are increasingly popular as travelers look to personalize and customize their vacations. These are the fastest-growing activity categories in 2018 for the U.S.:
It's never been easier to browse and book activities on the fly with Expedia's mobile app, which lets travelers sort and filter things to do by proximity, popularity and activity type.
Busiest & least busy days to fly
Flight data confirms that traveling ahead of the holidays is bound to be hectic. However, the least busy travel days of the year also fall around the holidays: the day after Christmas, Christmas Day and New Year's Day drew the fewest airport crowds. These are the busiest air travel days of the year3:
Want to see more trends? Be sure to head over to Expedia's Viewfinder blog for the rest of the results from the 2018 Year in Review, including the most popular last-minute getaways and where to find the best views, spa, pools and service.
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1Based on air travel demand on Expedia.com from January 1, 2018 – November 1, 2018 compared to the same timeframe in 2017
2Based on demand on Expedia.com from January 1, 2018 – September 30, 2018 compared to the same timeframe in 2017
3Based on air travel demand on Expedia.com from October 31, 2017 – November 1, 2018