According to the recent release of the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker, travelers are going further (38 percent of affluent consumers are heading overseas), staying longer (66 percent of travelers will stay at least a week), and spending more (31 percent will spend more than $1,000 per person). From babymoons to river cruises, and beyond, here are a few other travel trends.
Prince William and Kate Middleton aren’t the only expectant parents to take some alone time before baby – 37 percent of consumers with children aged 12 and under have either taken a babymoon or are considering a babymoon before their next child comes.
So we did more digging, wondering, 'where do babymooners go when baby is on the way?' Naturally, during the first six months of pregnancy, parents-to-be have the option to fly a bit farther from home, like the royal couple did when they chose the private Caribbean island of Mustique for their getaway. If you're looking for some good international options for first- or second-trimester escapes, check out Ocho Rios, Jamaica, the West Indies, Paris, or Venice.
During the last trimester, expectant parents usually opt for a U.S. destination with a major medical center (New York City, San Francisco, Miami, Charleston). Several resorts, like the Royal Palm Resort and Spa in Phoenix, even offer special babymoon packages with prenatal massages, romantic diners, in-room movies, and even "baby bump" photo sessions.
River cruising continues to increase in popularity with 38 percent of river cruisers planning to travel to France; 26 percent to Eastern Europe; 20 percent to Egypt; 17 percent to China; 13 percent to Russia; and 7 percent to cruise the Mississippi River.
While cruises on the Danube, Rhine, and Rhone rivers remain European favorites, watch for expeditions on the Po River in northern Italy and the Douro River in northern Spain and Portugal to become hot tickets as well. Also trendy – small ship cruises, like those offered by Blount Small Ship Adventures, that take you to destinations larger river cruise ships can’t get to.
Maybe, it’s an extension of the girlfriend getaway, but shopping has become the main attraction for many vacationers. Thirty percent of those surveyed listed shopping as one of the top activities planned for summer travels this year (directly behind beach and lake activities at 34 percent), and 29 percent indicated shopping was one of the key factors they considered when planning their vacation.
It’s not hard to figure out where the fashionistas are heading. With Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue, and SoHo, New York City makes the short list. Paris and Milan are obvious choices, too. Other international shopping venues include Tokyo, London, Dubai, and Bangkok.
Closer to home, check out Beverly Hills, Miami, and San Francisco. Minneapolis may not have designer boutiques and cutting edge fashions, but it does have the Mall of America. For something quainter, try Fredericksburg, Texas, with more than 200 unique shops – and no box stores.
4. Historical Travel
Based on the survey, 23 percent of travelers plan to take in historical sites and destinations this summer. The Civil War undoubtedly figures into this statistic. Earlier this month marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, but upcoming sesquicentennials include the Battle of Chattanooga (November 23); General Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign (August 2014); and Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Courthouse (April 9, 2015).
Not into the Civil War? St. Augustine, Florida, the nation’s oldest city, celebrates its 450th anniversary and the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s discovery of Florida. Washington D.C. is a no-brainer when it comes to vacations for politicos and history buffs. Also try Philadelphia or Boston for early American history. Santa Fe offers a Southwestern alternative.
World history enthusiasts might want to head to Athens, Rome, London, or Istanbul. Up and coming? Martin Luther-oriented travel in Germany: October 2015 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. You can also hit historic spots from the second World War – the 70th anniversary of D-Day was June 6, 2013 – on a 15-night, seven-country cruise!
5. Solo Travel
While most people continue to travel with family and friends, an increasing number decide to head out alone. Fifteen percent of American travelers opt to go solo, up four percent in the last two years.
Most Americans, especially women, look for destinations where English is the primary language and crime is low: Australia, New Zealand, Belize, Canada, Singapore, England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.