Have you made your New Year's resolutions yet? We have! Every year, the team at Brightspark has one goal: find more ways to make travel inspiring and exciting for students. And each year, we look at the top trends in travel from around the world to help you set up engaging, hands-on trips to dozens of destinations across the globe.
Whether you're a pro at planning your school trip every year, or this is your first time as travel group leader, keep reading to see what the experts are predicting for 2019 travel.
1. Making "old favorites" new again
Hot off the runway at the "Fashion Week of the Travel World" is the steady popularity of European destinations. While recent trends have encouraged travelers to go off the beaten path, tried and true favorites like France, Italy and Germany remain top choices for year-round travel.
From band directors taking your ensembles to the Royal College of Music in London, to language instructors using the Loire Valley as an immersive lab, what better way to bring the classroom to life and show your students the world than by visiting some of our favorite European cities?
2. "Second choices" are first rate
Of course, one issue that can come up when you visit a popular destination is "capacity crunch" as cities host millions of yearly visitors. While we encourage all young learners to discover the biggest cities in the world, we also know the benefits of visiting "second choice" cities. These are smaller — oftentimes quieter and less crowded — destinations that still offer similar lessons and attractions.
Consider spending time in Philadelphia or Boston if you're interested in American history. Looking to travel abroad but you've already seen London and Madrid? How about taking a student tour of Ireland and Scotland, or venturing south as you discover Spain & Morocco. All around the world, smaller towns with lush history and culture are attracting visitors who want to dig deeper into local customs and invest more meaningfully in the local economy.
3. Theatre travel
Who says educational travel can't be entertaining? Join the growing number of travelers planning their trips around the hottest tickets in town, making theatre travel one of the top trends for 2019. Educational groups can enjoy a multi-media performance by the Blue Man Group in Chicago, and performance groups can learn from professional artists at a Disney Performing Arts workshop. From the bright lights of Broadway to the home of the Bard, students of every subject can take advantage of world-class arts and culture.
4. Food for thought
Culinary travel is nothing new; we've been sampling French macarons and Philly cheesesteaks for years! In 2019, however, this trend is expected to reach new heights. And we won't be satisfied by simply eating local cuisine; TravelWeekly declares that we're going to make "passports become cookbooks." TripAdvisor's research shows that experiential offerings, like cooking classes and immersive workshops, saw a 61% increase from 2017 to 2018. In fact, "the best travel experience in the world, according to TripAdvisor reviews, was a Tuscan cooking class."
If you want to introduce your students to world cuisine by making them part of the experience, why not journey to Costa Rica or Barcelona? Near the Arenal volcano, Don Juan's educational farm teaches students about agriculture as they harvest crops and help prepare their lunch. Over in Catalonia, your group can learn how to make paella, the traditional Spanish festival dish, before exploring Parc Guell and its iconic architecture by Antoni Gaudí.
5. Tiny trips
While we may all be tempted to take a month-long vacation (especially after the hectic holiday season), keep in mind a "growing" 2019 trend: the mini-vacation. According to ELLE, 53% of travelers "plan to take more weekend trips in 2019, which will mean big business for local economies." Aided by cost-effective travel options and curated experiences, these short jaunts let visitors take a big bite out of their small vacation.
Likewise, student travel itineraries don't always need to be long to be fruitful. Sometimes, due to group size, age, or budget constraints, groups take day trips to nearby locations, like their state capital, a culture hub, or a science center. Getting students outside of the classroom — even for a day — can reinforce your lesson plans while teaching them social skills, like making new friends and being self-reliant.
Ready to inspire travel in the new year?