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Travel Trends for 2020

Travel Trends for 2020

2019 has been a year of growing awareness for the need to better cherish the world we live in. From Greta Thunberg’s impassioned plea to halt the environmental crisis and inspiring a generation to reconsider their daily choices, to an awakening need for eradicating division, racial inequalities and empowering minorities, it has been a year of change. This evolution is very evident in the travel scene. In the launches of Space Tourism to ‘Gen-Z’ cruises, we are witnessing the very face of travel turning a page. But forecasting the future also brings a yearning for the simplicity of the past as seen in growing trends such as spartan travel, digital detoxes and the magic of train journeys. We highlight some of our favourite travel trends for 2020 below.

Cultural Hubs

Travellers no longer want a hotel to be simply a luxurious perch but a destination in itself. They seek out properties that are a doorway into the authentic spirit of the place they are set in. From in-house literary festivals to downloadable podcasts and artists in residence - hotels are transforming into communities of creativity and discovery alongside holistic wellness - such as Vana. This concept also extends to garden hotels, being immersed in the land and the natural. Properties from The Newt in Somerset and South Africa’s Babylonstoren are just a couple of gems leading the field.


The new FOMO, SLOMO is all about detaching from the evermore demanding digital age. One traveller who found herself stranded without Wi-fi for a fortnight on the Andaman Islands, went from the initial shock to proclaiming it to be the most transformative trip of her life. Travelling to the most beautiful landscapes in the globe and sitting among a whole new culture takes on a heightened level of immersion when experienced with spartan travel, a sketch pad in place of the iPhone. The recent Virtuoso Luxe Report found that travellers are, more than ever, seeking out ‘untouristed and unexpected’ locales. At Ampersand we love nothing more than curating experiences to destinations away from the madding crowds, from riding in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan to island-hopping in Mozambique.

Ancestral Travel

Mapping the global DNA through travel is a growing and exciting frontier of travel, according to Condé Nast Traveller. With the popularity of home DNA tests - an estimated 26 million people have taken a test so far - the counter-trend to increasingly nationalist outlooks, will see people travelling in search of shared genetic roots and communal synergies.


No longer the preserve of tousle-haired adrenalin junkies, next-level surfing is rapidly becoming one of the most popular holiday activities around the world. Surfing will be an Olympic level sport at the 2020 Olympic games in Japan for the first time ever. With more and more women taking up the sport and a growing crop of specialist surfing retreats, from Sri Lanka to China and South Africa emerging, there is no better time to catch the waves and feel the thrill.

Less Flights Please

Reducing carbon footprint and impact when travelling leads to the next question - how to explore with minimal flying? Train journeys, which hold all the romance, promise and adventure of times past, are once again coming to the forefront when planning travel to foreign parts. The next decade will see a huge upsurge in travellers choosing train journeys as a means to cross countries and, from Russia to Cambodia, we have enjoyed some of our most memorable moments in sleeper carriages.

Nomadic Hotels

From The Ultimate Travelling Camp’s breathtaking sites in Ladakh and India’s tiger country, to 700,000 Heures, the world’s first wandering hotel, taking over two sites in Japan - a temple in Koyasan and a traditional house in Ine, a fishing village near Amanohashidate, the idea of nomadic hotels is growing ever more popular. With its pioneer air mixed with barefoot luxury, this is a trend that is set to increase in popularity.

Literary Travel

Another kickback against the tyranny of the digital age, travellers are seeking out retreats centred around the joy of reading and authors sharing collective wisdom and stories. Discover the balmy salty-aired Galle Literary Festival, where the likes of Dame Maggie Smith and Justine Picardie have spoken, or the Ubud Literary Festival and the tinged-with-adventure Irrawaddy Literature Festival in Myanmar - called ‘uniquely charming’.

Country Coupling

Another recent finding is that travellers are exploring more than one country at a time, even on shorter journeys. Unexpected combinations are winning fans who pair an urban culture break with a jungle trek or heli-skiing with a desert island retreat. Asia in particular has fabulous potential for this kind of travel roulette. We are also fans of experiencing a buzzing established destination, say Shanghai or Mumbai with the delights of a totally off-beat add-on, such the Jewish quarter of China’s Harbin, or the glorious mosques of Bhopal.

Group Travel

Exploring an unknown destination in the company of like-minded travellers brings a unique sense of community and the joy of shared experience. Differing viewpoints, aesthetic approaches and pooling of costs to gain access to otherwise budget-busting experiences, can all add up to a memorable experience - with not a hint of package herd-travel. Solo and women travellers are also plugging into this trend for the added security and interest it provides. Join in the party!

For more information, or to start planning your 2020 tailor-made holiday, please contact us: // +44 (0) 207 819 9770 

Client Testimonials

Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
Ampersand’s preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet booking age. They were a delight to deal with!
- Mr David Wallace, North India
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
I would recommend Ampersand without any hesitation!!! The best travel agent that I’ve ever had. Everything – from the individual care and attention in planning the trip, through to the efficiency of the agents on the ground in India – was handled brilliantly. An absolutely first-class service all round!
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
Ampersand provided a bespoke and flexible holiday, tailored to my every whim. Their highly professional staff had only one goal which was to arrange an exceptional holiday and some unforgettable experiences in India. I have no hesitation in fully recommending them and they will be the first company I approach in the future - 10/10
- Anonymous, India
I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India

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