2018’s Travel Trend of the Year Is…

From mountainside to lakeside, it's all about going off the beaten path.

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Seems like Americans can’t enough of that coveted small town charm. According to HomeAway’s 2018 Travel Trend report, the upcoming year is all about exploring the unknown, the unspoiled, and the unconventional.

If you’ve yet to hear of Oklahoma’s Broken Bow Lake, Iowa’s Spirit Lake, or Texas’ Hill Country, things are about to change. HomeAway’s data on vacation rentals revealed these to be the fastest-growing destinations for Americans seeking domestic travel outlets. With their stunning scenery, access to state parks, opportunity for outdoor activity, and proximity to major cities for day trips, it’s not hard to see why.

“Last year’s unexpected new favorites for vacation home rentals, places like Hurricane, Utah, were near national and state parks, showing that groups and families want to combine outdoor adventure with the comforts of staying in a home away from home,” says Karen Fuller, HomeAway’s senior director of global market research said in a statement. “The trend continues with this year’s surprise destinations, which are all in beautiful outdoorsy places.”

The report highlights a desire for more off-the-beaten-path places that mix the thrill of outdoor adventures with the comforts of home.

“This year, our up-and-coming destinations are also outdoor meccas. Hochatown, Oklahoma, calls itself the deer capital of the world, and it’s a beautiful area full of lakeside vacation homes. More than half the homes there have more than three bedrooms, so it’s a great place for a group getaway. The other areas showing a jump in demand for HomeAway vacation rentals are also places for outdoor activity lovers, from the mountain biking trails of Davis, West Virginia, to the tube floating rivers of the Texas Hill Country,” Melanie Fish, HomeAway’s travel expert, tells Domino.

But while an affinity for the outdoors is a newer trend for vacation-planning Americans, one thing that hasn’t changed is their love of the beach. We too admit that there’s nothing quite like a relaxing, sun-drenched beach vacation, so it’s not surprising that the Sunshine state took three of the top five domestic travel destinations on the list. The other two were San Diego, California, and the Gulf Shores of Alabama. Florida took the cake for having the most pet-friendly options for travel.

The history and charm of Europe remains to entice eager Americans who still flock to spots like London, Paris, Rome, and Florence—although, Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, also proved to be a popular destination for those looking to go abroad.

Perhaps the most interesting takeaway from the report was a major spike in reservations made for alternative accommodations. If you’ve ever dreamed of spending the night in a reclaimed barn, you’re not alone. Barns topped HomeAway’s list of the fastest growing unusual vacation rentals, up 55 percent from their previous report. Keeping with the “one with nature” trend, houseboats and tree houses also saw a double-digit spike in popularity.

Read the full report here

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