35 Countries Group Tour Companies Are Traveling To In 2020
With only a few days of 2019 left, you may already be daydreaming about your travel plans for 2020. Instead of going solo or with close friends, what about trying out an organized tour? Travel tour companies aren't just for boomers — they're a great way to see a whirlwind of countries and have all the logistics taken care of.
“More and more, millennials and Gen Z are spending their money on experiences, which includes travel,” Christie Hudson, head of communications for Expedia North America, tells Bustle. “It shows that this age group is not just interested in traveling, but they also want unique, personalized experiences — which is probably why we’re seeing millennials seeking out destinations (like the ones on these lists) that offer culturally rich experiences.”
But with the world being, well, the whole world, where do you choose to go first? Bustle asked a few group travel companies to share what destinations are the most popular so far for 2020. Bustle also spoke with Mary Silva, a writer at Johnnyjet.com, to give her input on how to choose a trip.
"The destinations featured in the lists have common threads — they are budget-friendly, culturally diverse, and are a bit off-the-beaten-path,” Silva tells Bustle. The locations evoke a sense of adventure and look good on social media, she says, thanks to beautiful landscapes and interesting architecture.
Here are just a few (OK, quite a few) suggestions for where to book your next tour.
1. FTLOT (For The Love Of Travel; Ages 24-39)
For the Love of Travel (FTLOT) offers itineraries around the world specifically for millennials. They say Vietnam, Italy (the Amalfi Coast, Puglia, Tuscany, and Rome), Mexico, South Africa, Spain and the South of France, Greece, Morocco, and Finland's northernmost region are all on their most popular list for 2020.
“While the countries on the For the Love of Travel (FTLOT) list are known for having exceptionally beautiful landscapes and vibrant cultures, one of the main things that comes to mind is that they are all known for having delicious food, too,” Silva says.
2. Intrepid Travel (Ages 18-70)
Intrepid Travel offers travel itineraries for small groups of all ages to venture all around the world, but says Morocco, Egypt, Vietnam, Ecuador, India, Turkey, Peru, Tanzania, Jordan, and Cambodia are some of the hottest destinations for next year.
“Many of these destinations on Intrepid Travel’s list are ones that are going to be out of many people’s comfort zones,” Silva says. “All of the countries on this list are not only full of unique cultural experiences, but they are also known for their natural beauty and historical significance."
3. Flash Pack (Ages 30-49)
Flash Pack curates trips for millennials and Gen Xers who want to see the world. Finland and Morocco also make an appearance on their list, as well as Bali, the Philippines, Australia, Costa Rica, Belize, Sri Lanka, Jordan, and Japan.
“These Flash Pack places are all known for having stunning landscapes,” Silva says. “They are also on many people’s travel bucket lists!”
4. Explorer Chick (Ages Mid-20s-50s)
Explorer Chick creates itineraries "for women seeking real adventure." Their team is also looking to Jordan and Belize for travel, but also to Machu Picchu in Peru, Argentina's Patagonia region, Norway, Scotland, and the Dominican Republic. Want to venture closer to home? Las Vegas, Moab, Utah, the Smoky Mountains, and Alaska are all on their top trips list.
“The Explorer Chick list features destinations that active travelers love — they are not only visually magnificent, but they also aren’t exactly mainstream,” Silva says. “One other big thing that is noticeable is how these destinations are safe for women to travel to, but will be even safer when traveling with a small group.”
5. G Adventures (Ages 18+)
G Adventures has itineraries for any style of traveler. Their top picks for 2020 also feature Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as Thailand and Laos. They also offer tours through Costa Rica and Peru's Machu Picchu; and the Arctic, with a stop in Norway; South Africa and Zimbabwe; a trip through Israel and Jordan; as well as a Galapagos trip that would put a major dent in anyone's bucket list.
“These G Adventures destinations are packed with active tourism that brings parts of the world that have previously been seen as hard-to-reach as something doable,” Silva says. “There’s a good chance that travelers will have a truly unique story to tell by going there.”
6. Under30Experiences (UX30; Ages 21-35)
Under30Experiences is known for curating trips for, well, the under 30 crowd. Peru and Machu Picchu are also on the top of their list, as well as Belize, Ecuador, and the Galapagos. Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia make this list again as top destinations for millennials. In Europe, UX30 is seeing Iceland, Ireland, Italy, and Spain as top destinations.
“All of the destinations on this Under30Experiences (UX30) list are renowned for something,” Silva says. “Like many of the destinations listed in the other groups, these places have beautiful countrysides. Whether it’s the dense jungles of Costa Rica, the echoes of the past in Italy, or the diverse plants and animals in the Galapagos, there is always something to take in.”
7. Contiki (Ages 18-35)
Contiki is a group travel operator for adults under 35. Their most popular destinations for the next year? They're offering a number of trips across Europe, including stops in Ireland, Italy, and Greece, as well as a tour of Egypt and the Nile, and another stay in the Galapagos.
“I have several friends who have done Contiki tours and have loved them, mainly because they can be affordable ways to see the world with a group of people that (usually) become lifelong friends,” Silva says. “The destinations are great ways to get a taste of Europe and the UK. Plus, these tours show just how culturally varied people can be, despite the fact that they live so close to each other!”
Judging from the above lists, there are definitely common themes among where travelers plan on going in 2020. “More than ever, travel is becoming accessible and affordable in ways it hasn’t been before — and new destinations that might not have been top-of-mind in past years have become realistic for more people now,” Hudson says.
Mel Dohmen, senior brand manager at Orbitz, tells Bustle that a lot of these destinations have become popular because they are so Instagrammable. “Places like the Greek Islands, Amalfi Coast, Morocco, and Philippines are all destinations that can trace their growing popularity to travel influencers,” she says. “Meanwhile, other destinations have grown in popularity as travelers gain greater access to these places,” she says.
She adds that tourism in Iceland, Finland, and Norway has grown as more airlines expand or even open up direct routes there. “For instance, Scandinavian Airlines has expanded its stopover program to these locales over the past few years, giving travelers a chance to see these destinations en route to Europe or other popular vacation spots,” Dohmen says. And as for vacation hot spots like Bali, Cambodia, and Vietnam, she says some of the appeal may be because they’re budget-friendly. “Food, lodging, and entertainment expenses are quite affordable once you get there, which means travelers can afford to not only stay a lot longer, but also stretch their dollars further and splurge on a few luxury experiences for not a lot of money.”
So, if you didn’t have #vacationinspiration before, the above can definitely help you out if you’re trying to plan where to go in 2020.