The world feels smaller than ever. We can chat face-to-face on Skype thousands of miles apart. And, of course, the world has become more accessible through better technology and travel options. Basically, it’s easier to get to places, and we’re making the most of it. The latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer says the number of people who travelled internationally (based on those who stayed overnight at their destination) increased beyond expectations last year. And this momentum for overseas travel is expected to continue at a rate of 4 to 5% this year - that’s a real boom in international travel.
For those hit with a case of wanderlust, we created the Carphone Warehouse Travel Guide to help them discover new corners of the world – anywhere from bustling tourist cities to a remote hideaway. For first time explorers, our rundown of the best travel destinations also shows you where to find handy hotel Wi-Fi - which, alongside that SIM Only deal you picked up before your travels, can help you maintain a pocket-sized connection to home.
Still need convincing to jet off somewhere secluded? Here’s why your friends are hitching a plane ride – and where they’re off to.
An alternative experience
Roughly a decade ago, over 100 million people took part in a vote by the New7Wonders Foundation to determine the New Seven Wonders of the World. Their list included the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Brazil, the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu in Peru and Petra in Jordan.
Having opened peoples’ eyes to a whole load of new places to go, the list encouraged thousands of tourists to think again when it came to their own travel destinations. Treading the well-beaten path quickly seemed less appealing than getting out there and exploring new places, and tourists began to visit alternative destinations rarely mentioned in travel magazines.
Africa saw incredible growth, with a burst of new tourists in 2016 and an 8% increase in visitors in 2017.
Chasing authentic culture
Fast-forward to 2018, and remote destinations continue to dominate the minds of curious travellers. But, as more tourists flock to less-touristy countries, these areas can become tourist destinations themselves.
For people who travel to explore other cultures and ways of life, it can be pretty depressing to see traditional cultures and unspoilt landscapes being, well, spoilt as a result of a tourism boom. And it’s possible that the trend for “last chance travel” – seeking new destinations that are yet untouched by the impacts of heightened tourism – could make things worse, with travellers rushing to visit destinations that are growing in popularity before those inevitable changes fully take hold.
Seeking the Instagram moment
Another thing driving people to travel to these untapped and stunning destinations is the increasing popularity of visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. We all love posting selfies of sun-kissed beaches, and showing off our latest awesome view, so it’s no wonder that over two fifths (40.1%) of British millennials said they’d choose a travel spot based on how “Instagrammable” it might be. In contrast, just under one in 10 and one in 25 respectively said they’d go somewhere based on the local cuisine and the chance to go sightseeing.
With “Instagrammability” being the biggest travelling push factor for millennials, and with interest in out-of-the-norm destinations growing, we put together a list of beautiful remote locations, then asked 2,000 British adults to choose their favourite destinations for grabbing that perfect Instagram shot. The Galápagos Islands in Ecuador won out as the best spot for getting that Instagram-worthy picture, while the Marovo Lagoon in the Solomon Islands, Kalandula Falls in Angola and the islands of Kiribati all made the top five.
It’s all about the Travel Bucket List (2018)
The countries that rank high on the bucket list of the modern traveller are those that are just remote enough, not overly commercialised and have managed to retain their unique culture. This is clear from our online searches. Google Trends data – which analyses millions of daily searches – showed that interest in remote and alternative destinations like Myanmar and Bangladesh are on the rise.
Myanmar, which saw a massive 18% increase in tourist numbers in 2017, has seen increased online interest, with the term “Myanmar holidays” reaching the height of its online popularity in 2017. Searches for its ancient city of Bagan similarly reached their peak in 2017, having registered little on Google interest back in 2004.
Bangladesh has also seen a dramatic rise in Google searches over the past 14 years, reaching its peak popularity in 2016. The appeal of the country is also reflected in our survey, with many people choosing the Sundarbans National Park in West Bangladesh as one of their favourites.
Other remote travel spots that scored well in our survey included the Wonotobo Waterfalls in Suriname, labelled a ‘Hidden Treasure’ by the New York Times, and the Kalandula Falls in Angola, one of the largest waterfalls in Africa and as yet relatively unknown and charmingly crowd-free.
Popular with young and old alike, Angola, in particular, is a prime example of how remote spots of outstanding natural beauty, previously unheard of as holiday destinations just a few years ago, are becoming the next major destinations for travellers.
Whether you love the thrill of adventure travelling, crave the culture fix of remote destinations or simply love to snap that perfect picture, explore our top remote and bustling holiday spots with the Carphone Warehouse Travel Guide to connected and off-grid destinations.