The Hottest Travel Trends You Need to Know About Right Now

From shipping-container hotels to conversation pits, here’s the buzz!

travel trends 2018
Shipwreck Lodge

From hotel rooms fashioned out of shipping containers to luggage-storage apps, there's always something new in the world of travel. We've rounded up all the hottest travel trends for this year, so you can get inspired for your next trip!

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travel trends
Shipwreck Lodge
Architecturally-Rich Hotels

Wow-worthy hotels with one-of-a-kind designs are popping up around the world. Rooms at the Shipwreck Lodge (shown here) resemble abandoned ships along the dunes of Namibia's Skeleton Coast. In Sweden, the soon-to-open Arctic Bath is a floating circular hotel centered around wellness.

The Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland, Canada and the TWA Hotel, in the futuristic-looking former TWA terminal at NYC's JFK (to open in spring 2019), are other examples.

More: 30 Up-and-Coming Travel Destinations to Add to Your List

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travel trends 2018: conversation pits
Rimba Jimbaran Bali by Ayana
Conversation Pits

Conversation pits, which were big in the '60s and '70s, are making a comeback. These groovy sunken spaces are conducive to kicking back with a cocktail — preferably at sunset. Bali's Rimba Jimbaran resort (shown here) has a reflecting pool with two conversation pits, while a trio of sunken spaces in Thailand's W Koh Samui's infinity pool appear to be floating on the horizon.

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travel trends 2018: shipping container hotels
Taylor Prinsen / Flophouze
Shipping-Container Hotels

A fun travel trend is shipping containers being repurposed into funky lodgings. Flophouze (shown here) in Round Top, Texas, has six eco-chic shipping containers, while the soon-to-open Tiny Urban Escapes in Indianapolis has three upscale semi-glass shipping containers. The Contain Hotel in the Czech Republic and Hotel WineBox in Chile are a few others.

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travel trends
Getty Images
Forest Bathing

While forest-bathing, where you head into the forest to reflect and "bathe" yourself in nature, has been offered at destination spas for some time, the trend, which started in Japan, is now available at many resorts. Salishan Resort on the Oregon coast offers it, as does The Ranch at Rock Creek in Montana, The Lodge at Woodloch in Pennsylvania, and L'Auberge de Sedona in Arizona.

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travel trends 2018: Buzzy Restaurants Offering Hotel Rooms
SingleThread Farms
Buzzy Restaurants Offering Hotel Rooms

It's pretty much a given that a hotel will offer dining options, but restaurants offering rooms? That's definitely a trend. The Michelin-starred SingleThread (shown here) in Sonoma County, which serves 11-course tasting menus, has five rooms on the second floor. Others include Philly's Wm. Mulherin's Sons (four rooms upstairs) and Minneapolis' Alma (seven rooms upstairs).

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travel trends 2018: Luggage Storage Companies 
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Luggage Storage Companies

Sometimes you need to stash a bag for a few hours — whether it's a suitcase or a gym bag — which is where companies like StoreMe come in. The app allows you to reserve storage space in retail stores (it's currently in four cities, including New York and D.C.) for a small fee. Similar services include Bounce, Knock Knock, and LuggageHero, which recently got a shoutout from the New York Times.

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travel trends 2018: Hotels Within Hotels 
The Cove
Hotels Within Hotels

Many resorts have been opening smaller on-property hotels, which allows for a more exclusive experience. This hotel-within-a-hotel trend was popularized in Las Vegas, but it's spread all over, including the Cove (shown here) at Atlantis in the Bahamas, the Flagler Club in The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fairway One at The Lodge at The Lodge at Pebble Beach in California, Canyon Suites at Scottsdale's Phoenician, and the Barnsley Inn at the Barnsley Resort in Georgia.

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travel trends 2018: Hip Hostel Hotel Hybrids 
Generator Paris
Hip Hostel/Hotel Hybrids

A trend in low-cost lodgings is the proliferation of hostel-like hotels, many of which have lots of community areas, cool bars, stylish designs, and fun amenities like pools. One of the leading chains is Generator (shown here), located in cities like London and Paris. Plus, its new Miami outpost just opened its doors.

Another top chain is Freehand, which has locations in Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, and NYC. Others chains in this vein are Marriott's Moxy, AccorHotels' Jo&Joe, and Hilton's upcoming "urban micro brand" of hostel hotels.

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travel trends 2018: Hotels With Their Own Brewery/Distillery
Will Pryce / The Distillery London
Hotels With Their Own Brewery/Distillery

While traveling, it's always fun to try local beer and spirits, and many hotels are making it super easy. London's hip Distillery Hotel (shown here) makes its own gin, Denver's Source Hotel features a brewery from New Belgium Brewing, and Marble Distilling Co. in Carbondale, Colorado, distills an all-natural vodka.

You can also enjoy craft beer at Napa Valley's Calistoga Inn, the Dogfish Inn in Delaware, and the new DogHouse Hotel in Columbus, Ohio.

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travel trends 2018: High-End Brands Opening Hotels 
Bvlgari Resort Dubai
High-End Brands Opening Hotels

An interesting travel trend is seeing fashion and luxury brands — and even restaurant chains — getting into the hospitality space.

Bulgari (shown here), Baccarat, Armani, and Nobu have all opened hotels, and retailer West Elm is planning a rollout of lifestyle hotels in the next few years in cities like Savannah and Minneapolis. Shinola, a watchmaker and luxury goods company, will debut its Shinola Hotel in Detroit this winter, and Equinox, known for its fancy gyms, is set to debut a hotel in NYC's Hudson Yards complex next year.

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travel trends 2018: Cool Retail Stores in Hotels
Instagram@olive_boutique
Cool Retail Stores in Hotels

Hotels have definitely upped their game in terms of in-house shops. Honolulu's Surfjack Hotel has a branch of hip Hawaiian clothing boutique Olive & Oliver (shown here), while the store at Patagonia's Explora eco-lodge sells locally made wool ponchos and artisanal goods.

The LINE LA has a branch of Poketo, where you can scoop up colorful journals, stationery, and beauty products made exclusively for the store. Additionally, most Ace hotels have uber-hip retail stores.

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travel trends 2018: Schoolhouse Hotels
Washington School House
Schoolhouse Hotels

You won't be too cool for school in these hotels housed in former schoolhouses. The historic Washington School House (shown here) in Park City, Utah, has been transformed into a chic 12-suite hotel with 16-foot ceilings and crystal chandeliers, and Portland's bohemian McMenamins Kennedy School, dating back to 1915, now has a movie theater and brewery. Others include Great John Street in Manchester, England, and The Conservatorium in Amsterdam.

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travel trends best 2018 2019
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