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10 Top Trending Travel Searches of 2019 Reveal the Most Popular Destinations

Travel News Insider Guides
by Nickolaus Hines Dec 11, 2019

Few things say more about the collective human interest than what we search for online. For better or for worse, Google is what we turn to when we’re looking for somewhere to eat, need a new anything, and when we’re too embarrassed to ask something out loud. Also, as more than 1.4 billion people travel internationally per year, we turn to Google when we’re curious about a destination.

On December 11, Google released its 2019 Year in Search, which shows the top trending searches. These are the queries that had the highest traffic spike compared to 2018 (not, it should be noted, the absolute top searches or most searched things in 2019). Google broke down the data into a “trip to” category, and the results give some insight on the top trending destinations people in the United States wanted to travel to in the last year of the 2010s.

  1. Costa Rica
  2. New York
  3. California
  4. New Orleans
  5. Alaska
  6. Mexico
  7. Las Vegas
  8. Bora Bora
  9. Japan
  10. Maldives

The Maldives has seen an uptick in luxury hotel openings the past couple of years, including a 60-villa JW Marriott resort, the private COMO Cocoa Island, and bungalows from US hotel brand The Standard — which just adds to an underwater museum and the world’s first underwater villa. Other appearances on the list seem like old standbys: New York, Las Vegas, California, and New Orleans. In Japan, interest is ramping up a year ahead of the 2020 Olympics.

2019’s list has some similarities with the travel destinations that made it on the 2018 one:

  1. Spain
  2. New Orleans
  3. New York
  4. Bora Bora
  5. Las Vegas
  6. Ireland
  7. Bahamas
  8. Iceland
  9. Paris
  10. Italy

That’s not to say people aren’t still interested in going to these places, but it’s some insight into the continued love for certain types of vacations. An island escape to Bora Bora, for example, will likely never get old. Iceland and Italy, however, are both facing major overtourism (though there is a good time of year to see Iceland, and there are alternatives to Italy’s tourism chokehold of Venice like Verona and Padua).

Google also broke down searches in a “where is” category. Some of the results are political, such as Sri Lanka, which had religious and governmental protests, and 21 Savage, who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement this year. Others are sports related like Clemson, the NCAA football national champion, and Gonzaga, a school ranked high in the annual March Madness NCAA basketball tournament. The third top trending search for “where is” is “where is area 51,” which was no doubt inspired by the semi-serious movement to storm Area 51 led by a Facebook group.

This past year was a big one for travelers. Travel is easier and cheaper than ever before, though the huge impact travel has on our environment is also better understood. Thankfully, there are things like carbon offsets and knowing how to mitigate the impact tourism has on local communities through responsible purchasing. The trending places constantly change as does the way we get around, though one thing stays the same: It’s always a good time to travel responsibly. So where will you go in 2020?

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