There’s something inspiring about going on a journey — but how do you illustrate this in a way that feels authentic and helps your content stand out? Here are 10 travel trends shaping how we see and move about the world today, and tips for how you can express them in a powerfully visual way.


1. High-Tech Travel

Today, traveling with a mobile device means having the world at your fingertips. Technology has transformed the way we plan and experience journeys: You can book a flight, hotel and table for two in a matter of minutes or walk the streets of a foreign city without ever leaving the living room. And now, 360-degree photos and VR allow people to explore the world in an entirely new way – remotely or onsite. Show your audience the myriad of technical possibilities through images that highlight specific devices in special locations.

Search Tip: Pair “smartphone,” “tablet,” “virtual reality” or “headset” with “travel” and “technology” and see what comes up.


2. Natural Wanderlust

Parallel to this ever-evolving digital existence, the call of the wild has never been stronger. Last year, the National Parks Service reported 307.2 million visits — more than ever before. A deeper reverence is mounting for the natural environment as we seek out ways to experience it in all its glory. When illustrating your content, look for photos that show off nature’s most astounding backdrops and inspiring scenes.

Search Tip: Try mixing keywords like “landscape,” “sky” “and “nature” with particulars such as “lake,” “mountains” and “Aurora Borealis,” or “backpacker,” “camping” and “hiking.”


3. Wellness Travel

Yoga, meditation and wellness retreats are also increasing in popularity. People want not only to get away, but also to take care of themselves while they’re at it. They want to heal, mind and body. Whether it’s part of an organized group or a solitary expedition, for many, vacations are really about taking the time to reflect and focus on personal health. Explore this potential through pictures that focus on the outdoors and the physical.

Search Tip: Combine “yoga,” “meditation,” “hiking” or “mountain biking” with terms such as “nature,” “water,” “mountain” and “sunset” to find what you’re looking for.

4. Solo Travel

For others, travel is a road to self-discovery – especially when flying solo. Unaccompanied exploration means seeing the world (and oneself) free of the needs, desires and opinions of a companion. Challenging at times but immensely rewarding, traveling alone is on the rise among women in particular. Share images that show courageous travelers what they might be capable of.

Search Tip: “Travel,” “tourist” and “exploration,” matched with specifics such as “one person” and “one man OR woman only” or “one young man/woman only” should yield some interesting results.

5. Travel Like a Local

Travel is now more accessible and affordable than ever. The rise of Airbnb and similar services has turned homes into homestays and hosts into friendly guides. Travelers don’t want to travel like tourists, they want to live like locals. Experiencing a destination through the eyes of a real person, a native inhabitant, and maybe even a soon-to-be friend is as good as it gets. Show your audience what that means through vibrant images of people going on different kinds of adventures together.

Search Tip: Along with standard travel terms and location specifics, search for “culture” and “community,” as well as “group of people,” “friendship” and “togetherness.”

6. Food Tourism

Trying another culture’s cuisine is an exciting part of any trip, and foodies are hungrier than ever for authentic, regional cooking. Be it at Michelin-star restaurants or floating markets, today’s gastronomically inclined travelers go far and beyond to eat up genuine flavors and experiences in the places they visit. When selecting relevant images for your content, don’t miss the opportunity to give them a feast for the eyes.

Search Tip: If you’re covering a particular place or national dish, be sure to add it to your search alongside terms like “eating,” “dining,” “market” and “food.”

7. Cultural Exchange

Today’s travelers are more interested in finding their own way than following a set, guided itinerary. They want to be in the thick of it, but they want to get there on their own. There’s a desire to go off the beaten path and get up close and personal with the daily lives and deep-rooted cultures of the people one meets along the way. Look for photos that illustrate the kinds of traditions and experiences that make each destination so unique.

Search Tip: Be specific. Enter in the names of countries with terms like “colors” and “cultures” and more precise keywords like particular festivals or traditional items of dress.

8. Kid-Friendly Vacations

Having children changes everything for a family, including time off. But that doesn’t mean that travel can only consist of theme park excursions. From road trips to stays at the lake or summers abroad, today’s family vacations are all about having fun and making memories – in easy, convenient, affordable ways. Search for inspiring images that show parents the full potential of family travel.

Search Tip: Pairing “parent,” “child” or specific family members such as “aunt” or “grandpa” with “travel,” “road trip” or “outdoors” is a good place to start.

9. Packing Light

The less you pack, the less you spend – in airports, at least. As minimalism makes its way through mainstream culture, many of us are seeking out ways to de-clutter our lives, even on the road. Get the message across with images that motivate viewers to get up, out and organized.

Search Tip: Go for straightforward terms like “travel,” “packing,” and “suitcase,” along with any required particulars like “passport,” “map” and “camera.”

10. Digital Nomads

For some, travel isn’t just a once-in-a-while affair, but a way of life. People who work remotely often opt to relocate – not once, but constantly. Digital nomads live across the globe, following the weather, their bliss or both. After all, if a job doesn’t tie you down to one place, why stay? There’s a world of possibility to explore and images like these help get people started.

Search Tip: Mixing no-nonsense keywords like “remote,” “working” and “laptop” with more pleasurable ones such as “travel,” “vacations” and “nature” is a great way to produce the desired effect.

Discover more standout travel imagery at Getty Images and iStock by Getty Images