The most important thing about travelling these days, as everyone knows, is what it will look like on Instagram. You have done the arms-aloft pose shot from behind on a big hill after a hike, the inflatable unicorn in the infinity pool and the Aperol spritz on the rooftop. But what you need for 2018 is somewhere new, somewhere undiscovered. The holiday company Thomas Cook is pushing two new untouched – by any tourist under 30, I mean – destinations for 2018: Costa Brava and Madeira. They have been reintroduced for next year, and the company is describing them, along with Malta, as “retro holiday spots”, adding there has been a spike in demand for all three.
This comes as the travel industry is already trying to reinvent cruising for millennials, with ships offering yoga classes, racetracks and DJs. Could these previously rather naff 60s package-holiday spots take over from Mexico and Iceland as the must-see millennial destinations?
“It doesn’t surprise me,” says Francesca Muston, head of City by City travel guides for the trend forecasting service WGSN. For that generation, says Muston, “travel is hugely important”. They tend to take – budget permitting – several trips a year, and a holiday to Costa Brava will probably not be their main holiday, but an additional, low-cost, break.
There could be a sense of irony in seeking out the classic package-holiday destination – with its high-rise hotels and pubs serving fish and chips – and having a new kind of appreciation. “You could look at Margate in the UK, which has this new lease of life. A new generation of people are discovering it and they’ve got their own take on it.”
But, equally, younger travellers may not have any idea about the baggage that comes with a destination such as Madeira (considered to be popular with older people) or Costa Brava (Brits abroad). “They don’t necessarily have the same associations with those destinations,” says Muston. Also, she says, “millennial travellers are real explorers. I don’t think we should assume they’re having the cliched holiday that we would associate with going to Costa Brava or Madeira. They’ll be exploring and having their own take on those destinations.”
Essentials to pack: your billowy beach pants (they’re going to be a summer 2018 thing). And your nan.