GoAbroad reviewed millions of searches on our site from 2017 to bring you the forecast of the where’s where of meaningful travel in 2018.
Background on the GoAbroad Top Travel Destinations Report for 2018
When sitting down to analyze our community behavior and outline our predictions for 2018 travel, we wanted to be as thorough as possible. That’s why we’ve brought you not only the best destinations worldwide across all types of meaningful travel, but we’ve also segmented the data to present it as popular destinations within each type of travel, as well as within the regions for each type of travel.
If you’re thinking, “Wow, that’s a lot of content and data!” — well, you’re right. It is. But we love it, and we thought you might too. That’s why we put together our first ever Top Travel Destinations Report (the intro to which you're reading right now!).
We wanted to highlight not only our users’ favorite destinations in the world, but also the best regionally. By being ultra-thorough, we are able to create a baseline for future reports that indicate the increase and decrease in popularity amongst meaningful travelers.
Survey GoAbroad user behavior to predict travel preferences in 2018 based on destination and activity (i.e. study abroad, volunteer abroad, etc.). Present statistical information that gives a snapshot of the most up-to-date meaningful travel landscape. Create something cool.
We have over a million unique visitors every month; more than ¾ are 18-34 years old and 61% identify as women. Approximately 90% of our traffic is from English speakers with our biggest majority from the United States.
At the time of the report conception, GoAbroad had 10 separate types of meaningful travel, known as directories:
- Adventure Travel (AT)
- Degree Abroad (DA)
- High School Abroad (HS)
- Intern Abroad (IA)
- Jobs Abroad (JA)
- Language Schools (LS)
- Study Abroad (SA)
- Teach Abroad (TA)
- TEFL Certification Courses (TEFL)
- Volunteer Abroad (VA)
There is an individual activity report for each of our 10 directories. Each individual activity report is comprised of five parts: 1) Top 10 destinations worldwide for this particular travel activity. 2) Top 10 destinations in the Americas (North, Central, South). 3) Top 10 destinations in Australasia (Asia, Oceania). 4) Top 10 destinations in Europe. 5) Top 10 destinations in Africa
Note: At the time of publication, GoAbroad also has a new directory dedicated to Gap Year travel. Gap year travel was not included in the 2018 report. Also, on GoAbroad, we group Russia regionally with Europe rather than Asia.
[Find links to each directory’s individual reports further down this summary]
Using Google Analytics, we segmented our 2017 global traffic based on specific directories. From there, we analyzed the top trafficked pages to first identify the 10 most visited pages for countries or regions for that specific directory. Then, we dove deeper by pulling out region-specific countries.
How do we define “meaningful travel?”
We define meaningful travel as more than romping around from place to place with no real intentions (or reflection on the impact your presence has in a foreign community). There are a lot of tenets that define meaningful travel, but the most crucial include:
- Have goals and intentions
- Strive for reciprocity and mutual benefit
- See every travel experience as an opportunity to learn
- Be humble
We find organized travel programs are exceptional at fostering the environment necessary for this type of inner-work and self-reflection. Capitalizing on an experience can be easier to do with the right combination of guidance and independence. Psst! You can make a pledge to become a meaningful traveler here.
The executive report summary
Where is the most popular place for meaningful travel in 2018?
Our community of meaningful travelers have spoken! Our analytics lead us to predict Spain to be the “it-girl” of travel in this new year. Across the board, Spain appeared on 8/10 of the possible worldwide top travel lists.
- Spain is ranked #7 for internships abroad in 2018.
- It ranked #2 as a high school study abroad destination.
- It is the #1 destination amongst meaningful travelers for work abroad.
- Spain is the most loved place for teaching English abroad, too!
- Spain ranks #9 for places to find TEFL certification courses.
- If you’re looking to get your masters degree in Spain, you’re not alone. It ranks #2.
- Spain is in the middle of the adventure travel pack, clocking in at #5.
- No surprise—Spain is the #4 most popular study abroad destination in 2018.
Notably, Spain did not rank in the top 10 destinations worldwide for only volunteering abroad and for language schools.
Other popular destinations regardless of directory for meaningful travelers in 2018 include China and Japan, both populating seven out of our 10 possible lists of activities in 2018. England, France, and the United States tie as popular destinations for six out of 10 meaningful travel activities. Australia, South Korea, Italy, and Germany bring up the rear to round out the 10 best places for meaningful travel in 2018.
What do meaningful travelers like to do in these popular countries?
The countries comprising our top 10 list of meaningful travel destinations in 2018 are predominantly popular amongst users searching for international internships, study abroad programs, and high school travel programs. The lists for top destinations for TEFL programs, adventure travel trips and tours, language schools, and degree programs worldwide in 2018 will look the most different from this master list.
Each of these destinations have well-established infrastructure to host young travelers, including a wide-variety of exceptional experiences and types of programs to fulfill their needs.
What are travelers regional destination preferences?
Meaningful travelers have been longtime fans of the European continent, and that’s not looking to change in 2018. More than ⅓ of travelers prefer Europe to other destinations, though powerhouse regions Australasia and the Americas are not too far behind, appealing to 31% and 28% of GoAbroad users in 2017 respectively. Africa is still the appealing regional destination to 6% of meaningful travelers; we hope to see this grow in the coming years.
What is the #1 searched destination for each type of travel activity?
It is worth noting that even though Spain had the most appearances on our top 10 travel destinations lists, South Korea was actually the #1 favorite for more types of travel: Study Abroad, High School Study Abroad, AND Language Schools.
The United States is the #1 destination on our site for users searching for intern abroad; when isolating our American-only traffic, that destination becomes Japan. Most of our community are searching for masters degrees in South America, and believe South Africa to be a top destination to seek TEFL courses in 2018. Adventure travelers are heading to Thailand before anywhere else, and volunteer programs in Australia attract more than the khaki and koala-loving types. Users searching for international jobs, whether English teaching positions or otherwise, have their eyes on Spain. South Korea is popular amongst students of all kinds—teen, college, and language.
Read more of the report—broken down by activity
Each of these links will lead you to the collection of worldwide destinations that are most attractive to meaningful travelers for a particular type of travel. First visit these, then scroll to the bottom of each page to gain access to the sub-reports on the regional breakdowns.
- The World's Most Adventurous Places to Visit in 2018 (AT)
- The World's Best Countries to Earn Your Masters Abroad in 2018 (DA)
- The World's Best Countries for Study Abroad in High School in 2018 (HS)
- The World’s Best Places to Intern in 2018 (IA)
- The World's Best Places to Work Abroad in 2018 (JA)
- The World's Best Countries for Foreign Language Study in 2018 (LS)
- The World's Best Places to Study Abroad in 2018 (SA)
- The 10 Best Places to Teach English Abroad in 2018 (TA)
- The World's Best Places for TEFL Certification in 2018 (TEFL)
- The World's Best Places to Volunteer Abroad in 2018 (VA)
To share this report
Thanks for your interest in sharing our data with your networks, communities, and travel-loving users!
Please link directly to this page: https://www.goabroad.com/articles/goabroad-top-travel-destinations-report-2018
We’ve put together these free promotional materials for the GoAbroad Top Travel Destinations Report for 2018 as well, including suggested social media posts and an email template to wow your networks.
Please email Megan Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and a PDF report summary.
We’d also like to send an extra-special shout out to our main content writer for this project, Suzanne Bhagan. Those 50,000+ words didn’t write themselves. Thank you for your incredibly hard work, comprehensive research, and general pizzazz!