2018’s Top Google Searches Say a Lot About Where People Traveled (and Why)
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
The people have spoken, er, typed, and Google has listened. (Yes, Google can see what you do online.)
This week, the search engine released its data on the top trending searches of 2018, based on the terms that had the highest spike this year compared to last.
The list sheds some light on the places people most want to travel. Start typing, “trip to” into Google, for example, and a few places are likely to automatically populate. The No. 1 destination people were Googling in 2018? Italy.
Italy has long been a stalwart favorite among travelers, but these weren’t just aspirational trip inspiration searches. Italy was also named the No. 1 travel destination overall in Virtuoso’s Luxe Report this year. According to Virtuoso-affiliated travel advisors, Italy was also the No. 1 honeymoon destination, family travel destination and the No. 2 millennial travel destination in 2018.
It seems that, despite issues with overtourism, Americans still travel to Italy in droves.
Google reported that the second most popular place people searched for was Paris, followed by Iceland, the Bahamas, Ireland, Vegas, Bora Bora, New York, New Orleans and Spain. So if you’re thinking about planning a trip to any of these places, you’re hardly alone.
According to Mastercard’s 2018 Global Destination Cities Index, Paris was the third most popular city in the world to visit in 2018, drawing an estimated 17.44 million international visitors. Meanwhile, Iceland continues to capture the imaginations (and flood the Instagram feeds) of travelers, and its popularity is only increasing. It, too, ranked in a number of categories in Virtuoso’s Luxe Report, including No. 1 emerging destination — all though it feels like Iceland has fully, well, emerged.
And this year, the Bahamas became one of the most talked-about destinations when the massive Baha Mar megaresort debuted in Nassau. The complex comprises three hotels: the SLS Baha Mar, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar and the Rosewood Baha Mar, not to mention around 30 restaurants and bars, several pools, shops, an art gallery and a golf course.
If you were among those searching for a “trip to…” this year, but never made the next step to booking travel, consult one of our thorough guides to exploring these popular destinations using points and miles. (Hello, Eternal City and Land of Fire and Ice!)
As for the places that had people most puzzled, the No. 1 place people Googled when searching “Where is…” was Villanova University, followed by Croatia. The country also appeared in the top 10 Spanish language searches: “Donde esta Croacia en el mapa?”
Croatia’s popularity with travelers has skyrocketed thanks largely to its presence in “Game of Thrones.” For many, it’s a less crowded, less expensive alternative to Italy. And if you don’t know where it is, well, it’s just east of Italy on the other side of the Adriatic Sea. For most of the year, Croatia enjoys warm weather.
Aside from the destinations people searched for, we also noticed that two of the most Googled news terms were indicative of travel trends, too.
Taking the No. 8 spot was the Royal Wedding, which gave London’s Heathrow airport its busiest May ever. And the No. 1 most popular news search was for the World Cup, which attracted more than 5 million tourists to Russia in June. “World Cup” was also the No. 1 most Googled search term in 2018 overall.
And few people have inspired more intrepid travelers than Anthony Bourdain, whose shocking death was felt across the globe this year, and reflected by Google’s search year in review. Despite the devastating loss, Bourdain will remain one of the most influential and powerful personalities the world has ever known.
Featured image by Pawel Czerwinski via Unsplash.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees