What Do Upscale Travelers Pick As Their Top Travel Dreams?

Travel Dreams Slideshow

Click here to view the top selections in this year’s Virtuoso Life Travel Dreams Survey

Where are upscale travelers heading these days? Which destinations are hot for specific types of travel? And if travelers could go anywhere or do anything, what would that dream trip look like?

The answers to those questions and more are in the newly released eighth annual Virtuoso Life Travel Dreams Survey. Nearly 9,000 clients of Virtuoso travel advisors took the survey, highlighting the latest trends in luxury travel.

Australia continued its reign as the top dream destination, while perennial favorite Paris finished first in three categories. Cruising also continued to rank high, with European river sailings besting other itineraries and a round-the-world cruise topping the trips of a lifetime. This mirrors what Virtuoso sees in traveler demand, with 2015 world cruises nearly sold out already.

The top Travel Dreams are:

  • Trip of a Lifetime: Taking a world cruise
  • Dream Destination: Australia
  • Dream Island: Hawaii
  • Foodie Favorite: Paris
  • City To Explore: Paris
  • Cruise Destination: European river/canal
  • Romantic Destination: Paris in April
  • Family Destination: Hawaiian Islands

    Travel Drams: Paris

    Paris was the top pick of luxury travelers as best foodie destination, romantic destination and city to explore

Click here to see a slideshow of the top five choices in each category.

The Travel Dreams Survey also identified five travel personalities. Which one are you?

The Go-Getter (24% of respondents)

  • Go-Getters are active, adventurous and want to see and do it all on their vacations.
  • Dream vacations: Traveling the Trans-Siberian Railway, cruising the Amazon, zip-lining with the kids in Costa Rica and biking with the family through Tuscany.

The Connoisseur (21%)

  • The Connoisseur likes the best of everything, and indulges interests and passions while traveling.
  • Dream vacations: Exploring Saint Petersburg, French wine-country cruises, taking the kids to the Swiss Alps in the summer, family pasta-making lessons in Italy and dinner dates in Paris’ five-star restaurants.

The Classic Traveler (20%)

  • Classic Travelers are loyal to the places they love and will return multiple times to their favorite destinations.
  • Dream vacations: Taking over a French villa with their family, going on a world cruise or riding the Orient Express.

    Travel Dreams: Orient Express

    A travel dream for Classic Travelers: riding the Orient Express

The Relaxationist (18%)

  • The Relaxationist travels to get away from it all to restore and rejuvenate.
  • Dream vacations: Lounging on a beach in Tahiti, staying in a Paris apartment and relaxing in the Maldives or the French Riviera.

The Trendsetter (17%)

  • The Trendsetter is all about what’s new and next and is an early adopter of emerging destinations.
  • Dream vacations: going on safari in Namibia, heading to space with Virgin Galactic, river cruising in Myanmar and wine tasting in Chile.

To bring your personal travel dreams to life, browse the global variety of upscale vacation possibilities at virtuoso.com.

Growing Interest in Green Travel

green travel - glacierToday’s travelers are increasingly savvy about their environmental impact on destinations.  In fact, according to the Center for Responsible Travel, green travel is expected to rise to 25% of the world’s travel market.


“Consumers are demanding higher environmental standards in all parts of their lives, including travel,” says Emily Deemer, marketing and sustainability manager at Virtuoso tour operator Natural Habitat Adventures in Boulder, Colorado.  “Ecotourism makes business sense because it helps to preserve a travel company’s greatest assets: the environment, the culture, and the livelihood of host communities.”


Natural Habitat became a 100% carbon-neutral company in 2006. It uses alternative fuel vehicles, reusable water bottles (saving 20,000 plastic bottles annually), and local sourcing. “Ten years ago, most travelers didn’t know what the word ecotourism meant; now clients ask what our policy is on plastic water bottles or whether our food is locally sourced and organic,” comments Deemer.


Another green travel star, Virtuoso property Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa in Wolgan Valley, Australia, has maintained carbon-neutral status since opening in 2009. Building awareness among guests is a key part of the Emirates Wolgan Valley experience. “Our guests are constantly exposed to the conservation work we do, during wildlife safari tours, nature walks, mountain biking and horse trail rides,” explains general manager Joost Heymeijer.


green travel - hiking

Ange Wallace, a Virtuoso travel advisor in Amelia Island, Florida, notes that more cruise lines are designing itineraries to match the tastes of green travelers: “Expedition-style cruising is very much at the forefront with the addition of Silver Expedition ships, National Geographic Explorer and Orion, Un-Cruise, Compagnie du Ponant and others adding more beds to the luxury expedition market.”


Jean Pickard, a Virtuoso travel advisor in Atlanta, Georgia, launched her business catering to adventure travelers, and has observed more luxury brands integrating ecotourism practices. She finds great joy in sharing eco-friendly destinations. “I’m working on a trip to Malaysia for a couple in their early eighties,” she says, with jungle hikes and a visit to a tea plantation on the itinerary. “The client appreciates that I’ve taken the next step to learn what a company is doing in terms of ecotourism.”


Interested in a vacation that’s great for both you and the environment?  Contact your Virtuoso travel advisor for help – or find an advisor at www.virtuoso.com.


New Virtuoso Destination Guide Features Island Adventures

Discover Treasured Islands and Adventures Down Under.

What arouses your travel passion and ignites your imagination? Perhaps it’s the romantic allure of a sun-soaked day spent on a private beach. The enjoyment of savoring unique island cuisines. Or discovering the peculiar wildlife, unrivaled wine routes and ancient cultures waiting Down Under.

The November, Island Adventures Destination Guide, features an amazing and unsurpassed collection of cruise itineraries, vacation packages and exclusive values. To enjoy the digital version in its entirety, click here.

Whether you explore Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii or the South Pacific by land or sea, your Virtuoso travel advisor can create the best travel experience that features an array of exclusive amenities you simply can’t find anywhere else. When a Virtuoso travel advisor plans your vacation, they deliver:

• Value – We have access to pricing, amenities, perks, upgrades and experiences not available anywhere else.
• Customized experiences – Designed with you and for you.
• Confidence – You’ll rest easy knowing we’re handling all the details before, during and after your trip.

A travel advisor provides invaluable assistance that will make your Island Adventure truly extraordinary. For a weekend getaway or the trip of a lifetime, call on us. Don’t have a travel advisor? Click here to find one.

Travel Aspirations Go Global

Virtuoso Life Magazine reveals the results of the annual Travel Dreams Survey

In 2010, travel aspirations have gone global, according to the results from the fourth annual Travel Dreams Sweepstakes Survey, presented by Virtuoso. Nearly 11,000 readers of VIRTUOSO LIFE, the network’s award-winning magazine, weighed in on the survey to reveal the exotic lands, life-changing experiences and thrilling adventures that upscale travelers are currently seeking.

When asked what they consider the trip of a lifetime, readers were clear that setting sail for a world cruise would be a paramount experience. Calling on all seven continents and visiting the new wonders of the world followed close behind as trips of a lifetime, indicating the desire of travelers to visit the globe. The Galápagos Islands also had a strong presence in this year’s results: This island destination was named the most alluring island escape; the second best outdoor adventure; and the third best destination for families.

“This year’s survey results reflect a shift in consumers’ motivation to travel,” said Elaine Srnka, editorial director for VIRTUOSO LIFE. “Travelers want to see the world. They are no longer content with staying in one place. Whether it’s visiting the far corners of the earth on a world cruise, hiking through remote Machu Picchu or tasting local cuisines through cooking schools, travelers want unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.”

The top 10 dream destinations also reflected readers’ longing to visit far-off lands, with Australia, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa and Greece nabbing the first five spots. Paris held onto its reign as the most romantic city to spend time with a loved one, as well as the best gourmet city. Rome remains the city with the most beautiful architecture, and Tuscany continues to be the wine region travelers want to toast the most. Again this year, readers felt going on a safari to Africa would merit the best outdoor adventure.

The Travel Dreams results largely supported Virtuoso’s 2010 Luxe Report, insight gleaned from the network’s elite travel advisors, which revealed that travelers in 2010 are booking longer vacations to more distant destinations. Of the travel professionals that participated in the Luxe Report survey, 71 percent reported that clients are seeking international travel for 10 days or more.

This year, readers had extra enticement to share their opinions: an opportunity to win their own dream trip!  Three lucky winners got to choose one of these trips: a ten-day exploration of the Galápagos Islands aboard Lindblad Expedi­tions’ National Geographic Endeavour; a 12-day cruise aboard the Seabourn Pride from Bangkok to Shanghai; or a trip to South Af­rica on Virgin Atlantic Airways to spend five nights at the One&Only Cape Town.

VIRTUOSO LIFE’s Travel Dreams survey was designed to gather consumer travel trends and offer inspiration for future journeys. The 12-question survey explored readers’ opinions about everything from their dream destinations and the best cities for dining to the best destinations for romance and families.  Top-line results can be found below, and the results are featured in the July/August issue of VIRTUOSO LIFE.

The survey results were tallied from responses from almost 11,000 VIRTUOSO LIFE readers who participated in the Travel Dreams Sweepstakes. Virtuoso promoted the sweepstakes via email and within the magazine.

To view a digital edition of the VIRTUOSO LIFE July/August “Readers’ Choice Travel Dreams” issue, click here.