With so many places to go and things to experience, how do today’s savvy travelers find the right destination?

The answer: they work with travel advisors who know what’s hot in the world thanks to attending Virtuoso Travel Week.

“Before the crystal-blue views, or the four-star food, or the front-row seats to nature, a lot of vacations start here at the Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas,” reported NBC correspondent Joe Fryer on the TODAY Show September 15.

What is Virtuoso Travel Week?

Insider travel insights: hundreds of people meeting at tables in hotel ballroom
At Virtuoso Travel Week, the industry discovers insider travel insights

At Virtuoso Travel Week, thousands of travel advisors hold four-minute meetings with thousands of travel suppliers including hotels and tour companies. During those meetings advisors discover the latest travel trends, then bring them home to their clients.

“It’s like speed dating with travel destinations making their pitch to travel advisors – folks who plan trips for those of us itching to escape,” declared Fryer.

“These are the people that are going to make the wow factor for my clients on the ground when they’re traveling,” said Virtuoso travel advisor Amanda Klimak, president of a Connecticut agency.

“This event is a lot like Fashion Week. The travel advisors come here to see what is the new hot destination,” Virtuoso’s director of global public relations, Misty Ewing Belles, told TODAY.

Insider Travel Insights from Virtuoso Travel Week

Insider travel insights: Vietnamese women in colorful performance
Experiencing people and culture in a destination like Vietnam is a hot travel trend

The TODAY Show shared the hottest insider travel insights it uncovered at the event:

  • Personal learning and growth. “Experts say right now the most popular tourist places are the ones where you can learn something and immerse yourself in a country’s culture,” reported Fryer. In particular, Southeast Asia is emerging as a major hotspot, especially Vietnam. “It’s really about the personal enrichment and less about just the simple relaxation,” commented Belles.
  • Culinary travel. More and more people are embarking on world journeys planned around food experience. Culinary travel goes beyond dining in restaurants or learning how to create local dishes at a cooking school. Virtuoso contacts in Italy and India can even arrange for travelers to eat authentic meals in a family’s home.
  • Expeditions to less-visited areas where people can observe wildlife in its natural habitat. Notes Today.com: “Greenland and Iceland are places where people can disconnect from technology and plug into the natural world. Arctic zones offer rare glimpses into the life of polar bears, creatures that are suffering from rising temperatures and melting ice.”
  • Family river cruising. It’s a relaxing way for families to spend time together in a more intimate setting than a large ocean-going ship. Observes Belles, “You unpack once, which when you have children is a big selling point, but it also slows down life a little bit.”

Tips for Smooth Trips

Insider travel insights: Misty Ewing Belles on TODAY ShowBelles offers these insider travel insights to make trips easier:

  • Don’t just budget for flights and hotels — remember expenses for food and activities as well.
  • Fall is a great time to visit Europe, with trips to Spain and Germany presenting the best value right now.
  • For the holidays, plan sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment.
  • Work with a Virtuoso travel advisor to design a trip that explores these hot destinations or experiences. You can find an expert advisor at virtuoso.com.