It’s that time of year again. The new year beckons, and with it opportunities for new travel experiences. Where are you going to go and what are you going to do in the year ahead?
Now’s the time to start planning. Virtuoso travel advisors have some ideas for you, based on requests they’ve received from their upscale clients. They shared their expertise in the latest Virtuoso Luxe Report. Here are their 12 must-have travel experiences of 2016:
Discover untouched, unique places
Exploring new destinations is this year’s chief travel motivator. Cuba is the top emerging destination in the latest Luxe Report, with Bhutan and Myanmar also ranking high on advisors’ lists. Luxury travelers are also seeking out chillier pristine environments, such as Iceland and the Arctic.
Create unforgettable memories
A multigenerational safari in Africa is one way, as traveling with extended family is the Luxe Report’s top trend. Or celebrating a milestone occasion (also a top-five trend) with an expedition cruise to Antarctica.
Push the boundaries of your comfort zone
This is the year to transcend limits, with adventure travel another key trend. Virtuoso advisors report handling client requests for travel experiences as diverse as mountain climbing in Iceland, ziplining in Israel, ballooning over Cappadocia in Turkey and climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge.
Cross something off your bucket list
Don’t wait any longer for that travel experience of a lifetime. Perhaps it’s seeing Machu Picchu. Or staying in an overwater bungalow in French Polynesia. Either way, now is the time to go.
Revel in nature
You may not be going to the Galapagos Islands with 17 family members, as one Virtuoso client did. But you can still take in the planet’s wildlife and scenery in a multitude of ways. A sample of what Virtuoso clients are asking for: tiger viewing in India, swimming with whale sharks in Western Australia, glamping, tracking gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda, observing Mexico’s butterfly migration, and floating through the Grand Canyon.
Enjoy private travel experiences
An easy, more cost-effective way to do this is hiring a specialist guide, such as an art expert or historian, for a half-day tour. Some Virtuoso clients are favoring more dramatic private travel experiences: chartering a yacht to cruise along the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia, renting a villa in St. Barths, booking an entire train from Chicago to Boston, or traveling around the world by private jet.
Take the family to a non-traditional destination
Parents of young children (even infants and toddlers) are venturing to some pretty exotic places such as Mongolia and Iran. They’re having travel experiences such as camel trekking and a tented sleep in the desert in Morocco and surfing camp in Sri Lanka. Even honeymoon destinations like French Polynesia or typically adult experiences like an Amazon river cruise are considerations for today’s adventurous families.
Enjoy closer-to-home experiences
This year’s top two U.S. destinations, New York and Maui, appeal to a diverse range of travelers year-round. And Mexico appears on no less than three Luxe Report top-five lists, proving it’s a compelling travel experience for couples and families alike.
Treat your taste buds
Food travel is a growing trend, and enthusiasts crave local travel experiences. A few examples: taking a cooking class in Rome; hunting for truffles in France; dining at a Michelin-star restaurant; shopping with a chef at a local market, then cooking a meal with him; staying on a sustainable farm; or eating a private dinner on the Great Wall of China.
Indulge your interests
Anywhere you go, you’ll be able to enjoy a personal passion. A few examples Virtuoso travel advisors mention: seeing a soccer match in Barcelona, digging into your roots on a genealogy trip to your ancestral homeland, learning Spanish in Costa Rica, shopping in Dubai, going on an archaeological adventure, or touring World War II sites.
Travelers today want to get to know people in the places they’re visiting. They want to experience a slice of local life. Virtuoso clients are seeking travel experiences such as shopping with or observing local artisans; volunteering to work with local children in need; staying in a bamboo-stilt hut in the Philippines or a traditional Japanese village inn.
Focus on relaxation
Wellness travel is close to a $500 billion industry. Virtuoso advisors report these are the most-requested features when booking this kind of travel:
• Massages and other treatments
• Healthy cuisine
• Fitness facilities and classes
• Natural beauty and surroundings
• Sports facilities and activities
Biggest emerging travel trends
Virtuoso travel advisors also weighed in on the hottest trends they see emerging for the coming year. Check out their top five in this photo gallery:
How to have these travel experiences
Contact a Virtuoso travel advisor to help you plan your travel for the year ahead. Their expertise and connections will result in a trip beyond your expectations.
Which of these experiences is tops on your bucket list?