Luxury travel network Virtuoso, based on its latest survey, has determined 2018-2019 will be the year when its high-end customers will seek out less-visited destinations and more unusual experiences.
Upscale consumers desire unspoiled natural beauty and reveals their preferences in high-end and experiential travel, according to the Virtuoso’s Luxe Report discovered five travel trends for 2018/19, including:
Cold is hot: Seasoned travelers in search of fresh destinations are setting their sights on chillier climates. Iceland continues its surge in popularity, placing high in several Luxe Report categories this year. Cruisers also want to visit Alaska and adventure travelers want to see Antarctica and the Arctic. One trip of a lifetime mentioned frequently is seeing the Northern Lights.
Exploring new destinations: This is the year’s top trip motivator, with travelers embracing the opportunity to push beyond their comfort zone and challenge themselves to try something unexpected during their trip, such as swimming with marine life like dolphins or mantas, going zip-lining or ballooning, or taking a helicopter tour.
Connecting with family through travel: Topping the list of trends since 2010, multigenerational travel has firmly established itself as a travel niche. . Whether renting a European villa for a celebration with loved ones, cruising to the Galapagos Islands, or snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, a family trip creates lifelong memories, strengthens bonds and plays a pivotal role in childhood education.
Experience Africa: From South Africa to the Botswana and Kenya, to the souks of Morocco, Africa is one of the world’s most diverse continents. Safari remains an integral part of the African experience, particularly with wildlife preservation a priority for sustainably savvy travelers.
Be a traveler rather than a tourist: Immersive experiences not found in a guidebook or brochure, opportunities to meet locals, wandering neighborhoods and making spontaneous discoveries are the best ways to experience a destination. Whether it is wine tasting or learning a traditional craft or a new language, travelers will be seeking out the true culture of that area they are visiting.
Desire for genuine human connection: This is a key driver for today’s travelers. Travelers are asking for everything from reaching the edge of space in a MiG-29 flight in Russia, to herding cattle in Australia, to hosting a celebration in a private capsule aboard the London Eye. They also seek rare and unusual accommodations, such as an igloo in Norway, a private castle all to themselves, and sleeping under the stars in the desert.
With the focus on far-flung exotic destinations, it is not surprising that more luxury travelers are embarking on international trips of two weeks or longer. Week-long international trips and three- to five-day domestic trips continue to be popular as well.
What is surprising, however, is that we also noted more interest in shorter international trips, such as Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands in less than a week. Conversely, some travelers are requesting longer trips of three to five weeks.