For travelers looking for custom experiences and luxury travel in particular, bringing a travel advisor on board is becoming increasingly more appealing. Virtuoso—a network of travel advisors and agencies with over 800 locations, 16,000 advisors, and a presence in more than 45 countries—hosts Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas, which brings together high-end vendors from the travel world (think hotels, resorts, cruise lines, experiences) and the advisors who plan trips for clients.
There, we saw the latest in luxury travel trends that can help shape your next great escape.
Family travel is not just limited to the immediate family; now, you’ll often find large family groups traveling together. Advisors are also seeing more “skip-generation travel”—like when two grandmothers travel with their grandchildren, said Haisley Smith, a travel advisor with Brownell. This is the biggest trend for 2018, surpassing travel with the immediate family.
Active & Adventure
Rather than go to a resort to just relax, more travelers, especially families, are seeking out active, outdoor experiences, from safaris to long hikes. That trip to Brazil is no longer just a beach getaway—it could include an expedition through the Amazon. “It’s fun to see that families are more active and adventurous in their travels these days,” says Misty Belles, managing director of global public relations for Virtuoso. Culture has become more of a factor in why people travel—the value is in authentic experiences, personal enrichment, and seeking adventure.
In the same vein as active and adventure travel, river cruising is more of an experience than a traditional cruise. And the median age on cruises have come down significantly, with more Gen Xers and millennials traveling, according to Smith. The differentiating factor with river cruises? The experience offerings. Look for more involved excursions on land, and with smaller ships, there’s access to new destinations.
Family trips are now exploring less conventional locales for meaningful and authentic experiences. Hot destinations for families include: Iceland (because it’s less expensive for more people to go, along with being diverse and scenic), Africa (because it’s perfect for escaping from the day-to-day and disconnecting), Antarctica (because of the desire to see a place that’s pristine and untouched), Cuba (because travel was restricted there for so long), and the Galapagos Islands (because of the educational opportunities).
Everyone wants an excuse to travel, and people are finding these excuses in anniversaries, birthdays, and destination weddings. Travelers are also choosing to celebrate big milestones abroad, sometimes taking longer vacations and booking wellness retreats.
Ready, Jetset, Go
Itching for an escape? Virtuoso travel advisors and clients selected the top five destinations for each region for 2018. Here’s where U.S. travelers are heading this year: