The Greek isles are in the top 5 picks for Cruise Itineraries, according to the 2018 annual Luxe report by luxury travel specialists Virtuoso. The report reveals consumer preferences in high-end and experiential travel, as discerned from a comprehensive survey of the network’s travel advisors worldwide.
So what are the hottest tips from the report?
First and foremost, cold is hot
Seasoned travellers in search of fresh destinations are setting their sights on chillier climes. Iceland continues to surge in popularity, placing high in several Luxe Report categories this year.
Cruisers are enthusiastic about Alaska, and adventurers about Antarctica and the Arctic. One trip of a lifetime mentioned by Virtuoso’s expert advisors: seeing the Northern Lights.
It’s time to explore
Exploring new destinations is the year’s top trip motivator, and travellers are embracing the opportunity to push beyond their comfort zone.
Virtuoso advisors suggest that people check out at least one new place a year, and challenge themselves to try something unexpected during their sojourn: swim with marine life like dolphins or mantas, go zip-lining or ballooning, or take a helicopter tour.
Connecting with family through travel
After topping the list of trends since 2010, multigenerational travel has firmly established itself as a travel niche. Following close behind is travel with immediate family, also a consistent trend that will carry forward in 2018.
Whether renting a European villa for a celebration with loved ones, cruising to the Galapagos Islands, or snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef, a family trip creates lifelong memories, strengthens bonds, and plays a pivotal role in childhood education.
From culturally rich South Africa, also 2018’s top adventure destination, to the wilds of Botswana and Kenya, to the souks of Morocco, Africa is one of the world’s most diverse continents.
Virtuoso’s advisors say a safari is an integral part of the African experience, particularly with wildlife preservation a priority for today’s sustainably savvy travellers.
Be a traveller rather than a tourist
Immersive experiences not found in a guidebook or brochure, opportunities to meet locals, wandering neighbourhoods and making spontaneous discoveries are the best ways to experience a destination, according to Virtuoso advisors.
Whether it is wine tasting, or learning a traditional craft or a new language, travellers will be seeking out the true culture of that area they are visiting.
No activity is too unusual for the clients of Virtuoso travel advisors, as some of the more surprising requests show.
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 accommodations such as an igloo in Norway, a private castle all to themselves, and sleeping under the stars in the desert – no tent required.
With the focus on far-flung exotic destinations in 2018, it is not surprising that luxury travellers are embarking on international trips of two weeks or longer, which are seeing strong demand.
Week-long international trips and three- to five-day domestic trips continue to be popular as well. What is surprising, though, is that Virtuoso advisors also noted more interest in shorter international trips, such as Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands in less than a week.
Top Travel Trends
1. Multigenerational travel
2. Active or adventure trips
3. River cruising
4. Food and wine travel
5. Celebration travel
Top Global Destinations
3. South Africa
5. Australia and New Zealand (tie)
Top Millennial Destinations
4. Costa Rica
5. Australia and South Africa (tie)
Top Family Travel Destinations
3. Orlando, FL
5. Costa Rica
Top Cruise Itineraries
3. European river
5. Greek Isles
Top Emerging Destinations
Top Adventure Destinations
1. South Africa
3. New Zealand
4. Costa Rica
Top U.S. Destinations
1. New York, NY
2. Maui, HI
3. Miami/South Beach, FL
4. Las Vegas, NV
5. Napa Valley/Sonoma, CA
Top Honeymoon Destinations
2. Maui, HI
3. French Polynesia
Top Travel Motivations
1. Exploring new destinations
2. Crossing off bucket-list items
3. Seeking authentic experiences
4. Rest and relaxation
5. Personal enrichment