In a shocking turn of events, the Mayan calendar's predictions did not come true. So now what? I guess it's time to take that exciting luxury vacation you've always dreamed of before the world potentially comes to an end again. Perhaps you’ve already started thinking about some upcoming travel plans for 2013—will you go on a romantic escape with your significant other? Take a family trip for some quality bonding time? Head out on that exotic adventure that’s been on your bucket list? Or maybe take a solo travel opportunity to do some soul searching?
Since we're too impatient to wait another year to find out your selections, we went right to the source for some insightful predictions. Experienced representatives from all facets of the travel industry, including cruise, hotel, and tour companies, gave us their expert opinions on how they envision discerning travelers spending their hard earned time off and just where they'll be heading to in the new year. (Photo courtesy of Classic Journeys)
Whether it’s going through the excruciating pain of having to turn the cell phone and laptop off during your vacation (curse the thought), or using them to enhance your experience, technology will most certainly be a factor in upcoming travel plans. For those who simply cannot de-digitize, Jennifer Raezer, founder of Approach Guides, has created downloadable guidebooks suited for any mobile device. Rather than lugging around multiple books when you’re country hopping, all the info you could require can be in one place at your fingertips.
She says, “Travelers are seeking meaningful, authentic experiences that connect them with a destination's cultural essence. We explore a key cultural aspect (history, art, architecture, food, and wine) in each destination, giving that destination relevance, depth, and personality and helping travelers connect with its local cultural heritage.”
Edward Piegza, founder of Classic Journeys tour company, also sees an increase in the use of technology in travel, with high quality photo apps like Instagram having even more of a presence in the coming year. “More and more frequently we see our travelers sharing trip highlights to their loved ones and networks half way across the world,” Piegza says. “A smart phone allows a camel ride in Morocco to be vicariously experienced in the palm of one’s hand in California.” (Photo courtesy of Approach Guides)
For those who are going to do the unthinkable and leave the tablets behind, Lindsey Ueberroth, President of Preferred Hotel Group, predicts that these types of travelers will be more focused on finding hotels that will actually help them escape all the digital devices. Busy executives who always seem to have a Blackberry in one hand and an iPad in the other, will be looking to detach themselves from the technological demands of their careers and really appreciate their vacation time.
With the same idea in mind, Mike Kelly, CEO of On Call International which specializes in travel assistance and security services worldwide, suggests that people will be seeking more secluded locations that would most likely force the disconnect from distracting electronics. “We predict people will be looking for unique excursions in remote destinations and in undiscovered areas of countries (think the countryside of Ireland), where they can just enjoy the surroundings without being interrupted by constant emails and phone calls.” (Photo courtesy of Classic Journeys)
Yoga at the Serenity Yoga Pavilion
Let the Adventure Begin
The demand for adventure travel experiences has quickly become one of the most popular travel trends in the past year and shows no signs of stopping in 2013. Travel companies are constantly looking to thrill guests with over-the-top offerings and one-of-a-kind itineraries that will leave their jaws dropped and bucket list items crossed off. Even if the getaway is just for a few days or mere miles away, travelers are still hoping to be pleasantly surprised by the detailed care put into the accommodations.
General Manager of Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, Simon Chen says, “While the trips may be shorter the travelers’ expectations have just skyrocketed. They are looking to fulfill a lifetime dream, self improvement or simply to do something different that they can brag about to their friends...i.e. cycling and training with a pro cyclist, finding your Zen with a Yoga master or even stepping into the shoes of a pro golfer for a few days." (Photo courtesy of Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa)
Exploring the Unknown
Cruises have become one of the best ways to see the more untouched regions of the world. Itineraries have gone from attending wine and cheese night in the ship’s ballroom to trekking through the Arctic to capture an image of an endangered species. Cruise-goers from the Baby Boom era tend to be those looking to get out and experience something new and different as they become empty nesters or near retirement.
“Passengers who have been there, done that, seek an experience to challenge the normal barriers within their comfort zone,” explains Judy Parker and Marilyn Conroy from David Morris International, experts in the luxury cruise sector. They predict that “trips that educate and provide an authentic cultural exchange between people or rare encounters with wildlife” will become increasingly more in demand for 2013.
Classic Journeys’ Edward Piegza has also seen the trend for risk-taking in the influx of trips booked in the eleventh hour. “More than ever, we’ve seen reservations coming in at the last minute. Of course for us, this trend reflects the increased adventurous spirit of our travelers.” (Photo courtesy of Silversea Expeditions)
Catching the Culture Bug
Travel has become about so much more than just arriving at a destination and checking into a hotel. Increasingly, more people want to truly experience the location they’re in and immerse themselves in the local culture. American Express Travel Insiders predict that the busier people’s lives become, the more they will long to slow down, look around, and enjoy the journey. “From tours of British architecture and countryside with the 200th anniversary of Pride & Prejudice, to tours through American history with the 150th anniversary of The Emancipation Proclamation, historical experiences around the world are increasingly contributing to the travel landscape in 2013.” (Photo courtesy of ThinkStock)
The Family That Travels Together Stays Together
In the coming year, travel will be a family affair. Lindsey Ueberroth of Preferred Hotel Group sees multi-generational travel growing in popularity, as parents and grandparents want to educate their children with authentic, interactive experiences over merely just reading a book on the subject. Hotels will be supporting the cause with vamped up events and programs for youngsters to get them involved in local culture, art, food and more. “There will be an increase in requests for far-flung destinations,” says Ueberroth, “so we will see more hotels offering experiences that go beyond the typical kids program to help kids ‘experience’ travel versus just ‘see’ things. (Photo courtesy of ThinkStock)