Many of us plan vacations as an idyllic reward for the rigours of everyday life and now, with the increasing efficiency of digital guidance, it has never been easier to experience exactly what we want. Fingers crossed. There will always be surprises, the unknowns counting on our sense of adventure, all of which add up to a really good trip.
So what personalization, you may ask, is shaping the plans of worldwide travellers in 2017?
One of them, data shows, is an increasing quest to learn and understand how we share the planet. It’s the collective desire to explore beyond the horizon, says Booking.com, referring to the preferences expressed by its global customers as they hunt for deals on accommodation in 227 countries.
“Experiencing the unknown, encountering different people and cultures, and testing new limits are all at the core of what drives us to travel,” adds Pepijn Rijvers, the website’s chief marketing officer. As importantly, “while travellers are displaying an insatiable appetite for adventure, most of us are mindful of the impact those experiences could have on the local culture and natural resource sustainability.”
Specifically, here’s what your fellow travellers from all corners of the globe are planning for themselves this year, combined with a few new ideas:
JUST PENNIES TO BRING YOUR BESTIE
Setting out with a favourite companion is the way to go and that includes helpful companions of the electronic variety. Mobile apps are an anytime, low-cost, personal tour guide and, in 2017, 52 per cent of travellers say they expect to use these efficient little pals more frequently. There are apps to guide you from your global position to the places you request like landmarks, restaurants, events and attractions, and to under-the-radar needs such as grocery stores, parking lots and emergency services. In Los Angeles, for example, receive up-to-the-minute happenings from KCRW Radio, or quickly find sports tickets, nearby yoga-and-spin fitness centres, or find out about wildly different physical fitness experiences like sandbox boot camp and dance parties in the morning. DiscoverLosAngeles.com
PIGGYBACK WITHOUT YOUR PIGGYBANK
Would you work for less money if your job included lots of travel? Put another way: does working around the clock as you do now pale in comparison to a frequent change-of-scene and a pampered hotel life? Of those polled, 30 per cent said yes. As well, 49 per cent said they regularly extend business trips for leisure pursuits, and 75 per cent of them said they will do the same this year. Take Boston, for instance. It is one thing to realize you’re walking on the very ground where so much milestone history happened, but if you don’t stay the weekend, you’ll miss another Boston phenomenon. Throughout the winter and spring, The Langham hotel is your singular chance to try more than 100 sensational sweet treats at the sell-out Saturday Chocolate Bar brunch, an all-you-can-eat buffet dedicated to choco-desserts only. LanghamHotels.com
NOT MY GRANDMOTHER’S VACATION
The adventurous spirit is totally taking over as travellers express a growing appetite for discovering environments in an authentic way. Fifty-six per cent of us say we’d like to do more independent travel in the future and 47 per cent told Booking.com they would like to discover corners of the globe where none of their friends have been. The Exumas in the Bahamas are in that league. From lively Nassau, take a boat trip far across the turquoise abyss to these islands, so secluded you’ll likely kick off your shoes for good and become one with nature as you feed iguanas and, perhaps, swim with pigs—yep, pigs. If you find yourself in Cuba, Anguilla or Barbados, join other adventurous spirits who are renting jeeps and scooters to explore off-the-beaten-path landscapes, villages and eateries. NassauParadiseIsland.com; VisitCuba.com; IVisitAnguilla.com; Barbados.org
MASSAGE MY WOES AWAY
Escapes designed to utterly indulge our mind, body and soul put things into perspective. And in 2017, that is exactly what 48 per cent of us say we are going to do. Imagine, for example, the renewal of a winter getaway, which includes heart-pumping snow sports combined with the rejuvenation of a spa. Go to Vermont, for example, for the Stowe Response. Based on meditation, this relaxation program is known to induce serenity and soothe away stress so the overwhelming response is one of total well-being. Or, if you find yourself in the Rockies of the Southwest USA, try something new. In Utah, go snow-surfing on the slopes of Park City or Deer Valley. Add a daily massage and it won’t be long before you morph into a brand-new person. SkiVermont.com; VisitParkCity.com
IF I’M NOT GREEN, I’M NOT GOING
Digging in our heels can change the world, one carbon footprint at a time. For instance, at least one-third of travellers say they are carefully choosing only eco-friendly options. So, we might ask, can tourist magnets like Florida actually measure up? Keep those green eyes peeled. By ardently protecting its coastline, Florida is in the top-tier of eco-responsible states and such initiatives are mirrored in its human-made attractions too. At Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, solar panels installed on select animal sheds produce enough clean energy every day to power 5.5 Tampa Bay homes. And if you fly when travelling, the impact of a fossil-fuelled aircraft can be offset by going non-stop to save both energy and emissions; bringing lighter luggage; choosing a smaller aircraft with fewer seats; and reducing the environmental impact of your journey by participating in a “carbon offset program.” Dozens of airlines worldwide collect and distribute passenger donations to fund eco-revival projects at home and abroad. VisitTampaBay.com; IATA.org