World

The Best Travel Trends

The Best Travel Trends

Travel trends come and go and plenty of places leap on a bandwagon just before the whole idea jumps the shark. Here, we check out the trends that have lasted and the places and organisations that epitomise them.

BAREFOOT LUXE

WHAT IS IT?

When we were kids, beach holidays were all about living in our cossies, fibro shacks and bunk beds perennially gritty with sand. Now, as grown-ups, we prefer the sand stays on the beach and the shack comes complete with a plunge pool. It’s everything your heart could desire, but wrapped up in a carefree mood.

THE BEST OF THE BEST

Koh Kood is one of Thailand’s remaining unspoiled islands, and on a remote peninsula on its northwest coast you’ll find Soneva Kiri. Here, the mantra is “no news, no shoes”. Each of its villas – they range from one to six bedrooms and have private pools – is tucked into the forest to protect its residents from prying eyes. Some are built high atop a cliff, others are close to the beach. All the normal island activities are laid on thick, but it’s offerings like the outdoor cinema that does private screenings, the dining pod where you’re hoisted into the canopy to enjoy lunch and the all-you-can-eat ice-cream bar that will have you feeling as though you’ve been transported to another world. soneva.com

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Azura Benguerra Island (azura-retreats.com), hand-built by the local community and situated in a marine park in Mozambique. Just 20 pool villas, an unblemished stretch of sand, and a fistful of activities, from diving to playing soccer in the local league, create a faraway paradise.

The place they call NiCaribbean. Calala Island (calala-island.com), off the coast of Nicaragua, is what Barbados was like decades ago: heaven on a beach. Plus, there’s a maximum of just eight guests in its snazzy suites at any time.

BUBBLE TENTS

WHAT ARE THEY?

It’s pretty much as described on the tin: they’re tents that look like bubbles. These clear domes are glamping’s natural progression and have popped up in destinations where being able to watch the day’s cycle – from rose-hued sunrises to, depending on where you are, a vivid night sky – is a major advantage.

THE BEST OF THE BEST

This puts a new spin on the tree house. At Bubble Lodge on Ile aux Cerfs, an outcrop on a crater lake in Mauritius, you can spend the night in an eco-friendly transparent dome set inside a banyan tree. Despite being so close to nature, you won’t go without. The spacious bubble comes complete with sitting area and outdoor shower, plus there’s access to a private beach and privileges to tee off on a Bernhard Langer-designed golf course. There are kayaks to paddle, hikes to be conquered and tea – it’s grown on the island – to be drunk. If you worry about triffid-type nightmares, there are other bubbles available closer to the sea. Bubble Lodge also has a second location on the island at Bois Chéri, the most famous tea estate in Mauritius. bubble-lodge.com

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The clear domes and unique outlooks of Bubbletent Australia (bubbletentaustralia.com). The owners found just the right spot so occupants would have the best chance to see the glorious night sky. The spectacular property, about 200 kilometres from Sydney, is home to three bubbles.

The two bubble tents at Anantara Golden Triangle’s (anantara.com) elephant camp near Chiang Rai. Built on platforms, they’re the best place from where to watch the ellies go about their day.

POP CULTURE TRAVEL

Star Wars fans have made the trek to Skellig Michael, the rocky Irish isle that popped up in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Those who loved the cinematic adaptations of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels booked tickets on the Jacobite Steam Train, which runs from Fort William to Mallaig in Scotland and stood in for the Hogwarts Express. Eight seasons of Game of Thrones threw Dubrovnik, Ait Ben Haddou in Morocco, Malta and Grjótagjá Cave in Iceland into the spotlight. Beautiful locations on screen can be a huge boon for tourism and that doesn’t look set to change. In 2020, the hybrid animated–live action release of Call of the Wild, based on Jack London’s classic novel and starring Harrison Ford, will have lovers of epic landscapes flocking to British Columbia (the double, in this case, for the Yukon). But one big release more than 12 months away will bring Jordan into focus, quite literally. In the remake of Dune, starring Jason Momoa, Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet, the unique landscape will be seen on-screen playing the desert planet Arrakis.

THE ’STANS

What is a travel trends list without a shout-out to a destination that’s going to go from misunderstood to mainstream in the coming 12 months? Our money is on this block of Central Asian countries. There are seven in all, but only the boldest will take on Afghanistan and Pakistan, which leaves us with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. You’ll be forgiven for not knowing much about them, but having gained their independence from Russia a couple of decades ago, they’re developing their own personalities. The landscapes are incredible, the people nomadic and the blend of history and culture – remnants of Soviet rule, as well as leftovers from their place on the Silk Road – something you can’t experience anywhere else. Put them on your list.

SECOND-CITY TRAVEL

WHAT IS IT?

There are places we all want to go and, man, when you get there you can see that in action. Hotel rooms are expensive, there are long lines for big attractions and it’s almost impossible to find a place for quiet contemplation. No one is going to tell you to avoid Paris or New York City or Tokyo, but major cities aren’t your only option. Going to a second city – they’re the ones people don’t automatically think of when a country is mentioned – means you get to explore more organically, since you’ll probably know less about it. Join a local-led walking tour to discover its quirks or chat to locals at the next table about their favourite places. Venturing to a second city may cost a little more initially when you factor in the connecting flight or train journey, but you’ll easily make that back on better, cheaper accommodation and less expensive meals, drinks and entry fees.

THE BEST OF THE BEST

There’s no doubt about it, Lisbon is one hot Euro destination at the moment. The downside is it’s also inundated by tourists, loudly bickering over where to get the best pastéis de nata and elbowing others to get to the front of the queue at the Fado Museum. Still, if you’re pining for Portugal, there’s no need to despair. Just head north up the coast to Porto and you’ll find at least the capital’s equal – some say it is even better – when it comes to history, weather, culture, nightlife and food. The main historic district, Ribeira, not only clings to the north bank of the Duoro but also retains much of its charm – you can still take a break in old taverns and wander around street markets where locals shop. Check out the design stores and galleries of Rua Miguel Bombarda – also known as the Art District – cross the Dom Luís I Bridge and taste port and wine in the traditional cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia, and marvel at one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, Livraria Lello. Its red staircase was said to have inspired the details for Hogwarts. Still doubt us? The beaches of Foz are within the city limits and its long stretches of sand are backed by some impressive rocky outcrops. Plus, the resort town has plenty of cool bars, hip boutiques and swank restaurants. In fact, by bypassing Lisbon and going to Porto, you’re probably not missing out on anything except a whole lot of other travellers.

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What some say is the most underrated city in the world. Whether you agree with that particular statement, Fez certainly has it all over Marrakesh and Morocco’s capital Rabat. Its old town is a rabbit warren of markets and mosques, and it’s considered the country’s cultural highpoint.

South Korea’s second city of Busan. While it may not have quite as many big-ticket attractions as Seoul, it’s got a great food scene, particularly for those with a taste for the exotic. Sunset at the clam tents, where you can see divers plucking shellfish from the ocean, in Taejongdae is a must.

The USA, but it’s a tricky one. Washington is the capital but everyone thinks of New York City or Los Angeles as its numero uno. Down the list though, there’s a whole raft of contenders for second-city status. None tops New Orleans. As a taxi driver once said to us, “You don’t do New Orleans, New Orleans does you.” Get out of the French Quarter and Bourbon Street and try Tremé, Mid-City and the Marigny/Bywater neighbourhoods for local colour, music and food.

SLOWDOWN TRAVEL

We’ve all been guilty of it – spending two weeks in foreign lands darting from one place to another and coming home exhausted. With more people travelling overseas multiple times each year that once-in-a-lifetime extravaganza tour is becoming less common and almost unnecessary. Imagine this instead… Booking a place in an enticing neighbourhood in a big city, a seaside town or a local village and just hanging out there. You’ll slow down and ease into the pace of your destination, find tiny gems hidden in side streets, and get to know the folks running the nearby breakfast spot when you realise it’s the place to be each day at 8am. You can take time to sit on the beach for half the day or wander aimlessly. You can do a day trip to a neighbouring town that takes your fancy. You can go to the movies, stock a fridge with snacks and wine, and find small museums and galleries that don’t make it into city guides. It’s the perfect remedy for cities that are hard to ‘get’ (hello, Los Angeles), as well as villages like Albarracín in Spain and Sihanoukville in Cambodia.

MINDFUL TRAVEL

WHAT IS IT?

There has been a recent shift to resisting stuff. “Experiences are better than possessions,” many say. Which is absolutely true. But we have the capacity to be greedy about experiences, too. Mindful travel is all about being in the moment, of taking in everything around you and processing it properly. Of course, it’s an extension of the general wellness trend of mindfulness, which, when practised, is said to help with anxiety, depression and addiction. But even if your mental health is good, being mindful makes you forget worries and problems. When you’re travelling that means connecting with different cultures, environments and people wherever you go. Don’t rush, accept what you can’t change and take a deep breath.

THE BEST OF THE BEST

Lots of people furrow their brow when they hear about shirin-yoku, which translates from Japanese to “taking in the forest atmosphere”. “Isn’t that just going for a walk?” they ask incredulously. Well, yes and no. You’ll walk slowly and deliberately, breathe in the scent of pine and moss, find a spot where you can sit, watch a bug crawling through leaf mulch, and run your hands over the bark of a tree to feel its texture. Research has found that people who spend time in nature like this have lower stress levels, pulse rates and blood pressure. Of course, you can find your own patch of paradise in a local park, but when you’re on Canada’s Vancouver Island join the forest bathing experience with Pacific Rainforest Adventure Tours. The old-growth forests here boast huge spruce, cedars and Douglas fir trees and have the highest biomass of any ecosystem on earth, so there’s plenty in which to become immersed. rainforestnaturehikes.com

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That animals are good for our health. So it goes the bigger the better, right? Head to Mountain Horse Farm (mountainhorsefarm.com) in upstate New York, where guests can take part in cow cuddling to reconnect with the natural world and experience peacefulness.

The relaxed ambience and pine-forest setting of Yogarosa (yogarosaretreats.com) on Ibiza. The morning classes, healthy meals and silent reflection after dinner are somewhat different to what we used to get up to on the famous island.

SELF-GUIDED BY EXPERTS

There’s nothing quite so sweet as avoiding any form of organisation. A number of travel companies have worked that out, but have also figured small-group tours aren’t for everyone. Welcome to the best of both worlds. You work out what you want to do, find a friend, book your trip and arrive to find that everything is ready to go. UTracks (utracks.com), for instance, allows guests to book self-guided hikes through Europe – they make up about 42 per cent of all the trips it sells. There are about 300 itineraries, so guests choose whether to follow in the footsteps of Dalí through the foothills of the French Pyrenees or walk the Portuguese pilgrim trail, then arrive on the allotted day. Hotels, dinners, breakfasts, maps and luggage transfers are all arranged, so all you have to do is lace up your boots, slip on your daypack and decide where to stop for lunch. A whole range of companies offer similar services, from Inside Japan (insidejapan.com), which organises authentic experiences – staying in traditional ryokans, visiting sake breweries, going to sumo demonstrations – to Bench Africa (benchafrica.com), with its self-drive tours of Namibia and South Africa.

MAKE IT ENVIRO

Why not spend your money with companies leading the charge when it comes to cleaning up the travel game? Hurtigruten (hurtigruten.com.au) is set to smash the champagne bottle on the MS Roald Amundsen at the end of this year. It’s the first of two hybrid vessels the company will launch. Decked out with state-of-the-art facilities, it also produces far fewer CO2 emissions and has lower fuel consumption than old-school ships. Some safari companies are also taking the enviro lead. Chobe Game Lodge runs electric safari vehicles and boats, and also has an all-female guiding team. Book a safari experience there with Bench Africa (benchafrica.com).

CANNABIS TRAVEL

It’s niche, but growing, especially in countries like Canada and US states including Colorado where weed is legal. There are milder experiences, like Sinsemil.la (sinsemil.la), an underground supper club that includes marijuana on its list of locally sourced, organic ingredients. But the well-heeled stoner can get high with companies like Canadian Kush Tours (canadiankushtours.com), which will pick you up from the airport in a limo then take you to a smoking lounge, dispensary, grow room or class where you’ll learn about personal cultivation. There’s even a brewery where you can have a batch of personalised craft beer brewed dependent on your preferred style of both beer and ganja.

EXCLUSIVE RENTAL HOMES

WHAT ARE THEY?

While we’re mad about a snazzy hotel, there’s just something about having your own pad. You can unpack your stuff, make the most of the local markets – there’s nothing like cheese and wine on hand at the end of the day – and feel under no pressure to go out if you love the place. Plus, you can gather your friends, pool your resources and live like royalty even if it’s only for a week. Villas in Tuscany are an old favourite, but now it’s possible to rent penthouses in SoHo, castles in the French countryside and expansive compounds in the jungles of Ubud. In June, Airbnb launched Airbnb Luxe, with 2,000 handpicked homes around the world, after site data showed bookings for properties listed at more than a thousand dollars a night increased by 60 per cent in 2018. You can also try One
Fine Stay, View Retreats for Australian and New Zealand properties, and the Plum Guide.

THE BEST OF THE BEST

The award-winning architecture of Te Kahu, set on the shores of Lake Wanaka, sets it apart from most other holiday houses on New Zealand’s South Island. It’s located on a 20-hectare property and features three bedrooms, a living room with fire, tonnes of natural light, a chef’s kitchen that can be stocked with goodies before you arrive if that’s what you’re after, private courtyards and some of the most spectacular views of the lake and Southern Alps you’ll find anywhere. During summer you can make the most of mountain hiking and fishing; in winter, you’re only 11 kilometres to Treble Cone. Look, we know it’s a cliché to say you’ll never want to leave, but there’s no way just a few days here will be nearly enough. airbnb.com/luxe

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The stretch of lawn that runs straight down to the beach at Lana Kai (onefinestay.com). Set on Hanalei Bay on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, it has four bedrooms in a retro-style beach house, but you’ll likely spend most of your time outside either in or looking at the beautiful bay.

Belting out a tune on the grand piano at the Twin Palms Sinatra Estate (airbnb.com/luxe) in Palm Springs. Commissioned in 1947 by Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, it still houses plenty of retro touches, including a vintage audio system and a piano-shaped pool.

SHIPWRECKED LUXURY

WHAT IS IT?

OK, imagine you’re Ginger sitting on a beach with the Professor. Except the Professor is a butler/boatman/private chef and you’ve also got your nearest and dearest by your side. It’s no surprise that people are increasingly wanting to get away from everything, including forever-beeping devices, to make the most of modern life’s most rare commodity: time to do nothing at all. All you’ll need is your swimmers, sunnies, hat and a couple of damn good books. Because, of course, wherever you’re staying will take care of the rest.

THE BEST OF THE BEST

Just 14 couples can stay on Fiji’s Turtle Island, which offers up 200 hectares of private beaches and forests. This really is an off-grid paradise – it’s powered by solar, uses produce grown locally and features beachfront villas created by Fijian craftspeople and artists. There are bure mamas to take care of your every need, and absolutely everything – horse riding on the beach, diving, lobster dinners – is included, so there’s no need to worry about digging your wallet out of the bottom of your bag. But the real luxury comes from being able to leave everyone else behind. Turtle Island has 14 private beaches. Each day you get to pick a different one, have the kitchen stock a picnic basket and esky, and be dropped there for a few hours or all day. When you arrive, simply flip the vacant sign to occupied and you can be guaranteed no disturbances. You might be surprised by how easily you slip into life in the slow lane. A few days here and you’ll feel like you’ve been on holiday for a month. turtlefiji.com

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Little-known Haggerstone Island (haggerstoneisland.com.au) off the coast of very Far North Queensland. There are just five villas, each decorated in a Pacific Island-meets-Africa style, amazing reef adventures and food that comes from the sea and the island orchard.

Going full Gilligan at Floral Island (airbnb.com), pictured on our cover. Located on Taytay Bay, northeast of Palawan in the Philippines, it offers privacy plus for between four and 24 guests who get full run of its eight villas. Pretty much everything, apart from your booze, is included. And at about AU$620 a night, it’s pretty good value if you gather a gang.

ADULT SABBATICALS

It is almost accepted that someone in their early 20s will take time out to travel the world, funding their trip with cash made pulling beers at a pub in London or making coffee at a hipster cafe in Brooklyn. But for so long it’s been ‘one and done’ when it comes to extended periods of travel. Which is a shame because surely it’s better to take these lengthy sojourns when you’ve got a bit of experience behind you and, you know, some money. Lots of people agree. What’s different these days is the ability to be a digital nomad, taking your work to whichever corner of the world is calling and has decent internet access. Some companies are quite happy to negotiate time off while you spend a month or so living near the world’s greatest surf breaks. It’s also a popular option for anyone made redundant, since a lump sum of money can mean it’s a feasible option to set up a remote business somewhere the cost of living is far less. Chiang Mai or Colombo? Sofia or Siem Reap? It’s totally up to you.

BREAKFAST IN ... WATER?

Used to be we judged a hotel by its brekky buffet. Now things aren’t so straightforward. Any tropical option that has villas with private pools is adding a floating breakfast to its ever-expanding dining options. We’re not entirely sure our poached eggs wouldn’t end up soaked eggs – end result being some poor guy has to come and drain the pool – but you might be altogether more refined than us. It’s already popular in Bali. We recommend the Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach (hotelindigo.com), where your early morning victuals can include the cobana, a choc, coconut and banana croissant.

HOTEL AS COMMUNITY HUB

WHAT IS IT?

There’s nothing worse than checking in to a hotel to find that a) your room is a carbon copy of the one you stayed in halfway around the world, and b) everyone in the lobby bar is also from out of town. How are you supposed to sidle up to a stranger and find out about the coolest dive bar in the ’hood? More independent hoteliers are recognising this and creating public spaces that appeal not only to people checking in but also those who live nearby. After all, a blend of visitors and locals makes life more interesting for everyone.

THE BEST OF THE BEST

As soon as drag your carry-on through the front door at Paramount House Hotel in Sydney’s Surry Hills, you know this stay is going to be different. It’s not just the 29 uber-stylish rooms – dark linen on the beds, terrazzo bathrooms, cool art, private terraces with lush greenery – that have travellers frothing. You’ll already have strolled through Paramount Coffee Project before you reach the discreet desk and are greeted by a smiling face and a glass of sparkling water (or sour ale if you prefer). On weekdays, people take up the concrete benches and smaller tables tapping away on laptops and taking meetings; Saturday and Sunday bring the crowds for the excellent espresso and brunch of fried chicken and waffles and soft-baked eggs with smoked white pudding. On the roof, Paramount Recreation Club offers a hundred fitness classes a week and a health-focused kiosk. At night, basement wine bar Poly perks up. Oh, and there’s also Golden Age Bar & Cinema, which plays classics and arthouse releases. All of it is within staggering distance of the CBD and popular strips like Crown Street. Whether you’re in town for a couple of days of work or relaxing on a long weekend, it’s everything you could want. paramounthousehotel.com

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Stockholm’s Hobo (hobo.se) for its urban farm in the lobby, neighbourhood rooftop and retro disco in the upstairs bar on the weekend.

The Line Austin (thelinehotel.com), with its cinema series of Texas classics by the lakeside infinity pools, happy hours with DJs, and Arlo Grey restaurant with its view of the nightly bat flight from beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge.

The members’ club at The Curtain (thecurtain.com) in London’s Shoreditch neighbourhood. It brings all the interesting creative folk to its onsite bars, restaurants and co-working space.

MICRO TRIPS

WHAT ARE THEY?

Whoever said a change is as good as a holiday is deranged. There is nothing that compares to packing a bag, pocketing your passport and heading to the airport. There are times in our lives, though, when commitments mean it’s not possible to disappear for weeks. That’s when you need a micro trip. Much like microdosing, it gives you a bit of what you need to keep going. How to choose? It needs to be close to home and offer tempting experiences. That way you can pack in as much as you need to feel as though you’ve taken a proper break.

THE BEST OF THE BEST

You often hear antipodeans moan about how far the rest of the world is from us. But just a quick flight – somewhere in the three- to four-hour range from Australia’s east coast – is Vanuatu. Sure, you can spend quality time by the pool in Port Vila, but choose one of the other islands to fulfil an adventurous side. Tanna, for instance, has kustom villages, the active volcano of Mount Yasur, and great fringing reefs. Staying at White Grass Ocean Resort, you can simply make good use of the spa and the beach for a few days, or pack in all the mini adventures. Go on a turtle tour, take out the sea kayaks, travel to waterfalls and surf beaches, look into the mouth of the volcano, swim in the blue cave or visit the local people in the jungle. Just a few days will restore your sense of wonder and take the chill off winter-weary bones. whitegrasstanna.com

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A couple of days at Mona Pavilions (mona.net.au) in Hobart. There’s more art than you shake a stick at, plus it’s an easy drive to Agrarian Kitchen in Lachlan and Willie Smiths Apple Shed, Home Hill Winery and Cygenture Chocolates in the Huon Valley.

Looking out over Hauraki Gulf from The Boatshed (boatshed.co.nz) on Waiheke Island, just a 35-minute ferry ride from Auckland. These luxury coastal cottages are close to the beach, a cute village and plenty of vineyards.

LESS IS MORE

Big resorts, hotels and cruise ships are beginning to see the impact of travellers requiring a more individual experience. The result? Hotel chains are launching personality-driven brands. Accor has M Gallery and Sofitel SO, IHG has Hotel Indigo, Hyatt has Andaz and, in Australia, Mantra bought Art Series Hotels. But even in large resorts or on ships with hundreds of passengers, you’ll find more intimate restaurants (Silversea’s flagship vessel, Silver Muse, has eight eateries), pools with fewer loungers and personalised services being offered, so that guests don’t feel as though they’re one of thousands even if they are.

ANCESTRAL TRAVEL

DNA testing has opened up a whole new kind of trip. Discovering ancestry is becoming more popular – SBS TV’s Who Do You Think You Are? probably had something to do with that – and, particularly where results are unexpected, it’s becoming increasingly common for people to visit their ‘homelands’ in order to connect with their heritage. In 2015/16, 23 per cent of long-haul visitors to Scotland cited Scottish ancestry as their major motivation for travelling. (We were in the ‘we came for the whisky’ category.) In 2013, Ireland promoted Family History Year to appeal to the 33 million Americans with Celtic blood. But there are plenty of other places popping up in people’s DNA tests, from Scandinavia to Mexico, so if you can’t decide where to go next, it might be time to spit in a tube.

LUXPEDITIONS

WHAT ARE THEY?

If you’re keen on thrills but insist on privacy, someone else carrying your backpack and having all the mod cons when it’s time to hit the hay, you need a luxpedition. Just imagine Bear Grylls insisting on a hot-stone massage after he’s spent the day catching fish with his bare hands. The trend began to satisfy the wildman yearnings of the one per cent, but with more travellers, particularly those who aren’t – ahem – in their 20s any longer, searching out adventure and amenities, it’s one that’s here to stay.

THE BEST OF THE BEST

Heading off to remote destinations? Put yourself in the hands of experts. That’s where Pelorus comes in. This travel company was established by two former British Army Captains, who’ve taken their years of experience in the forces, networked with industry leaders and established the best ways to bring high-end clients everything they want in a one-off experience. Some of its adventures include a journey to the Hornbill Festival in India’s Nagaland, staying in a remote luxury camp at the base of Japfu Peak. Follow this extraordinary tribal celebration with a naturalist-guided safari looking for the great Indian rhinoceros, a private boat trip to see pink dolphins, and an exploration of Bandhavgarh National Park looking for tigers. Or perhaps you’ll choose to jump from a chopper into the Great Blue Hole in Belize, where you’ll use propulsion vehicles on your dive. You’ll also take a helicopter deep into the jungle to stay at a luxury lodge and be accompanied by a National Geographic guide on a tour of Mexican cenotes. Where do we sign up? pelorusx.com

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Seeing Antarctica without crossing the Drake Passage. White Desert (white-desert.com) flies guests in on a private jet and settles them at super-cool Whichaway Camp. Days are spent ice climbing, abseiling, zip lining or going on 4WD expeditions and icy picnics.

That, more than a century after it sank, you can now join an exclusive expedition to dive 4000 metres in a submersible to see the wreck of the RMS Titanic. If you’ve got the means, Blue Marble Private (bluemarbleprivate.com) has the way.

Tasty one-off treats, like the collaboration between Brown + Hudson (brownandhudson.com) and Ecuadorian chocolate company To’ak, which crafts some of the world’s most expensive sweet stuff. You’ll travel by private jet to cloud forests, a cacao plantation and a ritzy retreat on the coast, meet some of the country’s best chefs and experts, and take part in daily chocolate tastings.

RIDING THE RAILS

Everyone knows planes have serious issues when it comes to the environment. There’s not a lot you can do about that if you’re travelling from the southern hemisphere to the US or Europe, except pay for carbon offsets. Once you’re there, however, trade the airport for a station. Not only are trains much more eco-friendly, you get to see parts of a country you may only have glimpsed from 32,000 feet. European trains are incredibly efficient, especially if you invest in a rail pass. Amtrak links up cities in the US, and we can’t wait to stare out the window from the Coast Starlight that passes incredible Pacific scenery from Seattle to Los Angeles. Further north, in Canada, one of the all-time great rail journeys is the Rocky Mountaineer. Toot toot!

LOVE IT
Six trends that warm our cockles.

Low-season travel
It’s cheaper and there are fewer people, so unless you’re going to fry in 45ºC heat, what’s not to love?

Co-living spaces
Like co-working but for solo travellers looking to stay for a few days or months. Book an apartment in a building with shared social spaces and a calendar of events and – voila! – you’re not so alone. Check out WeLive, Roam and Selina.

Reef-friendly sunscreen
Most contain chemicals that rinse off and cause so much damage to marine environments both Hawaii and Palau banned the worst. Do your bit by making the swap.

Rejecting single-use plastics
Many places are banning them, so always take your water bottle, reusable coffee cup and bamboo cutlery with you whenever you head off somewhere new.

Cycling holidays get popular
If you’ve ever wanted to feel the wind on your face as you careen down a hill in Tuscany, but find the whole pedalling thing a bit monotonous, you’ll be pleased to know that many cycling tours can now be completed on e-bikes.

Eco-friendly trainers
A cool pair is essential on travels, but most are made from plastic, nylon and other nasty materials. Instead, pop ethically made footwear on your hooves. We love AllBirds, made from New Zealand merino wool, but also check out Veja and Etiko.

LOATHE IT
Six that make our hearts cold and dead.

Insta tourism
Because there’s more to travelling than getting a shot that will make your friends jealous. Plus, we’re damned sure we’re not getting out of the infinity pool so you can get the perfect photo.

Talk about space travel
Yeah, yeah… Richard Branson’s been on about it for years and Elon’s getting in on the act. When’s it actually happening though?

The big tick-off
‘She’s 27 and wanted to travel the world. So she did.’ We’ve all seen the story on Facebook, but why? Surely, arriving somewhere just so you can tick it off and move on is the epitome of privilege.

Being a scrooge
Mate, if you tell us how you bargained with a market seller to get the price from 80 cents to 50, we swear we’re going to steal your wallet.

Robots serving drinks and checking us in
Machines should not be that smart. Sure, people can be annoying AF but we’re pretty sure an army of hospitality workers is not going to rise up and eliminate the rest of humankind.

Electronic noise
Watching videos on smartphones or iPads without headphones should be illegal and punishable by 50 lashes in a public arena.

December 2019 from issue 62

Tags: 2020 trends, best travel experiences, travel trends, ultimate adventures