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What are the top 5 luxury travel trends that you need to know about for 2022-2023?

Nicola Shepherd By Nicola Shepherd
15 Mar 2022
Tanzania Singita Serengeti House Pool Singita

After several years of challenging travel restrictions and countries closing their borders to visitors for long periods, the world is now emerging into a new era of travel. Our newly regained freedom to explore distant lands, interact with vibrant cultures and live life to the fullest drives the top travel trends I’ve witnessed in travel planning this year.

It is always interesting to observe travel trends wax and wane as the world changes and new opportunities arise. Having been in the luxury travel industry for over 35 years, I have seen a fair few changes to the way that discerning travellers wish to spend their precious vacation time! For those travelling this year and beyond, the top requirements and interests seem to be:

  1. Private travel: the antidote to the bustling modern world, this allows you flexibility and exclusivity.
  2. Expeditionary travel: heading out into the unknown to experience something unique and venture to places rarely visited by humans.
  3. Japan: astounding diversity of experience with wild countryside and breath-taking landscapes, exciting cities and incredible artwork.
  4. Costa Rica: the rainforest and coast are a draw for many, not least due to Costa Rica’s eco credentials and magnificent biodiversity.
  5. And of course, Tanzania, which probably offers the finest wildlife experiences on the African continent.

 

The best wildlife experiences can be found in Tanzania

Why Tanzania? This is an easy question to answer! Many people are aiming to tick ‘African safari’ off their travel bucket lists list year, and Tanzania undoubtedly offers one of the most extraordinary wildlife safaris in the world.

The wildebeest migration in the Serengeti, so vividly documented by Sir David Attenborough, comprises two million wildebeest and zebra amassing in the plains during their calving period. This can be seen between the end of December though to early March and is considered Africa’s greatest wildlife phenomenon.

 


The northern Serengeti gets the overspill of the wildebeest migration from the Masai Mara in Kenya between July and early September and if one is truly lucky, one can also see them in the Grumeti region of the western corridor of the Serengeti in June.

The Serengeti is not the extent of Tanzania’s offerings, though!

  • The Tarangire region is extraordinary, with the most beautiful baobab trees and its own elephant migration which comes down from the Simanjiro plains.
  • The Ngorongoro Crater is also an incredible sight, with its broken caldera and its permanent resident wildlife against the backdrop of this magnificent ancient volcano.

 

  • It is even possible to take a helicopter trip to the top of the Empakaai and Ol Moti volcanoes!
  • Lake Manyara is truly beautiful and has the most fabulous birdlife set against the backdrop of the spectacular lake.
  • In the south of the country, Ruaha National Park is home to 10 percent of the entire lion population in Africa.
  • The Selous Game Reserve (recently renamed Nyerere National Park) is the largest game reserve in the country. It is one of the most beautiful regions with such diverse vegetation and it can be explored on foot, by vehicle, and by boat as well as offering the opportunity of sleeping beneath the stars at night! This region is fabulous for crocodiles and hippo, as well as wild dog and lion and giraffe.
  • Katavi National Park is a really pristine park, with somewhat skittish wildlife, but with amazing beauty and is the place to travel when you want to step off the tourist track.
  • Mahale Mountains National Park bordering Lake Tanganyika is quite sublime. It is so romantic to arrive by air and then take an Arab dhow across the lake to the beautiful, Ottoman Bohemian styled camp which overlooks the lake, with the backdrop of the Mahale forest behind. Mahale Mountains NP has the largest population of habituated chimpanzees, and spending time at close quarters with them is one of the greatest privileges.

 


Luxury Holidays to Japan combine tradition and modernity seamlessly

For me, Japan’s most standout feature is its extraordinary amalgamation of ancient traditions and avantgarde modernity, and how these two opposing worlds are made to coexist in perfect harmony. Few places in the world are as transformational, immersive and surreal as Japan, and whether you are a solo traveller, a young family with kids or an avid adventurer, you will find Japan’s diversity utterly exhilarating. 

There are many reasons why Japan remains one of the favourite bucket list destinations: perhaps it is the thrill of skiing on the best powder on earth, or seeing the drift ice covering the entire Sea of Okhotsk, or cycling through the stunning coastal routes and hiking in mystical mountains full of ancient pilgrimage routes and centuries old forests; or the exoticism of historic ryokans, serene temple lodgings and quaint local guesthouses?

 


Perhaps it is the overwhelming beauty of Japanese landscapes and scenery; or the lure of exploring dazzling cities full of cutting-edge technology and super quirky fashion, design and architecture trends; or the insanely refined and innovative cuisine; or the excitement of wonderfully unique experiences such as sumo wrestling, geisha entertainment, Noh and Kabuki theatre, Zen meditation or the art of forest bathing.

If you are an art aficionado, you can dabble in superb traditional crafts such as block printing and pottery as well as visit some of the finest contemporary art and design museums, galleries and installations in the world.

 


Costa Rica is a sustainable tourism paradise

Nowhere has quite the array of national parks and dedication to renewable energy as Costa Rica. Travel to this region has become synonymous with extravagant biodiversity, sustainable lodging and community-enhancing tourism. One of the most incredible regions is Arenal where there are fabulous hiking trails in the national park and exhilarating white water rafting. There is a vast array of water sports on offer here, as well as magnificent waterfalls.

There is something here for artists and foodies here too; visit the artisans of Guanacaste, or visit people running urban farms. Eat fabulously fresh food at amazing restaurants.

 


My favourite places to stay include:

  • Origins, a gorgeous eco lodge boasting incredible views over the jungle and the volcanoes which can be enjoyed from fire heated hot tubs. The delicious menu is prepared by French chefs with locally sourced ingredients.
  • Pacuare Lodge, perfect for families with an abundance of jungle activities.
  • Four Seasons Papagayo, an ideal place to end your vacation, relaxing in luxury overlooking the beautiful ocean.

Utterly Private Travel

With two years that have passed since many family members have managed to be together, private travel is ever increasing, with huge demand for private villas, private tented camps and luxury private mobiles. This also extends to private yachts, private islands and of course private aircraft charters.

 

The time spent with loved ones is precious and the reason so many choose this option. But quite aside from allowing your small group exclusivity, it also allows for complete privacy and ultimately flexibility to do exactly as you wish, which is the key to success of any vacation.

Expeditions are booming as we return to the great outdoors

I have also noticed an upswing in interest for expeditions. With quite a few people having had more time to reflect on the important things in life, and the urgency to do them before time runs out, travellers are now turning to their bucket lists with greater intent.

 


There is enormous potential, both for “full expeditions” (e.g. to the Polar regions) and also for what might perhaps be termed “soft expeditions” to, perhaps, the more remote parts of countries that are already well in the normal spotlight. Such latter locations might include, as example, northern Kenya, parts of Tanzania or, indeed, less obvious countries such as Chad, Mongolia or even parts of India.

Expeditions of any nature will normally be driven by a long-held “absolute life ambition”. Examples of individual ideas might include:

  • skiing an unvisited part of Antarctica,
  • climbing a “new” peak,
  • fishing a hitherto-unvisited mountain stream,
  • crossing the Sahara on foot (with camel & Bedouin support)
  • a full-on continental crossing
  • even a global circumnavigation!

 

The Explorations Company’s recent corporate expedition for Royal Enfield was one such first, allowing the Pole to be reached on motorbike. The journey fulfilled ambitions of exploring this pristine, stunning region, in a completely uncommercial and more challenging manner, with very light ‘footprint’.

Another exciting expedition might be to travel from Cairo to Cape Town, by Land Rover. This mammoth journey would take three months if one factors in spending time in the most beautiful regions this continent has to offer on the way, and allows one to explore regions rarely traversed by vehicle!

 

If you would like more information, please do feel free to get in touch with me. Or, if you just want to dream for now, you can do so at our Video Library.

Images by kind courtesy of Singita Serengeti House, Wayo Safaris Tanzania, Kichaka Expeditions, The Real Japan, JNTO, Pacuare Lodge Costa Rica. Camels in desert image copyright to Brain Meier.

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