It ain't no thing for the Real Housewives to wing around the world, and the cast of Below Deck hits the high seas as a way of life. But awe-inspiring travel opps aren’t only the province of Bravolebrities. Vacationers with major means around the world are pushing the envelope on the traditional notion of a holiday, and their au courant traveling styles can be inspiration for all of us. Whether you're in it for the relaxation, the bragging rights, or even a bump in your business, here are five travel trends shaping the vacation landscape right now.
1. Wellness Meets Uber-Luxury
If you hear “wellness retreat” and picture a spare ashram or beach hut, you’re missing the modern adaptation of the trend. Consider that the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan has recently added anti-gravity yoga classes. Or that the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills has just launched announced the launch of its helipad yoga program, which offers classes on the rooftop helicopter pad at the hotel, a previously off-limits 17th-floor site with views of landmarks like Downtown L.A.’s skyscrapers and the Hollywood sign — about a 180-degree flip from that beach hut in your mind.
Photo: Leslie Durso
Vegan chef and wellness expert Leslie Durso just returned from co-hosting a wellness retreat in the exclusive town of Ravello, on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. The trip included daily yoga, qi gong, hiking, cooking, swimming, and more. “This week is about listening to your mind and body and creating a balance you can take back to your everyday life,” Durso told The Daily Dish. “When people hear the term wellness retreat they think they might be stuck in a hut in a jungle, [but] no longer is that the case. Luxury retreats are popping up everywhere! There’s no better way to truly relax and reconnect with yourself than in absolute luxury. It’s not just about getting a fluffy pillow on your bed, it’s about having the top professionals in wellness at your fingertips to consult on creating a better lifestyle for you including, medical, diet, longevity, mindfulness, and more.”
2. Networking and Innovating Vacations
Innovators—those in tech and other businesses—currently hold some of the most social capital in the country, next to celebrities. So it makes sense that, like celebs, this type of forward-thinking business strategist should frequently combine vacation with work (or at least look like they’re on vacation to social media followers while they’re actually working, or vice versa).
To that end, Delta has recently launched its so-called Innovation Class, in which business and thought leaders have tete-a-tetes with like-minded thinkers at 35,000 feet. The idea is that the airline selects innovators on their way to events around the world for the program, and then holds seats next to them for which others can apply as a way to score one-on-one access.
It points to the trend of combining networking with traveling, as well as to the well-known notion that sometimes we come up with our best ideas when you get outside our everyday environs.
3. Adventure Travel With a Purpose
The modern adventure traveler is looking for something more: a way to connect the experience to a charitable entity or meaningful cause.
WHOA Travel is among the companies offering travelers a chance to combine their experiences with local and philanthropic connections. Co-founder Danielle Thornton told The Daily Dish, “Adventurous people are extremely curious by nature, and are always looking to try new things and meet new people…. So when they travel, it’s important to them that they don’t just take from the places they visit; they want to leave something positive and sustainable behind… We know first hand that taking on a challenge like summiting Mount Kilimanjaro is much more doable and meaningful when you’re more connected to the amazing Tanzanian culture and people.”
Meanwhile, luxury adventure travel outfitter Geographic Expeditions is accustomed to working with clients who are interested in conservation issues — for instance protecting rhinos or elephants. The group works to get these travelers to hard-to-access places to make high-level connections they need as they channel their conservation funds. (See above: networking vacation.) “Conservation is obviously huge buzz right now with Cecil,” explained the company’s Africa expert Starla Estrada, referring to the recent high-profile lion hunting scandal.
4. Private Island Getaways
According to the Washington Post, the Jolie-Pitt clan has recently been spotted shopping for a private island in Greece — one in the $5 million range — so that their whole crew can “enjoy more private holidays together.” Doesn’t that sound delightful?
Not everyone needs the same level of privacy as ultimate A-listers hunted by paps, but private island vacations are nevertheless on the rise. The house rental site HomeAway has lately been promoting its slate of such rentals, ranging from domestic getaways to an over-the-top French farmhouse billed as a “paradisiacal landscape in all directions,” or an Indonesian isle in the Java Sea where all you see is “white sand, turquoise water, and emerald forest.”
“Private islands offer the ultimate secluded vacation experience, which is why they’re so popular with celebrities,” HomeAway’s chief revenue officer Jon Gray told the Daily Dish. “But what many people don’t realize is that private island rentals can be surprisingly affordable if you’re traveling with your family or a group of friends.”
5. Forest Bathing
The term “forest bathing” is a poetic way to describe simply a therapeutic visit to a forest. The term originated in Japan several decades ago, and many studies have since tied the approach to benefits like mitigating depression, and lowering heart rate and blood pressure. The experience has picked up major steam recently among travelers in the know.
In fact, the developer behind the Residences Viceroy Snowmass in Colorado is among those in the hospitality biz exploiting the trend, with forest bathing offerings for its affluent buyers —particularly millennials looking for eclectic (and epic) experiences. The property offers hikes through a babbling creek and fir forests, all while the Viceroy team purges residents’ spaces using sage and natural air from open windows overlooking the woodlands, all meant to release negative energy and bring the outside in. Ahhh.
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