It’s a whole new world, or at least, a whole new way to see the world. Sure, you can cruise along the ocean, cross countries by tour bus, or walk around a new city on foot. But why not make it extra interesting? Five of this year’s hottest travel trends — multigenerational, adventure, giving back, culinary, and ladies-only — are causing people to reinvent the way they vacation.
Today’s extended families often live across the United States — or even across the world. Special occasions like a milestone anniversary or birthday, or simply the desire to get the family together, are bringing multiple generations together to explore new grounds. According to a AAA National survey in June 2014, 36 percent of travelers planned to take a multigenerational trip in the next 12 months. This was a 4 percent increase over the previous year.
And we’re not talking just your average family reunion. Multigenerational groups are traveling both domestically and abroad, with top options including national parks, theme parks, and cruises.
All About Adventure
If relaxing on a beach and taking it easy for days on end seems boring, but experiencing a city or country through active pursuits garners more interest, then adventure travel is likely your ticket to a fun vacation. Adventure travel is not just about climbing Mount Everest (although you can if you want to). There are different levels of adventure, and at the heart of it are active-lifestyle trips that include physical activities of varying degrees. Think of it on a scale from one to five, with a one being walking; two to four hiking, biking, rafting, or canoeing; and five being more extreme adventures like scaling a mountain.
Spurred by nonprofit organizations like Kiva, which have brought to light the needs of people in other countries, travel that gives back has become a “go to” for do-gooders. Many trips offering opportunities to give back take place in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America, where clean water and food can be more scarce. Other activities can range from helping build water purification systems to providing school supplies. While trips that incorporate giving back generally are taken by adults, some families also embark on travel that enables them to expose their children to helping those in need.
While dining out and sampling local fare always has been a favorite pastime of most travelers, culinary-focused trips are creating food fanatics all over the globe. Cruises now hire well-known chefs who not only cook meals but also perform cooking demonstrations. Wine tastings, mixology classes, and chocolate demos also are popular culinary-centric activities. The farm-to-table movement is huge across culinary circles, and travelers can get a true sense of what this is by visiting local olive oil mills, vineyards, and farms where ingredients are grown and incorporated into meals or cooking classes in which guests can partake.
Girlfriend getaways, mom and daughter rendezvous, or simply traveling solo with a ladies group are topping the trip list for many women. In fact, a 2013 American Express survey indicated a surge in ladies-only trips, with 56 percent of women travelers taking them. Beyond bonding with the important women in your life (or other women who share your same travel interests), there is safety and security in group travel. Plus, women who don’t want to travel alone often find they meet their next best soul sister on women-only group vacations.