With the appetite for higher-end travel showing no signs of slowing, now is the time to secure your luxe experiences for the year ahead.
The world is literally your oyster, with myriad luxurious travel treats to choose from. For those searching for the most enviable holidays for this year, only a true travel expert knows where to start.
Being unable to travel for more than two years has reminded all of us of the value of travel and why it’s best not to delay that special trip you’ve always wanted to take. We now know more than ever before the importance of the present. If you want to do something exciting, go somewhere incredible and experience new (or favourite old) parts of the world, there is simply no time like now.
The sense of urgency we have all learned is an invaluable life lesson - sometimes it is better not to wait. Doing it now and doing it in style is the new way of travel, with the best and most exciting luxury travel experiences more sought after than ever. The previous trend that saw more economical holidays being booked before the milestone ‘higher end’, spoil-yourself-when-you-make-it holiday, has been turned upside down, as has the trend of going it alone when booking. Using a trusted travel expert to help you plan your luxury travel experience has been proven to be the best and smartest way forward, ensuring travellers can rest easy, safe in the knowledge that if plans change, they are in the best-possible hands to provide the right assistance.
We’ve clearly seen the trend that our Travel Advisors are reporting – that business class is the airline class of choice for many who might have flown premium economy or even economy prior to the pandemic. Yes, you are investing more in your experience, but the feeling is that if you are going to travel, do it in style. The experience will stay with you long after the price.
With more people requiring more premium experiences around the globe, demand is high, and the time to book for 2023 or even 2024, is right now!
So, what is the forecast for the world of luxury travel in 2023? Here are some of the trends we are seeing.
Let’s face it – prices have been high for international airlines, and domestic flights too for that matter. But we see light at the end of the runway. We have good intelligence that tells us that many of the Asian airlines that have not been operating will be back in the skies. We are also hearing that airlines are adding more routes – some that were previously on the network and others that were not. Clearly these new routes are demand-driven and with more aircraft coming online from their unplanned desert sojourns, the pressure on seats is easing, and with more capacity comes lower pricing. But do not leave it to the last minute. There’s a big risk that you’ll miss out on the flights you want so why compromise?
Travel to New Zealand is still benefitting from the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies and in Ireland and Croatia, Game of Thrones fans are still booking tours to see the fantastical locations. In the US, Montana is the place that fans of Yellowstone want to visit, looking for sites featured in the series in the hope they might run into Kevin Costner or Cole Hauser. Here’s a tip – the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch is actually a place – it is actually called the Chief Joseph Ranch in Darby and you can stay there as long as Kevin and crew are not filming.
But the series that is hotter than hot is The White Lotus. Fans of the first series flocked to Maui, where the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea starred as The White Lotus hotel. The latest series, which garnered Jennifer Coolidge a Golden Globe in January 2023, was based in Sicily, at the San Domenico Palace, Taormina, another Four Seasons hotel. As for the next series, we are thinking The Maldives – yes, we picked up the clue in the last episode of season two – Bali or Koh Samui.
Egypt is really in demand for both general touring and meandering down the Nile on a river cruise – or a mixture of both. A river cruise takes you to some of the major historical sites as well as showing life on this most famous of rivers, with feluccas going about their business as they have for centuries. Our recommendations for luxury river cruising in Egypt are with the gorgeous Uniworld River Cruises (be quick as they are selling out FAST!), Scandi-style Viking, or the modern Scenic and Avalon options.
If touring is more your style, there are plenty of different options from immersive to uber luxurious. We think Intrepid Travel’s ‘Premium Egypt in Depth’ itinerary is excellent, with Abercrombie & Kent’s ‘Egypt & The Nile’ tour also a great luxury selection. Another one to check out is Luxury Gold’s ‘Elegance of Egypt’ curated journey. One thing that is certain is that you won’t be disappointed by any of these incredible experiences.
The very latest trend in cruising is that cruisers are opting for higher-end experiences, and expedition cruising is booming. As the planet warms, the sense of urgency can’t be ignored and we are seeing new expedition ships and itineraries being launched consistently over the past 6 months, and the demand for more travelers wanting to see the Arctic and the Antarctic is almost doubling, but rest assured the governing body, IAATO, works with all cruise lines to carefully manage the impact on our largest ice continent.
As for who does it best, we know our guests love PONANT, which has the world’s only luxury icebreaker, Le Commandant Charcot. Scenic Eclipse, the World’s First Discovery Yachts are in high demand, with Scenic Eclipse 11 joining Scenic Eclipse in April 2023. Both offer a custom-built submarine and two Airbus helicopters (both at an additional fee) so you can be sure to get 360 degree views. Silversea’s magnificent Silver Endeavour, the world’s most luxurious expedition ship, is certainly on the hot list since she launched in late 2022 and the door-to-door service offered by this cruise line makes it so, so easy to sit back and enjoy every minute of your trip.
Viking’s new Polar-class ships, Viking Polaris and Viking Octantis, were purpose-built for expeditions in remote destinations from Antarctica to the Great Lakes of the USA and Canada. Our clients are also very keen on Seabourn Expeditions, with Seabourn Venture soon to be joined by Seabourn Pursuit, visiting marquee ports as well as hidden gems that are out of reach of larger ships. The trend of expeditioning is unlikely to wane anytime soon as the threat of missing out on bucket list experiences became all too real in the not-so-distant past.
Sustainable travel is definitely something that our clients want more of, and they are making travel choices with that in mind. Some of the trends we have noticed for 2023 include travelling with carry-on only for ease and for speed – and when possible choosing tour companies who employ local people and give back to the communities and destinations they visit. These decisions also mean you tend to experience destinations more deeply, more meaningfully and secure in the knowledge that your travel investment is going well beyond enriching you, it’s also helping to enrich the lives of local communities.
Travelling slowly, spending longer in each place is also a very smart new trend as we’ve learned the value of time and mindfulness. People are also looking for more active holidays involving hiking, biking or swimming allowing travellers to get out in the great outdoors after spending so long indoors during the pandemic. And we are also seeing that our clients are wanting to go off the beaten track to discover hidden gems and lesser-known ions, rather than adding to the over-tourism of some of the tourist icons. In many places, there’s something just as special around the corner, figuratively speaking, that just hasn’t been over-promoted yet.
Wherever you want to travel in 2023, the advice is to book now, take the time to experience things immersively and mindfully, and to seek expert advice and guidance to secure the very best luxury travel experiences that will stay with you forever. When you book with a trusted travel professional, nothing is ever a problem, and any changes can be dealt with seamlessly, often while you sleep and what on earth is not to love about that peace of mind?!
After all, we just don’t know what lies around the next corner.