With summer in full swing,
it’s never too late to plan your next big luxury vacation,
but where should you go?
What should you do?
Here are the 10 hottest luxury travel trends for 2012:
1. Bucket List Travel
Some travel opportunities only happen once and this year, expect travelers to take advantage of those opportunities.
Bucket list travel isn’t the long road trip vacation down south or the quick plane ride out east — it’s luxurious safaris by Jeep and hot air balloon.
It’s customized travel that’s difficult to plan.
That level of difficulty doesn’t matter, however, because this type of travel allows you to scratch off a life aspiration that you may have thought at one point was impossible.
Travel to Egypt and ride a camel by the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Hop into a helicopter and examine Christ the Redeemer Statue 2,300 feet in the air.
Rent a villa in Venice, Italy and boat your way through town like a local.
Bucket list travels will be quite popular this year.
2. Off-Season Travel
Tuscany is filled with travelers during the wine harvest season and Los Cabos, Mexico is crawling with spring break crowds in March.
This year, travelers are stepping outside of their shells and choosing to visit destinations during the off-season.
Maybe they’ll plan a summer getaway to Telluride, Colorado over the Fourth of July.
No one will be skiing during July, but there is plenty of hiking, biking and exploring to take part in.
Traveling in the off-season isn’t only normally less expensive, it also opens your eyes up to a new side of a destination.
Tuscany in the winter is absolutely beautiful.
The small local towns are decorated for the holidays, popular restaurants are a cinch to get into — and without a wait – and locals are more willing to make you feel welcomed.
3. Brazil, Russia, India & China
These four countries have one thing in common:
All of them are very large.
But according to multiple travel experts, Brazil, Russia, India and China are expected to be the hottest destinations for luxury travelers this year.
Brazil offers the most diverse ecosystem in all of South America and gives luxury travelers an opportunity to experience spectacular views of nature, while staying in breathtaking hotels, like the Copacabana Palace.
This 5-star hotel opened in 1923 and is the perfect blend of traditional décor with luxury amenities.
While it may come as a surprise to some, the Russians are known as the artisans of leisure.
Travel to St. Petersburg and take a luxurious tour of the city to be introduced to Russian artwork, palaces, waterways and the exquisite lifestyle.
India offers a culture like no other country.
Travelers will flock here to finally see the magnificent Taj Mahal, observe sacred rituals at the Varanasi River and explore Bandhavgarh National Park in an effort to spot a tiger.
It’s not news to anyone that China has emerged as one of the world’s economic powerhouses.
As the most populated countries in the world, travelers want to see what all the hype is about.
They’ll travel to Beijing, the New York City of China, along with Guilin, which has gained fame for its striking mountains, crystal-clear water and various caves to explore.
4. Vow Renewals
The economy may be tough right now for the country’s next-generation of Americans, but for baby boomers who are now retired, there’s never been a better time to renew the commitment they made to each other many years ago.
And let’s be honest — a little bit of love makes any vacation even more exciting.
Where to renew your marriage vows is entirely up to you.
Perhaps you want to travel to Paris, the city of love, or maybe you want to relive some memories and travel to your honeymoon destination from so many years ago.
If you didn’t travel anywhere luxurious for your first honeymoon and Paris doesn’t seem appealing to you, you can never go wrong with Hawaii.
5. Spiritual Growth Travels
Before travelers let the worst things in life get the best of them this year, they’re going to escape to luxurious and relaxing destinations to discover themselves once again.
They may do it alone or with their significant other.
Regardless, there will be several vacations taken this year in pursuit of some kind of spiritual growth and self-reflection.
That may include a week-long stay at Tucson, Arizona’s Miraval Spa & Resort, where spa treatments and resort amenities are designed with the utmost respect and appreciation for the natural splendor of the Sonoran desert.
Or it could mean traveling to a small island, like Fiji, and experiencing awe-inspiring yoga sessions that will bring them back to center.
6. Multi-Generational Family Travel
It’s always a magical moment when a great-grandmother and her great-grandchild spend time together.
It’s even more magical when all of the generations in between are there to celebrate that moment.
Many travelers will do what they can to take advantage of this type of travel this year.
The best way to make this happen is by renting a villa for the week.
Renting a villa for the week gives families an opportunity to cook family dinners together, talk and interact by the fireplace and meet in one central location every morning.
Even the nicest hotels in the world can’t make several generations of family feel completely at home.
7. The Active Vacation
Being an Olympic year, travelers are motivated to hop on a bike, lace up their running shoes or even strap into rock climbing gear.
Luxury travelers are the elite explorers.
They’re daring and they want to go places that their friends and family would never expect them to go.
They’ll travel to destinations like Park City, Utah or Lake Tahoe, California in the summertime for day hikes and bikes — and they’ll make it look luxurious.
8. The Ultimate Deal Vacation
We live in a world filled with Groupons, Living Social deals and Travel Zoo last-minute getaways, so it’s a no-brainer to think that travelers are hopping on flash-sale deals to fill their traveling needs.
But it’s not just flash-sales that are spurring travel this year.
Travelers — even affluent, luxury travelers — are looking for an additional value-add.
Those types of value-adds could include a $150 spa credit when you book for three nights at a hotel resort.
Or maybe it’s a golf-lover’s package that includes a free round of 18 at the hotel’s signature course.
Any type of deal is a great one for those looking to travel.
9. Culinary Travels
Affluent couples will look to destinations designed to hone their cooking skills.
These types of travel aren’t just about learning how to cook, they’re about spending time with a significant other.
And what better way to do that than in an exclusive cooking class led by a famous chef.
One destination that comes to mind is San Sebastian, Spain.
San Sebastian is truly the culinary capital of Spain, boasting the most Michelin-star restaurants per capita than any other destination in the world.
There are numerous gastronomic societies to explore and experience private tutorials.
The best part about San Sebastian is that it’s only a quick high-speed train ride to the Rioja Wine Region.
10. Domestic Escapes
Who says you need to travel to Europe, Asia or even the jungles of Africa to say you experienced a luxury vacation?
Your home country has several destinations that on the outside may seem like just another ordinary vacation destination, but truly are diamonds in the rough.
Kiawah Island, South Carolina was recently named the “Happiest Seaside Town” in America by Coastal Living magazine.
As the magazine editor puts it, Kiawah has “sunny days, walkable neighborhoods, easy commute times, healthy beaches and more — plus an indescribable coastal vibe.”
Who wouldn’t want to travel to the happiest town in America?
Renting a villa on Kiawah Island is a perfect example of a luxurious domestic escape that your neighbor has never heard about.
You could also make a luxurious getaway in a metropolitan region like San Francisco, where you can frolic by the bay before heading over to Napa and Sonoma Valley for some exquisite wine tastings.
Have any to add to our list?
Please share below and let us know which one is your favorite…
About the Author
Andrew is the luxury travel consultant for Estate Weddings and Events, offering readers the latest trends when it comes to high-end travel. When it comes to travel, he credits his expertise to his wife Erin, who has quite the understanding of the finer things in life. Living in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, he enjoys the fresh mountain air, Colorado craft brews and relaxing with his cat Franklin.