Karen Rubin, Editor & Publisher, is a veteran travel writer and publisher, who is devoted to the mission of travel: to engender understanding – of self and others – and break down the barriers and borders dividing people, while creating the economic underpinnings to sustain environment, heritage and culture and a base for uplifting, fulfilling jobs.
LOS ANGELES –What are your 2023 travel resolutions:Swimming with baby elephants? Learning to cook from a Michelin-starred chef? Taking part in an archaeological dig? Lending a helping hand at a Tibetan refugee camp? Attending a gala opening of an international cultural event? Perhaps it is just taking a revenge makeup trip? No matter what it is, the best travel-related New Year’s resolution is simple: Go!The 2023 edition of The Global Scavenger Hunt can scratch your travel itch and help you fulfill your wildest travel resolutions in one grand adventure. It is a mystery travel adventure that combines Indiana Jones daring with an Around the World in Eighty Days-like travel competition. And the event turns creative travel in 2023, taking savvy travelers on A Blind Date with the World adventure to ten countries over three weeks. But which ten countries they will be going to—they are not telling! Call it: Destinations Unknown. And adding to the mystery adventure is the immersive focus of travelers having to trust strangers in strange lands—just another of the annual adventure’s transformational features.
Known internationally as the world travel championship, the 2023 edition of The Global Scavenger Hunt will take place between the 14th of April and 6th of May 2023.
The deadline to enter the 2023 edition of the travel world championship is February 1st, with only a few spots open for those wanting to compete for “The World’s Greatest Travelers” title and trophy—and a chance to earn a free trip around the world with their triumph. But, of course, serious travelers are a competitive breed, from: “How many countries have you been to?” and “We’ve been there, did you do…?” to watching travel shows saying, “I could do that!” Well, now they can with a trip, trophy, and title on the line.
“Sometimes travelers take trips, but our grand adventure takes travelers to mysterious unknown destinations,” says William D. Chalmers, the Event Director. “Our secret places serve as a fun playing field on which the event plays itself out. Being a passive participant is not an option when you don’t know where you are going on this authentic, challenging, and participatory international travel adventure. Simply transformative. It is life-changing for our travelers.”
And the winners earn a free trip around-the-world with The World’s Greatest Travelers title and crown after proving their mettle, testing their situational awareness, and challenging their Travel IQs. Traditionally, travel writers and bloggers, social media influencers and travel agents, along with some of the world’s “most traveled people” and Amazing Race wannabe’s, join the competition. But often, well-traveled curious people are the winners. This event is truly “the Amazing Race for real travelers.”
The 23-day around-the-world event is limited to 15 teams of two. The US$28,000 team entry fee includes: all international airfares, first-class hotels, 40% of meals, and special event-sponsored travel gear. Single travelers are welcome to apply, and all travelers will be interviewed for suitability. Contact GreatEscape Adventures at +1.310.281.7809 or apply online at GlobalScavengerHunt.com. (CST#2071053-40).
See our coverage of the 2019 Global Scavenger Hunt:
Capilano Suspension Bridge Among Vancouver BC’s Marvelous Attractions, First Leg of Global Scavenger Hunt
GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT, LEG 2: HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM: TRADITIONS SURVIVE IN MODERN CITY, AS DOES RECKONING WITH PAST
GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT, LEG 3: MYANMAR, THE GOLDEN LAND, COMES FROM DARKNESS INTO LIGHT
GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT, LEG 3 IN MYANMAR CONTINUES: BAGAN, CITY OF TEMPLES, NEWLY NAMED UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT, LEG 3 CONTINUES: THE ENCHANTMENT OF INLE LAKE, MYANMAR
GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT, LEG 3: BACK IN YANGON, MYANMAR
GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT 8-HOUR LAYOVER CHALLENGE IN BANGKOK, THAILAND
GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT, LEG 5: DISCOVERING ABU DHABI
ANCIENT CITY OF PETRA IS A HIGHLIGHT OF GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT IN JORDAN
GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT: IN THE SCRAMBLE TO BE CROWNED ‘WORLD’S BEST TRAVELERS’
GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT, LEG 7: 30 HOURS IN ATHENS
UNRAVELING MARRAKESH’S OLD CITY MAZE BEFORE TACKLING THE GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT 4-COUNTRY CHALLENGE
GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT: ENTRANCED BY THE MYSTIQUE OF FEZ, MOROCCO
GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT: A DASH THROUGH GIBRALTAR REVEALS A MODERN-DAY BRIGADOON
GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT: SEVILLE TO PORTO TO COMPLETE TOUGHEST LEG OF 23-DAY AROUND-THE-WORLD MYSTERY TOUR
FEELING LIKE A FOREIGNER IN MY HOMETOWN: GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT ENDS IN NEW YORK CITY
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – Founded on a deep seeded belief that travel should inspire personal growth, expand horizons, and support conservation as well as the local communities, Journeysmiths’s 2023 ‘Where to Go list” is permeated with immersive experiences. Each guest itinerary is designed completely from scratch and always includes an opportunity to create a positive impact on the destinations they explore.
“From newly re-opened countries to the ideal first time family safari, we believe there is something for every activity level, in all corners of the globe on our list,” said Managing Director Laura Burdett-Munns of her team’s top picks for 2023.
BHUTAN – With its borders open once again, the happiest country on earth is ready to welcome visitors during Journeysmiths 13-day Bhutan itinerary. This “best of” immersive highlights tour of the Land of the Thunder Dragon explores Thimphu, Gangtey, Punakha and Paro. Accompanied by a private English-speaking guide as well as driver for the duration of a journey, guests will hike to the magnificent Tigers Nest, explore Dzong and join monks for morning prayers at the Monastery. They can immerse themselves in the peace and beauty of the land with mountain bike tours, private hikes, and of course explore the Kingdoms famous monuments and fascinating cities. Prices start at $20,350 per person based on a group of four adults.
COSTA RICA – From the pristine Caribbean beaches to the Pacific Ocean to the tropical rainforests, there are activities to delight the entire group during Journeysmiths 8-day Costa Rica holiday. This immersive, privately guided very active tour includes chartered internal flights, luxurious accommodations and all the land and sea activities one can dream up. From Scuba diving to horseback riding, kayaking, canyoning, exploring volcanoes, waterfall hiking, as well as tours of the bioluminescence bay and ziplining through the rainforest, guests will be one with Costa Rica’s abundant wildlife. Prices start at $37,500 per person based on a group of four adults.
GALAPAGOS & QUITO – Explore this wildlife-haven during Journeysmiths 10-day city to sea safari which includes two nights exploring the beautiful city of Quito, Peru with a private guide. The best-preserved, historic city in Latin America, Quito has the largest old town in South America. From Quito, guests board the newly launched superyacht, Aqua Mare – the first superyacht to sail the Galapagos Archipelago – for seven nights. With only seven spacious and elegantly designed sea-facing suites, two expert naturalist guides and an exclusive one-to-one crew to guest ratio, a thoroughly personalized journey is ensured for all. Prices start from $11,400 per person based on two guests, double occupancy.
KENYA – Long celebrated for its incredibly diverse safari offerings, Kenya is the perfect experience for couples and friends but also families. During Journeysmiths 9-day Kenya itinerary, clients will spend the first part of this journey on the Masai Mara to immediately get their fix of Big Five game viewing. From there, guests hop a privately charted flight north to explore the Laikipia region. When traveling with school age children, they generally need more than just game drives to entertain them. So Journeysmiths includes stays at properties such as Loisaba Tented Camp and Ol Malo who encourage the whole family to explore together. Here guests can enjoy activities such as walking with camels, horseback riding, bush walks, kayaking and even Maasai warrior training. Prices start from $32,000 per person based on a family of four.
SOUTH AFRICA – From luxurious Big Five safari experiences to vibrant cities filled with culture, breathtaking coastlines to impressive mountain ranges and award-winning vineyards, it is easy to understand why South Africa is a perennial favorite. During Journeysmiths 10-day tour of South Africa, guests will explore forested reserves in search of lions and leopards, enjoy privately guided tours of Cape Town and the surrounding waterfront areas, take a marine safari from Hermanus and of course, sip and savor world class wines and dine at award-winning restaurants during a stay in the Cape Winelands. Prices start from $27,500 per person based on double occupancy.
ABOUT JOURNEYSMITHS In 1990, in Northampton, England, John Burdett and Warwick Hoffman – the original Journeysmiths – set out to provide completely customized African holidays for clients whose passion for immersive adventure was rivaled only by their own. Today, the next generation of Journeysmiths, helmed by John’s daughter Laura Burdett-Munns, has expanded its offerings to include 25 countries across five continents, holding steadfast to their founder’s deep-seated belief that travel should inspire personal growth and expand horizons while supporting conservation initiatives and local communities. A specialized team of seasoned Journeysmiths’ handcraft holidays that are as exceptional as they are personal, providing travelers exquisite, cultural and wildlife expeditions while mindfully engendering a positive impact on the destinations they explore. In addition to local philanthropic efforts within Northampton, Journeysmiths proudly supports, TUSK and Ripple Effect, (formally known as ‘Send a Cow’) and are members of African Travel & Tourism Association (ATTA) and the luxury travel designer network, Serandipians. For more information, please visit www.Journeysmiths.com or call 1-866-871-3829.
JUNEAU, AK– UnCruise Adventures, a leading small ship cruise line, is bringing back its $99 per person booking deposit and waiving its $750 per person deposit for a limited time. The WAVE Season offer is valid through February 5, 2023, and allows guests and travel advisors to reserve a cabin with a small deposit. The cruise line offers upscale experiential cruise adventures in its expanding catalog of itineraries.
The cruise line notes that this is an opportunity to lock in pricing before price increases go into effect for all Alaska itineraries.
“I couldn’t be more excited about what the future holds,” Captain Dan Blanchard stated. “We will continue to focus on maximizing short and long-term strategies to improve our guests’ experience and promote sustainable UnCruise UnTourism. Our select price increase reflects the changes in the industry as a whole and our dedication to delivering the highest quality to our guests.”
For a limited time, book any Baja California’s Whales & Sealife 2023 departure and receive one complimentary pre-night hotel in San Jose del Cabo PLUS a $100 shopping credit in the UnCruise online gift shop.
Purchase 3 full fares and the 4th guest sails free on the 84-guest Safari Endeavour in 2023. Great deal for families or couples traveling together.
Buy one cabin and get the second 50% off for all sailings in Baja from January 21 – May 6, 2023. Second cabin savings value $5900 – $10,700.
For a limited time, the single supplement fees are waived on select departures for individual travelers. These vary by ship and individual sailings to get you the best adventure.
To ensure the health and safety of our guests and crew, UnCruise Adventures has implemented a requirement for fully vaccinated cruises and additional safety and sanitary measure onboard all of its vessels. Safe distancing is recommended. The company’s updated vaccine policy and travel resources can be found on the website uncruise.com.
UnCruise Adventures’ is a responsible travel and adventure leader in the small boat cruise line industry. They operate boutique yachts and small boats carrying 22-86 guests on voyages in Alaska, Hawaiian Islands, Mexico’s Sea of Cortés, Columbia & Snake Rivers, Coastal Washington, Galápagos, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, and Colombia. UnCruise Adventures has been repeatedly picked as the top adventure cruise line by Cruise Critic, and USA Today. Travel & Leisure readers also named UnCruise Adventures in its World’s Best Awards and its list of top 10 small ship ocean cruise lines three years in a row. UnCruise Adventures is a member of the Adventure Travel Trade Association and Transformational Travel Council.
All WAVE Season offers are subject to terms and conditions. Ask an UnCruise Adventures specialist or your travel advisor for more details. Book directly at [email protected], 888-862-8881 to reserve.
Quark Expeditions, a global leader in polar adventures, has kicked off the new year by launching a robust Escape Sale with polar voyages reduced by up to 45%—plus a variety of guest benefits. The sale is on through April 3, 2023.
“We’re very excited about our recently-launched Escape Sale as it enables a cross-section of travelers to take advantage of deep savings that match their travel tastes,” said Thomas Lennartz, Vice President of Sales for Quark Expeditions. “The special offers—and perks—in our Escape Sale appeal to solo travelers, couples and groups.”
Lennartz emphasized that the itineraries featured in the Escape Sale include some of the more popular voyages within Quark Expeditions’ portfolio, including some of the more active trips in the Arctic such as the Greenland Adventure: Explore by Land, Sea and Air itinerary, as well as shorter voyages such as Antarctic Express: Fly the Drake.
In addition, Quark is also waiving the single supplement on multiple voyages 2023 voyages.
“We know from past promotions that a large number of travelers will appreciate the free transfer package offered on select Arctic 2023 voyages. This includes charter flights, hotel and ground transportation (between airport and hotel), as well as hotel accommodation,” said Lennartz.
“Polar travelers place high value on these extras. Factor in the additional 10% savings when guests pay in full, and our Escape Sale is even more appealing to travelers who’ve long wanted to explore the Arctic or Antarctic with the best expedition team in the Polar Regions.”
Highlights of the Escape Sale (January 4 to April 3, 2023):
Savings up to 45%
No single supplement on multiple voyages
Free transportation between airport and hotel, as well as overnight hotel accommodation on select Arctic 2023 voyages
An additional 10% savings when guests pay in full at time of booking.
Departures featured in Quark Expeditions’ Escape Sale include:
Three Arctic Islands: Spitsbergen, Greenland and Iceland (Southbound). Departure: August 26, 2023
Spitsbergen Explorer: Wildlife Capital of the Arctic. Departure: June 4 and 22, 2023
Canada and Greenland. Departure: September 11, 2023
Northwest Passage: In the Footsteps of Franklin. Departure: July 30, 2023
For a full list of eligible departures, visit Quark Expeditions’ Escape Sale.
The technologically-advanced Ultramarine, the newest addition to the Quark Expeditions fleet, is a game-changer in polar exploration. Equipped with two twin-engine Airbus 145 helicopters, 20 quick-launching Zodiacs and the largest portfolio of off-ship adventure options in the industry, Ultramarine changes the way guests explore the Polar Regions. Other features include a spa, sauna with floor-to-ceiling windows, fitness centre, yoga space, spacious rooms and two restaurants plus a lounge and presentation theatre. Ultramarine has been designed with advanced sustainability systems that help preserve the pristine Polar Regions for the next generation of explorers. Ultramarine has an Ice Class rating of 1A+ and Polar Class rating of PC6, which contribute to the vessel’s superior standards of safety standard. The ship’s innovative sustainability features, which help reduce its environmental footprint, include a micro auto gasification system (MAGS), which is capable of converting onboard waste into energy, eliminating the need for the transportation of waste.
Specializing exclusively in expeditions to Antarctica and the Arctic, Quark Expeditions® has been the leading innovator of polar adventure since the company took the first group of consumer travelers to the North Pole in 1991. With a diverse fleet of specially-equipped small expedition vessels and icebreakers—some of them equipped with helicopters—Quark Expeditions is able to take guests deeper into the Polar Regions than most other operators. Led by passionate and seasoned expedition teams, including scientists, wildlife experts and researchers, Quark Expeditions offers an onboard program that enriches the passenger experience.
Parks & Trails NY has opened registration for the 25th Anniversary Cycle the Erie Canal 2023. The eight-day, 400-mile adventure from Buffalo to Albany takes place July 9-16.
This year, the ride – a supported camping trip – returns to its full complement of 650 riders.
There are two options: an 8-day tour from Buffalo to Albany and a 4-day option from Buffalo to Syracuse (4-day capped at 100 riders).
The route follows the legendary Erie Canal passing locks and aqueducts and winding through historic villages and rural farmlands.
The 400-mile journey along the legendary Erie Canal ends in Albany eight days later. Along the way, cyclists enjoy some of the finest scenery, most interesting history, and unparalleled cycling in the United States. Covering between 40 and 60 miles per day, cyclists travel along the Erie Canalway Trail, which is now the east-west axis of the statewide 750-mile Empire State Trail.
Designed as a camping trip, accommodations are provided with showers, toilet facilities, some with pools or lakes for swimming; eight breakfasts and six dinners; two daily refreshment stops along the route; evening entertainment including music and historical presentations; guided tours of the Canal, historic sites, museums and other attractions including the Women’s Rights National Historic Park, Erie Canal Museum and Village, Fort Stanwix National Monument and a boat tour through the Lockport locks; kick-off reception and end-of-tour celebration; Cycle the Erie Canal t-shirt; baggage transport; SAG wagon and mobile mechanical support; daily maps and cue sheets; painted and arrowed routes; pre-departure info packet including training trips.
Other amenities available (at additional fee) include fresh daily towels, gourmet morning coffee, tent and air mattress rental and set up (for those who don’t want to pitch their own tent or prefer to rent).
Shuttle transportation from Albany to the start in Buffalo (you arrive the night before the bike trip starts and have an extra night camping), or from Albany back to Buffalo is available. Arrangements are made for parking.
Optimism is the keyword for the 2023 travel landscape as travelers embrace more distant experiences compared to 2022. Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.), a leader in personalized small group and solo travel for Americans ages 50 and older, announced its top 4 travel trends for 2023.
“Travelers are showing a high level enthusiasm for life-changing adventures far from home, often on their own,” said Brian FitzGerald, Chief Executive Officer of O.A.T. “It’s a genuine priority for travelers to connect and engage with people from other cultures, and to find ways to give back to communities they visit.”
O.A.T. Top 4 Travel Themes for 2023:
1. Africa – Travel to Africa is seeing a resurgence. Botswana, Morocco, and Egypt top the list of popular 2023 trips at O.A.T. In 2022, travelers were more focused on Europe.
People who dream of visiting Africa — whether on safari on floating down the Nile — continue to make up for time lost due to the pandemic. These motivated travelers don’t want to put off visiting the continent any longer, and their sights are set on 2023.
2. Solos going strong – Women over 50, in particular, are heading out to see the world on their own. According to O.A.T., the number of solo travelers reserving for 2023 is up 24% compared to 2019. Overall, more than 60% of O.A.T. travelers are solos, and the majority are women.
“As a single traveler, you’re driving everything,” said O.A.T. solo traveler Muriel Forster. “That just gives you a great deal of flexibility. I overheard someone say, ‘a once in a lifetime experience.’ I thought, ‘I don’t want this to be once in a lifetime – I want this to be my lifetime!”
Solo travelers are drawn to trips with no single supplement, which can be hundreds or thousands of dollars. O.A.T. offers free single supplements on 92% of its single spaces in 2023.
3. Personalized travel – Travelers want the benefits of expert-led small group tours, but increasingly crave more than a one-size-fits all experience. 2023 will bring continued traveler demand to tailor trips with one’s individual preferences. For example, many travelers prefer to arrive early at a destination before a tour starts so they feel acclimated.
At O.A.T., 87% of travelers personalize their trips by arriving early, staying later, adding a stopover at a popular international city, or combining trips. By comparison, just 75% requested personalization in 2018.
4. Regenerative travel – The idea that tourism should leave a destination better than it was before is gaining ground globally. In a nutshell, regenerative travel improves local economies while preserving local cultures and biodiversity. It benefits local people and allows destinations to improve, all while providing authentic experiences to travelers.
O.A.T., through its Grand Circle Foundation, supports projects focused on water, conservation, and renewable energy in the areas to which the company travels. The Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (W.A.S.H.) initiative helps improve the well-being of local people. Access to safe water, adequate sanitation, and proper hygiene education reduces illness and death, and increases socio-economic development leading to a reduction in poverty. The Foundation supports alternative energy sources to reduce carbon emissions and dependency on fossil fuels. Some schools add solar panels as an alternate source of electricity and to reduce operating expenses. Solar lights from the Foundation replace kerosene, reducing illness from soot and smoke and enabling students to study at night, leading to a better education.
O.A.T. provides travelers over 50 with impactful, intercultural experiences that help change people’s lives. O.A.T. fosters an intimate and accessible experience, with groups limited to 16 travelers (average of 13) by land and 25 (average of 22) by sea.
Established in 1978, Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.) is part of Boston-based Grand Circle Corporation’s family of travel companies, which also include Grand Circle Cruise Line and Grand Circle Travel. In 1992, owners Alan and Harriet Lewis established the nonprofit Grand Circle Foundation to support communities in which Grand Circle works and travels, including some 300 humanitarian, cultural, and educational endeavors worldwide—among them, 100 schools, in 50 countries. The Foundation is an entity of the Alnoba Lewis Family Foundation, which has pledged or donated more than $250 million since 1981.
The rustle of silks and feathers under muted conversation was probably the last thing heard by the tragically and unexpectedly deceased at the Billionaires’ Club Annual Masquerade Ball. With a mystery under each feathery façade, unmasking the killer may be quite a challenge. It’s up to you to determine which partygoer is guilty, bring this crime to justice and save the party.
The Boars Head Resort, Charlottesville, VA, is hosting a “Midnight at the Masquerade” Murder Mystery Dinner on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023.
Attend this unique masquerade ball and murder mystery dinner and help get this soiree back on track by trading clues with other guests, gathering information and solving the crime before the masked menace gets away!
The evening begins at 5:30 pm with bar service, dinner starts at 6 pm and the “show” starts at 7 pm. (Recommended for guests 18 or older.)
The event ticket is $90 (plus service fee) for public tickets. A Murder Mystery overnight package available that includes tickets, the buffet and luxurious accommodations.
Dinner Attire: Come as you are but if you are feeling more festive and want to dress for the part don your evening wear, ball gowns, Venetian masks, suits and tuxes for this high-class night of masks and murder.
The 1886 Crescent Hotel, known for its ghostly inhabitants and eerie events, will be opening its doors to a select group of paranormal investigators on the night of January 10, 2023. This exclusive event will allow 50 brave individuals to explore the hotel’s active spaces and guest rooms, equipped with state-of-the-art paranormal sensors.
The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, will be on full lockdown, therefore investigators will stay overnight at the Basin Park Hotel, which is also known for its paranormal experiences (12 Spring St., Eureka Springs, AR 72632, 877-456-9679, https://www.basinpark.com/). Both hotels are members of Historic Hotels of America (historichotels.org).
The night will begin with a welcome reception in Basin Park Hotel’s Jack Rabbett Whisky Bar, where investigators will have the opportunity to meet each other and discuss their plans for the evening. At 8:30 PM, they will be shuttled to the Crescent and go into lockdown. From that point on, investigators will have unrestricted access to the hotel and will be able to explore as they please, with the help of experienced guides. The investigation will continue until 2AM when guest will be returned to the Basin Park with many stories to tell.
Participants are encouraged to document their experiences and share them on social media, but no outside light sources will be permitted on the property.
This one-of-a-kind event is not for the faint of heart, and spots are limited to 50 participants.
An Overnight Guest Room is required, January 10, and rates start at $149.
The reservationist will reserve your place in the lockdown
The cost of the lockdown is $250 per person and includes:
Transportation between hotels
Paranormal investigation at the Crescent Hotel
You must call, 877-342-9766, to book your space and use promo code: Lockdown.
Price led decision making will drive change in 2023: consumers will still travel but how they spend will differ
Give us a break; 41% of consumers are planning more vacations in 2023 as 2022, and 46% are planning to do the same number of trips
Savvy consumers are shopping around and pocket-friendly destinations are leading the way – Portugal rises in popularity and drops in price
Swap sunbathing for forest bathing; getting amongst nature will be a priority – both for mental health and to avoid price peaks around beach destinations
‘Me time’ set to make the mainstream next year; over half (53%) of travelers are considering a solo trip next year, with divorcees and singles over-indexing
Sneaky searches: 64% will use a mobile device to plan or book their next trip, predominantly whilst at work
Looking further into the future, Skyscanner predicts supersonic travel will redefine short-haul travel and one in three Americans (34%) expect to vacation among the stars in their lifetime
New research from global travel site Skyscanner reveals that US vacationers are expecting another strong year of travel despite economic uncertainty, but price-led decision making will drive change in 2023. With 86% of US travelers planning to spend the same if not more on travel abroad next year, how they are going to spend will differ. The extent of these changes is revealed in Skyscanner’s detailed Travel Trends 2023 report.
Key trends to come out of the report show that US travelers don’t want the vacation to stop on a Monday morning, but to work where they could vacation and work too. US travelers are also craving experiences grounded in nature and wellbeing. A way to reset and feel normal again. Expect friends to ditch each other in favor of solo adventures, indulge in sneaky smartphone travel searches in the workplace and vacationers navigating the cost-of-living crisis to ensure their time away remains a priority.
For travel in 2023, there’s a lot we want to do differently and some bold expectations on what future travel will entail. Future gazing sees one in three people expecting vacations amongst the stars to be a mainstream reality in their lifetime, while closer to home, advances in supersonic technology could re-define short-haul travel.
“It is clear that we’re hungrier than ever to discover something new – even though we might have less in our pockets next year,” Naomi Hahn, Skyscanner’s VP of strategy, comments. “The aftermath of a pandemic has made travelers look for ways to make up for lost time and create new experiences and memories.
“Consumers are putting value first, post pandemic. The squeeze on personal spending has shown that consumers will still prioritize getting away but are increasingly shopping around on metasearch platforms like Skyscanner. They are also employing simple travel hacks to ensure they get the most for their money, like being flexible in terms of dates and destination. The year looks set to be a year of new discoveries as emerging, pocket friendly destinations come to the fore.”
Skyscanner commissioned its deep-dive research into consumer attitudes and behaviors, combined with proprietary search and booking insights, to reveal its travel predictions. Skyscanner’s report, Travel Trends 2023: The year of price-driven decisions analyzes survey data from 2,000 consumers in the US as well as extensive search and redirect data to provide unique insights into travel plans for 2023 and beyond.
Key trends revealed:
Travel remains a priority: Consumers today look to make better, more informed decisions about their discretionary spend, recent polling revealed: 46% of consumers are planning the same number of vacations in 2023 as 2022, and 41% are thinking of even going on more trips next year. Just 6% are planning to vacation less in 2023. The rising cost of living is still a concern, but 62% have decided to prioritize vacations next year over other big-ticket items.
Shift in spending: 86% of US travelers are planning to spend the same if not more on travel abroad next year, while only 5% are planning to spend less. Travelers are increasingly demanding greater ticket transparency, as well as taking control of the value in their airfares, unbundling of price to build packaged airfares that suit their needs.
Best value destinations for 2023: Skyscanner, which helps travelers compare pricing or choose travel based on budget, can also reveal the destinations that have seen the biggest price drops since pre-pandemic are:
Madeira, Portugal – 22% price drop
Sofia, Bulgaria – 18% price drop
Brussels, Belgium – 13% price drop
Skyscanner’s 2023 hotlist: Travelers are increasingly on the hunt for less popular places that offer undiscovered experiences and unlock better value breaks. In fact, Skyscanner’s ‘Everywhere’ search is regularly in the top searches post pandemic. Check out some of the destinations that have seen the biggest increase in searches:
Family hot list:
Jacksonville, USA (570% increase in searches)
Izmir, Turkey (168% increase in searches)
Madeira, Portugal (123% increase in searches)
Minneapolis, USA (409% increase in searches)
Preveza, Greece (316% increase in searches)
Santiago de Compostela, Spain (289% increase in searches)
Solo traveling is no longer a niche; over one half of travelers (54%) are looking to escape solo next year. Divorcees (78%) ranked among the highest in their readiness to embark on a solo vacation in 2023 and look set to form a new trend of travelers who are ‘solo and self-focused’. With an increasing number of friendship apps launched and platonic versions of dating apps growing in popularity, there is also the opportunity to hook up with new travel friends and companions.
Sustainability; Sustainable travel continues to grow in consideration for travelers’ decision making: for more than 1 in 4 (24%) it’s even more important now, than prior to the pandemic. With price-led decision making and sustainable travel both top of mind, 11% are considering new, alternative destinations for their next trip.
Nature first; Wildlife spotting appears in the top 3 travel activities planned for vacations, suggesting the pandemic’s emphasis on getting outside for walks and connecting with the local environment is now transferring as a key component of travel plans. Interacting with the environment and watching animals has mood-boosting properties. Skyscanner recommends getting amongst green nature and experiencing the meditative effects of Shinrin-yoku, a new wellness trend that literally means ‘forest bathing’ in 2023.
Making work work for you (and your wallet): 45% of Americans surveyed plan to work while on vacation next year (“bleisure travel”), a strategic move for which the top reason is ‘it means I get more time in destination’ (59%). Cross-referencing the long list of countries that now offer digital nomad visas with their cities’ cost of living index unearths a selection of savvy options for 2023. All cheaper than London’s cost of living index, Skyscanner’s favorites include:
Mexico City, Mexico – Skyscanner has also seen a 591% increase in searches
Zagreb, Croatia – Skyscanner has also seen a 344% increase in searches
Sneaky smartphone searches & social media’s influence; 2 out of 3 US travelers now use a mobile device to plan or book their next trip, with the most popular moment being during work hours or lunch break. Celebs are the number one source of travel inspiration in the US with Instagram being the most FOMO inducing – 52% of travelers stated they’re more likely to book a trip if they’ve seen it on the platform.
So, for those wanting to get ahead of the Insta trend, Skyscanner can reveal their top spot for 2023 is Amman, Jordan (based on least amount of Instagram hashtags cross referenced x 195% increase in Skyscanner searches).
Future travel; 2053 will mark 150 years of the Wright Brothers first airplane flight, a lot has changed since then and travelers are expecting significant developments to be mainstream when hitting that milestone in 30 years’ time.
One in three people (34%) expect to vacation amongst the stars in their lifetime, climbing aboard space craft for Earth sight-seeing day trips to the edge of space and longer trips beyond
Advances in supersonic technology could re-define short-haul travel and Skyscanner’s report reveals 32% of travelers believe it will be a mainstream flight option in the future
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(Rovaniemi, FINLAND) A new seven-day, six-night Ultimate Christmas Invitation itinerary transports visitors to the Arctic Circle to meet Santa Claus in his home, deep in the Lapland forest. The Finland-based program includes dog-sledding, a visit to a reindeer farm, and snowmobiling.
The festive journey starts in Helsinki before heading to Lapland with a personalized, handwritten letter and photobook from Santa Claus, highlighting all the ways guests have been “nice” this year and requesting the traveler’s presence at a one-on-one meeting at Santa’s home in Lapland.
Designed to enthrall all ages, the Ultimate Christmas Invitation from specialist travel company Off the Map Travel, creates a personalized experience for each member of the traveling party. Perfect for pre-Christmas shopping and celebrating throughout the festive season, the program is offered from November to January and begins with an overnight in Helsinki in the art deco boutique hotel Lilla Roberts where guests receive a “golden ticket” for the “Polar Express” overnight night train from Finland’s capital city to Rovaniemi, above the Arctic Circle.
“The itinerary builds suspense and anticipation up to the moment of meeting Santa in person. With no queues and a location in the most festive place on earth, the trip is a dream for those who love Christmas and Santa Claus,” noted Jonny Cooper, Arctic travel expert and founder of Off the Map Travel.
Guests can also stargaze and search for the Northern Lights through huge skylight windows in exclusive Aurora loft rooms at Rovaniemi’s contemporary Arctic Light Hotel. The magical city, just above the Arctic Circle is perfect for an immersion into Christmas and for numerous shopping opportunities.
To complete the experience, the tour continues to Inari, a center of winter activities, the birthplace of Finnish Sami, and the home of Santa. There, with winter clothing provided, guests can choose from outdoor programs including dogsledding, a reindeer farm meet-up and sleigh ride, and snowmobiling through the brilliant Lappish landscape.
In Inari, at Santa’s workshop, participants have a personal meeting with Kris Kringle himself with plenty of time to chat about Santa’s feelings about this year’s holiday, his elves and, of course, you. Since no Christmas holiday is complete without a gift, visitors receive something very special before embarking on a sleigh ride to the Wilderness Hotel Inari, an unusual “round” log cabin resort with comfortable beds, a personal sauna in each cabin, and views over Lake Inari or River Nukkumajoki. In the evening, the cabin’s open fire invites you to cozy up and search for the Northern Lights in the clear skies.
The seven-day, six-night Ultimate Christmas Invitation itinerary is priced from $3806 per person (at the time of this writing) including all activities, transfers, one night’s accommodations in Helsinki , one night’s accommodations in Rovaniemi, three nights’ full board accommodation in Inari, and the overnight train to Rovaniemi from Helsinki. Flights are additional. As with any itinerary from Off the Map Travel, this program can be tailor-made to fit the wishes and requirements of the guest.
The team at Off the Map Travel works with experiences and destinations that allow people to explore hidden wonders of our planet. Specializing in Soft Adventure OTMT creates tailor-made holiday itineraries offering authentic experiences not offered by many larger travel companies. For more information on Off the Map Travel itineraries visit www.offthemap.travel; call 1-646-701-0041, email [email protected].