There’s no better place to explore the wonders of space than from one of the darkest locations in the United States. Join scientists and park rangers to learn about the cosmos and how Death Valley National Park has been used as an analog for the exploration of distant worlds during the Death Valley Dark Sky Festival March 1-3, 2024.
Death Valley National Park is one of only eight (8) designated “gold tier” International Dark Sky Parks in the country where stargazers can see the Milky Way with the naked eye (something that’s not possible from most people’s homes due to light pollution). The National Park Service, alongside the Oasis at Death Valley, has taken measures to greatly minimize light pollution in the area so no special telescopes are needed (though they are recommended for an otherworldly experience).
Accommodations and restaurants are extremely limited in the park. Not only does The Oasis at Death Valley offer two properties with modern luxury and family-friendly accommodations, but it’s also ideally positioned with clear nights the norm, a lack of settled land, and the exterior lights of the resort dim by design. Ideal for stargazing, yes, but also for travelers in search of astronomical sights – constellations, planets, deep-sky objects, celestial events like lunar eclipses and meteor showers, and even actual galaxies like the increasingly hard-to-spot Milky Way.
The Death Valley Dark Sky Festival is a collaboration between Death Valley National Park, non-profit Death Valley Natural History Association, NASA‘s Goddard Space Flight Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Ames Research Center, SETI Institute and California Institute of Technology. All Death Valley Dark Sky Festival programs are free and open to the public. Some of the programs are specifically targeted for families with children. For a full list of programs and lodging options visit the park’s website at nps.gov/deva.
Located 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas and 295 miles northeast of Los Angeles, The Oasis at Death Valley is distant enough from the major cities in the Southwest to provide unobstructed views of the night’s sky, yet close enough for city dwellers to escape for the weekend. Guests can reserve a private stargazing party to create the ultimate night sky experience. In addition, Furnace Creek Stables on property offers a moonlight tour which is a unique way to stargaze.
With cooler temperatures, colorful leaves, fewer crowds and, this year, a “ring of fire” eclipse, fall is a great time to travel. From desert hiking and biking to mountain, rainforest and island adventures and early Antarctica expeditions, here are 12 stellar trips this season.
Utah Eclipse Trek: Backpack the Boulder Mail Trail through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah with Wildland Trekking for an adventure among slickrock formations, ponderosa pine-covered plateaus and canyons with spring-fed creeks. A five-day departure in October will offer the opportunity to take in “ring of fire” views as an annular eclipse passes overhead. https://wildlandtrekking.com/trips/boulder-mail-trail/
Early Season Antarctica: Avoid the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage and reach Antarctica faster by booking an early season fly-and-cruise expedition through Adventure Life. Begin the eight-day trip in Punta Arenas, Chile, then fly two hours to King George Island, board the Magellan Explorer and cruise among the icebergs, penguins, seals, and whales of the white continent. https://www.adventure-life.com/antarctica/cruises/13000/classic-antarctica-air-cruise
Autumn in Austria’s Alps: With a long fall season thanks to its lower elevation, Best of the Alps destination Kitzbühel, Austria, is the perfect getaway for a hiking, biking and culinary getaway as the leaves change color. Hike among grassy slopes, mountain summits, lakes and waterfalls, ride the roads, flowing singletrack and easy e-bike tours, and savor the flavors of a traditional farmers’ market, award-winning restaurants and food festivals. https://www.bestofthealps.com/en/d/kitzbuhel/
Death Valley Eclipse Bikepacking: Ride the heart of the Mojave Desert, from Death Valley National Park to Red Rock Canyon, during the Oct. 14th annular eclipse with Escape Adventures. On this five-day bikepacking tour, navigate the wide valley floor, sunbaked foothills and stacks of boulders, stopping to visit historic sites accessed by 1930s-era Civilian Conservation Corps roads. https://escapeadventures.com/tour/death-valley-and-red-rock-mountain-bike-tour/
Amazon Autumn Adventure: Experience the astounding biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest during a stay at Ecuador’s Sacha Lodge. The 5,000-acre private ecological reserve surrounding the lodge is home to more than 600 bird species and other wildlife, providing guests an up-close opportunity to learn about the rainforest from naturalists and native Quechua guides. https://www.sachalodge.com/
Piedmont Culinary + Hiking: The wine region of Piedmont could very well be the ultimate destination for casual hikers who are also food and wine lovers. Accommodations during your journey include a UNESCO site, a wine estate, and a boutique hotel in the countryside. In early October, it might still be harvest time for the nebbiolo grapes and the colors make the hills and vineyards look like they are painted! https://www.tourissimo.travel/piedmont-barolo-hiking
Yellowstone Horseback Fly Fishing: Travel by horseback into Yellowstone National Park’s interior and cast for trout on seldom-fished streams guided by the experts at Flying Pig Adventures. Whether it’s for a few hours or a full day, a family or a group of friends, Flying Pig will handle all the details for a truly unique Yellowstone fishing excursion. https://www.flyingpigrafting.com/flyfishing-montana
Cycle Across Japan: Ride & Seek Bicycle Adventures’ 22-day Samurai Tour travels through three distinct parts of Japan and immerses cyclists in the country’s spectacular landscape, culture and history. Explore the enchanting Noto Peninsula and the Japanese Alps, follow the road less traveled across the smallest of Japan’s main islands and ride around Mount Fuji to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. https://rideandseek.com/tour/samurai-shikoku-island-japan/
National Parks by RV: National parks saw huge crowds over the summer, but fall is a great time to visit for less traffic and pleasant temperatures. Blacksford rents fully stocked Mercedes-Benz Sprinter overland adventure vehicles from Winnebago with all-inclusive pricing that provides unlimited miles, bedding, kitchen and bath supplies, Wi-Fi, a free annual pass to the national parks and 24-hour roadside assistance. https://www.blacksford.com/
Jackson Hole Glamping: Wyoming’s Fireside Resort offers 25 luxuriously outfitted tiny house rental units designed by Wheelhaus just a short distance from Grand Teton National Park and the Jackson Hole ski slopes, making it the perfect place to stay for a fall getaway or winter ski trip. https://www.firesidejacksonhole.com/
Fall Galapagos Adventure: Fall is one of the best times of year to visit Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, particularly when it comes to wildlife and weather. The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel has joined forces with Scalesia Galapagos Lodge to offer a new weeklong program that includes day trips aboard the yacht Sea Lion, glamping in luxury tents on Isabela Island and visits to remote locations that highlight the incredible diversity of the archipelago. https://www.scalesialodge.com/
Fall in Big Sky: A visit to Big Sky, Montana, and stay at The Wilson Hotel offers the opportunity for fall adventures in Yellowstone country. With elk bugling and pockets of aspen trees turning golden amid the green forest, hike and mountain bike the trails surrounding town, fish the Gallatin River or take one last tour of Yellowstone National Park’s natural wonders before roads close for the season. https://thewilsonhotel.com/
Set on a stunning hillside on the Mendocino, California, coast overlooking the ocean, the luxury, all-vegan Stanford Inn prides itself on being committed to the highest ideal of sustainability and eco-tourism, not only for its own operations, but in sharing its knowledge and passion and inculcating the mindset and the means in its guests.
“Eco-tourism isn’t just choosing an exotic, threatened natural environment for your next vacation,” the inn declares. “It also means traveling in a way that protects and respects your destination, and improves your own well-being as well as that of the local community and the whole planet.”
Towards this end:
On-site certified organic gardens supplies the resort’s whole plant-based Ravens Restaurant, nationally acclaimed for gourmet vegan cuisine that focuses on whole plants rather than ersatz meats, cheeses or processed substitutes.
The Inn offers cooking classes, from beginner up, as well as on-site classes in organic gardening and farming.
The Inn shares its knowledge, experience and passion through its Environmental Leadership Field School, where it promotes a sustainable mindset that begins with understanding soil, gardening, food production and preparation.
The Inn works to reduce its carbon footprint, has vigorous composting and recycling programs, bio-diesel fueled trucks and providing guests access to nine EV charging stations.
The Inn only uses sustainable lumber, paints, cleaning supplies and other materials for the frequent upgrades made to the property.
The Stanford Inn founders, Joan and Jeff Stanford, moved to Mendocino in 1980, say, “…we were changed by the creative and healing energies of the land which is situated between the vast Pacific Ocean and the vibrant Big River. Since then, we have worked to assure our guests have an opportunity to experience what we experience: a special place that enlivens and inspires. The energies we experience here nurtured us and we reciprocate by nurturing not only our guests, but the people who work here, the farm and gardens and the Mendocino community. We approach the inn as a small family farm. We treat our guests as we do our family.”
A new Amazonian tourism offering in Peru is taking adventure lovers to remote parts of the Amazon by traditional canoe!
The company, Amazon Canoe Challenge, is taking travelers on pre-planned and custom trips through the little explored and rugged parts of the Peruvian Amazon. Options include:
Ene-Tambo Expedition: Explore the River Ene and Tambo by traditional Pitotsi canoes over 6 days. This expedition takes guests through an area of Peru rarely visited, where they will find some of the most authentic experiences in Peru. They take travelers into the heart of Ashaninka territory in Junin, where they stay with Ashaninka communities and learn about their culture and traditions. Share stories over a bowl of Masato and stay in the heart of the Amazon Highlands. Over the next 5 days, travelers will explore the Ene river as they travel downstream toward the jungle town of Atalaya. Every day is different and each evening they will stay with a different community along the river. The area is remote so they will be setting up camp at each stop. Expect between 4 – 6 hours of paddling each day with a stop for lunch. Included is food and non alcoholic beverage, canoe, basic accommodations, local permits, camping equipment, safety equipment, experienced guide.
Amazon Canoe Challenge Race, a race over 250 km through the Amazon Rainforest by traditional canoe. The Amazon Canoe Challenge is a competition-style expedition that takes you through areas of the Amazon usually inaccessible to visitors, filled with a staggering diversity of wildlife. Competitors will learn about the culture of the Asháninka as they set camp each night with native communities along the riverside.
Due to the remoteness of the areas they visit, facilities are limited on this trip. This is real adventure – you won’t find electricity, mobile reception or internet access on this expedition.
The Amazon Canoe Challenge works directly with the local communities in the Peruvian Amazon. They locally source supplies, equipment and services as much as possible, ensuring that the benefits go directly to the areas they visit.
The works of Cristina Mittermeier and Paul Nicklen, two of the most world’s foremost nature photographers and conservation champions are featured in an exhibition and event series at the C. Parker Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut. Opening events are taking place the weekend of May 5.
The exhibition, Double Exposure: Two Photographers, One Mission featuring more than 30 large-scale photographs, is on view May 1 through June 26.
“The C. Parker Gallery is thrilled to present the work of two of the most internationally acclaimed conservation photographers,” says Tiffany Benincasa, the Gallery’s curator and owner.
“Their photographs are included in some of the world’s most important private collections, and have been featured as iconic images by major national media including National Geographic and TIME Magazine. This is an incredible opportunity to witness the beauty of nature in an intimate and personal way, to share their important message, and join their mission advocating for greater conservation and environmental awareness.”
“These artists/conservation champions have created some of the most iconic wildlife images of our modern-day culture. They are internationally acclaimed for harnessing the majestic beauty of their images to inspire change on our planet, via their 12 million followers worldwide. Greenwich is thrilled to host their new exhibition and Opening Reception events at C. Parker Galleryon the weekend of May 5,” said Fred Camillo, the Town of Greenwich’s First Selectman.
The Gallery is conveniently located near Manhattan, a 40-minute train ride from New York City (the train station in Greenwich is just steps away from the C. Parker Gallery
More details about the Opening Reception events featuring Mittermeier and Nicklen, will be updated at cparkergallery.com
The town of Taos, New Mexico has fewer than 7,000, is a UNESCO heritage site known for its culturally significant Taos pueblos and homes. Taos also has limitless outdoor recreation opportunities for curious and adventure loving families and on Earth Day, is showcasing its eco-friendly and sustainable attractions:
UNESCO world heritage sites and art museums- From the rich Native and Spanish cultures to the characters of the Old Wild West, Taos museums can also take you on a walk-through history. Taos Pueblos are a UNESCO heritage site and a sovereign Pueblo Indian community.
Earthship Tours – See sustainable homes built with bales of straw, old tires, bottles, and cans. An earth ship is an off-the-grid and self-sufficient home that is made from primarily natural and recycled materials like earth-rammed tires, cans, and bottles.
Casa Gallina is committed to being a good steward of the environment and does so through their sustainable practices such as conserving water through drip irrigation and the usage of acequias.
Taos Goji is an eco-lodge that has a strong emphasis on the full cycle of sustainability at their onsite farm. Goji’s fruit and vegetables are pesticide free and organically cultivated. Their water comes from deep wells, fed by mountain aquifers.
Seconds EcoStore is a retail store selling stylish recycled, solar powered and green gifts, featuring lots of local design. This store has seen an unfurling of adventurous recycled redesign and an evolution of new ideas birthed from the waste stream.
Moxie is a store that supports the local economy by purchasing locally and supporting nonprofit organizations.
Taos Acequia Association is committed to ensuring the long-term sustainability of Taos’s traditional agricultural community by protecting water rights, preserving, and strengthening the acequia system.
Taos Earthships is an off the grid community including more than 300 acres of land using solar and wind power exclusively. Each earthship is a self-sufficient dwelling built with natural and recycled materials with energy conservation in mind and some of the homes can be rented out by the night.
Bespoke travel specialist Audley Travel firmly believes that carefully planned travel creates local jobs, supports conservation projects and shares stories – which all contribute to memorable travel experiences for clients.
Audley’s Environmental Social Governance (ESG) Framework (launched in 2021) has guided many of the business’ actions in the past year – and will continue to do so. Audley was delighted to receive the silver World Responsible Tourism Award for Decarbonising Travel & Tourism at the end of 2022, which acknowledged its efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
Audley’s ESG Framework
The ESG Framework identifies five key areas (the environment, workplace, communities, market place and governance) in which the business has set 36 goals and annual targets which are either aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals or with Audley’s internal priorities. The targets form a long-term journey where small sustainable steps over extended periods of time continue to deliver change to benefit the communities in Audley’s destinations.
Building on 2021’s achievements, Audley has made strong progress against its 2022 ESG targets with 33 of the 36 met, and the remaining three being a continued focus for 2023. Highlights of the achievements include:
Responsibleproduct – Audley continued to review its offering to identify sustainable product that goes beyond above and beyond to give back to local communities and the environment, with 133 additional accommodation and experiences meeting the operator’s assessment criteria and having a particularly positive impact (taking the total to 158). Audley’s goal is to use this work to offer clients more sustainable choices to make the most of the positive impact they have when they travel.
Employee volunteering – Employees dedicated over 2,296 hours to volunteering in 2022 with 57 per cent of staff donating at least half a day (exceeding the target of 40 per cent).
Insight – As part of its commitment to a goal to support education for all, Audley’s Insight initiative uses the knowledge of employees and suppliers to support young people exploring career opportunities in the travel industry. Two sessions were run in Boston as well as two in London and one in Witney (UK) as reaching 112 students from populations historically shut out of the industry.
Long term carbon strategy – Audley’s long term carbon reduction work continues, with the operator taking on its biggest challenge yet: calculating the carbon footprints of clients’ trips. The bespoke nature of Audley’s trips meant this wasn’t an easy task. Working closely with carbon reduction consultant, ecollective, Audley calculated that 98.4 percent of its total carbon footprint comes from Scope 3 emissions and roughly 90 percent of total emissions come from client travel. With ecollective’s support, Audley has identified ways to reduce emissions with a goal of reducing the carbon footprint of an Audley trip on a per person, per night basis. Audley has also submitted carbon reduction targets to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
Heather Magnussen, Responsible Travel & Sustainability Manager at Audley Travel, says: “Responsible travel has always been part of Audley’s DNA and we remain committed to preserving and restoring the environments and communities our clients visit. This is a long-term journey for us and we will continue to develop and build on the progress made so far throughout this next year, and beyond.”
At a time when globetrotters are increasingly choosing eco-friendly trips in an effort to reduce their footprint on earth, Xanterra Travel Collection®, which operates many of the hospitality operations and concessions in and around the national parks, is making inroads to meet this imperative.
These include The Oasis at Death Valley, Glacier National Park Lodges, Cedar Creek Lodge, Grand Canyon National Park Lodges, Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, The Grand Hotel at The Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone National Park Lodges, and Zion National Park Lodge. Xanterra also owns and operates upscale biking (VBT Bicycling Vacations), walking (Country Walkers), a railway (Grand Canyon Railway), touring (Holiday Vacations), and cruising (Windstar Cruises) companies with itineraries on six continents.
That also brings a responsibility and an obligation to protect the environment while making bucket-list vacations a reality –whether that is riding a mule into the depths of the Grand Canyon to Phantom Ranch, climbing the majestic ruins of Machu Picchu, taking a small-ship cruise through the islands of French Polynesia, or cycling through the Italian countryside.
Here are some of the most innovative, groundbreaking, and just curious ways Xanterra’s travel properties help minimize their impact on the environment and support a cleaner, greener future.
When One Bad Apple Does Good: When do bad apples help our planet? When they’re fed to the famous mules in the Grand Canyon and come out as manure used by local nurseries and farmers. Since 2013, a mule named Vista along with 147 of its fellow park mules have feasted on 31 tons of shriveled apples and other food scraps such as melon rinds, broccoli stalks, and carrot peelings generated by Grand Canyon National Park Lodges restaurants. Not only does that keep the food waste out of landfills, but those hard-working mules also produce up to 2 million pounds of manure per year. Through Operation Shrively Apples, Xanterra has returned tons of food back to the earth by using their beasts of burden to lighten the load we put on our planet.
All Aboard the “French Fry Express”: Hop on the best — and most eco-friendly — way to arrive at the Grand Canyon National Park and help keep 50,000 to 70,000 cars outside of the park each year. Ride the Grand Canyon Railway from Williams, Ariz., on a scenic 65-mile 2.5-hour route across the Colorado Plateau to the edge of the canyon’s South Rim. But this train does more than just replace those polluting cars, thanks to French fry oil. The big steam engine #4960 turns 100 this year and runs on recycled waste vegetable oil collected from the Grand Canyon’s own restaurants, Instead of using coal or diesel fuel, each locomotive uses about 1,200 gallons of vegetable oil per round-trip journey, significantly reducing the C02 emissions compared to using ultra-low sulfur diesel.
In addition, the train harvests rainwater and snowmelt to operate its steam locomotives, taking advantage of a renewable water resource in this water-stressed area. As a result, it has reduced potable water consumption by more than 1 million gallons to date.
Old Presidents Under Bright Lights: Who better to preside over efforts to reduce greenhouse gases than great visionaries like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln? Just a few years ago, Xanterra built a 975-panel solar carport at Mount Rushmore under the watchful eyes of these past presidents. This structure now generates nearly half the electricity used by the restaurant and gift shop, while 54% comes from a nearby wind farm. Along with buying carbon offsets for the remaining emissions, Mount Rushmore is now a carbon neutral operation.
Sun and Water: The Oasis at Death Valley, a beautiful eco-resort in the middle of the 3.4 million-acre Death Valley National Park, has plenty of sun but not much water. So the property harnesses the power of one while carefully conserving the other. It generates reliable solar energy with the hospitality industry’s largest solar photovoltaic system. And because the park is the driest place in North America (averaging less than two inches of rainfall a year), the resort recycles the precious water from its own natural springs to feed two pools, water the golf course and gardens (planted with native drought-tolerant species), and eventually return it to nature’s watershed. Plus, it reduces the need to water the world’s lowest-elevation golf course by using natural dye on the dormant Bermuda grass in winter.
Pulling Carbon Out of the Big Sky: Feast on sustainably raised beef at the Yellowstone National Park Lodges restaurants and help support native grasslands in a first-of-its-kind project in the U.S. Xanterra helps four ranches outside the park participate in a 209,000-acre project to improve soil health, provide forage for cattle, and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to help reduce the effects of climate change. The project also offsets all the emissions from electricity used at the lodges while restoring a damaged ecosystem and improving biodiversity. All from regenerative ranching practices.
Starry, Starry Nights: Xanterra, along with the National Park Service, helps the stars at night shine big and bright in the Grand Canyon National Park. By reducing light pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, Xanterra preserves views of the dazzling night sky and protects nocturnal animals and ecosystems in the park. Because nearly 2,000 light fixtures have been replaced since 2013 — nearly half by Xanterra — the International Dark-Sky Association recognized Grand Canyon as the International Dark Sky Place of the Year in 2019.
Xanterra uses similar outdoor lighting best practices at The Oasis at Death Valley, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (which contains Glacier National Park), and Zion National Park, which helped them all become designated International Dark-Sky Parks by the International Dark-Sky Association.
Purple Pipe Majesties: Xanterra’s many national park operations boast some of the most inspiring scenery on Earth: stunning vistas, deep canyons, and desert peaks. But purple plumbing pipes? Yup, they’re used for reclaimed water, one of the key ways to reuse and conserve this precious resource in Grand Canyon National Park. Quite simply, reclaimed water is wastewater that is treated and reused for a variety of purposes, such as drip irrigation and toilet flushing in the lodges, such Grand Canyon’s Bright Angel Lodge. By reusing water rather than pumping it from the nearby springs or aquifer, the Grand Canyon lodges used about 3.6 million gallons of reclaimed water in 2021 and plan to switch another 3.9 million gallons a year from potable to reclaimed within the next two years.
Eat Your Greens While Going Green: When you eat at Xanterra’s 56 restaurants, you can expect food that not only tastes good but does good. That’s because the eateries strive for 70% of food and beverages to be sourced locally (within 500 miles) and sustainably, while reducing chemical additives, saving water, reducing transportation, protecting local ecosystems, treating animals humanely, and reducing waste. Locations such as Zion National Park and Mount Rushmore have even created on-site gardens to provide hyper-local produce and compost waste to enrich the soil and avoid synthetic fertilizers. In fact, in 2021 Xanterra composted 23.5% of its total food waste in five national parks, preventing 90% of it from heading to landfills in Zion alone. Meanwhile, at Glacier National Park, composted food waste nourishes the flower beds at Lake McDonald Lodge and Many Glacier Hotel — a lovely example of beautifying the environment by preserving it.
What’s more, only 23 (out of 650) Certified Green Restaurants in North America hold the coveted, highest 4-star certification. And three of them are Xanterra-operated restaurants in Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, and Mount Rushmore (whose Carvers Café is the second greenest restaurant in North America according to the Green Restaurant Association) — thanks to on-site gardens, compostable tableware, water reduction, solar power, recycling, and more.
Using Suds for Suds: Instead of simply recycling empty beer bottles into pulverized glass, the Yellowstone National Park Lodges partner with Bayern Brewery in nearby Missoula, Mont., which washes, sanitizes, refills, re-labels, and puts them back into the supply chain. To date, the park has kept about 140,000 bottles in circulation. That’s about 30 tons of glass kept out of the landfill or recycling stream, which saves resources and energy — all by using sudsy water to refill bottles with suds.
The Big Stretch: In a case of bigger is better, three of Windstar’s small cruise ships were audaciously lengthened and re-powered to improve their environmental performance on the high seas. Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride were each cut in two to insert a new middle section, which features more-efficient and less-polluting propulsion and generator engines along with new cabins and restaurants. This increased the capacity on each ship from 212 to 312 passengers, reducing fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions by about 20% per-passenger nautical mile. The ventilation systems on the three ships were also upgraded to include HEPA filters and UV-C disinfecting lights to purify the air. Plus, onboard incinerators were removed to eliminate their air emissions. It was a stretch, but it was worth it.
Xanterra Travel Collection®, one of the oldest legacy travel companies in the US, tracing its roots back to the Fred Harvey Company founded in 1875, has long been committed to the preservation and protection of the environment by providing legendary hospitality with a softer footprint. From reducing pollution and conserving water to transitioning to renewable energy and fighting climate change, it has been honored with 42 green awards or certifications.
BOSTON — Optimism is the keyword for the 2023 travel landscape as travelers embrace more distant experiences compared to 2022. Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.), the 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.
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.