Virtuoso, the international network of luxury travel agencies, has revealed the top 10 trips of a lifetime as selected by travelers, most of whom are upscale clients of the network and readers of the group’s award-winning Virtuoso Life magazine. The 2016 Virtuoso Travel Dreams Survey asked respondents about their fantasy trip choices as well as their dream destinations and preferred travel styles. The results appear in the July/August issue of Virtuoso Life.
Trips of a Lifetime – These top-10 bucket-list experiences span the globe and offer something for every traveler:
- Vacation with multiple generations of your family – Demand from upscale travelers wanting to connect with their families away from home continues to surge, as multigenerational travel was also the top trend identified in the 2016 Virtuoso Luxe Report, a forward-looking survey of Virtuoso advisors that forecasts luxury travel preferences. The travel industry is catering to this desire, with activities and accommodations for all kinds of families. Those include bigger suites and more villas to accommodate large groups.
- Stay in a Polynesian overwater bungalow – It’s the tropical-getaway fantasy realized: idyllic lagoons, coral reefs, and Instagram-ready bungalows perched above it all. French Polynesia is an eternally compelling destination for romance, partly due to these luxurious private lodgings.
- Discover Italy’s Amalfi Coast – Italy was the Luxe Report’s top global, honeymoon and family destination, and people who have already experienced its charms are seeking new areas to explore. An exhilarating way to explore Amalfi’s iconic cliff-hugging coastline is by car. An advisor can map out a custom adventure, perhaps flying into Naples, heading for Amalfi and Ravello, then fitting in Salerno before departing.
- Make a splash in the Greek Isles – Each island has its own character, and there’s an ideal setting for every type of traveler. For a party scene, head to Mykonos. For romance, Santorini is perfection. And for the family, stay on the mainland with easy access to archaeological sites and day-trip it to islands like Hydra.
- Photograph the “Big Five” on an African safari – Plan your safari for the best destination and time of year to spot each of the sought-after creatures: elephants, lions, Cape buffalo, leopards and rhinos. And don’t forget to pack plenty of memory cards!
- See the Northern Lights – The best place to see the aurora borealis is from northern latitudes near the Arctic Circle and North Pole. The best time to go: late August through March. Keep your fingers crossed for a cloudless, new-moon night for the best viewing.
- Commune with nature in the Galápagos Islands – Prepare to swim with sea turtles and colorful fish, play with sea lions and observe penguins. There’s nowhere else in the world where you can interact with wildlife in such a personal way.
- Set sail on a world cruise – Taking to the high seas for a few months at a time is a great way to see a variety of exotic global destinations. Avoid a common mistake and don’t over-pack. Life on board is casual – and don’t forget there’s laundry service available.
- Call on all seven continents – Exploring new destinations was the top travel motivation in this year’s Luxe Report, highlighting the appeal of visiting every continent in a single trip. For this ambitious quest, the key is to craft a custom itinerary beforehand that suits the schedule, pacing and destination wish list.
- Visit Australia’s highlights – Sydney is a must, of course. Virtuoso travel advisors also recommend visits to two islands: Tasmania for its authenticity and stunning scenery, and Kangaroo Island for its amazing wildlife.
Dream Destinations: Travelers’ favorite destinations emphasized the enduring appeal of certain countries, either for their historic charm, relaxing tropical settings or abundant adventure opportunities. Australia (1) topped the list again this year followed by (2) Italy, (3) Fiji, (4) Greece, (5) New Zealand, (6) Maldives, (7) Ireland, (8) South Africa, (9) French Polynesia, and (10) Antarctica.
Preferred Types of Travel: Travelers also weighed in on the popularity of different trip styles. Beach (46%) was the top selection, followed by adventure (37%), cultural/historical (29%), family (27%), food and wine (27%), ocean cruising (23%), city (17%), experiential (14%), river cruising (14%), romantic (13%), spa/wellness (11%), weekend getaways (8%), eco/sustainable (6%) and golf (2%).
Travel Dreams Contest: Virtuoso awarded a $2,500 grand prize to the best entry in each of three categories: Best Story, Best Photo and Best Video. More than 1,200 travelers from 36 countries submitted entries, and a panel of Virtuoso judges selected the winners based on criteria including quality, content, style and creativity. To view the winning entries, please visit www.virtuoso.com/traveldreamswinners.
Virtuoso® is the leading international travel agency network specializing in luxury and experiential travel. This by-invitation-only organization comprises 390 agency members with more than 11,400 elite travel advisors in 40 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. Drawing upon its preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s best hotels and resorts, cruise lines, airlines, tour companies and premier destinations, the network provides its upscale clientele with exclusive amenities, rare experiences and privileged access. More than (U.S.) $15.5 billion in annual travel sales makes Virtuoso a powerhouse in the luxury travel industry. For more information, visit www.virtuoso.com.