As 2011 winds down, it’s time to look ahead to our travel planning for the next year. The travel experts at Cox & Kings have been planning luxury trips since 1758, when Richard Cox was appointed to the post of regimental agent during the British Raj. Responsible for outfitting and arranging all travel for the foot guards, he became known for his reliability and honesty, which formed the basis for his business serving most of the regiments in India. These are their picks for 2012 trends.
1. “Ends of the Earth” Journeys – Intrepid travelers are looking beyond the hotspots of the last few years, like Thailand and South Africa, to rarely visited European countries like Albania and Serbia, the Russian Far East, and Greenland. Central Asian spots such as Uzbekistan and offshore destinations like the Falkland Islands and Papua New Guinea are also great options for those seeking the new.
2. Mind, Body, & Soul Vacations – Travelers looking for a memorable experience are looking within, in the Himalayas for new meditation techniques and yoga poses; in Bali for proper nutrition and lifestyle balance; and in countries such as Laos and Myanmar to visit ancient Buddhist temples and the Mahagandayon Monastery, where over a thousand Buddhist monks live and study.
3. “Your Money Matters” Travel – In regards to the conservation of wildlife and preservation of historic sites around the world, travelers’ dollars go a long way. While travelers are often conscious of places they can’t or won’t travel because they don’t support the regime, they can also spend in support, on a trip that will instill a responsibility towards what they saw.
4. Ancestral Travel – Cox & Kings agrees with Kensington: American-born individuals traveling to countries such as Russia, the Baltics, China, and Japan are excited to explore their legacy. Other popular root-travel destinations include Lebanon and West Africa.
5. Second-Chance Cities – Business travelers may pass throw a destination dozens of times and never really have time to get to know the place. Hubs like Madrid, Stockholm, and more recent stops on the circuit like Johannesburg deserve a second look.
6. Off-Season Travel – Some dream destinations become vastly more affordable with a turn of the calendar page. Think India in May; Botswana during the “Green Season” for its wonderful birding; Brazil and Turkey in October; Moscow during Christmastime; and China in April.
7. Supporting Evolving & Recovering Societies – Though there are questions about safety in countries that have recently experienced upheaval, think about the outpouring of support in New York City after 9/11: visiting countries that are recovering from a national trauma lends support. Places of note include Colombia, Egypt, Tunisia, Japan, Mozambique, Norway, Croatia and Rwanda.
8. The BRICS – An acronym for the emerging markets Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the BRICS are home to many great cities in their own right, and a deeper understanding of their characters can only help your investment portfolio.
9. Travel with an Expert – Some travelers may question the need for small group travel with an expert, but often it’s a way to gain access to great destinations and private experiences that will make a trip truly memorable.
10. Top Destination Picks for 2012 – Overall, according to the company’s experts, the next hot countries are Indonesia outside of Bali; Ghana; Malaysia; Nepal, Romania, Iceland, and Abu Dhabi. In terms of cities, head south to São Paulo, Brazil; Salta, Argentina; and Lima, Peru, as well as Beirut, Luang Prabang, Hyderabad, Stockholm, Tallinn and Mostar.