Travel Trends in 2020

Travel trends change every year. Some years ago luxury travel was all the rave. But eco- and adventure travel steadily grew as awareness of environmental issues spread. Nowadays you can book eco and adventure travel with major tour operators. However, due to the way these operators function, they can only book relatively generic, modularised packages. Meanwhile, the trend-setters are now searching for something more eclectic. Thrills alone are not enough. Experience and real interactions with real people are far more meaningful. Learning experiences or getting involved with conservation efforts – those are the kinds of experiences that are trending. Highly customised itineraries (such as we have offered since we first started in 1998!) and niche travel with a very narrow focus on specific interests is also up. Let’s take a closer look: 

The family that plays together, stays together

 The younger generation is less afraid of taking their youngsters on adventurous trips abroad. They value not only the unique experiences their kids will treasure forever, but also the way it will expand their horizons. Besides, family adventure holidays work much like team-building incentives in the work context. We get to know each other in a completely different context that help us to bond through challenging but fun activities.

Galapagos Family Cruise

A Galapagos Cruise is an adventure of a lifetime. We offer designated family cruises to make this special experience available to families with children or teens. These are typically a bit more active than standard cruises.

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Peru: Refugio Amazonas

Refugio Amazonas, situated in the Tambopata region of southern Peru, is a family-friendly eco-lodge. It offers family itineraries for families with young children as well as high adrenaline activities suitable for teens. Family tours are led by specially trained guides.

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Costa Rica: Customised Family Adventure

Costa Rica is the perfect family adventure destination. There are so many exciting activities and family-friendly hotels, that you will never want to leave! We specialize in customizing trips according to your preferences to create the perfect package – for you and your family.

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Getting off the beaten track

Decades of travel journalism working hand in hand with destination management organisations have shaped perceptions of a country’s highlights. Just think – how many ‘must see’ listicles and travel bucket-lists have you seen in magazines and newspapers across the board? The problem is that sooner or later hordes of people are all trying to see the same sights and the destination becomes the victim of its own success. Many destinations have become over-dependent on tourism and thus are trying to milk the steady flow of visitors for everything they can get. Even if it means a low quality of visitor experience which ultimately leads to disappointment among travellers, or a low quality of tourism, which ultimately leads to conflict with the local community.

But some far-sighted communities have been reading the signs of the times and have become pro-active by trying to spread the tourist flow so as to avoid this overload. This is sustainable tourism management. But travellers themselves have also responded to this problem by seeking out lesser known destinations. Getting off the beaten track is ‘a thing’, especially when these freshly discovered hidden gems are highly instagramable.

Peru: Lares Trek

The Inca Trail is one of the top hiking destinations in South America, which makes it a bit of an ant trail. Why not discover the real highlands and its people by walking the Weaver’s Trail, also known as Lares Trail, instead? It is a demanding trail that offers both nature and culture along the way.

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Belize: Toledo District

Belize is a tiny country so it is hard to imagine that there are spots that are not on the main tourist trail. But, most tourists head for Ambergris, Placencia, or the central part of Belize while the Toledo district in the deep south remains a largely undiscovered gem. 

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France: Pyrenees

The Pyrenees may not be a ‘secret’ destination, yet they remain quite off the beaten path. The mountain range that spans from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and separates France and Spain is a gem. Culturally diverse and full of marvelous and unexpected sights, it is a dream destination for long-distance hikers.

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Green Futures

Both travellers and tour operators and hotel managers are becoming increasingly aware of the need to make travel more sustainable. While there will always be a carbon footprint associated with travel, it is also important not to underestimate the positive impact it can have. However, everybody can do something to help reduce the burden on the environment. For travellers, that means choosing eco-conscious (maybe certified) hotels and tour operators. But it is not always easy to tell how green a company really is. Some actively seek certification and pride themselves in being a carbon neutral operator. But other, smaller outfits may not be able to afford the application fee for the certification procedure. Yet, they do everything they can to make their operation green and clean. Things to look out for are whether the hotel is part of an international chain or locally owned. Although many of the big chains now also participate (and often lead the pack) in green certification schemes, they are still owned by a multinational corporation and much of the dollars spent there will drain out of the country, rather than helping to build sustainable foundations for future generations. Another thing to watch out for is where they source their produce. Many small hotels now have a garden-to-table policy, ensuring fresh, organic produce. Some will let you know that they source their food from local producers or that they use local guides. This is a way to provide employment and lets more of the tourist money flow back into the community.

We have always been focused on sustainable travel and have carefully chosen our partners. Of course, in the end it is YOUR choice which operator or lodge you support. We highlight each operator’s or hotel’s eco-credentials so you can make an informed decision.

Happy Trails in 2020!

With the start of the new year who doesn’t feel the travel bug? Winter is dreary and there are so many places to go and explore! But in this age of climate emergency, travel has become a bit of a thorny issue.

Of course, we all want the adventure but we don’t want to accrue an ever-larger CO2 footprint. Constant news of fires, floods, and melting glaciers are heart-breaking to take in. How can we travel and in a manner that doesn’t make all this even worse?

It is not an easy question. But it is important to acknowledge that travel can be both, a force for good – or bad. Yes, all travel has an impact, but sometimes that impact can be positive both for the tourist and for the host community.

A growing number of hotels and tour operators are becoming aware of their responsibility and the importance of their role in this interaction. Nature is vulnerable to excessive development. But, money raised by tourism can also help to pay for schools, better recycling, clean water or other vital infrastructure.

Some tour-operators support charities that address social and environmental issues. But others are setting up their own organisations to help protect the environment and the communities within which they operate. (see ‘one million trees for Machu Picchu’) These operators have become beacons of hope for countless people – and endangered species. And such operations are made possible by you, the travelers that come and enjoy their services.

For many people, such experiences can be life-changing. They return home not only refreshed but also enriched with knowledge and understanding, often becoming advocates for social and environmental responsibility.

So, yes, we don’t abandon our responsibility when we step off a plane or train in another country, just because we are on holiday. A two-way exchange is possible and far more rewarding than the standard consumable holiday package.

In our offerings, we are careful to select operators that are conscious about these things and are doing their best within their possibilities. What exactly is possible varies from one outfit to another, depending on the location or size of the operation. We mention each operator’s efforts  (according to their own description), which you can review in the eco-credentials tab. We do this to help you decide what kind of efforts you want to support and so that you will know what positive impacts your travels will have.

Wherever you go in 2020, we wish you enriching experiences and safe journeys!

Happy Trails!

Kat Morgenstern

 

One Million Trees for Machu Picchu

One of our partners in Peru, Mountain Lodges of Peru, has set up its own NGO to support the local community. Its latest project is a reforestation project, on which it collaborates with SERNAP, the Peruvian national park service.

The first 50,000 trees were planted on December 10th, 2019 at an event hosted by Yanapana, Mountain Lodges’ NGO. Trees are of vital importance in the upper mountain regions, as they stabilize the soil, thus preventing erosion. They plan to extend the initiative to the Lares region as well.

They are planning to establish a greenhouse in the Huacahuasi region as a nursery for tree seedlings to be supplied to other reforestation initiatives in the region while generating a sustainable income for local villagers.

This is a great example of how eco-tourism can benefit local communities and help to restore or preserve eco-systems.

 

 

Special Galapagos Photography Departure on the New Luxury Yacht, MV Theory

Are you an avid aspiring nature photographer?

This might be the perfect opportunity to pick up some tricks while learning with master photographer Mauricio Torres on this unique photography themed Galapagos Cruise.

Departure dates: October 13-20 and 20-27, 2019

Book soon to get an early bird discount!

Another special departure will have the Marine Biologist Jack Grove join the cruise offering insights into the unique marine life and wildlife habitat of the Galapagos Islands.

Departure dates: December 1 – 8 and December 8 – 15, 2019

For full details, please inquire.