New year, new you, new dreams and (here’s hoping) new adventures. Welcome to 2018! As you start planning, writing, and most importantly, living, this exciting new chapter in your life, what will your priorities be? Will you work smarter and play harder? Will you spend more time with loved ones? Will you explore faraway lands? Perhaps you’ll learn something new, pay it forward to someone in need or make a vow to disconnect more. And, last but certainly not least, will you give back to our earth in a meaningful way?
We asked our CEO, Joss Kent, to share his thoughts, insights and predictions as to what the inspirations and motivations will be for this year’s travel addicts. According to Joss, here are the 5 travel trends to watch in 2018. Thankfully we’ve got them all covered, so you can count on us to make your 2018 travel dreams come true. Let’s make this next chapter your best one yet!
“Travel has evolved from the adage of taking only photos and leaving only footprints. The wild places of this world need us to do better than that. Now it’s about making memories and leaving a legacy.”
~ Joss Kent, &Beyond CEO
1. Take even less, give even more
Lodge design is rapidly evolving thanks to the emergence of an (even more) aware and eco-conscious breed of luxury traveller that seeks to travel responsibly. So, when it comes to the many lodge redesigns that we have planned for 2018, we are focusing our time and energy on ensuring that we build sustainably but, at the same time, don’t lose the creative edge that differentiates our guests’ experience.
The recent rebuilds of both &Beyond Phinda Rock Lodge in South Africa and &Beyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp in Botswana, as well as the exciting plans we have for 2018, including the rebuild of &Beyond Phinda Homestead and the highly anticipated launch of &Beyond Tengile River Lodge, showcase the wide range of design within our ever-expanding lodge portfolio. At the same time, we always ensure that sustainability is an entrenched part of the design process. Less is often more and we are firm believers that the field experience that our rangers, guides and hosts provide far outweighs the need for opulent lodge design.
The safari lodge of the future has a light footprint and uses 100% renewable energy. It uses no plastic, has a zero carbon offset, a sensitive ecological footprint and boasts a sensitive design with a strong sense of place. It is small and community centred. Conservation and voluntourism activities form part of the daily routine and many more outdoor activities are offered, such as walking, cycling, canoeing and riding. Whatever direction travel takes in 2018, sustainability will be at the absolute core of everything.
2. Get your hands dirty
With participative travel experiences ever gaining in popularity, we continue to break down the barriers and include our guests in some of the conservation and community-oriented activities that take place behind the scenes at &Beyond. For example, guests visiting &Beyond Phinda and Ngala Private Game Reserves in South Africa have the rare opportunity to get involved in elephant collaring and rhino notching, two activities that are necessary for monitoring endangered wildlife populations that are faced with the ever-present threat of poaching.
On &Beyond Mnemba Island and &Beyond Vamizi Island, where green sea turtle nests are identified and carefully protected, guests travelling at the right time of year can safely escort the hatchlings to the sea. At &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, depending on the need in the reserve, guests can also participate in a procedure that limits the size of lion litters. All such endeavours strictly have the care and welfare of the wildlife and land in mind.
Insightful community visits with our social development partner, Africa Foundation, give travellers a glimpse into the rural African communities surrounding our lodges, prompting many to get involved in projects aimed at improving education, healthcare and access to water, as well as the development of local and sustainable businesses. We must conserve, we must protect and we must create economic shared value with the communities that depend on the wildlife areas that we influence for their livelihood.
Our &Beyond Travel With Purpose adventures in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa connect guests with rural African communities. Memorable and meaningful, these philanthropic journeys aim to educate travellers, connect cultures and pay it forward to those in need. We like to call it travelling with heart.
Collaring & notching images © Howard Cleland.
3. Travel deeper
Time-poor travellers continue to look for immersive and authentic experiences that they can learn from. Our tailormade set of &Beyond small group journeys cater directly to this need, each with a unique special interest in mind:
- Photographers, both amateur and professional, will love our East Africa photographic expeditions
- Wildlife enthusiasts can track the elusive mountain ghost in the far northern reaches of India on a truly off-the-beaten-track snow leopard journey
- Ultra-luxe travellers can enjoy access to top experts in areas as diverse as politics and conservation, as well as the world’s best guides, who deliver impactful, educational and life-changing experiences on our private jet journeys
- Nature lovers can experience the very best of Botswana (we’re talking Chobe National Park, Savute, Okavango Delta and Nxai Pan National Park) on a comprehensive and interpretive private, set-departure Botswana mobile camping expedition
- Culture connoisseurs can discover fresh and fiery new flavours, gain enlightenment from sacred shrines and temples, and fall in love with the kaleidoscopic colours and chaos of India on our Eat, Pray, Love journey
- Adventure seekers can venture off-the-beaten-track in Chile and Argentina on our Land Rover journeys. Some highlights of these privately-guided luxury road trips include visits to conservation projects, white water rafting, private visits to boutique wineries, scenic flights over the Chilean fjords and much more.
4. Travel not to escape, but to enrich
Nowadays, health and wellness are an increasingly larger part of travel. People are travelling, not to escape their daily lives, but rather to enrich them, and this includes looking after their own personal wellbeing. As travellers look more and more to invest in themselves and their overall health, journeys that include meditation and yoga focused retreats, such as the ones we offer in India, are becoming increasingly popular and will continue to gain momentum in 2018.
5. Take the path less travelled
As wanderlust travellers continue to sway towards the path less travelled, we offer an exciting collection of destinations to watch in 2018:
- Bhutan is a country that offers an incredibly special travel experience and we have big plans for the future there, so watch this space for more updates later this year
- After a few years of hardship, the future also looks bright for Kenya, and we simply can’t wait to reveal the completely rebuilt and redesigned &Beyond Bateleur Camp in the Masai Mara in March 2018
- We also have great hopes for Chile, where 17 national parks are soon expected to be linked in the ‘Route of Parks’, creating an exceptional wilderness haven
- Food lovers should definitely keep an eye on the ever growing and irresistible food scenes of Buenos Aires, Lima, Santiago and Mendoza