Each year the company presents their forecast of the travel trends to watch for the coming year. With its team of expert Destination Managers constantly on-the-ground across the globe, Cox & Kings is able to deliver exclusive insider access to create the tailor-made experiences today's travelers are seeking.
“2014 is a particularly exciting year as it represented the broadest spectrum of trends we have ever seen,” said Scott Wiseman, President, Cox & Kings, The Americas. “There is exponential growth in travelers pushing beyond what would have been considered unique just a couple of years ago – bringing the YOLO (You Only Live Once) spirit to the way they want to engage with foreign cultures.”
• Festival Travel – Once considered a time to avoid visiting a destination, festivals are now viewed as a rare opportunity for travelers to authentically immerse themselves into a country's culture. Travelers can celebrate alongside the passionate indigenous people and truly imbibe the local flavor and spirit. With Cox & Kings guests are given access to partake in the actual rites of these festivities rather than just watching from the sidelines.
• "Farm-to-Table, Vine-to-Glass" Pilgrimages– Going to the local markets has been cast aside as the exponential growth of food and wine enthusiasts has produced its own burgeoning crop of travelers, who long to go beyond mere cooking demonstrations and local market chef tours. Today's cutting-edge culinary travelers crave an in-depth experience by preparing a meal at the birthplace of their favorite cuisine or sitting down to dine with a local family in their home. Oenophiles are looking to shadow a legendary winemaker for a day or get their hands dirty participating in the annual crush.
• Geo-See-Where-I-Am? – There's a new bragging rights game in town packaged neatly with its own travel term, it's called the ‘Check-In.' From Foursquare to Facebook, Geo-Locators are becoming the new “Wish You Were Here” postcard that allow travelers to announce where in the world they are without saying a word. Guests can become the Mayor of their hotel in Burma or earn their ‘Jetsetter Badge' after “checking-in” at various airports around the globe. “Inherently, people want to boast about where they have been or where they are going and these new apps allow them to tell you in real time without any heavy lifting. They also double as real time guidebooks, providing local dining, sightseeing and hotel suggestions,” said Wiseman.
• “Short Term, High Yield” Ultimate Experiences – For many, having enough time is the only obstacle keeping them from some of the most exhilarating experiences in the world. With the growing demand for journeys that are short in duration but long on experience, Cox & Kings offers time-constrained travelers the opportunity to visit these destinations but without the extensive travel time. “The Fly/Sail Antarctica journey is a great example of how to experience a far flung, extreme destination in less time than in the past,” says Ignacio Vallin, Destination Manager, and Latin America & Antarctica. “We fly guests over the Drake Passage so they directly board an expedition ship, rather than taking the extra time to sail.” Similarly and new for 2014, Cox & Kings will offer a five-day private Himalayan Helicopter Safari replete with awe-inspiring views and an experienced guide who has summited Everest, the world's tallest peak.
• “The Quickie” – More and more, travelers are looking to pack in an extra destination by planning an intentional layover or stop for a few days on the journey home. Whether it is to experience another city in the same country or another country on the same continent or just to have a couple of days on the beach before heading back to reality, these “quickie” stops are trending. “Making a “quick stop” to a destination they would not necessarily fly long-haul to stay for just a few days so adding it to their existing itinerary makes sense,” said Wiseman. For example, a visit to Cartagena, Colombia after touring Argentina, routing through Iceland on the return from Europe for a stay in Reykjavik and The Seychelles is an ever popular stop on the way back from Africa. “There's a growing mindset that if I've traveled this far, why not stop off in the Maldives for some beach time on our way back from India.”
• ‘Out of Africa' Tented Travel – With the term “Glamping” the luxury tented experience was born, but a new demand for a truly immersive product in the luxury tented market is now emerging. “We are finding that for some travelers, a hotel stay is just not a deep enough dive into the culture of their destination. Moving between the hotel and their destination takes time away from the experience but they still crave luxury. Guests don't want to just attend the festivals in India, or stay on an exploration vessel in the Galapagos, they want to wake-up and fall asleep to the symphony of life happening around them,” according to Pamela Young, Vice President Global Destinations. To meet this demand, new products have come online, such as in India, The Ultimate Traveling Camp (TUTC); the first truly mobile luxury camps TUTC cover a calendar of festivals in destinations across the country. This nomadic super luxury camp introduces the discerning traveler to different adventures in carefully selected exceptional locations in the mountains, deserts, jungles and unexplored countryside.
• ‘Hub-and-Spoke' Multigenerational Trips – Modern, mobile and dynamic families looking to reconnect are increasingly taking the opportunity to travel together and bond over shared enriching experiences. And, while it may seem impossible to please everyone when ages span multiple generations, the destination specialists at Cox & Kings thrive on creating journeys that engage the entire group as well as the diverse interests of individual family members. Wiseman says “Last year, we experienced the rise of ‘Far-Flung Family Travel'; this year family travel goes one step further with “hub-and-spoke multi-gen travel. Africa is growing as a family destination since everyone can enjoy a safari together, but with a multitude of experiences available, the location makes it easy for them to then diverge and enjoy their own pursuits. Grandparents are able to experience luxury train travel, parents can tour vineyards, and the younger adventurous generation can experience Gorilla Trekking or even shark cage diving.”
• The Adventure Bucket List –Today, there is a new approach to Bucket Lists that implies challenges, exploration, culture and exotic travel goals. Bucket Lists are being reinvented and redefined, making them more popular than ever for families, couples and adventure travelers alike. Travelers are crafting a list of exotic destinations they wish to experience collectively such as a Tribal Safari in Ethiopia, cultural expedition to Papua New Guinea and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.
• Exotic Europe – Sophisticated travelers who enjoy the European experience are increasingly looking for that same “sense of discovery” they felt on their first visits and are looking to branch out beyond traditional locales such as Italy, France and Spain. Enter, Eastern Europe. Russia, the Baltics including Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, Croatia, Macedonia and Albania, which are all welcoming travelers as never before. Each of these countries offer travelers a wealth of character that is historic and yet modern and ready to be discovered. Beautifully preserved medieval towns and castles stand side by side with effervescent, cosmopolitan cities. With a mix of street cafes and seaside towns, the region is a comfortable combination of the familiar West Europe and the Mediterranean.
• Value Driven Luxury – For some clients, the need to explore uncharted lands, meet indigenous peoples and truly immerse in a new culture, trumps their need for high-end luxury. So it is no surprise that many are looking to have these experiences with like-minded travelers. Small escorted group travel continues to thrive as an affordable choice for travelers looking to delve deep into exotic destinations with the company of others. Guaranteed Discovery Group Journeys holds a certain mystique for travelers looking for that next unspoiled, undiscovered land that takes a hold of their inner explorer and awakens their souls. “Cox & Kings' focus has always been on bespoke, off-the-beaten-path journeys and the lineup of Guaranteed Discovery Group Journeys this year is no exception. We are seeing an increasing demand for Nepal and Madagascar and in response have created new options for 2014. In addition, Chile's Patagonia and Morocco once again continue to rise in popularity. As do Southeast Asia's Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia (Grand Tour of Indochina) for their cultural and historical landmarks,” said Wiseman.
For more information on Cox & Kings, please visit www.coxandkingsusa.com or 1.800.999.1758.