12 and 1/2 Hot Travel Trends for 2012

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With the end of 2011 fast approaching, it’s time for end of year lists and forecasts for the new year. Kensington Tours polled its Destination Experts for the travel trends they predict and its team, which creates custom designed, privately guided tours and cruise holidays to more than 90 countries worldwide, came back with a variety of 12 and 1/2 insightful new trends and tips for vacation planning in 2012.

1. The Golden Age Of Travel – Bringing It Back
Nostalgia and a reminiscence of the past have already been quite hot these past few years, and that won’t be different in 2012. Travellers want authenticity, high-end consumers are looking to voyage back through time to the golden age of travel. “Journeys reminiscent of the romantic, adventure style of old are extremely popular,” notes Kensington’s expert Brad Crockett. “Affluent travelers are interested in the old world elegance of train journeys, classic desert camps, and mobile safaris where they sleep under the stars.”

2. Customized Heritage Tours – Getting To The Root of IT
Bookings coming on strong for 2012 often focus on the guest’s interest in their genealogical past and want to trace family lineage and explore their ancestral homelands. “Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Poland, France, Italy and Russia are all extremely popular due to emigration around World War II,” says Kensington’s Europe Expert Eimear Duggan.

3. Introducing The New Colombia
“Colombia’s back and ready to show the world what they’ve been missing,” says Expert Noraly Barillas. This Latin American treasure is a pulsating museum of adventure with pirate legends, a rich colonial past, coffee plantations, Amazon rainforests, 14% of the world’s biodiversity and the lost city of Ciudad Perdida. “With beaches that rival any in the Caribbean and charismatic cities like Cartagena and Bogota, this is one country that won’t be denied its chance to shine.

4. Private Concessions – Intimate African Wilds
Savvy safari planners looking for a more intimate African experience are opting more and more for privately-owned concessions. “South Africa has always been well known for this exclusive safari style,” according to Expert Gabrielle Nijdam. “But now, Kenya’s range of top-notch conservancies are no longer just the well-kept secret of the jet-set and there are a growing number in Tanzania including the Singita’s Sabora Camp and the new Manyara Ranch Conservancy.”

5. Indonesia – Beyond Bali
Bali may be on the top of every traveller’s list thanks to Eat, Pray Love, but once through with yoga and monkey dances, rest of Indonesia awaits. Asia Expert Jacob Hason says, “Travelers in 2012 are going further afield to the islands of Komodo dragons, to see the orangutans of Borneo, trekking Mt. Bromo volcano and to witness the eerie funeral rites of Sulawesi.”

6. On Your Mark, Get Set – London Calling
“Hot on the heels of Will and Kate upping its hip factor, the UK is buzzing for 2012,” says Expert Kerstin Sowden. Monarchists will be going for Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee in June and sports fans from around the world for the Summer Games. “For those not interested in taking part in either event, the secret to traveling smart is to go after the Games when the UK is still at its shiny best but the Olympic size crowds, lines and prices are gone.”

7. Israel – Spiritual Sites and Adrenaline Adventures
With a record 3.45 million visitors to Israel last year and numbers predicted to rise, the Holy Land is attracting more visitors than it has in millenniums partially due to an assortment of new adrenaline adventures attracting more than just pilgrims. “Visitors to Israel in 2012 will be hiking, biking horseback riding, mountain climbing rappelling scuba diving, archaeological digs and jeep safaris,” according to Expert Chris Bazos.

8. The Myanmar Road – An Exotic Time Warp
Asia Expert Sarah Ferguson recommends Myanmar for those yearning for exotic adventures more akin to the Anchor Wat of 20 years ago. Largely off limits to tourists until recently, Myanmar offers mysterious beauty with its hundreds of temples, tantalizing cuisine, painted caves, golden Buddas, river cruises, floating gardens and tranquil beaches.

9. Last Minute Deals? Don’t Be A “Would-Be Traveler”
Travelers who plan ahead win when it matters. “The pervasiveness of last minute deals on cruises and all-inclusive resorts is taking its toll. Every year Kensington sees disappointed would-be travelers who waited too long to book bucket-list experiences like a safari during the Great Migration, Galapagos at Christmas or a Costa Rica jungle adventure during spring break,” says Expert Brad Crockett. “Booking in advance is crucial. You’ll get the best hotels, flights and connections to ensure your dream trip perfect – no compromises, no disappointments.”

10. Personalized Cruising – Pre & Post Tours and Private Shore Ex
For those who love to cruise, tailor-made pre & post cruise tours accompanied by private shore excursions can transform a cruise into a rich cultural experience. “Cruisers are realizing the folly of just breezing through Europe’s great stepping-off points,” says Expert Dana Toma. “Instead, savvy travellers are booking 2-3 day customized land tours before and after their cruise. During their voyage many are skipping the crowds on traditional coach excursions opting to for private shore excursions.”

11. A Year Of Centennials
This year brings with it two monumental 100 year anniversaries in travel: the end of the race to the South Pole and the sinking of the world’s most famous ocean liner, the Titanic. Elite adventurers from around the world are commemorating these epic events with tours that have prices to match. A cruise with submarine trips down to the Titanic starts at $66,000 while one can take a private jet for a day trip to Antarctica at $9,000.

12. Short & Stylish – North American Escapes
“The focus of today’s weekend escape is on quality and being experiential,” explains Expert Olivia Paszkowski. “Travelers want culture, great food and new experiences even when it’s just a quick four day getaway. I recommend Quebec City’s Ice Hotel for winter, Oregon for active adventure and the vineyards of Ontario’s Niagara for a new spin on food and ‘ice’ wine.”

12 ½. The 2012 Phenomenon – The End Of The World
And finally….a side note for superstitious travelers. This is the year to hit the road, as according to the ancient Mayan calendar the world will end on December 21st. So now’s the time to hit up everything on your bucket list. For those who want to investigate doomsday, why not head to Mexico to see the fabled Mayan ruins and calendars firsthand?

Photocredit: warm thanks to Pilottage on Flickr.



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