Global luxury travel network Virtuoso has determined 2018 will be the year for discovering less-visited destinations.

The company's 2018 Luxe Report, which forecasts what to expect in travel for the year ahead, shows the desire for unspoiled natural beauty continuing to motivate travellers.

The annual report reveals consumer preferences in high-end and experiential travel, as discerned from a comprehensive survey of the network’s travel advisors worldwide.

Five must-take trips for 2018, according to the company include:

Cold is hot. Seasoned travellers in search of fresh destinations are setting their sights on chillier climes. Iceland continues to surge in popularity, cruisers are enthusiastic about Alaska, and adventurers about Antarctica and the Arctic.

Exploring new destinations is the year’s top trip motivator, and travellers are embracing the opportunity to push beyond their comfort zone. Advisors suggest that people check out at least one new place a year, and challenge themselves to try something unexpected during their sojourn: swim with marine life like dolphins or mantas, go zip-lining or ballooning, or take a helicopter tour.

Connecting with family through travel. After topping the list of trends since 2010, multi-generational travel has firmly established itself as a travel niche. Following close behind is travel with immediate family, also a consistent trend that will carry forward in 2018. Whether renting a European villa for a celebration with loved ones, cruising to the Galapagos Islands, or snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, a family trip creates lifelong memories, strengthens bonds and plays a pivotal role in childhood education.

Experience Africa. From culturally rich South Africa, also 2018’s top adventure destination, to the wilds of Botswana and Kenya, to the souks of Morocco, Africa is one of the world’s most diverse continents. Advisors say a safari is an integral part of the African experience, particularly with wildlife preservation a priority for today’s sustainably savvy travellers.

Be a traveller rather than a tourist. Immersive experiences not found in a guidebook or brochure, opportunities to meet locals, wandering neighborhoods and making spontaneous discoveries are the best ways to experience a destination, according to the company's advisors. Whether it is wine tasting, or learning a traditional craft or a new language, travellers will be seeking out the true culture of that area they are visiting.

Overall the company reports that the desire for experiences that foster genuine human connection is a key driver for today’s travellers, and that travellers also seeking rare accommodation, as demonstrated by requests from customers including an igloo in Norway, a private castle all to themselves and sleeping under the stars in the desert – no tent required.

The company also reports that with the focus on far-flung exotic destinations in 2018, it is not surprising that luxury travellers are embarking on international trips of two weeks or longer, which are seeing strong demand. Plus week-long international trips and three- to five-day domestic trips also continue to be popular.

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