The travel-scape is changing. 2018 is all about embracing newness; new places, new experiences and learning new skills. Gone are the days when hopping on a plane, reclining on a sun lounger and wining and dining at the most exclusive restaurant in town were enough to satisfy affluent travellers; the jet-set are now demanding life-changing experiences and mind-blowing activities from their holidays.

Image credit: Capella Hotels
 

Stories about learning to surf in Morocco or “finding yourself” inside the Balinese rainforest secures a higher travel kudos for those who want to stay ahead of the crowd, whilst world-class destinations are now being shunned for cooler, lesser-known party spots.

Social media is the main culprit for travellers desiring these new experiences (we’re looking at you Instagram) with many glamorous globetrotters desperate to show off photos of the luxury treehouse hotel they’re staying in, or of a secret island they’ve just ‘discovered’ in somewhere you’ve never heard of. No one wants to see a photo of the Eiffel Tower anymore… yawn.

So if you want to keep up with the “tripsters” this year, make sure you include at least one of the following travel trends on your travel hit list for this year!

Transformative Travel

Rewind a couple of years and lounging on an exotic beach for two weeks, with a cocktail in hand, was enough to rejuvenate you before you returned back to reality. But thanks to longer working hours, constantly bleeping phones and the pressure to always be ‘on’, luxury resorts just don’t cut it anymore. Stressed out travellers are now craving holidays that will change their lives so they can return home a calmer, healthier and happier individual.

Enter ‘transformative travel’. One of 2018’s buzziest travel trends, this intriguing new craze is causing glamorous globetrotters to substitute lavish hotel rooms and sheltered resorts for rainforest retreats and spiritual experiences. VIP clubs are out and ancient sacred sites are in. The luxury element isn’t forgotten, however, with many wellness resorts offering chic and comfortable lodgings slap bang in the middle of exotic paradises.

Image credit: Capella Hotels
 

Bali’s Ubud Capella Resort, for example, fuses luxury and nature with its collection of extravagant tents hidden deep inside Ubud’s enchanting rainforest. Each tent is decked out with a private salt water Jacuzzi pool, indoor and outdoor bathrooms, and a spacious lounge and bedroom, whilst two outdoor decks are perfect for enjoying an ambient candlelit dinner with the glistening rainforest as a beautiful backdrop.

Spirituality, wellness and adventure are at the core of the Capella Ubud. Guests can connect with the Keliki natives and exotic heritage of Bali on their stay, by attending the sacred temple rituals at the Wos River or listen to the camp’s storyteller as he whispers mystical stories of Balinese lore, around a campfire, every night.

Image credit: Capella Hotels
 

Want to get your blood pumping? The jungle boot camp or rice paddy workout are sure to sweat out those toxins. Alternatively, if you’d rather sit back, relax and let the moon take care of your wellbeing, then head to the resort’s world-class Auriga Spa. Signature treatments are synchronised with the current lunar phase and are designed to enhance guest’s physical and emotional health.

Off The Beaten Track

Barcelona, Rome and Paris may be some of Europe’s most beautiful and popular travel destinations but those worth their travel salt understand lesser-known areas are the true gems. Well-heeled travellers receive more kudos for posting a picture on their Instagram of a pretty cobbled street or secluded sea cove in a ‘secret’ sun-drenched holiday spot so they can have that ‘I discovered it first’ feeling of smugness – especially when all the ‘where on earth is that?!’ comments come rolling in.

So this year, those in the know will be shunning Portugal’s hyped up Lisbon for laidback Alentejo or authentic Centro, ignoring Spain’s crowded Costas in favour of inland regions such as western Andalucia, Extremadura, Castile and León, and bypassing Italy’s flamboyant Venice and Florence for tasty Bologna.

Image credit: Public Domain Pictures

But if you really want to stay ahead of the travel trends this year, then Malta’s Valetta is the city to be seen in. 2018’s European Capital of Culture, the ‘honey-soaked’ Baroque city is a place where the old world meets the new. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Valetta’s museums, palaces and grand churches are sure to keep you mesmerised during the day, whilst the city’s forts-turned-clubs provide an atmospheric backdrop for midnight raves. World class events, such as Annie Mac’s Lost & Found festival are huge crowd pullers for the cool kids.

Image credit: Lost & Found Festival

Whilst you’re visiting the hottest city in Europe (literally and figuratively) you may as well stay in the hottest hotel (figuratively – there will be air conditioning, obvs.) The jet-set are waiting with baited breath for the hotly anticipated Iniala Harbour House to open later this year. Designed by British entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist, Mark Weingard, the boutique hotel is blessed with picturesque harbour views and has been transformed from four grand palazzos (one of which was a former bank with vaults) into 22 electively designed rooms, a rooftop restaurant and spa.

Women Only

The future is female. Thanks to the popularity of all-women societies and clubhouses over the past few years, ladies only retreats and trips are on the rise and are set to be big news for 2018. Sorry guys! Perfect for lone travellers or girly getaways, these female-friendly trips and destinations provide an inspirational, exciting and safe space for women to rejuvenate in the companionship of other like minded women.

Image credit: Super She Island

Perhaps the most prestigious launch this year is the SuperShe Island in Finland. The official headquarters of the SuperShe society, this exciting new destination is a private island hidden-away in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Finland. Sounds like something out of a spy novel, right?

The 8.4 acre, 10 person island is an idyllic location for women to escape, swim naked in the sea and fall asleep underneath the stars without a care in the world. If creature comforts are more your thing, then the lavish spa and Finnish saunas are sure to rejuvenate you, whilst daily wellness activities such as yoga, meditation, cooking classes, fitness classes, and nature activities promise to keep all personalities entertained.

Image credit: The London Girls Surf Club

Another hip, women only activity club is the London Girls Surf Club. Set up by creative director and fashion editor Kylie Griffiths, the club aims to entice city girls out of the concrete jungle and into the sea. Surfing holidays are available in the UK and abroad (this year Devon and Morocco are on the cards) and are designed to help you get fit, learn a new skill and make new surfing sisters. A form of active meditation, riding those waves calms the mind and ensures you stay in the moment – we couldn’t think of a better trip for frazzled city girls!

Discovery

The world seems to get smaller every day, especially when people document their every move on Instagram. As a consequence, far-flung places and difficult to access destinations are suddenly desirable for discerning travellers who are hungry for that feeling of discovery.

Wild and unspoilt areas, such as Nicaragua, or secret ancient cities, such as Kuelap in Northern Peru, will call to those with a sense of adventure and plenty of money to spend getting there. But for those who wish to see culture and civilisation on their voyages, make sure Sapporo in Japan is on your travel hit list.

Sapporo, Japan | Image Credit: Good Free Photos

Tourism to Japan has doubled in the last two years but if you want to avoid the mainstream tourist crowds, northern Hokkaido’s capital is off the well-worn path. A hipster’s paradise, it won’t take long for Millennials to catch on to this new buzzy hotspot so book your ticket quick if you want to brag about ‘discovering’ it.

Cool cafes, plenty of neon, brewpubs, food festivals, and a fierce fashion scene will keep you entertained for days, whilst a road trip through Hokkaido, Japan’s “wild north” offers a wonderful opportunity to embrace “shinrin-yoku” or “forest bathing” - a wellness activity that restores your health and wellbeing simply by being in the presence of nature.

Hokkaido, Japan | Image credit: Pixabay
 

If the Zen side of Japan appeals to you more than the frenzied cities, take the pilgrimage to the Kii Peninsula. Japan’s spiritual heartland, this enchanting area is filled with holy mountains, sacred shrines and swirling mist. Take a trail down the Kumano River, visit the Ise Jingu – the shrine of all shrines to worship Naiku, the Sun Goddess, or load up on fresh fish from the Katsuura fish market. If you’re looking to “discover” yourself this is the place to be.

Now you’re up to date with the hottest travel trends of 2018, why not treat yourself to a new luxurious suitcase to accompany you on your next adventure? From Rimowa to Briggs & Riley, we have a wide selection of premium designs that are eager to explore the world with you! Browse the collection here.