2018 Top Travel Destinations and Trends

The Kimberley, Western Australia

The Kimberley, Western Australia

What are some of the travel trends for 2018? It turns out the desire to explore new destinations is the top motivator, including some pretty off-the-beaten-path destinations.

These findings are part of the 2018 Virtuoso Luxe Report. The international luxury travel network (and of which we are a member) surveys its travel advisors each year for predictions and trends in the luxury market.

The results show that travelers are asking for everything from reaching the edge of space in a MiG-29 flight in Russia, to herding cattle in Australia, to hosting a celebration in a private capsule aboard the London Eye.

They also seek rare accommodations such as an igloo in Norway, a private castle all to themselves, and sleeping under the stars in the desert.

With the focus on far-flung destinations, comes a strong demand for international trips of two weeks or more. Surprisingly, there is also an interest in shorter trips to destinations such as Machu Picchu and the ever-popular Galapagos Islands.

In fact, Celebrity Cruises has responded to traveler interest in the Galapagos and recently announced they are building a new ship specifically designed just for the Galapagos Islands.


Northern Lights, Myvatn, Iceland

Northern Lights, Myvatn, Iceland

Travel Destinations and Trends for 2018

According to Virtuoso’s Luxe Report, 2018 will be the year to discover less-visited destinations as well as connecting with family through travel.

Challenge Yourself in Chillier Climates

Luxury travelers are looking to explore chillier climates in 2018, with Iceland and Antarctica topping the list. Seeing the Northern Lights was high on travelers’ wish list.

Exploring the Canadian Arctic also received high mention. With the plight of the polar bears gaining worldwide attention, polar bear expeditions offer a chance to see them up close and in their native habitat. These expeditions also allow travelers to gain a better understanding of the environmental impact on the polar bears and the Arctic.

Botswana, Africa

Botswana, Africa

Go on an African Safari

Africa is 2018’s top adventure destination and a safari continues to be an integral part of the experience, especially for those travelers who place a high value on sustainable travel and wildlife preservation. In addition to a safari in Botswana and Kenya, travelers expressed a desire to visit the culturally rich South Africa and the souks of Morocco.

Other countries topping the global destination wish list for 2018 include perennial favorites, such as Italy, France, Australia, and New Zealand.

Take the Whole Family With You

Multi-generational family travel tops the list of travel trends in 2018. Many survey respondents are opting to bring the kids and grandparents with them. Instilling global citizenship in children has become an important value to many luxury travelers.

A close second to multi-generational travel is active or adventure trips. (And you can still bring the whole family with you.) For a far-flung adventure, a destination catching travelers’ eyes is The Kimberley in Australia. Known as the “Outback of the Outback”, The Kimberley is an untamed region about the size of California. Marked with rugged mountain ranges, spectacular waterfalls and dramatic gorges, The Kimberley is a perfect choice for those seeking adventure in 2018.

Three Unique Destinations to Consider in 2018

While not on the 2018 Luxe Report, we think travelers looking to add to their bucket list might want to consider these three unique, yet still somewhat undiscovered destinations: Bhutan, Mongolia, and Slovenia.

Takshang Temple, Bhutan

Takshang Temple, Bhutan


For those looking to escape fast-paced lives, Bhutan is the country to visit. Landlocked between China and India, it was never a European colony, which has helped keep the country’s thousand-year-old society intact. With the meditative sound of temple bells, the dramatic view of snow-capped mountains, and the country’s Gross National Happiness index, visitors will understand why followers of the Slow Movement head to Bhutan.


For a far-flung adventure and a step back in time, Mongolia is the place to be. Nearly a third of the rural population still ride horses as their primary means of transport. A good time to visit is during the annual Golden Eagle Festival, which takes place in the Altai Mountains region. Held in October 2018, the event is a celebration of Mongolian culture, featuring music and dance, and showcasing Mongolia’s age-old tradition of hunting with eagles on horseback.

Church on the Island, Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled Island, Slovenia


The tiny country of Slovenia is the next best place to visit for foodies. Its culinary scene features 20 gastronomic regions, some 170 traditional dishes, and its richly textured rebula wine, from the Goriska Brda wine region, known as the “Tuscany of Slovenia”. In addition to its cuisine, the country is home to breathtaking lakes and alpine meadows, ancient Mediterranean port towns, castles and caves, and the fairy-tale capital of Ljubljana.


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