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December 19, 2017
Wondering which destinations should be on your hit list for 2018, and how tomorrow's trends will change the way we travel? Tamara Hinson has the low-down on the big travel trends for 2018.
The vast majority of visitors to Cambodia head to Siem Reap, home of Angkor Wat, although some make it as far as the coastal city of Sihanoukville. But next year, a number of new resort openings will help open up other parts of the country, such as the coastal province of Kep, which now has a number of shiny new boutique hotels.
A new Six Senses resort will set up shop on Krabey Island, just across the water from Sihanoukville, and next year, two tented camps will open in the wildlife-filled Cardamom Mountains.
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Thought river cruising was the preserve of wealthy retirees? Think again. In recent years ocean-going cruise lines have gone out of their way to appeal to a younger market, and river cruise companies are following suit.
Leading the pack is the brand new, millennial-friendly U by Uniworld brand. Its onboard activities include mixology classes, and there'll also be silent discos and DJ sets.
Solo river cruisers are also being welcomed with open arms. Tauck, one of the world’s leading river cruise companies, recently announced that it will be ditching single supplements for guests travelling alone.
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More people than ever are expected to go it alone in 2018. Experts believe this is partly down to the increasing number of tour operators offering packages designed for singles, but more hotels are also going out of their way to accommodate solo travellers - especially female ones.
Several properties owned by ITC Hotels, India's leading hospitality group, now have women-only floors, a perk also offered by a growing number of hotels in Africa and North America.
One hotel brand which excels at the art of solo travel is Kimpton, which offers a Guppy Love service - solo travellers in search of companionship can borrow a goldfish, which will be delivered, in its bowl (obviously) to the guest's room.
Squeezing yourself into a tube hotel after a day on the slopes might not sound like everybody's idea of fun, but Whistler's Pangea Pod Hotel, which opens this winter, is being seen by many as a sign that budget accommodation will soon be coming to ski resorts.
Another indication is Club Med's newest all-inclusive property, which opens in the French resort of Samoëns this winter. More people are also making savings by heading to lesser-known resorts.
A report recently produced by Crystal Ski Holidays and the Post Office named the Slovenian resort of Kranjska Gora as the cheapest ski resort, and in recent years visitor numbers have rocketed.
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A recent trend has been the multi-gen holiday - kids, parents and grandparents heading off en masse for some quality time. Next year, experts are predicting the rise of skip-gen holidays - grandparents whisking grandkids away for some parent-free bonding.
Hotels are capitalising on this trend by rolling out bigger, better suites designed especially for those travelling with kids in tow.
Some top picks? The Despicable Me-themed Kids Suites at Orlando's Loews Portofino Bay Hotel. Here, grown-ups sleep in king-sized beds in beautiful master bedrooms, while younger guests sleep in rocket-shaped beds in bedrooms designed to resemble Gru's vault.
Traditionally, extravagant getaways mark occasions such as honeymoons, engagements or significant birthdays, but growing numbers of travellers are using travel to help them get over the end of a relationship.
Of course, holidays have always been seen as a way to mend a broken heart. The difference? Break-up breaks aren't about sobbing into the fifth glass of Sangria during that hastily-booked package holiday to Corfu. They're carefully-planned getaways designed to tap into the transformative power of travel - an opportunity to reflect and recover (although a little Sangria never hurt).
According to the Global Wellness Institute, wellness travel is growing 50% faster than travel overall, and it's an industry worth around £331 billion. But wellness-inspired travel is no longer about visiting remote detox retreats in the Peruvian rainforest or signing up for month-long mediation breaks at a monastery in Tibet.
A growing number of luxury hotel brands are rolling out short wellness breaks, designed for travellers with limited time. In summary, it's about a flexible approach, rather than total immersion.
Luxury hotel group Anantara recently launched its bite-sized wellbeing retreat packages, and the shortest one takes place over just two days. There's also a growing emphasis on sleep, with brands such as Six Senses offering amenities such as sleep-inducing mood lighting. We're nodding off just thinking about it.
The United Nations declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, kick-starting a massive upsurge in the number of people seeking out more environmentally friendly ways to travel. Certain destinations have risen to the challenge more than others. Take Singapore, where greenery now covers 30% of the city state, and where many hotels, such as the Parkroyal on Pickering, have rainwater and sunlight harvesting systems.
The Indonesian government is also doing its bit and recently announced an awards scheme to recognise environmentally sustainable tourism enterprises. And then there's the Seychelles, whose government has created a Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label to recognise green businesses.
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Ten years ago, Everest base camp was full of bankers keen to spend their bonuses on an adventure with guaranteed bragging rights. In recent years, more travellers are booking once-in-a-lifetime adventures which don't require a second mortgage on the family home. Inspired by explorers such as Ed Stafford, who walked the Amazon, and Levison Wood, who walked the Nile, travellers are dipping their toe in the world of adventure.
Top of the list? Antarctic cruises, long-distance husky rides and ascents of mountains such as Kilimanjaro. A good starting point for interested parties is Black Tomato's Get Lost trips.
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