Susan Farewell: Travel Trends 2017

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Where’s everybody going? How are they traveling? Here’s what our clients are looking for these days.

Bonding Trips for Family Members: An octogenarian mom and baby boomer daughter head to Paris for a week of great food, museums and visiting chateaux and gardens. A father takes his high school son heli-skiing in the Canadian Rockies. Two 50-something sisters travel through South Africa celebrating their birthdays. Parents of a college freshman head to Peru to embrace their new freedom as empty nesters. Family members are finding all sorts of reasons to travel together.

Planning Vacations around Sporting Events: “When I run Berlin, I will have done all six of the World Marathon Majors,” one of our clients told us. One-of-a-kind sporting events such as these attract athletes to destinations around the world. For skiing, there’s the Vasaloppet in Sweden; for rowing, the Vogalonga in Venice; and for golfing, nothing quite tops teeing off at midnight on the longest day of the year in Akureyri, Iceland at the Arctic Open.

“Collecting” Wildlife: Increasingly, our clients are talking about the wildlife they’ve seen or want to see on their trips. They want to go to Churchill, Canada to see the polar bears; Uganda for the gorillas. Some keep lists, proudly boasting that they saw a sloth in Brazil, a black swan in Australia or the rare golden oryx in Namibia. Some fancy themselves “serial safari takers.”

Seeking out True Travel Adventures: Going off the beaten path is rapidly growing in popularity among travelers over 40. In Vietnam, they want to take the night train from Hanoi to Lao Cai and spend a few days among the ethnic groups in Sapa. In Myanmar, in addition to seeing the field of temples in Bagan, they want to seek out places not on the traditional tourist loops such as the Karen state where there are fields and caves filled with Buddhas but little in the way of tourist development.

Setting Goals: “This is the year I’ll climb Mt. Kili,” one of our clients announced. Another told us that after he visits the North Island of New Zealand, he will have been to all the world’s geothermal areas including Iceland, Russia, Japan and closer to home…Yellowstone. Getting to all of them has been a goal of his for more than 10 years.

International Destinations Moving up on our Clients’ Bucket Lists: Laos, Japan, Patagonia, Scandinavia and Uruguay. And on the list for the first time: Iran.

Susan Farewell is the owner of Farewell Travels LLC (, a travel design firm based in Westport, CT. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @FarewellTravels.