All shoes are welcome on this summer’s travel adventures. Bring your leather loafers, your Gore-Tex boots, your rubber flip flops, your wedge heels, your bare feet. From local immersion to feats of adrenaline, this summer’s top travel trends will surpass your expectations.
Traveling is no longer about simply checking off boxes and seeing the majors sites, it’s about living and breathing the authentic, local and if we’re lucky, life-altering experiences. Travelers today want a personal connection with their destination that will forever influence the way they see and interact with the world, according to a special report by Skift.com.
So, take a pastry-making class in France. Stomp grapes at a harvest festival in Italy. Sleep in a traditional home in the Himalayas. Approach your next trip with a theme and a mission — rather than a checklist — and see how far that focus takes you. Visit Afar.com for inspiration on the best experiential travel.
A trip without negotiation, argument or your companion’s prejudices is a beautiful thing. Imagine shopping at your own pace, laughing with a complete stranger, enjoying quiet renewal in a monastery or learning how to surf. To experience the best solo trips possible, TravelandLeisure.com recommends visiting a country ranked high for peace and happiness. Top destinations include New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Costa Rica.
U.S. National Parks
This summer marks the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. To celebrate its centennial, many travelers this summer may opt for a trip to their own “backyard.” With a focus on community, recreation, preservation and history — not to mention more affordable fuel prices than usual — a road trip to a national park may be the best return on investment for your summer vacation. Visit FindYourPark.com to browse by state or featured experience.
Not so long ago, travelers sought parties, luxury and excess. No more. Today’s travelers seek release from the burden of chronic stress, technology overdose and routine existence. The cure? Cliff camping and whitewater rafting, followed by a mud bath and deep tissue massage at wellness resorts like Costa Rica’s Rio Perdido. Remember to pack water-repellant shades and gym clothes, and get ready to sweat on your next vacation.
Luxurious river cruises are on the rise — and their prices are dropping. According to Cruise Lines International Association, 24 million people are estimated to embark on a cruise in 2016 (up by 1 million from last year) and 27 new ships are on order. Companies like Viking River Cruises, Scenic Luxury Cruises and Crystal Cruises offer a more immersive approach to cruising than the classic ocean cruises without sacrificing comfort.
Imagine laughing at the dinner table in a rustic Irish cottage with your children and parents. Your parents live five states away and your children are too entranced with their phones to make eye contact. But on this vacation, you will soak up a new culture and sample local cuisine together — and your memories will last a lifetime.
For a successful trip, plan to relax on your first day to minimize grumpiness, incorporate plenty of cushion for everyone’s bathroom and snack breaks, and don’t be afraid to go your separate ways for a day. Rent a house or book a hotel villa to take full advantage of family bonding. Visit Fodors.com for more tips.