Wondering what’s hot in travel? “Fly ’n Flop” is out. “Stop ’n Sop” is in.
Everyone enjoys some sun and sand. It used to be there was nothing better than sipping a Caribbean rum punch, reading a trashy novel, and laying out on a beach chair while you bake in the sun. If you get too hot, you jump in the nearest pool or the ocean. Rinse and repeat. That type of holiday is what I call a “Fly ’n Flop” getaway. Once you book the vacation, you simply check out. You fly in, and you flop out. Your brain is not engaged. The destination doesn’t matter. The people you see (if anyone) don’t matter. What you do (if anything) doesn’t matter. And while “fly ’n flop” holidays have their place in the ‘getaway echelon,’ simple sun and sand “fly ’n flop” holidays are on the decline.
What’s hot now, and the type of vacation that is climbing the popularity ladder, are “Stop ’n Sop” holidays.
“Stop ’n Sop.” Think of dipping a piece of bread in a sauce. You want to soak it all up. On this type of holiday, you’re the bread. The destination or travel experience is the sauce. You can stop what you’re doing at home – step away from your busy life, work, family, and responsibilities; and go somewhere, and truly experience it. The destination matters. How you travel matters. Who you see, and what you do, matters. That’s what I call “Stop ’n Sop” getaways.
More and more, travelers are seeking to step away from their routine, and immerse themselves in something new. Famed travel writer, Pico Iyer, has a book called The Art of Stillness; and between that and his Ted Talks, Pico reminds us that travel is not about leaving home, but about leaving habits. Studies show North Americans spend an average of 8.5 hours a day in front of a screen. Pico emphasizes the need for people to get away from their “weapons of mass distraction.” Turn off the cell phone! Travel should give 3 T’s – it should transport, transcend, and transform you. You should do something on vacation that will allow you to stop and take stock of your life. As soon as you slow down, you remember and/or discover what it is you need to rejuvenate. You can explore wellness for your mind, body, and spirt.
“Stop ’n Sop” holidays really are about the experiences. Whatever the latest travel industry buzz words (eco-tourism, responsible tourism, and sustainable tourism), the same caring principles apply. Your holidays should have an element of activity, have an element of nature, and have an element of culture – all while respecting where you’re visiting, the environment, and the people.
Why not take a wellness cruise to Baja California? You could do a wellbeing program along the Sea of Cortez on a base camp expedition ship. You can still stroll sand beaches, but you can snorkel with sea lions and reef fish, kayak along the coastline, do a beach fitness boot camp, practice yoga onboard the ship or on a paddleboard, hike the black lava and pink volcanic ash, and engage in mediation sessions.
Or you could take a California Bike Tour through Wine Country. You can cycle alongside the beautiful Pacific Coast and see the soaring redwoods. After exercising, you can relax in a spa, and enjoy wine tastings and sumptuous meals.
There are so many ways to combine wine and food with a holiday too. You can eat and drink the world! You could walk the Prosecco hills in Italy, and then sample Prosecco as you go. You could learn to make pasta in an Italian farmhouse. You can take an ocean cruise through the Mediterranean onboard a ship that has its own onboard cooking school. Or you could sign up for a land-based foodie tour through Spain or Vietnam or Japan. (Did you know there are vegan food tours too?)
River cruising also is a great way to transport, transcend, and transform. You are traveling on a floating hotel room, with never more than 190 people who also share your interest in history, culture, food and wine. River cruising is always at the top of holidays I book for clients – and European river cruises still lead the way. But there are always new iterations or trends – besides gourmet food and wine cruises through France, there are also wine or beer-themed through Germany, floating art workshops, maybe watercolour-painting along the Rhine, biking and barge holidays, Jewish heritage cruises, family, and Christmas market cruises, and so much more. But – there are also Amazon river cruises. Why not visit the lungs of the planet, and see the multitude of wildlife, birds, flora and fauna along the Amazon? See monkeys, births, sloths, and pink dolphins. Or maybe a river cruise along the Mekong or Irrawaddy interests you? How about China, or Russia, or Africa?
But river cruising isn’t the only way to sop up the world. Maybe adventure travel is your thing? Do you like soft or hard adventure? Not sure what the difference is? Soft adventure holidays don’t require the special skills, training, or equipment of hard adventure trips like cycling the Tour de France, scuba diving through Tahiti, or scaling Everest. Soft adventure trips might include exploring Machu Picchu (did you know you can do the 4-day hike or take the train- or do a combo!); riding the Rocky Mountaineer through a dome-windowed train through the Canadian Rockies, or seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland. And while hard adventure travel enthusiasts remain amongst us, soft adventure holidays are what are really exploding in popularity. And the demographic leading the way in this market is women who are 45+ years. Maybe this might intrigue you?
Might you consider doing a great walk in Tasmania, or snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef in Australia? Why not explore Chile with hikes and horse-back riding around a Patagonia lodge, or sleep under the stars in the Atacama dessert? You can live like a nomad in Gobi by staying at a ‘5000 star’ hotel in Mongolia. You can visit Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland, and learn about the history of cod. You could tour India’s Golden Triangle through Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur; and learn about the Mughals, visit movie sights like “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” tour Mother Teresa’s orphanage, or maybe ride an elephant! You could snorkel in the Galapagos Islands, and see the mammals that inspired Darwin. You could visit the gorillas in Rwanda, or visit an elephant orphanage in Kenya. Or you could walk on the 7th continent, and hang with the penguins in Antarctica!
Let me know if I can help you sop up the world! I specialize in adventure, bucket list, and luxury travel.
I describe myself as a travel master chef. I have all these ingredients (or travel products and suppliers) I’ve referenced in my kitchen (or office tool kit), and I can blend them in a way to prepare the right meal (or travel experience) for you.
Before I was in travel, I was an actuary. I worked for 20 years focusing on financial analysis of risk. My conflict was that I travelled all the time for work, but I was run ragged, and didn’t enjoy my life. I discovered that non-work-related travel gave me peace, and it allowed me to unwind. Leisure travel was how I experienced the world. I started to “live” to travel. I realized I could to leverage my business skills, knowledge, and experiences to help others see the world, and live. So, I partnered with Canada’s largest travel agency, Vision Travel, under the Virtuoso network; and set up my own boutique travel company, called Lush Life Travel. So, you could say I’ve moved from working on “return on investment” as an actuary to “return on life” as a travel advisor. I’ve been doing this for 13 years. I have invested well over 10,000+ hours and $10,000++ to achieve a level of mastery and success in travel (a la Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers). I have studied, achieved certifications, taken seminars, done oodles of familiarization trips and supplemented my personal travels, learned about my Virtuoso network of on-the-ground experts around the world, built personal relationships with industry partners, and won sales awards and client referrals in helping 1000+++ clients travel. I would love to leverage my skills, knowledge, experiences, & relationships to help you “Stop ’n Sop” for your next vacation, and curate your travel experiences to transport, transcend, and transform. Check out www.lushlife.ca .
Email me at email@example.com or call me at 613-837-0699 to arrange your bucket list travel consultation.