Last summer saw the end of return testing for the US and Canada — and travelers have been doing their thing once again: TRAVELING. Last year, trends showed an interest in domestic travel as many people chose to stay closer to home, and top tours included Hawaii and the national parks (they were so in demand, Collette created a new Montana tour for those wanting to visit Big Sky Country). This year, some of these trends remain, but overall trends look a bit different. 2023 is here, so check out these top trends that seem to be shaping what has become the year to "get back out there."
You may not have all your travel plans locked in just yet, to help you make a decision, here are some of the top trends for 2023 on a guided tour:
Travelers booked trips in droves that got them outdoors last year, and that trend is continuing in 2023. Collette travelers have really taken to the tours to Hawaii, a sun-drenched journey to paradise year-round. Costa Rica remains a trending destination for lovers of the outdoors as well; Collette's Costa Rica: A World of Nature tour will take you on a small group adventure from the top of the rainforest to white sandy beaches, lush jungles, and beyond.
For those looking to take in the sun and spend time outdoors in Europe, consider this trending tour: Greece Island Hopper. With three days each in Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini, travelers can get the best of age-old legends and monuments combined with warm sunshine and island-style living in one tour.
Collette travelers value an itinerary that includes connection, and fascinating activities that they wouldn’t have found on their own. Immersive experiences and the chance to get to know the people that make up the rich tapestry of a destination are key drivers in what brings these tours onto the trending list for 2023.
Many, many Collette tours bring you to the must-sees and then a step further, but here are some favorites among this year's trending tours:
- A Taste of the Balkans really lives up to its name and we're sure you'll enjoy this inclusion: Join a third-generation family of truffle hunters on their forested property and search for the coveted tasty tubers alongside them and their friendly dogs. This is followed up with a truffle-inspired lunch!
- Japan: Past & Present tour has some totally off the beaten path moments you wouldn’t find if you were exploring the country on your own. There are not one but two unique experiences on this tour that you won't want to miss:
1. Meet Ama pearl divers – a group of extraordinary women who have defied societal norms for years by acting as the breadwinners for their families in a time when that was less common. They dive for fish, seaweed, and as the name suggests, pearls. They’ll tell you their history and show you a diving demo.
2. Spend the night at a Buddhist temple. You’ll dine on vegetarian fare with the monks before sleeping on a traditional tatami mat. The next morning, you’ll have the choice to wake up early and join the monks in prayer, observing as they ring gongs, chant, burn incense, and center themselves for the activities of the day ahead.
Collette's France Magnifique tour includes some tres magnifique inclusions, like an exclusive look at the Palace of Versailles. The iconic Hall of Mirrors and the lavish State Apartments are must-sees, of course. The gardens? Gotta check it out. But travelers on this tour? They get to tour the Private Apartments of King Louis XIV, which are not open to the general public. How’s that for a little royal treatment?
Collette travelers value diving deep into their surroundings and get to know one, or a few select destinations well versus trying to get a very small sample of many places. They have minimized one-night stays and put a real focus on the pacing of their tours so travelers can slow down and take destinations in, not rush from place to place. In 2023, many travelers are turning to destination Spotlights tours to achieve this.
These tours allow travelers to unpack once at a centrally located hotel during a getaway less than 10 days long. Spotlights travelers get the perks of itineraries with expertly planned inclusions, plenty of free time to explore how you want, and the support of a Tour Manager to show you the ropes and tell you about all the cool spots that only the locals would know.
Some trending Spotlights for your 2023 consideration:
- Spotlight on Santa Fe
- Spotlight on Boston
- Spotlight on Paris
Collette's Small Group Explorations tours continue to grow in popularity year over year. The camaraderie and nimbleness of a smaller group, the meaningful experiences that give back to a destination included in each itinerary, and authentic local experiences are all driving factors in this tour style’s increasing popularity. There have been a number of small group tours sprinkled throughout this blog outside of this category, but here are a few popular options …
The Italy’s Treasures tour will whisk you to Northern Italy with time in The Lake Region, the Italian Riviera, Tuscany, Florence, and Venice. You’ll get to meet locals like the owner of an award-winning gelateria, learn to make some traditional cuisine during a cooking class at a family-owned Tuscan villa, and take “going off the beaten path” to a new level when you go off-roading in a marble quarry.
If you’re looking for a small group tour in a winter wonderland, you may want to consider the Northern Lights of Finland tour. A trip to the magical Finnish Lapland to go on a reindeer safari and visit Santa’s house, an overnight in a glass igloo, and multiple opportunities to hunt for the elusive northern lights? It’s a holly jolly thumbs up from us.
Last, but definitely not least, is a small group tour that offers a different perspective on the African safari experience. Collette's Wilderness of Southern Africa tour offers your traditional game drives across the grasslands, but also some safari experiences on the water. Travelers on this tour get to spend 3 nights on Lake Kariba during a private cruise of waters frequented by hippos and crocodiles.
The options are seemingly endless, so we hope these suggestions provided a little bit of inspiration as you get ready to book your next tour. The only question now is … where will you be in 2023?
Original blog by Alex Shaked at Collette
November 23, 2022
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