From epic winter holidays to paradise beaches basked in summer sun, aspirational travel destinations often seem out of reach to casual holidaymakers. With careful planning, research and a bit of common sense, however, you can now plan a dream escape without breaking the bank.
The way we travel has changed in recent years. The global pandemic was obviously a major factor, but other financial constraints and more social awareness over environmental issues has resulted in a more savvy consumer looking to make the most of their holidays. The term ‘holiday’ has become something of a misnomer itself with remote working and life experiences changing what we typically assume people want from their time away from home.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
What travellers want in 2023
Martine Langerak, Head of Communications for Sunweb Group, said: ‘After a difficult few years, the travel industry is set to explode in 2023 and we are seeing an increasing number of people seek out an active or adventure holiday. Thrill-seeking holiday-goers are looking to make up for lost time and with the winter season well and truly here, ski resorts are seeing a pick-up in adrenaline junkies, both experienced, and beginner.’
Ski holidays along with cruises were too high profile casualties during the pandemic. Some people worried that these types of breaks would never come back, but the evidence shows that both industries have bounced back stronger than ever. We’ve launched our own collection of curated sailing trips in part due to an appetite for getting away with small groups following years of isolation.
‘When it comes to the appeal of holidays focusing on a specific activity such as skiing, or snowboarding, people want time to recharge and push the pause button,’ Langerak adds. ‘You can try resorts such as La Plagne, Alpe D’huez or Les Arcs if you are finding your feet on skis or a board for the first time as they offer a number of wide, green and blue runs for practicing turning safely.’
The appetite for adventure and wanderlust is nothing new. Exotic destinations such as Bali have always been popular but are now being framed as places that you can reach on a budget.
Adventure and Wanderlust without breaking the bank
All-inclusive holidays remain a cheap way of getting away, but the limits these types of experiences offer tend not to appeal to modern travellers. There’s a place for simply sitting on a beach with a good book for a week, but what about doing more when visiting a new destination? Our collection of Epic Trips and Mini Trips have full itineraries that let you explore with a seasoned Local Insider with the flexibility of extending your break to include downtime if you want. With activities and transfers taken care of costs are kept low but you still get a premium experience.
If you search for your dream destination today you’ll find more flights and places to stay on offer. This competition has resulted in a general reduction in costs, although it’s fair to say recent economic concerns have seen some expenses increase.
If long flights and sun lounging aren’t your idea of heaven, then a short trip to a winter wonderland might just tick both boxes for adventure and wanderlust. Iceland is understandably at the top of many people’s bucket list and is conveniently located between Europe and America. Heading to such a cold destination does mean you need to have appropriate attire, but there are options to get fully kitted out without draining your account.
Mountain Warehouse has a variety of outerwear suitable for all conditions that also look good. These outfits are also practical enough to wear at home, and given adverse conditions across Europe and North America you can also have something to wear when you get off the plane and head into work.
Adventure travel becoming more affordable means that savvy travellers can enhance their experiences with some careful planning. With a variety of typically ‘wanderlust’ destinations also now actively reaching out to potential visitors, all you have to do is pick where you want to go and commit to making the most of your time off in the near future.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.