Travel

Travel 2022 – 10 Best Trips For Next Year And Your Post-COVID Vacations

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More than two-thirds of Americans (approximately 70%) take vacations annually. After 18 months of severe impact from COVID-19, pent up demand has led to record bookings for many higher-end tour operators and travel companies for 2022, when many consumers hope for normalcy, or at least safety, while traveling.

One lesson we have learned from the pandemic is that the future is unpredictable, and anything can happen. Hopefully this will be the last major pandemic, but it certainly was not the first, and who knows what other natural disasters lay ahead? The effects of the coronavirus on travel are not just cancellations and postponements, but for many, a new realization that life is short, and dreams should not be put off. For most of us, there are regular vacations and “someday” vacations, as in “someday I’ll go to Australia and New Zealand for four weeks,” or “someday I’ll go to the Superbowl.”  

Many expert travel agents and advisors I’ve talked to have told me about a discernible shift in attitudes among their clients, who are re-prioritizing their travel lists, and moving “someday” to “as soon as possible.” If all goes well (fingers crossed!) 2022 is going to be a big year for dream trips. But where to go or what to do is only half of the equation, and for many kinds of travel, especially these more niche fantasy trips, you need someone to organize it who knows what they are doing. Anyone who wants to take a luxury ski trip to Vail can reserve a suite at the Four Seasons there, hire a private instructor and have the concierge book dinner reservations, but a once in a lifetime ski trip to the world’s best snow – in Japan – is lot more confusing with a lot more moving parts and knowledge required – and more disappointing if you get it wrong.

So, based on extensive personal and travel industry experience garnered over the past quarter century, I’ve compiled this list of trips and experts to help you out – especially if you are one of the millions who has had to bump planned trips and are chomping at the bit to get back out there.

African Safari With Micato Safaris: This one is first on my list on purpose, and from here on the entries are in no particular order. That’s because while the term “Bucket List” gets thrown around a lot in the travel industry, often loosely, if there is one true example of a Bucket List trip just about anyone would love, it’s an African wildlife viewing safari. Obviously if you don’t ski or play golf or love art, even the world’s best ski, golf or museum trip wouldn’t be for you, but having done just about every kind of travel, and having been on African safaris many times in eight different countries, it is hard for me to imagine anyone who would not be blown away. You can have amazing trips in Kenya, Tanzania and elsewhere, but if are going just one time, I think a combo of South Africa and Botswana is hard to beat.

But if you want to the best possible trip anywhere in Africa, you need to go with the best possible outfitter. In the safari business that is an easy and obvious pick. Simply put, Micato Safaris is the best travel outfitter of any kind, in any genre, that I have ever traveled with, and I’ve traveled with many of the most acclaimed names in the industry. I’ve seen them open doors that no one else can open, again and again. High-end safaris have boomed in popularity, but the very best lodges typically have just three to twelve accommodations and are sought out by travelers from all over the world. Micato has long had the best relationships and done the most business with these lodges and when things are tight, if anyone can get a choice room, it’s them. But I’m hardly the only one who feels this way – Micato recently won #1 World’s Best Safari Outfitter from Travel + Leisure Magazine for an unprecedented 10th time, something no tour operator of any kind in any category has ever come close to doing. If you are ready for the trip of a lifetime, this is it.

Turkey, Greece or Sardinia Bike & Cruise With DuVine: Killing two birds with one stone makes two great trips out of one vacation, but it’s even better if you can triple up. So, if you enjoy cycling, which saw an enormous surge during the pandemic and is a great way to see a place at the perfect pace, why not combine it with a deluxe sailing trip and a visit to an iconic once in a lifetime type destination? That’s exactly what you get by doing a cycling trip that uses a small ship as a moveable hotel and visits the gorgeous islands of Greece, exotic Turkey or the most unique Italian island, Sardinia.

DuVine is a well-respected cycling and multi-sport tour operator based in Boston that has a unique collection of Cycle + Sail Bike Tours, which basically offer a private yacht experience where you depart in the morning for a guided riding tour and special VIP attractions, returning to your private mooring for a swim before dining on deck, then island hopping and doing it all again the next day. For example, the Greece trip sails the Aegean from Athens to Rhodes, visiting lesser-known, uncrowded islands along the way, taking in top ruins and attractions, serving up the classics of Greek cuisine, and local wines, with virtually everything included, even open bar onboard. The trips depart from Bodrum, Turkey with an optional pre-trip extension to Istanbul, one of the world’s most fascinating cities. This trip uses a gulet, a traditional wooden sailing vessel from this region, with a crew of five. The Turkey and Sardinia trips are equally enthralling, and very unique twists on the active travel paradigm.

Skiing The Dolomites With Dolomite Mountains: Bigger is not always better, but when it comes to skiing, size does matter, and the interconnected resorts of the Dolomiti Superski pass comprise the largest ski area in the world you can ski entirely on lifts and trails – around 900 of them! – without having to transfer. This system not only connects many charming towns, including Val Gardena, Alta Badia and Cortina, host of the 2026 Winter Olympics, but also is set entirely within a UNESCO World Heritage Site many believe to be the most beautiful mountains on earth. There are a slew of amazing hotels at every price point, from mid-range to 5-Star, but unlike most ski destinations, just about all of them are ski-in/ski-out. Ski options include World Cup courses, terrain for all abilities, town to town and hut to hut skiing, and what is widely considered one of the greatest days in skiing, an epic tour known as the Sellaronda that circumnavigates the Sella massif, all in-bounds with lifts. Finally, this is Italy, perennially the top dream choice for American travelers, with all the great food, wine and welcome you expect. I wrote much more in detail about why the Dolomites is one of the world’s best ski vacations here.

Many of the best travel agents I know use a local company called Dolomite Mountains to handle their clients, so I used them and was very impressed. The company offers both scheduled group “ski safari” tours and totally private custom vacations for various budgets. In either case you get local expertise, highly trained and certified mountain guides, and insider access to the best hotels and restaurants. You can choose from hotel-based trips to skiing from rifugio to rifugio, staying in the gourmet-driven high mountain lodges the area is known for. But why not mix? In addition, ski touring (aka alpine touring or AT skiing) grew exponentially in the pandemic and years preceding it, and the Dolomites are arguably the best place in Europe to ski tour, so Dolomite Mountains has strong programs for those who want to go under their own power as well.

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