It's been a very special Christmas in our household. I think a combination of our time away from home this year, and the fact both our children are now also away at college, has really heightened the importance of gathering together this December for the holidays. We've reconnected, laughed and cried over food, games and movies and it's been wonderful. I hope you have all had just as happy a Christmas time.
Looking forward to the 2019 travel year, I've found it very interesting looking at the trends just a small company like ours has noticed in our clients bookings. For instance in 2016, we booked just one itinerary to SE Asia. In 2018, this is up to twelve. I'd like to think that our ezine & blog manages to inspire just a few new destinations, but for whatever the reason, here is our own personal J5Travel trends top 5 as we head in to 2019.
Happy New Year everyone!
TOP 5 J5Travel Trends for 2019
1. SE Asia
I mentioned it above and as this is perhaps our family's own favorite region to visit, we are thrilled that we now tailor many wonderful SE Asia itineraries for clients. Countries included are Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, China and for the really adventurous Vietnam and Laos. Luang Prabang, Laos (above) and Hanoi, Vietnam (below) are 2 of my own personal favorite cities, despite being almost polar opposites of calm and chaos.
I know it's not just us that have experienced substantial growth in requests for Portugal. This is a country that has been on the travel radar increasingly in the last few years for completely valid reasons. Food, wine and port, beach resorts, centuries of history...it's all there. Even with its tourist growth, Portugal will still seem quiet compared with the major European tourist destinations in the summer. It's also better value than most of its near neighbors. Our day trip from Lisbon to the UNESCO World heritage site of Evora remains one of the best outings ever. I would not have believed you could experience incredibly well preserved megalithic (7000 years old, above), Roman (2000 years old, below left) and Medieval (700 years old, below right) all in and around one small town.
3. River Cruising
This popular travel segment continues to grow strongly and we are very happy to be increasing our own river cruise business. It's such a relaxing way to see the sights, unpacking only once, waking up in a new destination, and the higher end cruise lines such as Crystal, Uniworld and AmaWaterways include almost everything in your package. Combined with a J5Travel tailored pre- and post- cruise itinerary, you can really experience everything with all your details taken complete care of. We are so looking forward to our June 2019 Romantic Danube cruise on the brand new AmaMagna, the first luxury river cruise ship to be built "double width". Our extension in Budapest (below, photo by Ignat Kushanrev on Unsplash) will be extra special, as this is the number one city left on my European bucket list.
Whilst we are yet to send anyone to this Polar region, we have definitely become aware that this is on several of our clients radars. With a new class of ultra-luxury "Explorer" ships about to launch, there has never been a better opportunity to see a wild and untamed region in complete comfort. In a delayed launching, the 6-star Scenic Eclipse will be christened in April 2019 and will head to the region at the end of the year. The window for travel to the Antarctic (below, photo by Torsten Dederichs on Unsplash) is short, at just 3 months a year, and demand will continue to outstrip supply, so planning a long time in advance is essential.
5. St Lucia
St Lucia crept up on us this past year as a Caribbean destination with a little bit of everything, and perfect for family or couples holidays, where a luxury beach resort or boutique hotel can be perfectly complemented by some exciting excursions. Rainforest adventures, Piton view hiking, boating, snorkeling, dolphin watching and rum/food tours set this island apart from the pure beach destinations and clients have universally loved the island's vibe.
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