When it comes to being a travel pro, you won’t find many more well-travelled than the author of 1000 Places To see Before You Die, Patricia Schultz. We decided to pick the brain of Trafalgar’s Global Brand Ambassador on her thoughts on the next travel trends, her best tips and, in light of International Women’s Day on March 8th, 2018, how travelling can empower women.
What are some of the biggest travel trends you see for 2018?
The appeal of river cruising continues to be popular, in both Europe (from the Seine to the Danube) and beyond (Southeast Asia, India or the Amazon). Sustained attention on active and adventure travel such as biking and hiking, wellness vacations, and increased numbers in solo travel. Immersive and transformational experiences
are key, and the more local and rewarding the better.
Don’t pass up on a trip to Norway in 2018.
When it comes to hot new destinations, what do you think will be a hit in 2018?
There is very little that is new under the sun! But new focus is being directed to – or remains on – European destinations such as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Portugal, Croatia and beyond (next door Montenegro and its other Balkan neighbors) and Malta; Middle Eastern classics such as Jordan and Egypt that are seeing return numbers increase again; and once remote and off-the-radar places like Antarctica and Greenland have become more accessible and more appealing. There are so many perennial favorites that never go out of style such as Italy, Ireland and Thailand.
Peru is still a hot destination. Photo courtesy of pexels.com
If you want to really be ahead of the travel curve, what places do you think will be up and coming in 2019?
The Caucasus destinations of Armenia and (the Republic of) Georgia, and Uzbekistan and its other “Stan” neighbors in Central Asia. Peru and Ecuador have long been (and continue to be) popular but Colombia is appearing on more travellers’ radar – and it may finally be Bolivia’s moment.
What are some of the benefits to travelling to super popular destinations?
When robust tourism numbers support certain destinations, competition for their attention promises more competitive and moderate pricing. The infrastructure is better and more options are available. Better hotels and more varied options abound and the all-around experience can generally be done in a moderately priced way. There are ways to avoid the crowds with travel experts like Trafalgar whose expertise promises you a meaningful experience while avoiding the crowds, lines and congestion that commonly are part of the deal when destinations have long been overly loved.
The incredible views of Patagonia are hard to get to, but worth it.
What are some pros and cons to visiting more remote/less visited areas?
The pros are that the level of novelty and authenticity will be at its highest, and a better chance for the traveler to enjoy a unique and exciting experience not shared with many. How many friends do you have who have been to Mongolia or China’s Yunnan Province? The steppes of Patagonia? The cons are what you would expect (and what many would consider them more of a challenge or obstacle); a limited infrastructure where cultural and language barriers may not make for smooth sailing. Less seasoned travelers might consider signing up with a travel company who can promise an easier but no less authentic adventure. The important thing is to go before McDonalds gets there!
Since International Women’s Day is coming up soon, how do you think travel can impact the empowerment of women?
There is no down side to women travelling in greater numbers and to more varied destinations. Travel in general makes us better people and more thoughtful citizens of the world. It builds confidence and courage and tolerance. It nurtures that inherent sense of curiosity that we are born with, that needs to constantly be nurtured over time so that it does not grow dim or go dark. A sense of independence and a respect for others come with the experience – I don’t doubt that women who move into positions of leadership on local or international levels have ample travel experience behind them. So much of who we are comes from where we have been and what we have experienced. Politicians should need to show their passports before they can run for office.
What are the top three things travel has taught you about yourself?
There is very little that travel throws at you that can not be handled. There are kind and lovely people everywhere in the world – they have been my greatest teachers. I am at my best and happiest – and am most hopeful about the world – when I travel.
You’ve been listed as one of the most influential women in travel, what would you say to encourage young women to see the world?
Don’t wait for a friend or sibling or husband to be ready before you strike off to see the world. If I had done that, I would never have seen anything. The world is huge and there is no time like the present. Travel helped me understand what was important to me, what I needed to make me feel alive – and what kind of world I wanted to live in. My life would not have been half as rewarding or thrilling had I never left my comfort zone.
It’s not hard to see why NYC is one of Patricia’s favourite spots.
Lastly, you call one of our favourite cities in the world home, New York… where is your favourite nook in Manhattan to people watch/reflect?
Central Park is the most visited urban park in the world – and it is a 5 minute walk from my apartment. Pull up a park bench and watch locals and visitors of all shapes and colors from around the globe who come here to see how we New Yorkers recharge and spend a Sunday afternoon. It’s also amazingly easy to find a patch of grass to be alone with your thoughts in one of the busiest and most congested cities in the world. I love New York. We are only half kidding when we say it is the center of the universe.
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