I’ve just returned from my lovely spring holiday. Now refreshed and rejuvenated, it’s time to think about … a summer holiday!
For most folks, summer is their main break. That’s when you plan a family trip overseas or somewhere adventurous with a group of friends. It is supposed to be ambitious and exciting. It shouldn’t be just another sojourn to Phuket or a ski-break in Niseko.
As global travel grows, everyone I know is at least a Marco Polo Gold member. It’s not unusual to have multiple passport stamps from typical vacation haunts like France, Greece and Italy. TV hosts such as Ian Wright and Anthony Bourdain show it’s cool to roam like a nomad, especially if you want to make your social media relevant these days, you have to trot a little more globe to impress on Instagram.
Enjoying an espresso in a scenic cafe in Rome? Big deal. You’ve snagged a coveted reservation at a three Michelin-starred Barcelona restaurant? Yawn. The same goes for your selfie in the lobby of Dubai’s Burj Al Arab. That’s yesterday’s news compared to camel riding through Petra, Jordan. Any socialite can rent a yacht on the French Riviera. Try hiking to the top of Machu Picchu if you want to up your bragging game.
As any high-end travel agent will explain, experiential travel has become the preferred mode of tourism. That means if you want to be considered an advanced traveller, you have to go somewhere that doesn’t have a Four Seasons yet.
Leisure and lazing around are for your retired parents’ Alaskan cruise. They can sit on the Lido deck and whale watch. You should be donning a wet suit, getting into a kayak and paddling out to the migrating pod to hear their sonic calls.
The latest trendy tours are decidedly adventurous. A cold Arctic winter is now a hot destination because that’s the best time to see the Northern Lights in Iceland or Norway. Enduring a vomit-inducing sea voyage is part of the package to visiting the Galapagos. For the Fitbit crowd, the Annapurna base camp at the foot of Everest is now “been-there, done-that”. If you want to blaze a new trail, fly 12 hours to east Africa and hike up Kilimanjaro.
For such globalist gloating, it’s worth stuffing your hardshell Rimowa with cup noodles so you don’t have to eat goat biriyani and lentil soup for weeks. No doubt, this trend is bad news if you thought a three-day liquid diet detox at The Farm was hard.
On the bright side, at least Extreme Sports tourism is no longer in vogue. Just be thankful nobody has the guts (or the stomach) to enjoy bungee-jumping off bridges in Tasmania or New Zealand. If we really want to live dangerously, we’ll order sushi next time we’re in Zhongshan.