Global travel advisor Gennady Podolsky recently noticed that travelers are increasingly choosing experiences that blend their driving passions and personal preferences. As 21st-century travel continues to evolve, destination-focused travel experiences are getting competition from a new kind of travel excursion. 

To illustrate, diving fans are booking dive excursions with sustainable SCUBA operations worldwide. Dedicated stargazers are trekking to locales far away from city light pollution. Health-focused travelers are gravitating toward resorts built around preventive health and longevity. Here, Gennady Podolsky profiles five paradigm-changing experiences that truly change the definition of travel.

Next-Level Eco-Friendly Dive Travel

As SCUBA divers search for new and intriguing dive destinations, they often look for trips that feed their personal passions. Global travel advisor Gennady Podolsky says divers are increasingly selecting travel destinations according to local SCUBA centers’ sustainability ratings.

In fact, almost 100 percent of divers would prefer to book with sustainable dive operators. However, many divers were previously unable to locate a sustainable operator in their preferred travel destination. Divers had to choose between a non-sustainable dive vacation or embarking on an often-extended hunt for a dive operator that met their parameters.

The PADI Eco Center Solution

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (or PADI) stepped up, creating a PADI Eco Center accreditation on 2023’s World Earth Day. To be approved, candidate businesses must show evidence of their conservation activities and prove that they have substantially reduced their environmental footprint.

Initially, only 11 dive operators were certified worldwide. However, more than 100 dive centers are accredited today. By 2030, PADI wants to have 660 accredited dive operators under its purview. Today, the Southeast Asia region boasts over 20 accredited operators and the Caribbean also has good representation.

Each Eco Center’s conservation focus determines its targeted projects. In the Caribbean, divers can assist with coral replanting efforts to help regenerate area coastlines. In Mexico, an Eco Center has created citizen science courses, enabling divers to gather whale conservation data.

Finally, PADI has developed several go-anywhere diver conservation courses. To illustrate, the Global Shark and Ray Census is set for August 2024. Once certified, a PADI diver can use their knowledge to participate in census activities across the globe.

Far-Flung Astronomy Expeditions

Who doesn’t enjoy gazing at the stars on a clear, moonless night? Starwatchers of all ages have been captivated by thousands of stars, a few wayward planets, and even shooting stars on occasion.

With increasing urban and suburban light pollution, however, these experiences are becoming few and far between. In addition, an overriding focus on the virtual world is leaving many people desiring to explore the real universe around them.

Enter the emerging field of astronomy tourism (or astro tourism). This intriguing travel niche involves the pursuit of astronomical events such as eclipses, meteor showers, comet tracks, constellations, and other celestial occurrences. Major events, such as once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipses, can spark an entire travel industry around the occasion.

As an added attraction, scientists are predicting that the 2024 Northern Lights displays will be the best in two decades. With numerous lodgings located in the globe’s higher latitudes, this spectacular phenomenon will likely spark increased guest bookings. A selection of high-quality meteor showers, and perhaps an eclipse or two, are also on tap for 2024.

Snapshot of Astronomical Event Accommodations

African safari aficionados may enjoy astronomical tours in locations that include Namibia and Botswana. Travelers will stay in tent accommodations in remote locations or at a safari camp with deck-located star beds. With either option, travelers will be treated to enviable isolation and expansive star views.

Stargazing travelers can also select more refined accommodations. Wellness-focused hotels in the UK, Qatari desert, and other pollution-free locations treat guests to stargazing workshops. Families with children may discover even more learning opportunities.

Longevity-focused Hotels, Resorts, and Retreats

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, health industry analysts have noted an increased global awareness of preventive health practices. This heightened interest may have emerged as millions of locked-down individuals had plenty of time to ponder their own mortality.

With this trend as a backdrop, longevity clinics continue to spring up across the globe. Recognized as one of the hottest new health trends, longevity clinics’ venture capital funding more than doubled from 2021 to 2022. This increasing support will likely result in a notable expansion of longevity services facilities.

Spotlight on Longevity-Focused Lodgings

Global travel advisor Gennady Podolsky notes that certain luxury hotels and resorts recently began offering longevity-focused amenities and optional therapies. Each lodging has a distinctive mix of offerings, and some facilities invite recognized experts to deliver specialty therapies.

Longevity therapies include hyperbaric oxygen chambers, ozone therapy, stem cell treatments, infrared light mats, and B12 shots, among others. Additional therapies are expected to become available over time.

Travelers can certainly enjoy a leisurely stay in a longevity-focused lodging. Alternatively, they may wish to cap off a business trip or vacation by treating themselves to a few days of health-focused services.

The Role of Longevity Retreats

A longevity retreat (or wellness retreat) is a standalone wellness experience that often takes place in a peaceful outdoor setting. Clients are given an opportunity to learn about (and adopt) healthy practices designed to decrease stress and enhance their well-being. Longevity retreats also offer intensive professional health assessments and energizing recreational activities.

  • Healthy Eating Guidance: Many longevity retreats provide healthy eating guidelines and may offer targeted meal plans. Some retreats offer cooking classes focused on anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense foods.
  • Gentle Exercise Classes: Longevity retreats typically offer gentle exercise such as stretching, tai chi, or yoga. The retreats also encourage outdoor activities that combine exercise and nature’s healing power.
  • Relaxing, Rejuvenating Spa Treatments: Not surprisingly, longevity retreats offer a suite of spa services. Examples include massages, full-body scrubs, detoxing treatments, and acupuncture, among others.
  • Health and Wellness Education: To adopt a healthier lifestyle, longevity retreat participants need the tools to make the necessary changes. Recognized health and wellness leaders will often conduct workshops and/or lectures that enhance the retreat experience.
  • Stress Reduction Exercises: Managing stress can help prevent disease, promote mental well-being, and help to extend an individual’s lifespan. To facilitate stress reduction, longevity retreats offer yoga, meditation, and mindfulness exercises, among others.
  • Tailored Health Assessments: Some longevity retreats offer tailored health assessments. This software analyzes specific health markers, enabling participants to better understand their health issues. They’ll also receive specific advice that will ideally enhance their longer-term health.

Global Sporting Event Tourism

Fans who attend local or national sporting events can root for their favorite team in person. They soak up the crowd’s electric energy and get to see talented players at the top of their games. And not surprisingly, these events also provide fans of all ages with an adrenaline rush.

Now, global travel advisor Gennady Podolsky says sports fans are tracking their favorite sporting events across the globe. These sports aficionados schedule trips around major competitions, and they frequently tack on extra days to see the local sights. On occasion, fans travel to multiple destinations to follow a high-profile race or other sporting event.

High-Profile International Sporting Events

In 2024, Paris will host the ultimate in sporting event tourism: the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. From late July until early September, over a million tourists are projected to visit the French capital, many to partake in these iconic competitions.

Elsewhere in 2024, the Tour de France kicks off in Italy, marking the first time the country has hosted this multinational event. Several scenic Italian locales will host these world-class racers. To mark the occasion, international cycling tour operators have launched new bike routes that celebrate the sport.

Skip-Generation Vacations

Traveling with a friend or family member often lends itself to a more memorable travel experience. Today, global travel advisor Gennady Podolsky says grandparents and their grandchildren are increasingly teaming up for “skip-generation vacations.” Well-entrenched in the United States luxury travel market, this emerging trend is currently gaining traction in the UK.

A skip-generation vacation often focuses on the grandparents’ desire to show a favorite destination to their beloved grandchild. Perhaps the grandparents vacationed there, or they had previously lived in the area. Maybe the grandparents wanted to take a “bucket list” trip with a younger traveling companion. Here, the child’s parents are purposely left out of the equation, enabling them to make their own plans.

Snapshot of Skip-Generation Travel

With many grandparents in their 70s, and often reasonably active, these trips are certainly within many older adults’ capabilities. Examples of feasible skip-generation vacations include guided safaris, tours of historical and culture-rich locales, extended spa vacations, and even small-ship cruises.

Global travel advisor Gennady Podolsky emphasizes that many travel experiences are ideal for a multigenerational team. That said, he recommends a pre-reservation discussion to ensure all parties have the same expectations about the trip.

Discovering These Next-Level Travel Opportunities

Emerging (and unconventional) travel experiences don’t always pop up in search engine results. However, seasoned travel professionals who keep an eye on industry trends will be able to ferret out these hidden travel gems. Global travel advisor Gennady Podolsky recommends that travelers work with an “out of the box” travel professional to book one of these memorable experiences.

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