Tapping into the twin crazes of slow travel and all things retro, campervans are back. Sales have soared here and in America, and the Instagram feed Vanlifers, showing owners in nomadic locations, now has 250,000 followers.
Campervan hire is also affordable, illustrating why Audley Travel notes a 150 per cent increase in van-based bespoke bookings across Australia and New Zealand (audleytravel.com). Specialist RV rental firm CanaDream reports a similar demand for its Canada itineraries (canadream.com), while Airbnb has also observed a 133 per cent growth in campervan bookings across the globe (airbnb.co.uk).
So no wonder QUQUQ Campingbox, a contraption which allows users to morph their car into an RV, is launching in the UK (from £2,035 plus shipping, ququq.info).
The science of sleep
Kip has never been cooler – the recent Living Well Index, for instance, concluded that good amounts of sleep had a far greater impact on health than substantial increases in income – and hotels are responding.
Clinical psychologist Dr Michael J Breus was consulted for a sleep scheme by hotel operator Six Senses (sixsenses.com), whose numerous innovations include humidity-resistant Hanse pillows (above], while sleep coach Natalie Pennicotte-Collier has recorded downloadable sessions for guests at the Great Northern Hotel in London (below). Hilton is trialling plug-and-play devices that induce drowsiness (hilton.com) and Mövenpick is incorporating super-adaptable spring-system beds (movenpick.com).
At Thai chain 137 Pillars (137pillarshotels.com), meanwhile, ‘sleep butlers’ offer a ‘sleepdown service’ by running baths and telling a short story while guests sup a ‘dream tea’ and apply magnesium oil on key pulse points.
From no-go to must-go
Previously troubled destinations are making rapid comebacks – at bargain prices. Take Tunisia: Tour operator Jules Verne has reintroduced a seven-night cultural trip visiting the Roman city of Dougga and the Medina of Tunis. This was its most requested tour of 2017 (from £795pp full board with flights, transfers and excursions, vjv.com). Thomas Cook Airlines will also add six weekly flights (thomascookairlines.com) to the North African country next month.
Then there’s Turkey (pictured, with Tombs of Myra below). The specialist Peter Sommer Travels reports a ‘significant increase’ in late 2017 enquiries (petersommer.com) and Jet2holidays has expanded its summer 2018 capacity by 165 per cent following a ‘huge rise’ in demand (jet2holidays.com).
Growing demand for veganism sees Vegan Travel expanding to ocean cruises (pictured, vegancruises.eu), while Knightsbridge’s fancy Egerton House Hotel has unveiled its first vegan afternoon tea, lemon drizzle cake as standard (£40, egertonhousehotel.com).
Robert De Niro’s Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay arrived in 2017 with a devoted all-veg café in Celicioso (nobuhotelibizabay.com), while a dietitian is designing vegan menus for the main Sea Grill restaurant (below) at Marbella’s Puente Romano resort (puenteromano.com).
In New York – named America’s most greens-friendly city of 2017 by finance website WalletHub – herbivorous diners are all the rage. At the new ABCV, from Michelin-starred Jean-Georges Vongerichten, mains include warm crimini and chanterelle mushrooms with sherry vinegar, tarragon and roasted sweet onions (mains from £12.50, jean-georges.com).
In deep with artisanal crafts
No travel buzzword is buzzier than ‘local’. Modern-day travellers crave authenticity and immersion – we want to tour markets, dine with residents and have exclusive audiences with celebrated artists.
Take the VizEat platform (below), which allows users to dine with locals in their homes – it has exceeded 25,000 hosts in 130 countries after three years (vizeat.com) but learning artisanal crafts while hanging out with locals is all the rage now too, according to James McClure, Airbnb general manager for UK and Ireland.
‘Craft-based experiences on the Airbnb platform have grown at a phenomenal rate with an influx of hosts offering unique experiences across numerous areas of expertise,’ he says. Niche skills you can learn via the site include building terrariums, book binding, soap making and creating bespoke chopsticks or espadrilles.