Travel Trends 2012: Global Travel
Art at a glance, wet adventures and hoofing it are just a few aspects of travel you might encounter in the coming months.
• Art of the moment, gone in a minute: Major museums have incomparable collections, blockbuster shows and landmark buildings. They’re always a must-see. But the freshest, most kinetic art experiences are ephemeral and found in unexpected places. They can include anything from painting to electronica to live performance. Some are short-term festivals that animate a district for a night or weekend, like the annual Nuit Blanche in Paris and Toronto, Flux in Atlanta and Noche en Vela in Buenos Aires. Wherever numerous art dealers are concentrated, there is liable to be a regular “gallery crawl,” like Los Angeles’ Downtown Art Walk the second Thursday evening of every month. Galleries open their doors, while installations and performances enliven the streets between them. In Chicago, Pop-Up Art Loop fills vacant downtown storefronts with temporary exhibitions. And taking the pop-up concept even further, No Man’s Art Gallery mounts a temporary exhibition in a different country every few months. Last year, it materialized in Amsterdam, Hamburg and Mumbai; look for it in Paris this spring. All of these fleeting art spectacles are youthful, inviting and unintimidating—perfect points of entry into a city’s distinctive cultural ferment. —Jonathan Lerner
• Adventure, Belize: The Actun Tunichil Muknal (or ATM) cave in the Cayo district of Belize is a must for adventure seekers. After swimming into the mouth of the cave, you spend a couple of hours wading through water, scaling rocks and contorting your body through crevices, all while in awe of the natural formations and Mayan artefacts left behind, including skeletons and pottery. With interest in the Mayan calendar at a height this year, 2012 is certainly an interesting time to visit Belize. —Haley Shapley
• Walk this way: John Muir, the great naturalist and explorer, once said, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” Whether I’m strolling beside a bucolic, sheep-covered hillside in New Zealand or meandering along the Seine, there’s no better way to soak up a locale. In fact, I often say that as a writer, my travel stories come to me. They visit when I’m inhaling the scenery on two feet. But walking? A trend. Consider the Silicon Valley superstars. In the new Steve Jobs memoir, author Walter Isaacson writes that Jobs’ most important meetings and conversations occurred during long jaunts. Mark Zuckerberg is also a big hoofer. (Think about all the travel apps; the iPod Nano even has a built-in pedometer.) “In 2012 people are looking for authentic experiences, where you can spend quality time with yourself and your family, take a step back,” says Carol Lohr, executive director of the Crystal Coast Tourism Development Authority. “When you walk, you get a better flavour for an area. It’s a means of transportation that you can control.” —Jeryl Brunner
• Fore by two: The traditional golf trip has long consisted of a foursome of good male friends and a bare-bones itinerary that entailed playing as much golf as possible each day—and then drinking with equal abandon in the pubs afterwards. But not anymore. The more popular, and prudent, move these days is towards couples golf travel, and those increasingly available husband-and-wife treks to top courses in and around places as wide-ranging as Lisbon and Dublin include as many museum tours and spa sessions as they do actual rounds. (And fewer post-game pints, to be sure.) —John Steinbreder
• Getting to the next holes: Golf outfitters are always seeking to give the tried and true destinations new looks and feels. One way they are doing that in 2012 is by employing unique modes of transportation for their customers. First, they get them to embarkation points like London, Milan or Florence. Then they escort them to luxurious river barges that motor lazily down the Royal or Rhone rivers, perhaps. Or board them onto yachts that take them from courses in Corsica to layouts on Sicily with comfort and panache. Trains are another option, and the best may well be the sumptuous Royal Scotsman, which regularly rolls through the U.K., where some say golf was born. —John Steinbreder