Published Nov/Dec 2006

River cruises, exotic destinations are some of the hot vacations
for the coming year.
By AAA National

ith the end of 2006 rapidly approaching, it’s time to see what’s on the travel horizon for the coming year. Which destinations are hot? What travel categories are growing? What should you know now in order to enjoy the best possible vacation experience in 2007?

River and small-ship cruising

Cruising the scenic Rhine, Main and Danube rivers is a relaxing way to visit a host of countries in central Europe with the added convenience of unpacking your bags just once. Small-ship cruising is also growing in popularity as discerning travelers forgo the huge megaships and opt for the more intimate, club-like appeal of smaller vessels.

Exotic destinations

One of the most exciting developments in travel has been the increased popularity of exotic destinations. Travelers are venturing farther and visiting India and Egypt, experiencing Asia and Antarctica, or exploring the Galapagos Islands (see related story) and Machu Picchu.

Experential travel

Many people today are emphasizing “experiential travel” as they plan their vacations. Experiential travel provides an in-depth exposure to a destination, helping the traveler gain a rich appreciation of its history, customs, culture, and cuisine.

Maximizing value

With unfavorable exchange rates and higher airfares sparked by rising fuel costs, travelers are being much more cautious about how they spend their money, whether they’re sneaking away for a weekend at the beach or planning a grand safari in Africa.

If any of these trends have piqued your interest, consider working with an escorted tour operator. If you’re heading to an exotic destination, you’ll enjoy the reassurance and extra measure of safety that comes from traveling with an escorted group. Many tour operators have also expanded into river cruising and small-ship voyages, where their expertise ensures unsurpassed shore excursions in ports and cities along the way.

Tour operators also excel at experiential travel, offering exclusive “off the beaten path” experiences that travelers would be hard-pressed to find on their own. And with the value of buying power, tour operators often offer some of the best values in travel. With pre-set prices and many extras included, escorted tours let you know your costs before you travel.

For example, Tauck World Discovery recently launched its elegant MS Swiss Emerald to help accommodate the 600-percent surge in its river cruising business over the past two years. In fact, the fastest growing segments of Tauck’s business are exotic journeys, small-ship voyages and European river cruises.

Above: Interest in exotic destinations, like Africa, is growing among today’s travelers.

Below: The MS Swiss Emerald is a new ship launched by Tauck. AAA photos

Before You Go
For more information on travel destinations for 2007, contact your nearest AAA Travel agent. View a list of offices.

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