Off the beaten track

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Where will travel trends be heading in 2014? Jeremy Gates investigates a new appetite for adventure.

Riding on the current economic “feel good” factor, travellers are already making bold New Year’s resolutions to see more of the world in 2014.

Lying on the beach is no longer enough, for any generation. Honeymooners want adventure; 40-plus couples with teenage children in tow head for South-east Asia, the Himalayas and the Andes; while older holidaymakers are opting for long-haul journeys with expert guides.

Christopher Wilmot-Sitwell, co-owner of upmarket long-haul tour operator Cazenove & Loyd says: “As confidence returns, people are ready to spend again on travel – as long as it is more meaningful than lying by a pool in the Caribbean.

“For post-recession travellers, long-haul luxury alone won’t do the trick any more. They want to get under the skin of a destination, to do and see the unusual. Some like to be in small groups, others want tailor-made packages, as long as they get far from the beaten track.”

In a similar style, Wilmot-Sitwell says people love small group tours in cities, especially those which offer access to private houses, gardens and other places otherwise closed to the public – for example, his company’s guided tour of Istanbul, led by Turkey travel expert Jeremy Seal, is selling fast.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Brazil will be a huge magnet for visitors in 2014. For footie fans heading there in June/July, Thomas Cook Sport has BA flights from Heathrow to the hub cities of Rio and Sao Paulo from £999, premium economy from £1699, plus “mix and match” dates to catch the pick of group stages and finals.

July 2014 also looks to be a great year for crossing the Atlantic, when Norwegian Air plans to launch its “game-changing” single flights ex-Gatwick from only £149 to New York (three times a week), LA and Fort Lauderdale (twice).

Cruising is going to keep on booming for the foreseeable future too, with nearly two million Brits setting sail in 2014. But not everybody wants the newest, hugest superliners carrying over 3,000 passengers each, “Cruise and Stay” is all the rage now – where passengers can mix days at sea with the chance to explore the world’s great cities.

Another experience likely to be popular next year is volunteering. “Voluntourism” specialist Village Ways offers projects in various communities in India, and has 10 per cent discounts on some holidays next year, as the rupee soars. Fourteen-night holidays, including a taste of Kerala, cost an average £1,000 each, plus return flights around £450. Accommodation is often in guest houses built by the operator.