The travel game

has well and truly changed and while we’re all madly rushing back to board planes, trains and automobiles (and spaceships), it will never be the same.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because in the blistering wake of the great travel break some tourism businesses have emerged as avant-garde; the sort of forward thinkers that we’re all desperately seeking when planning our future adventures.

You want to stay in a space hotel? Surprisingly that's an option that’s not too far away. You want a personal travel concierge without the price tag? Let us introduce you to the virtual travel agent of the future. How about learning to kitesurf in the crystal lagoon surrounding Amanpulo island in the Philippines? Strap yourself in, this vacation is all about making you a better person.

Here are nine ways you can travel like a trailblazer:

Connect with nature

We have high expectations when it comes to booking hotels these days, and the trend is definitely towards accommodation that better connects us with nature.

Plants are the new pets; they’re everywhere in our homes, so it makes sense that they come on vacation with us, too. ‘Biophilic design’ is a term used to define our connection to nature in a building or hotel, where nature can play a restorative role when we wake up on a holiday. We particularly love the Arctic Bath in Harads, Sweden. A giant nest-like structure that looks like it's been constructed by a beaver on a river.

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Make it matter

Your wallet has the incredible ability to shift commerce and social change when you’re on vacation.

Tour companies, airlines and hoteliers are all reacting to market forces where consumers are not just requesting, but demanding sustainable holidays and tours which give back to local communities. Adventure World Travel recently launched their Make Travel Matter journeys, which are specific itineraries that meet a set of criteria measured against the United Nations Global Sustainability Goals.

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Come back better

Fitness holidays and wellness retreats in Asia aren’t new, but for the solo travel trailblazer, it will be a big part of any future travel plans to learn a new skill while overseas and come back better than when they left.

Aman Journeys have a range of Extreme Sports Retreats to choose from, from the white-sandy beaches of the Philippines to the snow-capped mountains of Italy. Learn to Kite Surf in Amanpulo or take a driving course through the Italian Alps in a sports car alongside an experienced race car driver.

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Shoot for the stars

Ground control to Major Tom: Space travel is not far away.

As the billionaires battled it out in their own personal space-race this year, California-based Orbital Assembly announced it would welcome its first guests to its outer-earth hotel in 2027. That’s literally only six years away! Just like all the sci-fi movies, the super futuristic rotating space station (complete with gymnasium, sauna and bar) will produce artificial gravity by increasing and decreasing its rate of rotation.

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Hire a virtual travel concierge

The day of the travel agent is well and truly numbered, but in their place virtual travel concierges have emerged as the go-to tool, for travellers seeking immersive and experiential travel experiences without having to lift a finger.

By using clever technology platforms like Jubel, you can get a hyper-personalised vacation based on your lifestyle choices with the assurance someone else is managing all the bookings and logistics.

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Book a mystery trip

Once upon a time, booking a mystery flight was a wild and exhilarating concept! But sometimes the best adventures are completely unknown from the minute you step off a plane.

Take for example the team at Rustic Pathways who book mystery trips just for students. When you book, all you recieve is a Patagonia duffel bag in the mail, filled with subtle hints about your upcoming adventure and a packing list that arrives a month before you leave. Then there’s the crew at Pack Up + Go who also plan domestic trips for couples around the United States. All you have to do is fill out a quick survey and tell them your budget. The rest is completely out of your hands.

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Go solo and super remote

If the last year taught us anything, it’s that getting away and having your own time can actually be pretty good.

Getting away from absolutely EVERYTHING is what Do Castaway specialise in, offering authentic marooned-on-an-island experiences: on a secluded island it’s you, and only you. Forage for your own food, seek refuge in a basic shelter, hear the waves crash and live out your own Robinson Crusoe adventure.

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Travel with storytellers

Travel should be rich, immersive and deeply educational. Arcadia Expeditions is a new-age travel company using expedition leadership teams of two on every small-group tour.

From Georgia to Sudan, Arcadia uses an expert (academic, photographer, poet, artist) on the trip’s specific theme to narrate the story of the tour alongside a local guide that also shares their knowledge and insights with guests.

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Do a real food tour

Rocio, the woman behind Mexico City food tour Eat Like a Local, absolutely hates tours. Which is why her tours work so well.

Inspired by a night out on the town with homeless men in Istanbul, the Mexico City native created a food tour that forgoes most traditional tour aspects: Employing only women, there’s even a tour run by kids. Noting that anyone can Google the best restaurants in a city, Rocio takes guests into the streets: the back alleyways, the hoods - the real Mexico City, in other words.

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