Luxury Vacation

By: Mark Chesnut, Contributing Writer

Inflation may be a source of frustration for many travelers, but upscale globetrotters are willing to spend more—especially for unique and immersive experiences, according to the Annual Luxury Travel Report published recently by Flywire, a global payments enablement and software company. And hoteliers around the country are answering demand with new ways to entice guests, with one-of-a-kind packages and excursions.

According to the Flywire study, 91% of respondents are likely to pay more for the opportunity to travel with a private group for unique experiences. In addition, 92% said they were likely to use or have used a travel advisor for trips over the next 18 months, a rise of 5% from last year.

Luxury trips are lasting longer and travelers are using travel agents and advisors more, according to the Flywire story.

A recent report in Luxury Columnist, meanwhile, highlights that upscale travelers are seeking a variety of elements when they book travel today—including safety, personalization, flexibility, customization, unique experiences, “frictionless” travel and a “wow factor” that will help to create long-lasting memories.

Luxury lifestyle magazine Veranda is also naming a variety of hot trends for luxury travel this year. A recent article highlighted favored ways to get away, including yacht excursions, off-season travel and both group and solo vacations.

Hoteliers Respond

A variety of hotels around the United States have upped the ante with new amenities, services and experiences that are designed to please the most demanding traveler.

To assure a more personalized, hassle-free vacation experience, for example, the Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole in Wyoming now offers private plane excursions to visit a lesser-known area of Yellowstone National Park, accompanied by a naturalist who shares information about the region’s legendary gray wolves; lucky guests may even get to spot a few of the beautiful creatures.

Nature lovers may also want to consider a visit to Armendaris, the latest addition to Ted Turner Reserves, a collection of sustainable travel destinations in New Mexico. The 360,000-acre, sustainable wildlife preserve, located in the southern part of the state, features a four-bedroom hacienda and offers experiences including bat and bison expeditions.

According to the study, Gen Z and Millennial travelers are the most likely to spend more on luxury travel this year compared to 2022, with 88% of that demographic responding in the affirmative, compared to 68% of baby boomers.

Golf enthusiasts, meanwhile, will find lots to love at the PGA National Resort, located in South Florida’s Palm Beach Gardens. A recently announced partnership with Blade Air Mobility, timed to coincide with the debut of a new helipad, makes it easy for guests to arrive and depart the property via helicopter, and—if they like—take BLADEone, a commercial-sized jet ,from cities including Miami, Fort Lauderdale and New York City to Palm Beach International Airport.

Urban luxury hotels are also finding creative ways to entertain guests, too. Equinox Hotel New York, for example, taps into wellness and fitness trends with a three-day curated stay guided by an Equinox coach that includes a personal health assessment, spa treatment and meditation sessions.

Virtuoso revealed the 10 most-booked destinations for leisure travel this year, five of which are in the United States.

  1. New York, New York
  2. Las Vegas, Nevada
  1. Miami, Florida
  2. Santa Monica, California
  3. Washington, D.C.