As the world’s largest adventure company, Intrepid Travel has revealed its predictions for 2018’s hottest travel trends for the year ahead.

With new foodie experiences, visiting off-the-beaten track destinations and biking, hiking and kayaking in travellers’ favourite destinations –there is one overarching theme for travel in 2018 and that is sustainable travel. Intrepid’s style of travel is low-impact and grassroots in nature and for 2018 the company has included a range of more unusual destinations in a bid to curb over-tourism in more traditional destinations.

From exploring the world’s largest wine collection in Moldova, to visiting the space station in French Guiana and cooking traditional Iranian cuisine with local families; Intrepid’s top travel trends for 2018 include:

Uncovering lesser-known destinations

Often overlooked as a tourist destination, Moldova is a land-locked country nestled between Romania and Ukraine. But it’s worth visiting as not only is it home to the largest quality wine collection in the world, it’s also the least visited country in Europe with only 121,000 visitors per year – so travellers can explore without the crowds.

A 13-day tour takes in Moldova, Ukraine and Romania. Explore the breakaway strip of land called Gagauzia, take a guided wine tour of Mileștii Mici which sits on top of the world’s largest wine cellar, and discover Transnistria, a breakaway republic in the east of the country.Departures run in April – September 2018 and cost from £1,695 per person. This price includes 12 nights’ accommodation with breakfast daily, four other meals, transport and most activities. Excludes flights.

Instead of crowded Croatia, bask in the warm hospitality, hunt for castles and monasteries and swim off the shimmering northern coastline of North Cyprus. Intrepid Travel’s first North Cyprus tour is an eight-day itinerary taking in the historic sites such as the Church of Apostolos, learn how to make traditional bread and cheese and stay overnight in a traditional Cyprian village where residents are preserving local culture and heritage. Departures run in May, July, September and October 2018 and cost from £780 per person. This price includes seven nights’ accommodation with breakfast daily, two other meals, transport and most activities. Excludes flights.

Enjoy authentic new food experiences from Jamaica to Iran

Jamaica is a land of white sand beaches, native cuisine that gave the word ‘jerk’ a delicious connotation, an artistic culture that punches well above its weight and an Africa-centred religion that for many is a way of life. The eight day Best of Jamaica tour from Intrepid Travel will take visitors on a journey through an indigenous Rastafari village, strolling among the bright and bold artworks at the National Gallery of Jamaica and swimming in the azure blue waters of Seven Mile Beach. Indulge in the local food with an authentic Jamaican cooking class and a traditional dinner with Montego Bay locals where visitors will be given a taste of the life and culture in Jamaica.  Departures running in March 2018 from £2,295 per person. This price includes eight nights’ accommodation with breakfast daily, two other meals, transport and most activities. Excludes flights.

Following the relaxation of FCO advice and with the re-introduction of British Airways’ direct flight last year, Intrepid has developed three new itineraries to Iran for 2018 too. The Iran Real Food Adventure from Intrepid is a ten day trip which travels from Tehran to the rural Esfahan Province. Taste crispy rice dishes like tah chin and breads such as soft sangak. Cook cultural culinary favourites in welcoming Iranian family homes – from the sumptuous spiced meat and rice of biryani to sharp and fruity fesenjan stews.  Departures run in May, Sept, Oct and Nov 2018 and cost from £2,295 per person. This price includes nine nights’ accommodation with breakfast daily, five other meals, transport and most activities. Excludes flights.

Alternatives to the Alps

Travellers often take a holiday to escape winter, but Intrepid is seeing an increase in holidaymakers flocking to lesser-known winter destinations to make the most of off-season prices and to avoid the crowds.

Try exploring the winter wonderland of Poland on the eight-day winter itinerary featuring the Tatra Mountains. This tour combines the beautiful scenery, local culture and food with a chance to take a traditional sleigh ride in Zakopane. Travellers can also try out snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in Jasna, and learn how to make pierogis in a cooking class in Krakow. Departures run in March, November and December 2018 and cost from £870 per person. This price includes seven nights’ accommodation with breakfast daily, one other meal, transport and most activities. Excludes flights.

For an alternative to the Alps, visitors to Japan can be entranced by winter with the streets blanketed in snow and the bustling markets. Join some of the best and biggest winter festivals in the country by experiencing the sensational Sapporo Snow Festival. Be awestruck by the size of snow sculptures and watch the soft lantern light cast its magic over festival-goers in Otaru. Explore picturesque landscapes, don some snowshoes for a wintery walk, hiking along the famous Nakasendo in Japan and sample some of the region’s finest beers and sakes while enjoying an adventure of natural, cultural and artistic delights that celebrates the splendour of Japan’s far north. Departures run in February 2018 and cost from £2,295 per person. This price includes seven nights’ accommodation with breakfast daily, one other meal, transport and most activities. Excludes flights.

South America’s least known countries

For a trip with a difference, try the 21-day journey from Cayenne to Boa Vista taking in Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. Located between Brazil and Venezuela on South America’s north-eastern coast, this trio of tiny countries are awash with natural wonders. Explore laidback Georgetown and Paramaribo on foot, visit the space station in French Guiana and explore the dense wilderness of the Amazon in search of pink dolphins.

While in northern Peru, Intrepid is the first group tour operator offering an itinerary to the lesser known area the Chachapoyas, with astonishing cliff hanging sites and newly discovered mummified bodies.

Solo Travel without the supplements

Travel isn’t just for couples and young backpackers anymore. Over 50 per cent of Intrepid’s travellers are solo travellers, taking advantage of the ease and safety of group travel to enjoy adventures all around the world. To cater to this demand, Intrepid has added to its solo range for 2018. Sparing solo travellers single supplements, the company’s solo-only trips pair each traveller up with a like-minded companion so everyone shares a room, and the costs. New solo-only tours include Morocco, Vietnam, India and Peru.

In Bali, discover character-filled villages, smouldering volcanoes, idyllic beaches and feast on delicious Balinese cuisine on this nine day tour for solo travellers. Departures run in May and August 2018 and cost from £710 per person. This price includes seven nights’ accommodation with breakfast daily, two other meals, transport and most activities. Excludes flights.

Active Adventures

People are wanting to remain active and healthy while travelling but still immerse themselves in a destination, and not just see it from the inside of a bus. In response to this trend, Intrepid has released a series of hike, bike and raft tours to some of its most popular destinations. Travellers can choose from rafting along white water rapids on the Ganges in India, riding through the tea plantations in Sri Lanka, exploring the northern Kathmandu Valley in Nepal on two wheels.

Intrepid Travel CEO James Thornton commented: “People are becoming ever more aware of their impact on the environment, the places they visit and the people they meet on their travels. Over-tourism has become a real issue in many of the world’s most beautiful cities, which is why we have developed new tours to lesser-known destinations.”

“The Intrepid style of travel has always been to travel the local way: using local accommodation and transport, eating in local restaurants and employing locals. That means that our guests enjoy more authentic experiences while ensuring that a larger share of the money generated through tourism stays where it belongs: in local pockets.”

As part of its commitment to responsible and sustainable travel, Intrepid carbon offsets travel for its travellers.

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