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Making Your 2020 Travel Plans? Here Are 8 Exquisite Travel Options You Shouldn’t Miss!

By Wendy Edwardson December 30, 2019 Travel

Generally speaking, those who love boutique travel are seeking to escape the crowds, identical hotel rooms and nose-to-tail tourist attractions. They are looking for low key and authentic.

If this describes you, you are a traveler, not a tourist. Get yourself off the tourism rollercoaster and experience a world of adventure, sights, and events on the slow road.

Off the Beaten Path

Italy is one of the busiest tourist destinations in the world. If visiting Rome, Florence, Venice or Milan, opt to stay at hidden 4-star gems, villas or private homes.

They can be less expensive and far more personable. Once your attraction checklist is complete, hit the road to explore the rest of this spectacular country.

The North Parts of Italy

In Northern Italy, the Province of Trentino is an art lover’s dream come true and a playground of bygone nobles with its gorgeous lakes and spas.

Enjoy world class skiing or hiking in the magnificent Dolomites, part of the Alps. While in Piedmont, also known as the Tuscany of the North, discover the capital city Turin’s coffee culture in the historic cafes.

The Southern Provinces

If heading to Southern Italy, here’s an idea! Why not rent a yacht in Naples, sail down the magnificent Amalfi Coast, and spend the night in Maratea before setting sail for spectacular Sicily!

Then turn your yacht toward the quaint island nation of Malta. It consists of three tiny islands with the majority of the population speaking English.

Wellness or Active and Adventure

If truth be told, many of us lead sedentary lifestyles, either sitting on the couch or in front of our computer screens (guilty!).

When you hear the term “wellness travel” your mind may automatically turn to expensive spas, yoga, and exclusive clinics. But if that’s not your speed (or budget), how about just being active?

Get your cardio on in Portugal! Each year, AmaWaterways and Backroads partner to create relaxing river cruises down Portugal’s Douro River combined with biking on first-rate bikes and motor-assisted bikes to help you up those hills.

Instead of a round trip to Alaska via cruise ship, book one-way on the smallest cruise ships in North America, courtesy of Uncruise, and stay awhile in one of Alaska’s many luxury lodges for a week full of spectacular adventure: bear viewing, northern lights or calving glaciers.

Authentic Travel

Boutique travelers question why anyone would stay at an all-inclusive resort when there is so much more just beyond the gates: experience of local cuisine, culture, landscapes, and interacting with the residents.

Unique experiences await those that explore. The Caribbean island of Anguilla prides itself on offering no all-inclusives so visitors will support local businesses.

Cruise fjords and mountains with small ship Hurtigruten in Norway. Witness the Midnight Sun and the Northern Lights, dock in small ports along the way to drop off local travelers, supplies, and mail. What a spectacular and authentic way to experience the coastline of Norway!

Multigenerational Travel

With families being pulled in so many different directions, bonding has risen to an important position in our lives. Journeys such as safaris, customized family-oriented touring, small ship or land adventures in the Galapagos, and South Pacific cruising are just the ticket.

Boutique ship Paul Gauguin’s Moana Explorer Program, in partnership with the South Pacific marine education and conservation foundation, offers an exciting new program for children and teens, ages 7–15, to discover the value of the natural wonders of this breathtaking part of the world through hands-on, interactive learning.

The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre in South Africa is a unique wildlife facility focusing on conservation and the sustainability of rare and threatened species. The Centre features a variety of projects and programmes geared towards families, teens, and children.

Cruising Differently

Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady will be celebrating its inaugural season commencing 2020. This mega-yacht is designed exclusively for adults. If you like ultra-luxury with high energy, coupled with relaxation and rejuvenation, this is for you!

Azamara Club Cruises is known to get into small ports and stick around. Each year, Azamara partners with PerryGolf in putting together some amazing packages. They started out in the British Isles but were so successful, the program is now offered worldwide.

Discover Australia’s best kept secrets. Head to Western Australia and cruise with Silversea Cruises or Abercrombie & Kent into the magnificent Kimberleys and witness the stunning King George Falls. From there, sail to Darwin or continue your journey onto Singapore! Wow!

Expedition cruising is all the rage. I would highly recommend Quark Expeditions to plan your holiday. Specializing in the Polar Regions only, they have ships and journeys designed for experiential travelers.

Train Travel

There is nothing on earth as relaxing as train travel, especially Journeys of Tranquility and Romance. Things to consider: Do you have your own bathroom? Does your converted sleep compartment travel through the night or pull off to side tracks, or are you transferred to luxury hotels?

You can try these trains:

  • Mexico’s Copper Canyon train (rustic and adventurous)
  • Western Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer
  • The Ghan and Indian Pacific, Australia
  • Andrean Explorer and the Hiram, Peru
  • Ireland’s Grand Hibernian
  • South Africa’s ultra-luxury Rovos Rail and Blue Train
  • British Pullman
  • Royal Scotsman
  • Orient Express (bring your tux)

Solo Travel

Solo travel has never been more popular – especially for women who are no longer afraid to leave their significant other behind.

From 3- to 5-star, roommate matching, and single occupancy rooms, you meet and make lifelong friends from all over the world! Traveling to destinations that may intimidate you is a snap with professional planning and knowledgeable hosts.

Here’s one of my personal favourites – Canada’s Pacific Northwest. A mere 30 minute’s flight from the vibrant City of Vancouver, you will find yourself in nature at its most spectacular.

Vancouver Island is the home of the magnificent garden and yachting City of Victoria, championship golf courses, world class salmon fishing, abundant wildlife, and no better place on earth for storm and whale watching. Lots of quaint properties in all price ranges.

I have merely scratched the surface. It would be easier for me to list all the global destinations you shouldn’t travel to than the innumerable places you should!

If you would like to keep abreast of all that the world of boutique travel has to offer, what destinations combine the best, and the Virtuoso benefits I offer, please feel free to sign up for my newsletter.

Have you found some hidden gems you’d like to share with us? Which kind of travel suits you best? Is solo travel on your bucket list? Let’s have a conversation.

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The Author

Wendy Richards Edwardson is a late bloomer. She became a college student, travel consultant, blogger, aspiring author, and entrepreneur, all after her 50th birthday. She focuses on intelligent travel, independent thinking, and living a fearless, exciting, and eclectic life. You can visit her website at

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