What's hot in the world of travel this year? Are hotels doing anything different to lure us in 2014? And what are the holidays everyone's talking about?
Whether you're planning to travel in the UK or to faraway lands, there are few holidays travellers on-trend will be taking this year.
Family getaways have never been so exciting, with hotels and holiday firms upping their game and offering epic adventures outside the kids club.
And of course, 2014 is the year for sports lovers to travel and we don't just mean to Brazil for the the World Cup. Russia, Scotland and Paris are just a few destinations where this year's biggest sporting events will take place, giving you the perfect opportunity to combine your holiday with an unforgettable experience.
For those who really aren't into fly and flop holidays, now is also the time to immerse yourself in the local culture, go off the beaten track and explore secret places for an authentic holiday experience like no other.
From local living holidays to twin centre breaks and social media hotels, discover the top travel trends for 2014...
Taking paths less travelled (literally)
More and more travellers are going off the beaten track and following routes that most visitors would not know. 2014 is the year to leave the crowds behind and hire a bike or car to discover new beaches, countryside and even the towns and cities you may have overlooked on the map. There are, of course, more organised ways to beat the crowds - many travel firms will arrange tours in undiscovered places. World Expeditions offers a Great Patagonian Traverse – North to South holiday, which crosses from Chile to Argentina through the little known pass between Laguna del Desierto and Lago O' Higgins, as well as The Old Elephant Trail Trek in Thailand, which revives an ancient trade path near the border with Myanmar.
Life's no longer a beach for families
Having young children doesn't have to mean just going on a beach holiday anymore. These days parents want to discover the world with their children in tow and a whole host of travel companies have caught on to the trend and are making travelling fun and adventurous for the whole family. For 2014, UTracks is adding a number of new 'boatel' family trips across the Mediterranean, including Croatia, where you can witness the spectacular wonders of its national parks by bike and sail the crystal clear waters with your little ones. In the UK, you can treat the kids to a Cornish forest school holiday at The Point at Polzeath and allow the kids to get stuck in building a secret den, making mud pies and hunting for woodland 'treasure'.
Hotels get seriously social
Like it? Tweet it. Seen it? Instagram it. The social savvy are here to stay and hotels are making sure they're always in touch with their guests. Some hotels have even been built around social media - last year saw the opening of the world's first Twitter hotel, the Sol Wave House Hotel in Mallorca, and Thomas Cook launching a range of hi-tech resorts for families, showing us it's not just teens and friends who like to stay connected while abroad. In Sydney, the 1888 Hotel's design was mapped out to maximise Instagrammability, and some of the Melia group hotels have specialist concierges that respond to guest requests via Twitter. Boutique hotel specialist Mr & Mrs Smith hosts #Smithday Fridays, when individual hotels take over its @smithhotels Instagram account and share a #smithstagram series showing a day in the life there. Hotels are set to get even more switched on to social in 2014 and beyond.
Eating our way around Europe
Food and drink breaks have taken off in recent years as holidaymakers are eager to taste different gastronomic experiences, try authentic dishes and sample the regional cuisine. You don't have to venture far to experience wonderful food in 2014 either, as Europe has it all - the local markets, vineyards, cafes. Imaginative Traveller has launched new Real Food Adventure tours, including a holiday in Northern Spain, taking in La Rioja wine region, a Basque-style tapas crawl and the flavours of Barcelona's Santa Catarina Markets. Head for Normandy with UTracks and you can meet with cider and calvados (apple brandy) producers or to Bavaria to find out why beer brewing is an art form in the state.
Getaway go multi-generational
With parents, grandparents and kids travelling together, the multi-generation holiday will be big in 2014. Self-catering villa escapes are an obvious option for couples, children and over-50s all under one roof, but families will be mixing it up by going on a adventurous holidays together, such as a three-generation family safari in Africa. The Selous Safari Company offers a private camp in southern Tanzania, perfect for large family gatherings for up to 12 guests. As 2014 sees the rise of relatives travelling in any number of multiples, Mr & Mrs Smith tells us there are unique boutique hotels catering not just for couples, but for tots and teens too. And the World Travel Market identified the rise of travelling Professional Aunts with No Kids (PANKS) in the USA, so expect to see more hotels with interconnecting rooms, playful pull-out beds and flexible family sleeping space this year. Le Jardin des Douars in Essaouira, Morocco offers quirky built-in bunk beds, while Almyra in Paphos, Cyprus is well-known for its impressive open-plan suites with interconnecting rooms and separate lounges.
Picking up new skills
If you love to learn, combining a new skill with your holiday will make your 2014 holiday more rewarding. Photography, cooking and painting are just a few holiday experiences that allow you to soak up your surroundings in a completely new form. Why not try belly dancing in Turkey, perfume making in France or surfing in Morocco? At Abercrombie & Kent's private Spanish villa La Maroma, you can immerse yourself in Andalucian cuisine with cooking courses, garden and gastronomy tours and wine tastings. In Italy, you can enjoy a painting course tailored to your needs at Il Fagiano in Perugia. The charming house features a converted chapel and lies in a huge private nature reserve so you'll have plenty to keep you inspired.
Sport, sport and more sport
Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll know that the FIFA World Cup takes place in Brazil from 12 June to 13 July, making it the ultimate destination for football fans in 2014. Elsewhere, the Rugby Six Nations will be a driver of city breaks so watch out for a scrum down to Paris, Rome and Dublin, Cheapflights.co.uk tells us. At home, the Commonwealth Games come to Glasgow on 23 July and all eyes will be on Yorkshire as the world's greatest cycle race, the Tour de France, begins on 5 and 6 July with The Grand Départ 2014. You don't have to wait until the summer either, as the Winter Olympics and Paralympics take place this February and March in Sochi, Russia, where you can combine your sports holiday with a bit of skiing and sightseeing.
Living like a local
It's out with the expected and in with the unforeseen as local living gets bigger and better in 2014. Whether it's a lunch cooked up by residents of the neighbouring Berber village at Marrakech's Fellah Hotel or traversing the Amazon jungle with a local naturalist guide, this is the year to rub shoulders with the locals. According to ABTA, we'll also be attracted by holidays that we see as more simple and authentic, and remove us from our hectic daily lives in the coming year. Farm stays and volunteering opportunities are all the rage and the new form of luxury tourism for those who can't take another five-star hotel!
Exploring more on a twin centre holiday
Travellers no longer need to choose between beach and city, and want to discover more of what a country has to offer, visiting everything from the mountains, cities, islands all in one trip. Two centre holidays will also be huge with honeymoons this year - why spend two weeks on the beach in the Maldives when you can split your holiday of a lifetime into a city break in Dubai and a blissful beach break in the Indian Ocean? In France, you can twin Provence's abundant lavender fields with the Cote d'Azur's beautiful beaches for a fantastic French holiday. Classic Provencal gem, Villa Barbet is an elegant hillside villa within walking distance of the famed attractions of Bonnieux. From inland, head seawards to Villa Orphie, a contemporary beach house in Ramatuelle, close to the glamour of St Tropez.
Which of these holidays will you be taking in 2014. Leave a comment and let us know below.
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