After a long unwanted travel hiatus clients will be eager to start ticking off prized bucket list items on trips of a lifetime.

Timeless travels

Bucket list trips have timeless and universal appeal for a range of leisure travellers. Pent-up demand coupled with a new set of priorities, means that post-pandemic more clients than ever are keen to cross this type of trip off their wish list.

“During these long dark months, we have been plotting and planning our next great escape!,” says Maggi Smit, Managing Director at Windows on the Wild Luxe.  

“We want quality and not quantity. We want to experience life and all that it has to offer on a grand scale. Many fortunate people have saved money during the pandemic and now realise that what is valuable is experiences, not possessions.”

“With travel opportunities having been so limited over the last 20 months, the pent-up demand for travel in 2022 and beyond is immense, and agents should be taking steps to capitalise on this boom of potential bookings,” agrees Paul Melinis, Managing Director of APT. 

Family affair

Lots of extended family and friend groups will want to take the opportunity to get together, following long periods of being apart. A recent report by Dubai Tourism suggested that 36% of travellers have saved up extra cash to go abroad and 78% see holidays as a great way to bring multiple generations together.  

Agents can suggest exclusive hires for big family or friendship groups, such as Thanda Island, set in Tanzania’s Shungimbili Island Marine Reserve and surrounded by its own coral reef. Despite its remote location there’s plenty to do and conservation is a major part of the island’s USP.

 “Marine conservation is at the core of the island’s offering and guests are encouraged to get involved in a range of projects, such as marine wildlife monitoring or awareness workshops with villagers on neighbouring Mafia Island,” says Smit.  “On the island, guests can rejuvenate and enjoy a variety of water sports or island activities as they explore this remarkable destination.”

Looking ahead

Agents who want to capitalise on clients saving up for big trips, should act quickly as holidays inevitably get booked up fast. “Most of our 2022 Australia tours and cruises have sold out already, so guests are having to look as far ahead as 2023 to secure the itinerary they want,” says Melenis. 

Selling a niche, once in a lifetime experience is a great way to secure future bookings. Clients willing to wait, can join an escorted tour to witness a total eclipse in Western Australia in 2023 with Omega Breaks. 

“For many, witnessing an eclipse is the ultimate bucket list experience. This astronomical phenomenon is the highlight of our once in a lifetime trips, and offers the chance to visit some amazing destinations,” says Claire Dutton, Trade Sales Manager at Omega Breaks.

Accompanied by Pete Lawrence, an astronomer, astrophotographer and a presenter on the BBC’s Sky at Night, guests will be taken into the path of ‘totality’, close to the centre line of the eclipse shadow track. This will be at a location chosen to give guests a good chance of clear skies. 

Gift of the gab

Dutton also offers some valuable selling tips, which are applicable to any bucket list holiday.  Firstly, it’s always a good idea to highlight any key attractions or local culture in the region, in addition to the bucket list experience itself.

“Don’t wait until nearer the time to promote – it will sell out. Contact local societies and clubs to see if they are interested in putting together a group. Let your customers know that you can book this experience for them and every detail is taken care of,” she advises.

Ultimately, the pandemic saw many people miss out on holidays who are now looking to do something extraordinary to make up for it. Dutton says: “Customers want to get out there, live life and do some of the things that they’ve always wanted to do - this means big bucket list trips. I believe this trend will continue over the coming years as we all look to make memories and spend time with loved ones doing amazing things.”

Top five...

Australia: The 15-day Wonders of Australia tour to watch the eclipse departs on April 9, 2023. Priced from £5,999pp, it include international and domestic flights, B&B accommodation and excursions, including the Great Barrier Reef and dolphin watching in Rockingham.

Canada: On a 13-day Rockies Explorer itinerary, from Vancouver to Victoria, guests can experience a two-day Rocky Mountaineer rail journey in GoldLeaf Service, meet a Mountie in Banff and hear tales of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and explore Butchart Gardens in Victoria.Priced from £5,695pp, twin share, it includes flights and accommodation and departures from May to September 2022.

Deep South: Trafalgar’s 10-day Tastes and Sounds of the South with Jazz Festival trip offers clients the chance to discover the life of music icon Johnny Cash, with a private performance from a member of the music legend’s family. The musical journey continues at The New Orleans Jazz Festival which takes place in April 2022, and is finished with a visit to the famous Nashville Sound Studio to retrace Elvis Presley’s footsteps. The trip is priced from £2,875pp.

Japan: Next spring could be the first time in three years that international visitors have seen Japan dressed in the pink of cherry blossom. The pink petals of the Hanami flower light up Tokyo’s parks, Kyoto’s temples, and the iconic Mt. Fuji. InsideJapan Tours has a 14-night Best of Japan self-guided trip costing from £2,020pp, including accommodation, breakfast, transport and some private guiding.

Uganda:  A 12-day Chimps and Gorillas of Uganda trip includes a mountain gorilla trek in Bwindi, tracking chimpanzees through the Kibale Forest and time spent in Queen Elizabeth National Park, home to hippos, elephants, leopards and elusive tree-climbing lions. Priced from £5,345pp, the deal includes flights. Meals and other inclusions as per website.