Epic adventures, worldwide tours and cruises around the world have all seen demand increase over the past year as the so-called ‘experience economy’ continues to surge.

The phrase you are what you eat may well be true, but increasingly it’s becoming the case that you are where you travel.

Epic adventures, worldwide tours and cruises around the world have all seen demand increase over the past year as the so-called ‘experience economy’ continues to thrive.

A study shows that people are investing in travel as never before alongside life’s big milestones, from marriage proposals to retirement and big zero birthdays to destination weddings.

Premium travel company Kuoni, which published the report, confirmed around half of its bookings are now for special occasion trips, with honeymoons topping the list, followed by landmark birthdays, weddings and vow renewals, bucket list trips and family gatherings.

Engagement travel also makes the list for the first time. Princess Eugenie getting engaged in Nicaragua highlights a trend for couples seeking to make their marriage proposal as memorable as the big day itself.

The Indian Ocean archipelago, which make up the Maldives, tops the list of destinations for special trips, including honeymoons, where average spend is now £6,000 per couple.  

Worldwide tours to Japan, Vietnam and Costa Rica are also on the rise, with growing numbers of people opting for epic adventures of 20 nights or more. Demand for premium worldwide cruise trips has also risen by 45%.

But how are people affording it in crunch times? Well, equity release from homes and a relaxation in pension regulations in recent years is one of the reasons for the growth of premium travel as people seek to tick places off their wish list.

“From dinner on a private island in the Maldives to dining by a candlelit waterfall in Thailand, growing numbers are willing to invest in experiences at all ends of the age spectrum, which creates conversation to last a lifetime,” said Derek Jones, managing director of Kuoni. “The memories made, the relationships nurtured and occasions celebrated are becoming central to shaping the people we are.”

And no demographic seeks adventure more than Millennials, with global events taking them to all corners of the world with ever increasing frequency.

“Millennials are the largest living generation and their ever-increasing demand for live experiences is both exciting and encouraging for us,” explained Tamara Mendelsohn, general manager of consumer for Eventbrite, the world’s largest event technology platform which powers nearly three million events around the globe each year.

“In addition research also uncovered the notion that the current political climate is driving a deep desire to connect with each other, communities and the world, and that they see live events as an incredible way to do that.”

The most popular travel destinations in 2018

We all love a new stamp in the passport but some are more sought after than others. Here are the top four destinations that have wanderers lusting in 2018 according to Kuoni Travel:

Maldives

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beautiful seascape with honeymoon villa in Maldivian Island.

Picture perfect Maldives has been the poster destination for loved up honeymooners since day dot. With tranquil seas clearer than a gym over Christmas, it’s easy to see why.

Mauritius

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Discover crystal clear waters off the island nation of Mauritius.

Like something out of a Hollywood film, the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius is almost too good to be true. Settlers only discovered it in the 1600s, so you can be assured this is one of the more unbeaten paths.

Thailand 

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Elephant Stone Statue in Bangkok

Despite presenting symptoms of tourist burnout, Thailand still has us longing for its white sandy beaches. Easily accessible and developed with the tourist in mind, Thailand is an exotic affair with all the home comforts.

Sri Lanka

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Green Garden Lizard, Calotes calotes, detail eye portrait of exotic tropic animal in the green nature habitat, Sinharaja Forest, Sri Lanka

The pearl of the Indian Ocean is alive with wildlife and a must for animal lovers. Just remember to follow the advice of local experts as some of these critters may not return your admiration.

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