Image courtesy of Amanyara
If 2022 was the year the world “reopened,” what does that make 2023?
At Fora, a modern travel agency based in NYC, early booking trends are painting the picture of 2023 travel, which starts with two words: bucket list.
“Wanderlust is at an all-time high,” said Fora’s co-founder Henley Vazquez, a career travel agent with 15+ years of experience. “This is the year to take that bucket list trip you’ve always dreamed about, whether it’s a multi-generational safari in Tanzania or solo adventure to Paris.”
2023 is also the year the early bird gets the worm. Advanced planning will be crucial, for bucket list trips and even shorter getaways. ”With such high hotel demand and recent airline issues, 2023 vacations will need to be planned more than six months in advance,” Henley added.
But 2023 is not all about the advanced-planned bucket list trip. In fact, “several trends we saw emerge post-pandemic, like last-minute vacations and visiting popular destinations in the off-season, are not going anywhere.” A healthy mix of all different types of travel — “anything goes,” if you will — will be the hallmark of 2023.
In addition to overall travel trends, there are the destinations & hotels poised to have their moments in 2023. Based on bookings data from our advisor community, as well as intel from Henley Vazquez, these are the trending destinations & hotels for 2023.
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1. Todos Santos, Mexico
Image courtesy of Rancho Pescadero
Mexico is a star destination in the Fora community, as the second most-booked country for 2022 (after the US). For 2023, Mexico’s Todos Santos offers a new type of getaway south of the border.
“This breezy coastal village is everything its flashy neighbor, Cabo San Lucas, is not — which is exactly why we love it,” said Henley. “Todos Santos has that gorgeous desert climate, minus the high rises, plus a thriving gallery scene and some special, authentic hotels.”
In Todos Santos, the buzz surrounds Rancho Pescadero, the boho-chic hotel that recently reopened after an extensive renovation. Other recommended places to stay are Hotel San Cristóbal, from the creative, Texas-based Bunkhouse Group, and Paradero, with its sleek design and Omakase dining.
2. Out West
Image courtesy of Mii Amo
2022 was a standout year for the American West, with vacations in Utah, Arizona, Montana and Wyoming accounting for top domestic bookings at Fora. And with its epic landscapes, endless outdoor activities, skiing and exciting openings this year, “the American West keeps getting better,” Henley said.
“In 2023, I’m looking forward to the newly opened Reid Creek Lodge at Wagonhound, a Wyoming ranch that gives guests the Yellowstone experience of their dreams,” said Henley. “It’s reserved for buyouts only, and although it’s pricey, there’s a lot of value here for such a special offering.”
Also notable out West is Sedona's coveted destination spa, Mii amo, set to reopen in February following a full expansion (including a new restaurant). Just a few hours north, The Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley will open in the fall amidst 20 acres of citrus groves, near the bustling, increasingly popular Scottsdale.
3. Europe's hot spots: Paris, Cannes, Rome, London
Image courtesy of Six Senses Rome
While perennial favorites, Italy and France, were two of Fora’s most-booked destinations of 2022 (by far), 2023 is poised to be better than ever for European travel. “Europe is as hot as ever, and there are tons of big hotel openings (and reopenings) in glamorous cities this year,” Henley said.
First, in France, Cannes is stepping into the spotlight thanks to the Carlton, a legendary Grande Dame hotel reopening in the spring following one of the most expensive hotel restorations in France’s history. Meanwhile, in the City of Light, Le Grand Mazarin will be the coolest new place to stay, a five-star boutique in the Marais. Also notable is the opening of the Mandarin Oriental Mayfair, London (spring 2023). And, in the Eternal City, excellent brands are laying down roots: The Rome Edition, Six Senses Rome, Intercontinental and Nobu Roma are all opening this year.
Image courtesy of Son Bunyola
The Balearic island was a community favorite in 2022, as the second most popular destination in Spain (next to Barcelona). With its buzzy beach clubs and Mediterranean magic, Mallorca is having even more of a moment for 2023.
“This year, our eyes are on the long-awaited opening of Son Bunyola, helmed by none other than Sir Richard Branson,” said Henley. Nestled in the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, a Unesco World Heritage site, Son Bunyola is set to open in the summer. “If guests love the villas at Son Bunyola but are looking for a boutique option, you can’t go wrong at La Residencia,” Henley added.
Outside of Palma, Mallorca, Son Net, the 17th-century estate resort, will be reborn thanks to famed hotelier René Zimmer, known for Marbella’s Finca Cortesin (set to open in the spring).
Galapagos Safari Camp
With its otherworldly setting and rich biodiversity, there was no shortage of interest in the Galápagos this year. The destination’s chicest lodging, Pikaia Lodge, was among Fora’s top 25 hotels booked in 2022.
“But this year, I’m encouraging travelers to make a bigger trip out of it,” Henley said. “The mainland lodges, from the Andes to the cloud forest and beyond, are worth a trip on their own,” she said.
If traveling to Ecuador, Henley recommends Mashpi Lodge, in a luxe all-inclusive property with modern rooms. Meanwhile, Hacienda Zuleta offers a chance to stay in the home of a former Ecuadorian president. And Hacienda La Danesa offers a special farm experience.
Onto Darwin’s paradise, beyond the aforementioned Pikaia Lodge, Galapagos Safari Camp is another exceptional place to stay. Guests sleep under the stars and wake to the sound of birds outside their Hemingway-style safari tents.
6. Turks & Caicos
Image courtesy of Parrot Cay
Turks & Caicos, with its crystal-clear waters and direct flights from many US cities, was the 6th most popular country to visit in Fora’s community last year. What’s more, resorts on the island were some of Fora’s top-booked hotels in 2022: “the island is home to some of our favorite hotels in the Caribbean, including Amanyara, Parrot Cay, Grace Bay Club and Shore Club. The little sister property to Grace Bay, Rock House, opened last May, and I can’t wait to check it out.” Henley said.
7. St. Barths
Image courtesy of Eden Rock
For those looking for a taste of the finer things, Henley recommends a trip to St. Barths, which is gaining popularity in the Fora community. Eden Rock (from the Oetker Collection) was a top-booked hotel for 2022.
“St. Barths is the best place for those looking for an ultra-luxe tropical vacation, and the French-Caribbean vibe is magical,” said Henley. “It’s like traveling to the South of France, but you arrive by lunchtime, and it’s beach weather year-round.”
Speaking of tropical travel in the off-season, “the trend of traveling to the Caribbean during the late spring, fall and even summer is here to stay,” said Henley.
Image courtesy of BenBen Hotel
With its regal pyramids, mesmerizing array of ancient artifacts, cultural richness and even coral reefs, Egypt is the very definition of bucket list travel. “The country is as captivating as ever, with several openings and goings-on for 2023,” said Henley.
Consider the new Historia Luxury Nile Cruise (opened last year), which offers not only epic excursions, but sleek design and amazing gastronomy on board. In Aswan, the recently opened BenBen Hotel is a one-of-a-kind stay amidst the Egyptian hotel landscape. With its intimate, hip and very Mediterranean look, it’s a great option for luxurious R&R after a cruise.
Image courtesy of andBeyond Punakha River Lodge
Travelers often ask Fora Advisors for those unique, off-the-beaten-path destinations that make for epic adventures.
“If you’re looking for something really life-changing, head to Bhutan,” Henley said. This year is especially exciting for the destination, with andBeyond Punakha River Lodge opening in September 2023. The brand known for its safari lodges is making its debut in Asia.
10. Kenya & Tanzania
Image courtesy of Sanctuary Tambarare
“There is truly nothing more exhilarating than a safari. The landscapes, the chance to see animals in their natural habitat… everyone should go,” Henley said. “I recommend the expansive regions of Kenya and Tanzania, which offer a chance to see the Great Migration.”
In 2023, the recently Sanctuary Tambarare is a new option in Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy, where guests can spot rare and endangered white rhinos.
Ready to travel? Connect with a Fora Advisor to plan & book your trip today.