Top 10 Adventure Travel Trends for 2016


Top 2016 Adventure Travel Trends & Tips From Exodus Travels

Forecasts peg the jungles of India, Cecil the lion’s legacy, advice for workaholics & more... Exodus Travels is poised to lead the way into a new era of travel that is quickly becoming defined by an adventurous spirit, a search for locals-only experiences and a willingness to brave the unexplored. With 42 years of experience and tours in over 100 destinations around the globe, Exodus’ globetrotting experts always have their fingers on the pulse of what’s next.

From country comebacks to blockbuster jet-setting, here are Exodus’ top 10 adventure travel trends & tips for 2016:

african safari

1. The Cecil Effect - African Conservation Safaris

Last year’s global outcry over the killing of Cecil the lion has put the fate of wildlife tourism under the microscope. Exodus anticipates Botswana will see a rise in bookings, with safari-seekers choosing to spend their tourism dollars in this southern African country, which has made a serious commitment to wildlife and environmental preservation. If a chance to spot the Big 5 wasn’t reason enough to go, Botswana celebrates 50 years of Independence in 2016.

the jungle book

2. Jet-Setting – The Jungle Book

From Indiana Jones to the Hobbit, the biggest Hollywood hits always motivate travelers to jet-set to exotic new locales. India’s jungles and animals will steal the show in 2016 with the release of a new adaption of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. With a star-studded cast of Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken and Lupita Nyong’o, India’s tiger and safari parks are destined to be one of the year’s travel blockbusters.

3. Unveiling The Treasures Of Iran

With Mahmoud Ahmadinejad out of the political picture and travel sanctions lifted in 2015, Iran has recaptured the attention of globetrotters who’ve been waiting to tick it off their bucket list. The world’s finest Persian architecture and historic sites, bustling bazaars, artistic masterpieces, mind-blowing cuisine and hospitality steeped in ancient traditions promise an extraordinary adventure.

Extreme Wellness Holidays – Not For Wimps

4. Extreme Wellness Holidays – Not For Wimps

Forget about yoga, spa and wellness retreats, 2016’s travellers are asking for rigorous, physically demanding and mentally challenging adventures that focus on extreme biking and trekking. Exodus has seen a huge spike in bookings that take the ‘wellness concept’ to a whole new level with full force adrenaline expeditions, such as biking in remote Madagascar and the Alpine Cols of the Tour de France or climbing volcanoes’ in Indonesia and the Three Peaks of Ladakh.

Time Off For Travel = ROI

5. Time Off For Travel = ROI

Workaholics, listen up. Studies show that employees who regularly take overseas vacations are more energized, creative and ultimately more productive in the workplace. Some companies, like LinkedIn, are even offering unlimited vacation policies as a way of encouraging its passport-ready staff to seek new challenges, find inspiration and reduce burnout.

travel to cuba

6. Cuba Calling

In 1961, the U.S. severed its relationship with Cuba and pursued a covert operation to overthrow the Castro regime. Fast forward 54 years later and the two nations have agreed to normalize ties. Remember there’s more to this Caribbean archipelago than palm fringed beaches, colonial architecture, classic cars, and mojitos. In 2016, Exodus draws the curtain back with new experiences like staying with local families, Hemingway haunts, the limestone karsts of Vinales Valley and caves linked to the 1962 Missile Crisis.

Eastern Europe’s Road Less Traveled

7. Eastern Europe’s Road Less Traveled

Europe buffs are moving further east to uncover a welcome refuge from the well-trodden paths of Italy, France, Croatia and Switzerland and to immerse themselves in a collision of ‘east meets west’ cultures. Cycle through Romania’s rolling hills, gaze wide-eyed at Bosnian architecture or test the waters in Slovenia with a week of whitewater rafting, canyoning and mountain biking on the banks of the Soca River.

Rise of the FST (Female Solo Traveler)

8. Rise of the FST (Female Solo Traveler)

Women travelers have tipped the tourism scales in the last couple years and Exodus saw a huge 40% increase in their number of female solo travelers in 2015, a trend that is gaining momentum in 2016 because of social media and the added safety provided by experiential group travel. P.S. Exodus’ solo tours do not have a single supplement and upgrades to private rooms are available for as little as $20 a night.

Self-Guided + Stress-Free

9. Self-Guided + Stress-Free

With so much to absorb whilst seeing the world, it’s sometimes best to take it all at your own stride. Independent travelers can now have it all: the seamlessness of an organized tour combined with the privacy, freedom and flexibility of a self-guided trip. Set your own agenda while someone else worries about the bag transfers, where to sleep and the always important 24/7 support. Exodus has seen a spike in bookings that combine the carefree ease of guided group travel with the independence of going it alone.

Winter Travel

10. Winter Travel

As mercury levels drop and the snow starts falling, travelers are opting out of fly and flop beach vacations and, instead, taking advantage of the smaller crowds, cheaper rates and unique thrill-seeking activities, like snowshoeing, northern lights, ski touring and dogsledding, that the winter season offers.


Jet Set to the beautiful Toscana Resort Castelfalfi in Tuscany

tuscany italy

The beautiful, rolling hills of Tuscany in Italy are as alive with history and culture as they are with flora and fauna. In the heart of the region, in the area between Florence, Pisa and Siena, is an 800-year-old estate dominated by an ancient castle once home to the Medici family. This beautiful but neglected corner of Italy has been thoughtfully redeveloped and reborn as Toscana Resort Castelfalfi. In the 1960s, the 11,000-hectare estate was abandoned by all but five of its residents in a countrywide rural exodus. Then in 2007, TUI AG, one of world’s leading travel groups, came across the property and saw its potential.  ‘From the very outset the idea was to restore the ancient village and bring it back to life,’ says CEO Stefan Neuhaus. ‘We are preserving the site’s original structure and reinstating part of Italy’s heritage, but with all the additional modern services and standards that you would expect from such an upmarket resort. ’

Work on transforming the estate into a luxury resort began in 2011. The renovation of the borgo – the outskirts of the castle walls – commenced with the restoration of the residential complex comprising 41 apartments completed in the summer 2013, and with the development of the first of three planned hotels. Built within the walls of the old tobacco factory, the 31-room La Tabaccaia retains many of its host structure’s original features and there’s also a typical Trattoria-Pizzeria in a renovated building close by and a restaurant that opened its doors in June 2014.  


Scattered throughout the estate are 26 original farmhouses, or casali, four of which have been dismantled and lovingly rebuilt using the same stones. The buildings’ wooden beams have also been preserved and each farmhouse has a traditional terracotta tile roof, while bathrooms have been brought up to date using local marble or ceramic tiles. With the capacity to adapt each interior according to its owner’s specifications, these casali present an exciting prospect for would be buyers, whether seeking a stunning second home or a superior rental investment. Several of the properties also line the resort’s 27-hole golf course, which is already considered one of the best courses in Italy. Some of the farmhouses are also available for weekly rentals.

Strewn with vineyards and olive and cypress trees, the estate is also a hunting reserve, playing home to wild boars, deer and foxes. It is also self-sufficient in terms of water and there are plans to create a biomass plant, which will enable Toscana Resort Castelfalfi to produce its own biofuel.  ‘We searched for this place for a long time,’ says Stefan Neuhaus. ‘What we are developing is not a typical resort, it’s a new approach for the international luxury travel market that offers apartments, a range of farmhouses, a luxury club concept and four and five stars hotels. Our guests are well travelled and looking for an authentic experience. With us, that is exactly what they will find.’