We might not be able to travel internationally just yet, but we can always dream. It’s even easier to dream now that it’s free to create travel wish lists with Virtuoso Wanderlist. Is there a trip you had to postpone because of COVID-19? Has sheltering at home gotten you thinking about the trip or trips that you’ve always wanted to take but have put off for one reason or another? In an era when international travel had become so accessible, feeling cut off from the rest of the world has been a jolt. Fortunately, countries are slowly but surely opening back up and announcing dates they will begin welcoming visitors once more. We can start making plans again, and Wanderlist is the perfect way to do it.
With Wanderlist, you collect and share your travel dreams with family and friends, and with your travel advisor. You can explore destinations with maps, videos and other helpful information about the place. Then everyone who might be going with you can rate the destination by whether they want to visit, have been and want to return, aren’t sure, have been and don’t want to go back or aren’t interested. When you’ve narrowed it down to a few places, you can rate individual experiences by thumbs up, thumbs down or neutral. Roam around the world and build your wish list. Discover things you never knew about your loved ones.
Share the results with your advisor, and when you’re ready to plan, upgrade your Wanderlist experience by designing your next trip with your advisor, and create a lifetime of dreams waiting to become reality. With your wish list assembled, your advisor will be able to let you know when the best times to go are, spot deals and plan in advance to make the most of your time. Even if it’s a place you’ve been to before, the destination will be much different from the one you went to last. Your advisor will be up to date on the latest developments. The upgraded version of Wanderlist will have a calendar of any future trips you’ve booked, payment due dates and budget forecasts. We know now better than ever the urgency of taking your dream trip. Someday might not ever come unless you start planning for it.
So, what’s on your Wanderlist? Is it gorilla trekking? The Great Migration? Dog-sledding in the Yukon? The unique biodiversity of the Galapagos? Where in your lifetime do you want to get to? What do you want to experience? Keep exploring. Dreaming is free.
We all have that big adventure we’ve really wanted to go on but have put off for one reason or another over the years. The opportunity will always be there, we tell ourselves. If there’s one thing we know after seeing life abruptly come to a halt, it’s that things can change in a hurry and nothing is truly guaranteed. Once it’s safe to travel again, it’s time to take that adventure. And the time to start dreaming about it and planning it is now.
As part of our “Travel Dreaming” series, Dr. Travel himself Paul Largay spoke with three people who know their way around an adventure: Lesa Bain of Lindblad Expeditions, Don Martinson of Natural Habitat Adventures and Ashish Sanghrajka of Big Five Tours & Expeditions. They’ve always specialized in going off the beaten path to seek out what there is to discover in the remote areas of the world. With those places soon to be more sought out than ever, they’re the ones to turn to for an authentic and sustainable adventure. There’s no better time to get started with the planning and settle on the dates when more is certain. As Dr. Travel put it, “What coronavirus has not stopped is our curiosity, our need to know and, most importantly, our desire to dream.”
With that, our guests shared some of their favorite adventures, from polar bear viewing in Manitoba to gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda to getting up close and personal with Adelie penguins in Antarctica. Whatever your definition of adventure, these companies can accommodate it while making you feel comfortable at the same time.
Expeditions are not, “eating borscht and sleeping on a wooden pallet,” Bain said, Lindblad trips offer the opportunity to go on an exerting hike then have a great glass of wine when you get back. Martinson stressed the abundance of options on a Nat Hab trip. There are always activities for those who want them, but no one is left out if not feeling up to the challenge. For instance, on Nat Hab’s Yellowstone wolf quest photo adventure, participants have the option to snowshoe to Old Faithful or ride to the iconic geyser in a coach. Sanghrajka noted that on the same trip in Colombia, guests can paraglide then do a rum tasting with the mayor of Cartagena’s son. “It’s the stuff you can’t script that speaks to me,” he said.
While as Martinson said, if you walk across a football field unassisted, you can go on most of these trips, you might want to ease yourself into adventure, especially if you have young kids. The Galapagos is a great place to dip your toe in the water. “Each time you go, it’s a different experience,” Bain said. “It’s great for kids and a good precursor to Africa.” Martinson also recommends the Galapagos, along with national parks and Costa Rica for getting kids hooked on adventure and science. Sanghrajka relayed that he first took his kids to Guatemala, where the roasted marshmallows in steam from an active volcano before watching another spew lava from deep within the earth. “When your teacher asks what you did for summer vacation, you’re gonna win,” he told them.
As the kids get older and your family works it way up the adventure rung, you can discover places such as East Greenland, “a place that made me feel smaller than I’ve ever felt before” as he kayaked around huge icebergs and waterfalls in a transformative experience. While the guides are world-class and the accommodations comfortable, some places are hundreds of miles from the nearest five-star hotel. “It’s not about the thread count, it’s about the animal count,” Martinson said. If you’re an avid diver exploring the waters of the South Pacific, Bain noted, that’s where true luxury lies, in making a dream come true.
What remote adventures are on the horizon for when we can finally escape and get back out into the world? Bain recommends the Russian Far East and Northeast Passage from Norway to Nome. Martinson is keen on small-group and private excursions in America’s national parks. Sanghrajka is excited about northern Peru. “Kuelap is 1,000 years older than Machu Picchu and sees about 100 visitors on a busy day,” he said. “The third highest waterfall in the world is there. I can’t wait to get up there.”
We know we can’t wait to get out into the wide open spaces again and take the road less traveled. We’re thrilled to have partners who have blazing trails in these remote areas for years. “When you people say we’re going to want to get out of the box, I say we’ve been waiting for you. What took you so long?”