Essential checks out the hottest holiday trends driving our wanderlust this year.


Essential checks out the hottest holiday trends driving our wanderlust this year.


Off-Grid Getaways

In today’s hyper-connected world, the chance to unplug and get back to nature is the new luxury and 55 per cent of travellers are surfing for ‘off-grid’ holidays this year. That doesn’t mean roughing it. Off grid is more about getting away from it all geographically, rather than electronically, without sacrificing home comforts. “Travellers are not ready to give up every luxury and would only consider going off grid if it can be at a more indulgent stay,” says the hotel booking platform. “And for over half, phone and internet connection is a non-negotiable requirement, so expect this cohort to be weathering the wilderness with 5G.”

Panorama Glass Lodge, Iceland

Watch the aurora borealis from your bed or get an all-over midnight s un tan on the terrace with not a peeping Tom in sight at this remote see-through resort. Set in the highlands of southern Iceland 90-minutes’ drive from Reykjavik, the only noses pressed to your panoramic windows will belong to fluffy Icelandic horses. The four Viking-inspired cabins are packed with home comforts including toasters and Nespresso coffee machines, though you’ll have to drive 30 minutes to the nearest town for your groceries.

Off Grid In Granada

The dramatic Gorafe badlands of Guadix are an unexpected place to find the world’s first fully-autonomous, sustainable podtel – run by robots! Developed by Spanish firm Districthive, the Colony generates its own water, electricity, waste treatment and high-speed Wi-Fi and can run for four days without sun. Everything functions through an app which guests use to control lighting, sound, TV, temperature and order snacks, drinks or a bottle of Bollie from smart dispensers. The 35m2 pod sleeps four, with a separate kitchen and lounge, and throws in a pair of e-scooters and an outdoor anti-gravity floatation tank for horizontal stargazing.

Tierra Patagonia, Chile

Isolated at the tip of South America on a similar latitude to the Falklands, this jaw-dropping solar-powered eco-lodge/spa makes zero compromise to luxury. Sustainably designed to look like it was blown here by the wind, it offers wide-screen views of rugged Torres del Paine National Park. There’s no TV, no phone in reception and no Wi-Fi beyond common areas and it’s a four-hour flight back to civilisation. But the enforced screen break ensures you’ll make the most of glacier hiking, catch-and-cook fishing in the emerald lakes, do-nothing spa days, and Patagonian slow cooking.

2023 Hotspots

The good old Staycation is yesterday’s news. Trip Advisor crunched algorithms to predict this year’s 25 hottest destinations and it’s an exotic long-haul list. Cambodia, Azerbaijan and Nepal make the top ten alongside just one European destination, Poland, hotly followed by Alaska, Chile and Panama. Lanzarote in the Canaries is the only nod to Spain on the list. Check out the top three.


Mark Twain wrote that heaven must be a copy of this perfectly-formed Indian Ocean island and travellers are more determined to see it in 2023. Beyond its pristine beaches and marine reserve clear waters, the jungle interior hides an Eden of waterfalls, caves, rare plants and endangered Mauritius flying foxes, the last-surviving endemic species. Island life is a curry of Indian, African, French and Chinese cultures and the cuisine is equally exotic.

Hoi An, Vietnam

This graciously ramshackle old trading port still showcases the grandeur of its past in a beguiling riverfront setting. Although the paddy fields have retreated under the tourist onslaught, the Ancient Town preserves a captivating legacy of tottering merchant houses, temples, tea warehouses and tailors shops where Hoi An’s master outfitters will run you up a suit as sharp as an Armani.


The home of salsa, hand-rolled cigars and sugar cane rum mojitos is officially the trendiest destination on the planet this year. Even the Americans are returning to the communist island republic since travel restrictions eased. First stop Havana for vivid vintage cadillacs, venerable colonial mansions and Cajun and Creole cuisine. With seven UNESCO sites and wildlife to impress Sir David Attenborough, you may never make the beach!

Set Jetting

Having spent the Covid years OD-ing on Netflix it’s no surprise that TV has taken over as a key travel influencer with more of us than ever taking our favourite show on tour. Streamed movies and series are the top sources of holiday inspiration for 68 per cent of travellers, according to Expedia, and will be ‘an even bigger deal in 2023’.

Among this year’s hot influencers, the idyllic sun-drenched filming locations of HBO’s The White Lotus leads the way. Filmed at the Four Seasons Resort Maui in Hawaii for its first season and the San Domenico Palace in Taormina for its second, the show has set off a small stampede for Sicily and the South Seas.

‘You can also expect lots of travellers heading to Paris in search of love and going on weekend breaks to Bath to explore classical Regency architecture fit for high society,” says Expedia, referencing Emily in Paris and Bridgerton. And, two decades on, Lord of the Rings is still driving demand for New Zealand’s epic Middle Earth locations.

Electric Road Trips

Peter Fonda and Denis Hopper would choke on their Root Beers but the EV revolution has arrived. America is rolling out charging stations the full 3,940 km length of iconic Route 66 so that today’s biker generation can juice up their electric Harleys.

In Europe, Range Anxiety – fear of winding up in the wilderness with nowhere to plug in – is still a big downside to switching from fuel to joules. The Netherlands is way ahead of most with over 90,000 charging stations, Spain only has a few thousand. But a try-before-you-buy boom in electric car rentals has jumpstarted a continent-wide push to expand charging networks to popular out-of-town routes and getting behind a Tesla for a road trip is no longer an impossible dream.

Hertz UK published a Top 10 list of EV-ready routes in Europe last summer, ranked by number of charging points per mile. Spain made the list twice for Valencia-Denia-Alicante-Elche and Barcelona–Girona–Figueres–Cadaques, both with one charging point ever other mile. This summer the ratio should be even better! Check out the top three.

Northern Italian Lakes: Turin– Milan–Lake Como–Lake Iseo
4.73 charging points per mile
Feast your eyes on Turin’s glorious architecture, imbibe Milan’s chic vibe, and push the pedal to the floor through Monza, home of Formula 1, to two luscious lakes.

Amsterdam Round Trip: The Hague–-Rotterdam–Zeeland–Eindhoven–Utrecht
14.6 charging points per mile
When you’ve explored the canals and cafes of the capital, head south through windmill country and Zeeland’s Land of Dykes, with Utrecht’s fairytale floating Castle of Haar for a finale.

Côte d’Azur: Cannes–Antibes–Nice–Monaco
4.06 charging points per mile
Live the Riviera highlife with the roof rolled down along France’s glam coastal strip. Shop film star fashions on La Croisette, do Picasso’s Trail in Antibes and Nice’s Musée Marc Chagall, and win the cost of the trip back at Monte Carlo’s casinos.

Solar Style

Driving On Sunshine

Pile on the mileage in the world’s first long-range solar-powered car. The sleek Lightyear 0 runs on sunshine and charges on the go. Launched in November, 782 solar cells on the bonnet, roof and boot give you 70km-worth of power a day during a northern hemisphere summer. At an eye-watering €250.000, it’s still a billionaire’s toy but Dutch developer, Lightyear has opened the waitlist for Lightyear 2, set to roar onto the market in 2025 at under €40.000. You may never use your garage again!

Tesla Glamping

Tesla’s traffic-stopping solar-electric Cybertruck is the ultimate in e-glamping, with a fold-out kitchen and space in the back to sleep.

Classy All-Inclusives

‘Authentic’ travellers used to look down their noses at a concept pioneered by Butlins and popularised by Club Med but the recession has changed perceptions.

All-inclusive holidays are tipped to be this year’s top trend by the Association of British Travel Agents, with one third of Brits choosing them ‘to help manage their finances during the cost-of-living crisis’.

Today’s resorts have left their holiday camp heritage far behind to offer a classier experience, with fine wines, and menus curated by Michelin star chefs factored into the price at the ‘ultra all-inclusive’ top end.

The bottom line is not always recession-busting – Trip Advisor’s top 25 all-inclusives range from €200 a night to four figures, but you can live it large on poolside cocktails and minibar nightcaps without being slapped with a nightmare bill.

And there’s no need to feel like a prisoner. Sleek Greek/Turkish all-inclusive chain Ikos actively encourages hotel guests to ‘go bush’ with dine-out options at local restaurants, and a day’s Mini car hire included in deals.

Ship-Shape Chic

It looks like a cruise ship and that’s the whole point of the Titanic Deluxe Lara in Antalya, Turkey. The all-inclusive hotel simulates the glamour of life on board the ill-fated liner with panoramic porthole windows, ornamental lifeboats and a deck made for strolling, dining and re-enacting Leonardo and Kate’s ‘king of the world’ scene from the James Cameron film. With a bewildering choice of swimming pools, restaurants and entertainment, you’ll get the luxury cruise experience without the sea sickness.