Playa Hotel Bora Bora
Think outside the typical sun vacation this winter to go farther south—as in the Southern Hemisphere, where you’ll find balmy summer conditions. “We have had clients who were in Sydney for business add on a trip to the Whitsundays or the Great Barrier Reef before flying home,” says Kemi Wells, director of sales at North South Travel in Vancouver, part of the Virtuoso network of travel agencies. Wells also recommends Fiji (“more affordable than some of the options in the Oceania region”) and Bora Bora (“the most romantic place on Earth”).
Unconventional destinations offering adventurous, educational and immersive experiences are on the rise, according to Virtuoso’s 2018 Luxe Report, which names South Africa, Botswana and Rwanda on the African continent. Chile is “red hot,” ranking at No. 8 on Virtuoso’s top 10 list of destinations for Canadians this fall and winter, with 148 percent more bookings than last year.
Cruises in bucket-list places like the Ecuadorean islands of the Galapagos, and even Antarctica, are also at their best in Canadian-winter months. “We know how limited vacation time can be, so we often book clients on an express eight-day itinerary where they can fly the Drake Passage,” Wells says of the latter option.
Candace Meyer Photography
Lotte Davis, co-founder and CEO of professional hair-care products maker AG Hair, was born in South Africa and immigrated to Canada in the 1960s.
“When I first starting going back to Africa, I was overwhelmed by how great the need was,” says Davis, who over decades of visiting a dozen African countries has channelled her generosity. “I had read a lot and knew about the capacity women in underdeveloped countries had to create change, and the trickle-down effect that empowering one woman with education could have on her family and her community.” Today, almost 500 girls attend high school and university on scholarships from Davis’s charity, One Girl Can. “Watching these girls excel in school and get ready to take on a career keeps me coming back,” she says.
Going to Africa can be a life-changing experience, Davis maintains, recommending Kenya–for diversity of scenery, culture, hospitality and experiences–when pressed to zero in on one destination. “To be guided [on safari] by a Samburu or Masai warrior who still dresses in traditional clothing and eats the same food that their ancestors did is off the charts for a holiday experience.”
Visit a village or a school, where you might be treated to local storytellers, singers and dancers. “Bring pocketfuls of sweets with you for the kids,” Davis says. Resist the temptation to help every person you meet–but see where you can truly make an impact, she suggests. “Africa will be an unforgettable experience, but you can hold onto that feeling forever if you leave knowing you’ve helped at least one person achieve their potential.”
Even if you don’t have a chance to tour vineyards on vacay, you can fill your cellar right from your Air New Zealand seat. The inflight entertainment system includes a new wine purchase program, with home delivery across the globe, in collaboration with Kiwi retailer Glengarry Wines.