If 2017 was all about gorgeous landscapes, bucket list trips, the world's best beaches and traveling closer to home, 2018 is all about thinking outside the box for a great escape. The world is officially rethinking luxury travel, with people looking to explore the world now more than ever. Leave your presumptions about certain parts of the world at home and get your passports ready–these are the 18 top places to travel in 2018.
Why to go: Though China is one enormous landmass, many international travelers spend their time in the country’s southern and eastern regions, ignoring the unique cultures and experiences offered in the west. Part of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and recently named a Unesco world heritage site, Kekexili is a region that offers a vastly different look at China from what appears in most American movies and TV shows. “The cultural nuances of Qinghai Province are what make it so alluring,” explains Marchant. “The region has far more in common with Tibet than the rest of China–here, monks and nomads coexist with Han Chinese, and locals speak Mandarin with a lyrical Tibetan accent that you’ll find nowhere else in this vast country.” He adds, “Despite the naturally beautiful scenery and countless amazing Tibetan sites, Kekexili is a gritty, off-the-beaten-path province with very few tourists, but it won’t stay this way forever. In 2018 we’re urging clients to experience it now, while this stunning region is at its most untouched.”
What to do: At nearly 15,000 feet above sea level, Kekexili encompasses one of the largest, highest plateaus in the world. That isolation means that many of the plant and animal species that survive in the region, including the endangered Tibetan antelope known as the chiru, are found exclusively on the plateau. As such, the area is also home to one of China’s largest nature preserves, the Hoh Xil Nature Preserve, where wild yaks, white-lipped deer, antelope, and even bears roam for visitors to observe. The area is also rich with picturesque landscapes, from rippling grasslands to snowy mountain tops. This trip is the ideal opportunity to take in scenery, culture and experiences in ways you never have before, and snap some shots to make even your best-traveled friends jealous.
Pro tip: Marchant advises that that best time of year to go is the warmer months, during spring and summer. The prime time, he says, is September.