It’s official: ‘Snap Gaps’ have overtaken the traditional, longer, transcontinental break of between 6 – 9 months with gap year travellers.
During Dragoman’s 33 years in operation, the overland specialist has taken hundreds of travellers on gap year adventures, offering over 300 trips between 2 weeks and 9 months in length to 55 countries worldwide.
However, whilst the numbers of young people aged between 18 -21 has actually increased by 40% over the past decade, 17% year on year, the trips they have booked for the past three years are now more condensed, abbreviated versions of the epic , months long adventures that used to typify a ‘Gap Year’.
“Financial strain and anecdotal evidence suggests that extended trips are out of the budgetary reach of most young people, particularly after the sharp rise in University fees. Young people still want to boost their CV with long-haul travel experiences, but are limiting the time they do it in,” says Charlie Hopkinson, Managing Director.
The destinations that gap year travellers are choosing have also changed. Ten years ago, Africa dominated the Gap Year travel market. Now, South America is by far the most popular destination, with almost 2/3rds of young Dragoman travellers booking it as their primary travel choice, followed by South East Asia. Africa, although still on the Gap Map, seems to have fallen out of favour in comparison.
Overlanding is still a rite of passage experience for the gap year traveller, though; it’s budget-friendly, organised nature giving confidence and ‘more bang for your buck’ for first time travellers and parents alike.
“Travelling overland negates the need for costly internal flights, whilst organised trips, which come with a group of ready-made, like minded travel companions, save time and hassle on accommodation as well as transport,” says Charlie Hopkinson, Dragoman Managing Director.
Charlie also cites Dragoman’s product knowledge, experience and staff training (Dragoman’s staff are the most intensively trained in the overland travel market) , as reasons for overlanding’s enduring popularity amongst gappers.
Overlanding also provides a ‘launching pad’ to independent travel.
“Gap year students, often first time travellers, prefer to cut their teeth and gain confidence by participating in an organised trip before travelling independently,” he says.
Here’s Dragoman’s most popular Gap Year routes for 2014 / 2015
THE most popular destination for gap year travellers, with nearly 2/3rds of young people taking their first trip away here. The World Cup has only increased the popularity of South America, whilst a strong pound make it more affordable than it’s been for years. It’s size and sheer diversity are sure fire gap – year winners.
Snap Gap: Lima and La Paz, 22 days taking in all Peru’s must-do’s, Colca Canyon, Nazca Lines, Ballesteros Islands and Machu Picchu plus traversing the Altiplano, the highest plateau outside of Tibet, to Bolivia’s Lake Titicaca. Earlier this year, Dragoman launched a new route to Machu Picchu, visiting the local Anchascocha community. Now, 70% of Gap Year travellers choose this Inca Trek rather than the traditional, overcrowded one. Price from £909 per person plus kitty of US$1,140 / £698. Total land price: £1,607.
Old School Gap: Cartagena to Ushuaia 101 days, traversing South America’s popular western flank from top to bottom, Colombia to the Tierra del Fuego and the ‘ends of the Earth’. Price from £3,429 per person plus kitty of US$3,480 / £2,132. Total land price from £5,561.
South East Asia
Last year, Thailand was the most popular Gap Year destination according to ABTA. This year, it’s Burma extensions (Burma with surrounding countries Laos, Cambodia and Thailand) with Dragoman experiencing a 170 % increase in young travellers going there. “Burma has been our biggest selling South East Asian destination for the past two years, but if you’re going to travel that far, travelling to the emerging destinations of Laos and Cambodia area no-brainer. Thailand, though, has such a well developed tourist infrastructure that many people feel they can do it alone,” says Charlie.
Snap Gap: Kunming to Yangon, 22 days travelling through south west China and Burma. Sample South East Asia as it was 20 years ago! Trek through tribal villages in Burma’s Shan state, explore Pagan, Inle Lake, Mandalay and Yangon. Price from £1,629 per person plus kitty of US$600 / £368. Total price £1,997.
Old School Gap: Bangkok to Bangkok (via Burma), 53 day circular route around South East Asia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, China, Burma. Price from £2,988 per person plus kitty of US$1,220 / £749. Total price £3,737.
India and Nepal
An enduring Gap Year favourite, young people have been travelling through India, one dubbed the ‘hippy trail’, for decades. It’s diverse, it’s intense and, because of the comparatively low cost of living there, offers gap year travellers’ real value for money. Neighbouring Nepal, though, is just as budget-friendly, easier to travel in and closing the gap (no pun intended) on sub-continental gap year travel.
Snap Gap: Kathmandu and Delhi 14 days travelling from Nepal and northern India. It may be short, but it’s a fabulous way to compare and contrast laid back Nepal with full-on Northern India. Watch the sun rise at Varanasi, go in search of tigers at Bandhavgarh, see the Taj Mahal. Price from £567 per person plus kitty of US$450 / £276. Total land price from £843.
Old School Gap: Dragoman are the only large commercial overland operator to offer a trip which circuits the whole of the sub-continent, 82 days between Kathmandu and Kathmandu from £2695 per person, kitty from US$2210 (£1,365). Total land price from £4,430.
Although Africa is a perennial favourite with gappers, travelling solo can be daunting, especially if its your first time there. These two trips encompass the best of the best, safari adventure with beach adventure and down time, too. Nights spent around the campfire in some of Africa’s National Parks are often the highlight of the trip.
Snap Gap: Nairobi to Dar Es Salaam, 14 days taking in the Maasai Mara and 3 day jeep safari, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, explore local village of Mto wa Mbu, end the trip with 5 days on the beach, first on the white beaches south of Dar and then on the spice island of Zanzibar. Price from £600 per person plus kitty of US$1,270 / £780. Total land price from £1,380.
Old School Gap: Nairobi to Cape Town 51 days encompassing safari and the Big 5 in the Masai Mara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, beaches and down time in the Spice island of Zanzibar, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Vic Falls, Botswana and the Okavango Delta and Makgadkgadi Salt pans, Namibia and Etosha National Park, Swakopmund and the Namib Desert with the world’s highest sand dune, Cape Town. Price from £2,034 plus kitty of US$2,880 / £1,767. Total land price from £3,801.
The longest trips in the world
The option for gap year students with time on their hands – and a big budget. For extended, trans-continental trips, Dragoman is the only overland operator to offer trips that cover the entire Silk Route, some 7,000 kilometres between Istanbul to Beijing or vice versa (96 days from £4,940 per person, kitty of US$3280 / £2038). Or, at just short of 10,000 miles, possibly the longest trip available on the travel market, Anchorage to Ushuaia or vice versa (207 days from £8,118 per person, kitty from US$6,200 / £3,852).
For bookings, Dragoman can be contacted on 01728 861133 or by visiting the website at www.dragoman.com
Park Hyatt Zanzibar enjoys a beachfront location in Stone Town and will feature 67 spacious guest rooms including 11 suites, brilliantly combing contemporary style and timeless regional accents. Ocean front rooms feature spectacular, picturesque views of dhow harbours and the Indian Ocean and all guestrooms will offer contemporary and luxurious services and facilities. Park Hyatt Zanzibar’s Zamani Residence, a unique dining concept, will present a range of authentic cuisine catering to all tastes. For those looking for rest and rejuvenation, guests can retreat into the tranquil sanctity of the hotel spa and indulge in a selection of body treatments, massages and the personal services of a hair salon. Guests can also enjoy the exclusive outdoor infinity pool and a fully-equipped fitness centre. www.parkhyatt.com
First Car Rental is excited to announce that it has expanded its African operations by opening three new business units in Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam, as well as an operational presence in Arusha, the Mwanza Region and Zanzibar.
The new business unit forms part of First Car Rental’s car hire partnership with Moustafa H. Khataw, the CEO of Uniglobe Skylink Travel, previously a network partner to Avis and now the brand new but still the market leader: First Car Rental Tanzania.
Says Khataw, “We are witnessing an increase in flight frequency, new airlines and more hotels opening up in many parts of the country, which is a good indicator of economic growth, therefore it makes sense to partner with a well-managed and growing car rental enterprise such as First Car Rental.
“Their systems expertise and functionality and operational efficiencies are better suited to our fast-paced and growing industry.
“Their managing team are all decision-makers within their departments so there is no lag. It is fantastic and I look forward to a long beneficial relationship.”
First Car Rental Tanzania has a good selection of 4×4 vehicles, which are popular in the country, plus a handful of budget and passenger vans. They also offer full range of car hire services, including short and long-term car rental, direct transfers, and chauffeur drive packages.
One of the new Tanzania business units is located within the five-star Hyatt Regency Hotel building in the heart of Dar es Salaam with superb views of the city’s harbour and Indian Ocean. There is also a branch presence at Dar es Salaam’s Julius Nyerere International Airport ensuring visitors to Tanzania have easy access to First Car Rental.
The latest expansion into Africa adds to First Car Rental’s existing business units, namely Mauritius, Malta and Turkey.
Bruce Barritt, Managing Director at First Car Rental, comments – “We are very excited to be adding a First Car Rental business unit in Tanzania, which is a growing East African country in the African Great Lakes region. This addition to our international family is a much needed expansion based on demand from South Africa to Tanzania and vice versa.”
Says Melissa Storey, Executive Head: Strategy, Development & Marketing at First Car Rental, “First Car Rental will provide First Car Rental Tanzania with various system tools within the next few months, allowing our customers a seamless process irrespective of international borders. It has been a pleasure setting up the unit and working alongside Mr Khataw and his team who are market leaders within the Tanzanian travel-industry. I believe that their move from a red: “we try harder” to a passionate purple: “first in car hire, first in service” will be a great one.”
Take Action – March Against Extinction
The countdown has begun. At the current rate of poaching, the irreplaceable elephant and rhino could be gone from the African wild within ten years.
Unless action is taken now, we will lose these magnificient animals FOREVER. More than 35,000 elephants are being killed every year so their tusks can be carved into ivory trinkets. A rhino is slaughtered once every 9-11 hours for its horn. Their only hope for survival lies in an immediate end to the ivory and rhino horn trade (both “legal” and “illegal”) and the chance to recover from decades of mass slaughter.
If we don’t preserve the creatures that call the African savanna home, soon there will be no more elephants or rhinos to see on safari. Keep our safaris “great” – help stop a trade that threatens species extinction, Africa’s tourism industry, and local economies. Please join the global march to call for an end to the killing and a ban on ivory and rhino horn before it’s too late.
There are a number of ways you can TAKE ACTION:
Sign one of several petitions at the below website:
JOIN OR START A LOCAL MARCH ON OCTOBER 4th, 2014
There are hundreds of events already planned around the world. Be part of this movement, speak out and be heard.
Some of the Great Safaris team will be at the local Los Angeles event. Come by, say hello, and share your support to stop the senseless and destructive ivory trade.
If you work closely with Tanzania or have even been there on Safari yourself, then you will know that the ‘picnic lunch’ forms an integral part of every itinerary. It allows clients to go out for the full day, exploring the depths of the various National Parks without having to return back to base until the sun sets.
As exotic and adventurous as this may sound, the picnic lunch experience is often cited by guests as something they wish was a little different. The picnic is usually picked up from the lodge in a sturdy cardboard box, and whilst the contents look appetizing in the morning, it often turns soggy and less inviting by lunchtime. Therefore, Takims Holidays took it upon themselves to begin a quest to enhance the picnic lunch experience.
They are very proud introduce a solution to this problem with their brilliant new picnic bags which are accompanied by the most exotic ‘Masai Shuka’ picnic blankets. Guests will now enjoy a picnic lunch experience rather different from any other in the region!
Special containers, that are stored in a thermally insulated section of the picnic bag, provide the storage for tasty contents that are kept fresh until lunchtime. Everything is reusable, therefore reducing the amount of waste previously generated from normal picnic boxes. An environmentally friendly picnic lunch experience!
The travel industry can now keep up to date with all things travel related in Africa with the launch of a new publication, Africa Beat News
Packed full of the latest news, wholesaler deals, airline information, destination updates, travel agent incentives and informative features, Africa Beat News also delivers a weekly newsletter free to subscribe and can be done via the website.
Now in launch phase, Africa Beat News also has its own Facebook page, Twitter page and Instagram where readers can interact on a social platform.
Africa Beat News Manager and Editor, Kate Webster, designed the publication after finding inspiration from her many visits to the continent.
“Africa is a hard destination to sell to your clients if you have not been, and while attending information nights and getting product updates are valuable, it is also important to stay on top of the news that is happening in Africa.”
Ms Webster has worked as a travel consultant previously so knows what kind of content is needed to keep the industry informed and up to date.
Africa Beat News website and newsletter Weekly Beat is the only one-stop place in Australia for purely African travel industry information.
“In addition to the up to date news and information, there are also great prizes on offer to get the industry more aware of the destination and even over to the continent to visit themselves.”
To celebrate the launch, Africa Beat News is running a competition for anyone that subscribes, to go in the running to win one of three African prize packs. The competition is open for new subscribers who register between now and 31 July 2014.
Website – www.africabeatnews.com
Africa is certainly one of the final frontiers for North American travelers. Its vast savannas, herds of wild animals and rich cultures leave much to be explored for even the most curious travelers. Great Safaris’ CEO Dave Herbert and his experienced leadership team have put their heads together to name the top six travel trends for Africa in 2014.
1. High-end cruisers will move to experiential safari experiences.
These days, going on vacation means more than just lounging around a pool aboard an expensive cruise ship. Travelers are trading in their sea legs for exciting adventures that are full of once-in-a-lifetime moments. More people are looking to connect with an indigenous culture, taste local food and explore exotic landscapes. In 2014, travel agents and operators will see a demand for rich itineraries across the African continent.
2. Boomers and beyond – the next generation of safari goers.
Baby Boomers are coming into retirement and will be hitting the open road. They’ve put in their hard work and are looking to take bucket-list type trips with Africa at the top of the list. Baby Boomers have been huge advocates of multigenerational travel as well. They’ll bring their children and grandchildren along on these safaris, inevitably infecting them with a love of Africa creating our next generation of safari goers.
3. Travelers will ditch escorted group touring for more custom itineraries.
Great Safaris has seen this trend, now, over a number of years. It’s the family, small groups, extended families and individual travelers that want to have a unique and personalized experience. They often see this trip to Africa as the ultimate journey. Travelers want it to be very special and full of personal memories – something that a one-size-fits-all group tour cannot provide.
4. Agents and U.S. operators will be relied upon to be African travel specialists.
As mentioned before, travelers want an experiential holiday – something one-of-a-kind. Though a large number of people are turning to the Internet for basic research, there are some things they cannot learn or access on the World Wide Web. That is why they seek out agents and U.S. operators with reliable, authentic connections on the ground in Africa who can piece together top-notch experiences.
5. South Africa, often in combination with surrounding countries, will see more visitors from North America.
Boasting Kruger National Park, cosmopolitan Cape Town, the Winelands and some of the largest cultural meccas in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa is a huge draw to North American travelers that might be experiencing the continent for the first time. Because they often make an investment in time and money traveling so far from home, travelers will increasingly book add-ons for experiences in Botswana, Tanzania or Mozambique.
6. High airfares will erode the middle budget traveler market.
Airfare costs have steadily increased over the years, molding Africa into a luxury destination. Middle budget travelers have been opting to vacation closer to home, while Africa builds to accommodate high-end visitors. Bush lodges even in the most remote locations have begun to offer truly 5-star service and amenities, while Cape Town and the Winelands lure travelers in for dining and shopping.
Read more travel news at www.travelpulse.com
Great Safaris recently published its updated 2015-2016 catalog, featuring a selection of high-end African safaris across 16 countries and one republic in Southern Africa, Eastern Africa, and Egypt. The catalog features a new itinerary plus two new extensions in Southern Africa. In addition to new itineraries, the catalog lists guaranteed rates for travel, making Great Safaris one of the first safari outfitters to announce 2015-2016 guaranteed rates.
Great Safari’s is excited to include its brand-new itinerary entitled Lands of the Great Migration in the revised catalog. This new, 13-day “flightseeing” experience leads guests from the Samburu Game Reserve in Kenya to the great Serengeti plains of Tanzania. Along the journey, guests will visit the Ngorongoro Crater to see the highest concentration of wildlife in Africa, interact with the Samburu and Maasai tribes, witness the big five and other wildlife in their natural habitat, plus watch as the herds of wildebeest and zebra follow their instinct to migrate.
Great Safaris is also proud to be among the first in the industry to announce guaranteed rates for the 2015-2016 season, making it easy for travelers to begin planning their next life-changing safari experience well in advance.
Visit www.greatsafaris.com to browse itineraries or to order the new 2015-2016 brochure. Call 1-800-409-7755 for expert safari advice and guidance from a Great Safaris travel expert.
Read more travel news at www.travelpulse.com
The Migration is one of nature’s most remarkable sights, featuring a cast of millions on an 800 kilometre circuit from the Serengeti in Tanzania through the Masai Mara in Kenya and back again. The animals follow the rains in this extraordinary wildlife show; birth, life and death are woven into a spectacular tapestry, which illustrates the concept of ‘the survival of the fittest’ in all of its tragic, comic, violent and awesome splendour.
African specialist Native Escapes has just added a unique small group trip, lead by with one departure on September 6th 2014 and one on September 5th 2015 to time with the start of this magnificent event. The 13 day trip is guided by outstanding safari guides with extensive knowledge of Africa’s wildlife, natural reserves, culture and people and experience in African wildlife conservation.
Travelling by road, the tour allows visitors to experience both the thrill of a luxury tented camp and the comfort of a traditional safari lodge. Crossing from Tanzania’s Serengeti to Kenya’s Masai Mara, it also enables the visitor to follow in the footsteps of the migration.
Native Escapes has also added a number of small group and tailor-made trips in Tanzania, which are very much focused on the amazing wildlife, not just in the Serengeti and the lesser-known Tarangire National Park, but also in the Ngorogoro Crater. The crater is a World Heritage Site and one of the largest volcanic craters in the world (almost 20 kilometres wide, 610‐760 metres deep and covering a total area of 264 square kilometres). An utterly unique biosphere, the Crater harbours grasslands, swamps, forests, saltpans, a fresh water lake and a glorious variety of wildlife, all enclosed within its towering walls.
The Migration Safari is a small group trip departing on September 6th in 2014 and September 5th in 2015. The starting price is £3,600 per person, based on two people sharing – excluding flights. Flights to Nairobi from London cost from £675per person. For further details, see www.nativeescapes.com or call 01342 834700.
For more information on trips offered by Native Escapes, visit www.nativeescapes.com or call 01342 834700
Asilia Africa opened its newest camp in the Serengeti, Namiri Plains, on July 1, 2014. Namiri Plains offers one of the most exclusive experiences in the Serengeti with just six classic safari tents set 70km from the closest neighbour. The area around Namiri Plains has been closed to the world for the past 20 years to create a safe haven for cheetah, today the area has an exceptional population of big cats including one of the highest density of cheetah in East Africa.
The six spacious tents offer king or two twin beds covered in crisp linen duvets, en-suite bathrooms, flush loos and hot bucket showers. The modern and sleek furnishings mimic the natural tones of the surrounding savannah and yellow fever trees. Ecoco Natural Therapy created a bath product line especially for Asilia’s camps that contain the purest organic essential oils, extracts and herbal ingredients from a wide range of beneficial trees, land and marine plants.
Guests explore the area on twice-daily game drives which can include sunrise picnic breakfasts, lunches on top of a kopje looking down at the Serengeti below and stops to discover ancient fossils including a prehistoric giraffe skull. Guests are able to learn more about the academic research happening from the visiting cheetah researcher. Meals are served in the cozy dining tent or under the stars.
Rates at Namiri Plains start at $660 per person per night for full board accommodation and all activities, excluding park fees.
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