Preppers in Paradise: Booking.com Shares the Off Grid Experiences Set to Top the Bucket Lists in 2023
After a chaotic few years, Booking.com’s 2023 Travel Predictions reveals that over half (55%) of global travelers are looking to escape from reality in the new year by embarking on an ‘off-grid’ vacation.
No modern luxuries? No worries. Keen to go back to basics and experience life with only the bare necessities (44%)*, the younger generations (Millennials, 51% and Gen Z, 50%) are ready to forgo day-to-day luxuries to vacation off-grid - more so than their older counterparts (Baby Boomers, 27% and Generation X, 39%). Regardless, 2023 will see a considerable number of travelers venture into the wilderness with friends (52%) or family (26%), motivated by a desire to learn essential survival skills (58%) - perhaps in case of a cataclysmic event.
With its mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, we have rounded up some off-grid adventures that travelers can experience on their next vacation; from foraging for food in the wild or learning how to light a fire from scratch, to experiences that give a sense of escapism, there’s plenty of thrilling options for travelers to put their survivalist skills to the test.
Perfect the basics
For the 42% of global travelers who want to learn basic survival skills including how to light a fire from scratch, Bedouin Nights Camp in Wadi Rum, Jordan is a perfect place to learn and stay. Wadi Rum is a UNESCO protected area due to its iconic landforms, such as natural arches and narrow gorges, and is often referred to as the “Valley of the Moon” for these reasons. The camp itself embraces the Ancient Bedouin culture, and local guides share their desert secrets and village stories with guests. Travelers will learn about the history and culture of the indigenous people, have the opportunity to elevate their understanding of the desert on a series of hike and jeep tours, and learn how to live like a local including lighting the campfire, delving into local foods and joining in the traditional Bedouin dances.
Forage and feed in the wild
With almost two in five (39%) wanting to forage in the wild for their own ingredients and food, travelers can immerse themselves in this self-sufficient activity at Kinloch Lodge Hotel and Restaurant. This family-run, 17th century lodge situated on the Isle of Skye, just off the northwest coast of Scotland offers an array of thrilling off-grid experiences. Travelers can wander through Kinloch Forest with the hotel’s local guide as they explore the paths of the forest to forage for local ingredients. The freshly picked finds are dependent on the season, where guests can expect to see delicacies such as edible mushrooms, wild garlic, seaweed and mussels.
Other activities on offer include traditional fire lighting, fishing in the pristine Loch Na Dal waters, wild walks across the sprawling green lands where guests may catch a glimpse of the rich wildlife such as otters, eagles and seals, and opportunities to learn how to identify wild foods such as plants and fungi.
For travelers wanting to put their wild cooking skills to the test, then opt for a stay at The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, United States. Situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina, guests will explore their surroundings whilst they identify and gather extreme cuisine such as wild mushrooms and plants, before learning how best to preserve and serve these earthly delicacies during a cooking lesson, followed by a tasting session of their freshly picked ingredients.
Prep for an apocalypse
Following a turbulent few years of uncertainty, the year ahead will see travelers keen to prepare for the worst case scenario, as 39% want to learn essential skills to survive an apocalypse. Travelers from India (65%), Vietnam (60%), China (60%), Thailand (59%) and Colombia (59%) are the most likely to embark on a survival vacation to prepare for what may lie ahead.
The LOOF Tiny House Camp in Fuefuki, Japan provides the perfect opportunity to get back-to-basics and experience a stay surrounded by lush nature. Situated in the mountains amongst the forest, guests can learn how to make their all-important morning beverage from scratch, learning how to roast and brew raw coffee beans in the wild. Harvest a variety of vegetables including cucumber, tomatoes and eggplant in the vegetable garden, or wander to the Ashi River to bask in the untouched beauty of nature, before gathering around the campfire in the evening.
Escape from reality
In the year ahead, over half of travelers will want to go off grid to escape from reality (55%), without compromising on the luxury travel aspect of their vacation. The Laxsik Ecolodge in Sa Pa, Vietnam offers the best of both worlds; the chance to live amongst the locals, basking in their daily routine and indulging in the local cuisine and culture, whilst the lodge is beautifully decorated with traditional touches inspired by H’Mong lifestyle throughout. The hotel is well removed from the hustle and bustle and offers scenic views of the exquisite surrounding aromatic rice fields. It also holds a Booking.com Travel Sustainable Badge due to its efforts to support the community and utilize the produce grown in its luscious gardens, so guests can enjoy fresh meals with ingredients sourced right in the garden.
For travelers seeking to disconnect on their next adventure, stop off at Lodge Tagua Tagua in Puelo, Chile. This property is located in a secluded but breathtaking native forest perched by the Puelo River. Guests can choose from a wide range of nautical and land activities including stand up paddling, river safari, horseback riding and fly fishing.
*Travel Predictions 2023 research commissioned by Booking.com and conducted among a sample of adults who plan to travel for business or leisure in the next 12-24 months. In total 24,179 respondents across 32 countries and territories were polled (including 1014 from Argentina, 1006 from Australia, 505 from Austria, 504 from Belgium, 1009 from Brazil, 503 from Canada, 1009 from China, 1010 from Colombia, 505 from Croatia, 505 from Denmark, 1010 from France, 1001 from Germany, 500 from Hong Kong, 1005 from India, 504 from Ireland, 504 from Israel, 1008 from Italy, 1003 from Japan, 504 from Mexico, 502 from The Netherlands, 1007 from New Zealand, 1009 from Portugal, 507 from Singapore, 1008 from South Korea, 1001 from Spain, 505 from Sweden, 508 from Switzerland, 500 from Taiwan, 504 from Thailand, 1006 from the UK, 1009 from the US and 504 from Vietnam). Respondents completed an online survey in August 2022.