It’s one thing to fantasize about a dream trip; it’s a completely different thing to plan and execute it. Seasoned jet-setters know that to reach far-flung destinations or have certain exceptional experiences, it’s better to turn to the experts than try to brave the logistics alone. Enter the outfitter: The teams of dedicated experts who craft unforgettable trips for curious travelers. Whether you’re looking for a spontaneous adventure or ready to commit to an epic trip, here are some of the exciting itineraries from our favorite travel specialists that we’re dreaming about right now.
All Day Aurora with Off the Map Travel
November 2018 through March 2019
Northern lights experts Off the Map Travel are at it again with their new All Day Aurora program. It seems like each season they come up with a new way to experience this natural wonder—past trips have included overnights in a snowmobile-drawn bubble and a glass-roofed hut. This new program takes travelers to Svalbard in the northernmost reaches of Norway. Here along the 78th parallel, the sun stays at least six degrees below the horizon at all times, making for 24 hours of darkness. Translation? Prime aurora borealis–viewing conditions. Of course, there’s never a guarantee when it comes to sighting these dancing lights, but the odds are in your favor with this one. Just be sure to keep your head craned skyward while enjoying the snowcat and dog-sled rides or snowshoeing to the ice caves. —From $1,614 per person, based on double occupancy, for four days.
Colombia Bike Tour with Trek Travel
March and April 2019
Like the hum of cicadas on a coffee farm at dusk, the buzz around Colombia has become almost deafening. Beat the crowds and hit the ground rolling on two wheels in this increasingly popular destination with luxury operator Trek Travel’s new six-day Colombia Bike Tour. Calling the country “South American cycling heaven,” Trek takes riders through the Andes Mountains, the Cocora Valley, and the coffee region, tackling the kinds of long climbs that the pros train on, winding down quiet byways, breaking for day hikes, then perking up with coffee tastings. (Psst! You don’t have to bike to join. This trip welcomes non-riding friends and family of biking enthusiasts.) Scheduled departures leave in March and April, making this a great spring escape, but specialization is the name of the game with Trek: Contact them to arrange a trip on other dates. —From $3,899 per person, based on double occupancy, for six days.
Chile and Argentina Solar Eclipse Tour with Wild Frontiers
Did you catch eclipse fever last year? Wild Frontiers gets that—in fact, the adventure travel outfitter even designed a trip around next year’s July 2 full solar eclipse, an event that will be visible in its entirety from parts of Chile and Argentina. But rather than zero in on the one-day event, this itinerary makes the most of the incredible destination, taking eclipse chasers on a 15-day journey through the Atacama Desert, up into the Andes, and down to the canyons of northern Argentina’s wine country. On eclipse day, travelers will explore Ischigualasto Provincial Park in Argentina, also known as the Valley of the Moon, before heading to a viewing point in the path of totality. To summarize that: Wild Frontiers will take you on an epic adventure through one of the best stargazing regions on earth to watch the 2019 solar eclipse. At the time of writing, there is still availability, but spots are limited and the clock is ticking. —From $6,820 per person, based on double occupancy, for 15 days.
Lions and Temples of Gujarat Safari with NWS RAW
November through April
Just launched this year, NWS RAW is a new line of trips from Natural World Safaris. These itineraries aren’t built around the expected famous places and iconic animal experiences; instead, they focus on remote, lesser-known, and equally impressive regions and wildlife in familiar countries. The Lions and Temples of Gujarat Safari heads to western India, but rather than making a beeline for Rajasthan, the trip takes place in the bustling cities, protected forests, and vast grasslands of nearby Gujarat. Spot leopards, blackbuck antelope, Indian wolves, and flocks upon flocks of endemic birds. What’s more, Sasan Gir National Park is one of the few places to spot lions in their natural habitat outside Africa. The trip can be customized to fit your needs and desired dates, but safari enthusiasts know that this is the kind of thing you plan for; it’s worth making this your big trip for 2019 or 2020. —From $5,669 per person, based on double occupancy, for 16 days.