Learning a new language and going for a self-care retreat are the top travel experiences on the 2019 bucket lists of both male and female travelers in the UAE, according to research by Agoda, one of the fastest growing digital travel platforms. This is followed by learning to cook a new cuisine and trying a new sport in third place for women and men respectively.
The research, conducted across six markets, showed people are looking at ways in which traveling can enrich their lives. In the UAE, this is apparent by the fact that self-improvement activities such as learning a new language, taking a self-care retreat and learning to cook a new cuisine are the most sought-after travel experiences overall.
The research also highlighted differing preferences amongst different age groups. Despite the widespread use of electronic devices and a culture of being ‘always-on’, men in their 20s cited going on a digital detox as their top bucket list item, while those in their 30s were most keen to try a new sport. Meanwhile, Emirati women in both their 20s and 30s listed learning a new language as their top travel bucket list experience.
Learning a new language
A majority of UAE travelers are keen to learn a new language through their travels in 2019, a great way to expand your horizons, get to know people and understand a new culture. Whether you are an aspiring polyglot or looking to pick up basic language skills to be a savvier traveler, here are some tips and destinations to inspire you.
1. Head to Barcelona to brush up on the world’s second most spoken language
One of the best ways to learn a language is to live around locals and practice in a natural environment. Stay in an Agoda Home like the Barcelona Apartment Val, where you can interact with neighbors and local business owners in Spanish. The apartment also comes with convenient access to the city’s main tourist attractions.
2. Volunteer while studying Russian
Interested in contributing to a good cause while learning a new language in an immersive environment? Sign up as a volunteer at a St. Petersburg hospital in Russia where you can work with hospital staff while participating in an intensive language program between four to 16 weeks.
For a longer stay, consider an affordable apartment like Ye’s Domotielli Apartamienty, which is equipped with kitchen facilities and is located near public transportation.
Going on a self-care was another top bucket list experience in the UAE, with 13% of travelers prioritizing wellness and self-care. From meditation retreats, yoga courses to spa holidays, there is plenty to do to revitalize your soul.
1. Embark on a healing journey at a wellness resort in Bali
Bali is not just a place to escape to for postcard-worthy beaches. With wellness resorts like Revivo springing up, one can switch off and indulge in wholesome cuisine, seek spa and holistic medicine treatments and even practice restorative fitness like Qi Gong and Aerial Yoga, all in one place.
2. Soak in the goodness at Australia’s mineral springs
Hepburn Springs is a resort town in Victoria with the largest concentration of mineral springs in Australia. Rejuvenate in these natural waters at the iconic Hepburn Bathhouse and stay close by at Saltus in Spring, where you can also pamper yourself with a luxurious day spa treatment.
Learn a new cuisine
Learning to cook local food is a great way to experience and understand a city’s culture, and 11% of UAE travelers cited this as one of their top travel bucket list experiences. Sign up for a cooking class at the start of your trip and you’ll be able to better appreciate the local gastronomy during the rest of your stay.
1. Learn from the best culinary schools in Paris
With some of the best culinary institutes like Le Cordon Bleu in the City of Lights, you’ll not only be able to learn a new dish, but be exposed to cooking in a professional kitchen environment – like a real chef!
Practice the new recipes in your repertoire at this cosy apartment with its bright, open concept kitchen that’s sure to make you feel at home.
2. Book a cooking class in Cape Town
If you want to learn the magic behind some local delicacies, or simply spend a day cooking your own meal in the company of an expert, try a cooking class at Ginger & Lime. Classes run throughout the year with a variety of expert chefs. See the course schedule for upcoming classes. Stay at the Clarendon Hotel in the neighborhood which boasts stunning views of Table Mountain.
Attend an international sporting event
There is nothing quite like the way a stadium full of screaming sports fans from around the world unite in support of their favorite player or team. Sports fans in the UAE can take their obsession to the next level by heading to watch the best-of-the-best compete for the following coveted international titles.
1. Rugby World Cup
The rugby union tournament takes place once every four years and will be held for the first time in Japan this year from 20 September until 2 November. The matches will take places across 12 stadiums in Japan including Sapporo, Fukuoka and Kobe.
Experience an authentic ryokan stay at Kitaya Ryokan in the heart of Yokohama and skip on over to the Yokohama Stadium for the final matches.
2. Formula One Singapore Grand Prix
The Formula One Singapore Grand Prix will take place from 20 – 22 September, which means a weekend of adrenaline-pumping races around Singapore’s 23-turn Marina Bay Street Circuit and world-class entertainment. Book a stay at the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel to catch all the action.
3. French Open
Catch the French Open at the largest clay court of the famous Roland Garros Stadium in Paris and extend your trip to enjoy the City of Lights in summer. Stay along the renowned Champs Elysées in the stylish The West End Hotel and easily access nearby museums, cultural spots and haute couture boutiques.
Try a new sport
Trying a new sport also featured on the list of experiences for the UAE travelers. Individual sports like skiing and cycling are fun and challenging activities travelers can enjoy whilst on vacation.
1. Horse Riding in Dubai
Long a part of Arabian culture and myth, the Arabian horse stands tall as an icon of desert heritage. Book a stay at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa and discover the thrill and excitement of horse riding.
2. Ride the snow in Hokkaido
With a base like Hilton Niseko Village, you can not only explore the Japanese city but easily access ski resorts where you can take ski and snowboarding courses. Be sure to pick a class that’s suitable for beginners if you’re just starting out!
3. A cycling adventure in Vietnam
Cycling from place to place is a great way to explore the hidden nooks of a city at your own pace. Pedal downhill through the “Heaven’s Pass” and cycle through villages and breathtaking scenery before ending your bike tour in the town of Dalat, also known as Le Petit Paris, in southern Vietnam’s central highlands.