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Escape the heatwave: Coolcation is the hot new travel trend

asians in winter holidays

Soaring temperatures drive a surge in “coolcation” travel to destinations like Iceland, Norway and Canada, offering fewer crowds and stunning natural beauty

Google Trends data shows a 300% increase in the search term “cooler vacation” compared to 12 months ago, so coolcation is the latest travel trend. It just means vacationing in a colder destination.

In the summer of 2023, heatwaves across Europe reached temperatures of up to 40 degrees in parts of the Mediterranean, including Spain, Italy and Greece.

With record temperatures recorded globally last year, many tourists are looking for cooler holiday destinations for 2024. According to Google Trends ‘cool’ destinations have seen the following increases in searches.

  • Arctic – 235%
  • Canada – 137.4%
  • British Isles – 33.3%
  • Antarctica – 32.4%
  • Fjord & Norway – 23.2%
  • Alaska – 22%

Dave Mills, Chief Commercial Director of Iglu Cruise, revealed why coolcation destinations are growing in popularity: “People are looking for cooler travel destinations for various reasons. First, the record temperatures we’ve seen around the world in recent years mean many people are uncomfortable traveling in the sweltering heat. A cooler destination is much more manageable for those who may struggle in intense temperatures.”

While the heat rise has been increasing in recent years, many cooler destinations are still quieter than destinations such as the Mediterranean or the Caribbean. This means fewer crowds, giving room to enjoy yourself without long queues for attractions or for a seat at restaurants.

New activities like visiting new cities like Reykjavik or Tromsø also has a lot to offer, including the Northern Lights if you’re lucky, or nature activities like hiking or biking without breaking a sweat, or dog sledding or spotting boating whales. Many cool destinations like Norway, Canada and Alaska offer a whole new type of natural beauty, as snow-capped mountains, green slopes and glaciers are just some of the amazing sights. The Norwegian Fjords, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, have also seen a significant rise in recent years.

For many Asians who have yet to experience snow-covered mountains, glaciers, or high-altitude lakes, new popular holiday destinations are emerging. Notable among these are Banff in Canada, nestled in the Rocky Mountains; Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island; and Norway, famed for its stunning mountains and breathtaking fjords. Activities like hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing, and wildlife spotting are increasingly favored by Asian travelers. Additionally, some of these “coolcations” feature water-based activities such as wild swimming and cold-water plunges.

Other sought-after coolcation spots include Greenland, with its colossal icebergs and sparsely populated terrain; Finnish Lapland, renowned for reindeer and husky rides, cozy saunas, ice hotels, and Santa Claus Village; and Iceland, known for its frozen waterfalls, geothermal spas, glaciers, lava fields, and ice caves. These destinations are gaining popularity among Asian tourists seeking unique and invigorating vacation experiences.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.