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NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwired) -- 12/04/13 -- With the end of 2013 fast approaching, Kensington Tours polled its Destination Experts for the travel trends they have identified and for those that they forecast for the new year. Kensington's team of seasoned nomads, globetrotters and adventure enthusiasts came back with this list of insightful new trends and tips for vacation planning in 2014.

African Nirvana - Safaris for Mind, Body & Soul
Imagine a sunrise yoga session overlooking the animal filled plains of the Masai Mara or Sabi Sands. As no place on earth is quite as organic, rejuvenating or transcendent as Africa, it was only a matter of time until the wellness retreat concept of Central America and Asia caught on. 2014 sees luxury eco-lodges and savvy safari camps across the continent featuring all the offerings from traditional organic cuisine, holistic spa treatments and hot springs to bush yoga sessions, running guides and spiritual blessings for travelers to enjoy between safaris.

Extreme 21st Century Adventures - Traveling with Modern Day Explorers
21st century explorers have been documented on television and their adventures have been immortalized in books, but for the first time in 2014, travelers will have the chance to actually accompany them on an expedition. Designed to bring the spirit and thrill of exploration to travel enthusiasts, Kensington Tour's Explorers in Residence program offers guests the chance for experiences such as, meeting Madagascar's lemurs with a renowned primatologist, discovering the Galapagos with a famous photographer, trekking China's Tea Horse Road with an author, experiencing Iceland's Northern Lights with a renowned TV personality, exploring Africa with a descendant of Livingstone and more. In 2014, nothing quite says adventure like traveling with those who know the world is not yet entirely discovered.

100 Years Of History - Panama Canal Centennial
2014 sees an influx to this Central American gem as travelers celebrate the 100th anniversary of one of the century's most monumental engineering feats, the Panama Canal. Considered one of the Wonders of the Modern World, this manmade passageway linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans changed the history of shipping and trade forever. This marvel is best experienced with a cruise or private guided tour of its legendary locks, bookended with jungle safaris, beach time, aboriginal encounters and more. Kensington is even offering a special Panama tour for history buffs looking to herald the centennial of this important waterway.

A Year for Champions - Getting Into the Games
2014 is set to be one of the most adrenaline packed year of international sporting events in decades. With the Winter Olympics in Russia in February, the World Cup coming to Brazil from June through July, Golf's Ryder Cup in Scotland in September, and annuals such as the Masters, Super Bowl and F1 Grand Prix Racing, sports fans are eagerly making travel plans to experience the magic of these prestigious championships firsthand. Kensington Tours offers a number of VIP, all-access-granted tours to the top sporting events of 2014, all curated for the athletics connoisseur.

The Farm to Table Philosophy - Going Global
Instead of delicacies being imported from across the world, modern day foodies will be the ones making the trip. Today's culinary aficionados are savvier than ever and asking to go beyond traditional market visits, wine tastings and cooking lessons. The future of epicurean adventure is far more of a culturally vernacular experience and focused on sustainable agriculture, community supported farming and heirloom organic experiences. In depth encounters, such as overnights at small family farms in South Africa, days spent alongside Mallorcan shepherds in Spain, participation in Italy's time honored olive or grape harvest in Puglia, beekeeping in Slovenia, organic Balinese meals with farmers and herding cattle with the gauchos of Patagonia will be much sought after in the coming year.

Private Yachts - Villas of the Seas
The villa craze of the last couple decades is taking to the seas in 2014 as in-the-know travelers discover the pleasures of the private yacht. Presenting all the luxury and intimacy of a villa, fully crewed private ship charters offer groups of families and friends the thrill of touring different regions without the long drives, flights and repacking. Yachts also go where bigger cruise vessels cannot, to showcase sites that would otherwise remain unseen. With private yachts, passengers can be the captain of their own adventure, dropping anchor at their own pace. A new fleet of affordable charters in Hawaii, Greece, Italy, Turkey and Galapagos in 2014 also means that journeys by private yacht private yacht aren't just for the rich and famous any more.

Safaris With Heart - Hands On Animal Conservation
Exotic animal encounters on an African safari are not just for photo ops anymore. Instead travelers are delving beyond the lens to interact and help foster the preservation of endangered species and their habitats. From spending a day with anti-poaching units in Kenya, volunteering at a cheetah sanctuary in Namibia and monitoring endangered wild dogs in South Africa to walking with rescued elephants in Botswana, explaining the benefits of lemur conservation to tribes in Madagascar and helping to protect black rhinos in Zambia, there are a variety of ways for visitors to leave their legacy in Africa.

Private Access & Exclusive Face-to-Face Encounters
Affluent adventurers in 2014 are standing out from the crowds by booking private VIP tours featuring afterhours access to landmarks such as, Rome's Vatican, St. Petersburg's Hermitage, England's Windsor Castle, Siem Reap's Angkor Wat, or Beijing's Forbidden City. It's not just the destination that counts, it's also the people one meets along the way who can turn a trip into a legend. Face-to-face encounters with Dostoevsky's great great grandson, high tea with a Lord of the Manor in England, discovery of Bagan's cave paintings led by a UNESCO archaeologist, or lessons with sumo wrestling greats in the heyas of Hakone, have all seen a spike in sales and represent the future of travel.

Philippines: A Journey to Recovery
Before the devastating effects of November's typhoon, the "Pearl of the Pacific" had been climbing the globetrotting hotlists due to its exotic animal safaris, idyllic beaches, new generation of luxury properties and growing support for tourism. The Philippines is not to be missed as a 2014 destination as highlights such as Manila, Cebu, the chocolate hills of Bohol and the beaches of Bora are unaffected and the island need visitors more than ever. Tourism revenue will prove an essential component in the efforts to rebuild and will directly benefit the smiling and resilient Filipino people.

Normandy's 21st Century Invasion - Commemorating D-Day
June 6, 2014 marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day in France, making it the ideal time for a pilgrimage to this storied site. Travelers, historians and descendants of soldiers can follow in the footsteps of history by visiting the gripping beaches and haunting battle sites of Normandy. Regal commemorations, exhibitions, monuments, historical reenactments, parades, open air concerts, parachute drops and fireworks throughout the year will honor the brave people who fought in World War II.

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