It’s a far cry from seeing Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the Roman Colosseum — the package-trip hit parade — in a week.
“We used to book a lot of Europe and Asia where people just wanted to check spots off their list,” said Denise Ambrusko-Maida, a travel adviser and the owner of the travel agency Travel Brilliant in Buffalo, N.Y. “People are pulling away from tourist hot spots. They don’t want to be crammed in and shuffling along in lines.”
Rebecca Werner, a Chicago-based travel adviser with Protravel, recently booked a summer train trip to Glacier National Park for a Wisconsin family of four who are fans of the Netflix mini-series “The Queen’s Gambit.” It was a “good way to catch up with their kids and see some good scenery, plus play some chess on the train,” she said.
For these travelers, pursuing personal passions has supplanted the bucket list.
Working with the bespoke travel agency Untold Story Travel, David Demers of Naples, Fla., is organizing two nearly monthlong trips next year to Israel and the Mediterranean with ample time to pursue his interests in history, theater, food and art.
“In the past, travel was about packing in as much as you can, running around checking boxes, which becomes mechanical,” said Mr. Demers, who recently sold his health care company. “The pandemic taught us all that it’s OK to not go fast, to focus on what’s important.”
With that in mind, the travel company Sojrn recently launched monthlong trips staying in one destination, each with an educational theme such as philosophy in Athens, wine in Italy or Spanish language in Colombia. Travelers stay in local apartments and participate in weekly dinners and events, leaving lots of unstructured time to work and explore.
“I’m trying not to plan everything out to the minute like I have done in the past,” said Cara Wright, of Apple Valley, Minn., who plans to continue working for a nonprofit while in Italy in October with Sojrn.