Journeys

Uncover Portugal by road this summer

Offering a cinematic mix of shimmering coastlines with rolling medieval hills and villages, Portugal is one of Europe’s most spectacular driving destinations. Perfectly sized for either a short day trip or a longer drive, Portugal’s inspiring road trips mean you can explore or relax to your heart’s content.

With an extensive fleet stretching from the vibrant northern city of Porto down to the golden shores of the Algarve, ROLZO makes it easy to pick a car and hit the road in this stunning country.

Journey from Porto into the splendid Douro Valley wine region

Explore the seductive streets, wine bars and neighbourhoods of Porto (especially the historic Ribeira district) and find out why it’s become such an alluring European destination in recent years. Located in the heart of the city, Le Monumental Palace is a fine place to stay before your journey into the Douro Valley.

The Douro river snakes through a patchwork of evocative landscapes and charming towns as you drive towards the beautiful sloping vineyards of the Douro Valley. Take the scenic N222 road as you leave Porto and enjoy the drive into the winding valleys, while making sure to stop off at the quaint riverside town of Pinhão to sample some of the region’s world-famous ports. And don’t leave the Douro Valley until you’ve driven up to the Casal de Loivos viewpoint and taken in some of Portugal’s finest countryside panoramas. 

If you want to spend a night or two in that majestic region, stay at the beautiful Six Senses Douro Valley and unwind among the vineyards.

Explore the sun-kissed Algarve

With its crystalline waters, dramatic cliffs and charming fishing villages, Portugal’s Algarve is one of Europe’s jewels of summer. Rent a car and have it personally delivered at your convenience in Faro or Portimão before hitting the A22 highway to explore some of the continent’s most picturesque stretches of coastline.

Sample the sublime seafood of Tavira before heading to the lively town of Lagos and see its unique rock formations. With its beaches popular among photographers, the free-standing rocks and stone arches found here are strange, beautiful and unlike anywhere else in Portugal. For one of the Algarve’s best-kept secrets, take the N120 over to the sandy paradise of Praia da Amoreira on the Atlantic coast.

Just a short drive from Portimão, the coastal splendour of the Bela Vista Hotel & Spa is an exceptional place to base yourself during your time in the Algarve. Set in the rusty red cliffs above Praia da Falésia and looking towards the turquoise coast, the secluded comfort of the Pine Cliffs Residence is perfect for a more relaxing stay during the busy summer season.

Discover Lisbon and the gems of Portugal’s southern interior

Famed for its iconic yellow trams, cobbled streets and superb gastronomy, Lisbon is a city that demands to be experienced for a day or two. Spend a night at the excellent Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon before having a car delivered and heading out to the quaint countryside dotted with historic towns and villages.

Drive out along the A6 to the well-preserved town of Évora (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and meander through its medieval centre, marvelling at the Roman ruins and beautiful 16th century golden age architecture. Take the E802 north into the vast Serra de São Mamede mountains where the ancient hilltop town of Marvão provides some of Portugal’s most breathtaking panoramas.

Get back on the road and drive west via the A23 to the scenic walled-town of Óbidos, before heading south to Sintra. Famous for the colourful Pena Palace castle soaring from the hills, Sintra’s historic centre and lush landscape make it an essential Portuguese experience. If you’re staying in Sintra then look no further than the spectacular Tivoli Palácio de Seteais Sintra Hotel.

Take a slow drive down to the coastal calm of Comporta

Lisbon’s a wonderfully vibrant city but when you want to unwind, there are few better places to relax than by the pristine blue waters of Comporta. Just over an hour’s drive from the capital, it’s located at the base of the Tróia Peninsula – a 13-mile-long, narrow sand spit made up of tranquil pine forest and a host of gorgeous beaches.

Hit the road and take the A2 south to Comporta where you’ll be met by one of Portugal’s most quietly chic resorts. Recognisable for its pastel-striped beach huts and glittering white sands, Praia da Comporta is one of the country’s most delightful beaches yet is still relatively undeveloped or awash with tourists. Drive 20 minutes south to Praia do Pego and watch the sun set at Restaurante Sal, with its fresh and impeccably prepared seafood.

Surrounded by cork trees and sand dunes, the secluded Sublime Comporta is a magical getaway with superb wellness options for optimum relaxation. Soak up Comporta’s natural beauty at Quinta da Comporta, a selection of beautiful villas and suites that’s focussed on sustainability and an authentic local feel.

ROLZO’S car recommendations

Take advantage of Portugal’s warm climate this summer by hitting the road in a BMW 8-Series Convertible. Or if you want to add some more speed to your journey, consider a Porsche 992 Carrera Convertible. For style, size and comfort during your time on the Atlantic coast, the Audi A8 is a fine executive choice. And for family trips into Portugal’s sweeping valleys, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is a great SUV option for exploring those picturesque landscapes with added space. 

From the rolling vineyards of the Douro Valley to the shimmering southern coast, the natural beauty of Portugal is best discovered by road so make it come to life with ROLZO this summer.

Sustainability

ROLZO + Travel Matters

With today’s travellers more environmentally conscious than ever and a younger generation who are turning words into actions, the fight for a cleaner planet is taking huge strides. But it’s just the beginning. With this mission in mind, ROLZO has teamed up with independent luxury travel agency Travel Matters to combat the effects of climate change together and promote using sustainable modes of transportation.

ROLZO is passionate about sustainability and offers the world’s largest fleet of electric vehicles (EV’s) while Travel Matters has crafted responsible travel experiences for over 20 years.

Here, Travel Matters founder Karen Simmonds and ROLZO’s CEO and founder Tom Ripert discuss the partnership, why sustainability is so important and what they hope to achieve together.

Why is sustainability important to your business?

Karen: Because it’s the core of our business! The principle of sustainability should always be an outward projection of how our decisions affect the environment and those around us. At our core, there is a simple and distinctive structure of organelles that create life. This system relies on the natural balancing of life. Even a minute change in PH can cause our cells to die. Much like how we are now directly seeing the death of our beautiful planet, due to the likes of carbon emissions and the burning of fossil fuels. Environmental degradation is just one facet of sustainability. Therefore, Travel Matters believes it has a responsibility to educate all travellers about the economic influences of tourism and the social imbalances it can cultivate. Once we can put ourselves in the shoes of our neighbours – irrespective of their background, race, gender, sexuality, political alignment and/or religion – it will only be then that we can start restoring and nurturing relationships. If we all take responsibility regarding themes of sustainability, we will all take a step closer to becoming a Global Citizen!

Tom: At ROLZO, we strive to reduce emissions of CO2 and pollutants by making more and more electric vehicles (EVs) available on the road. We also partner with climate and sustainable development expert Climate Care to offset carbon emissions associated with our clients’ journeys. We know how much business affects communities and building for the future in the most sustainable way possible will benefit everyone. Whether it’s a rural village or an urban neighbourhood, we have a responsibility to care for the environment, help communities and shape attitudes towards a cleaner planet for everybody. Unavoidable emissions are offset through projects including two world-leading clean cooking projects in Bangladesh and Ghana. Together, we can support projects that both deliver positive outcomes for the environment and improve the lives of local communities.  

What do you hope to achieve with the ROLZO/Travel Matters partnership?

Karen: Travel Matters looks to ROLZO as somewhat of a mentor! Everyone is under the impression that the travel sector’s biggest crux is aviation. Yes, of course it is detrimental to the environment, as it accounts for 12% of global CO2 emissions. However, compare that to road transport emitting 74% of CO2 emissions, and it’s clear that we are wholly too concerned with one sector. ROLZO has the largest fleet of electric vehicles in the world and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be partners with the market leader who is shaping the way in terms of transportation services. We also love that ROLZO has an unbelievable network of partners that stretch across the globe. We believe that they have a real influence and will make a difference helping anyone go carbon neutral.

Tom: ROLZO and Travel Matters are on the same learning path when it comes to living and running our businesses more sustainably. Our mission is to partner with travel professionals like Travel Matters to help counteract climate change by educating travellers and helping them to enjoy sustainable journeys in cities around the world. Electric Vehicles are the future and we will be there every step of the way. So, whether it’s through a soothing ride with a professional chauffeur or taking the wheel of an EV itself, Travel Matters’ clients are able to enjoy a clean electric future with ROLZO. Travel Matters has been showing how the world can travel more responsibly for many years now and their positive mindset should be the norm, not the exception. With this partnership, we hope to make a real difference in the fight for a cleaner planet and a sustainable future.

What sustainable travel trends do you see emerging in the next few years?

Karen: ‘Trend’ isn’t a phrase I like to use. It implies something is fleeting and dictated by fashion or whatever is popular at the time. If we are going to progress as a species, we need to adopt a lifestyle change. Don’t get me wrong, we want people to travel as it’s the best education they will ever gain. However, we want travellers to be savvier about how they reach their destination and what they do whilst they are there. For instance, experience the beauty of the countryside and book a train ticket. Spend a little more money and don’t cave into buying flights with stopovers. Spend more time at your destination and invest directly into the local community. Employers are encouraging working remotely more than ever so take advantage of this. Travel Matters has assembled a downloadable guide on how to become a more responsible global tourist and how you can ‘Make Your Travel Matter’. It’s a good start!

Tom: Sustainability is not just a trend for ROLZO, it is a call to action spurred on by our world changing at a faster pace than ever and with the recognition that earth’s resources are not endless. We’ve discussed concepts like Slow Travel before at ROLZO and Karen has already touched on a few of its elements that encourage more considerate travel. The environmental benefits of spending longer in a destination and avoiding excess air travel are undeniable, and I hope more travellers want to explore the world in a more compassionate way. If you lead by example and show the positive effects of your responsible journeys, it will become less of a ‘trend’ and more of a collective step forward for humanity and the planet. 

In your view, what are some of the biggest environmental challenges facing the industry at the moment? 

Karen: I would say that the biggest hurdle we face is embracing a renewable lifestyle. Travel Matters has recently teamed up with JUMP, who are helping businesses and workforces all over the U.K realise their potential in terms of achieving a NET ZERO status. What I mean by this is that every decision you make will have a consequence…much like the ‘Law of Cause and Effect’. If we can monitor and measure the benefit we are having on the environment, by making small changes to our lifestyles, we will be part of a collective network of ecologically responsible citizens. Don’t fill that kettle up all the way. Turn the light off. Recycle that bottle. Repair that jumper. These are all small things that add up! The younger generations are leaps and bounds ahead of us. They make these decisions unconsciously, meaning this system of belief works. We can’t solely rely on them though, as we will be handing over our most precious commodity, the earth, like a baton.

Tom: Climate change and the burdens placed on air quality, especially in cities, are among the key challenges we face. It’s no surprise that the cities embracing environmentally-friendly forms of travel like cycling and electric vehicles – Copenhagen or Stockholm, for example – are the ones with the least pollution and the cleanest air. It doesn’t just benefit the people who live there either – it’s better for wildlife, for the surrounding countryside and for the mindset of anybody who visits. I think this issue is the one that our partnership can have the most positive impact on.

A few closing thoughts…

Karen: The future of sustainable travel starts at home. If we can re-educate ourselves and take responsibility for our own actions and those who are immediately around us, we don’t have to impede on other livelihoods. It is so important to remember that our holiday destination is someone else’s home. You wouldn’t trash your own living room, so don’t trash someone else’s.  

Tom: No single company can remove the carbon footprint on its own but the hundreds of companies working together and educating travellers, collectively, can help reduce the environmental impact. We are all in and dedicated to our ambition to guide the industry forward and change the way the world moves. I think a global shift is taking place, but everybody needs to play their part. Positive ventures like ours are just the beginning of something bigger.

Journeys

Taking Travel to Creative New Heights

For those with a passion for travel, a vivid imagination and the power to dream can take them to places few may ever see. And journeys that evoke feelings of wonder and meaning are the ones that stay with us the longest.

With the ambition to grant access to a world beyond, some travel curators have crafted unique trips exclusively for the dreamers chasing those magic moments. From wild journeys inspired by novels to once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse viewings in Antarctica, here are some of the most creative and thoughtful ways to see the world in 2021.

Getting creative with curated travel

Before ever stepping foot on a plane or a train, as children our minds will have travelled thousands of miles in the books we once read, imagining faraway lands of mystery and wonder. It’s those happy memories that luxury travel agency Black Tomato are trying to evoke with their latest set of unique travel experiences – Take me on a story.

From the pastoral English countryside to the snow-capped mountains of Alaska and the vast deserts of Morocco, their vision is to take the traveller on a journey inspired by the vivid landscapes found in books they may have read in childhood. 

Whether it’s Alice in Wonderland or Treasure Island, Black Tomato have curated itineraries that include unique activities similar to those found in the books, as well as bringing a photographer along to capture every moment.

“After the hardships of last year, being able to transport both children and adults into these rich, whimsical worlds feels like the ultimate joyful way to reconnect with family and welcome back the magic of travel,” said Tom Marchant, Black Tomato’s co-founder.

Switching mediums to the movies, the Middle Earth Tour by Zicasso takes travellers on a journey through the stunning cinematic landscapes of New Zealand that were used for much of the filming of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

Getting creative with the choice of destination itself is another option – i.e. the sort of destination a traveller would normally not consider, or perhaps even think about. Scenic’s 6-star cruises through Antarctica could certainly be classed as one. Pristine and otherworldly, the scenery in this remote part of Earth is completely unique, and Scenic offer helicopter and submarine rides to take an even closer look.

The secret is…timing

Take a trip towards the Arctic Circle during winter and there’s a good chance you’ll witness Earth’s most spectacular light show. Whether it’s in Iceland, Canada, Alaska or Sweden, when you turn your eyes to the clear night sky you should be able to see the ethereal glow of the Northern Lights.

For a more unique way of viewing the shimmering greens and purples of the Aurora Borealis, take a trip on Cunard’s magnificent Queen Victoria for a 12-night cruise through Norway’s spectacular fjords featuring astrology talks from guest expert speakers.

Some curated journeys take precision timing to the next level, however.

Situated deep in Argentina’s sublime and vast Patagonian Desert, PRIOR’s exclusive 7-night escape in December 2020 featured one of nature’s rarest and most striking displays – a total solar eclipse. While the trip also took in horseback riding, kayaking, yoga and hiking, the opportunity to witness such naturally occurring phenomena in such a grandiose and unspoilt location was undeniably alluring.

4:34AM on December 4th 2021 is the next time a solar eclipse will take place and Black Tomato’s private yacht charter takes travellers down to Antarctica’s frozen landscapes for this spectacular event (the next one is in 2023). With the sun hanging low and hovering just above the icy horizon, the moment the eclipse briefly turns out the lights will be a moment to remember.

Crafted for trends

As Black Tomato’s Tom Marchant hinted earlier in the article, their carefully curated Take me on a story concept is aimed at a particular travel trend that could see serious growth in 2021 and beyond. With families separated for so long during the pandemic, multigenerational travel is a trend that makes a lot of sense in the post-COVID era.

“This is a collection we will continue to grow by inviting clients to shape our offerings with their favourite books that can inspire their family travels. We believe these trips will not only provide an engaging, experiential platform for education, but importantly inspire wanderlust and excitement, in the build-up to travel,” explained Marchant.

Sustainability and conservation are also topics at the heart of many travellers’ thoughts now too, and it’s no surprise that some travel agencies have curated journeys around those very themes.

Impact Destinations is one such agency and their philanthropic journey into Costa Rica’s jungles to help with the conservation of its tropical environment is a fine example of just how rewarding travel can be.

Travellers can give back by helping document the forest and collecting specimens – an experience only available to professionals just a few years ago.

Not all travel experiences need to have meaning, but the ones that do will last forever.

Journeys

5 Epic US Road Trips this Summer

The expanse of the United States offers every driving sensation imaginable, but some journeys elevate themselves above others. When getting behind the wheel for a US road trip, the journey becomes the destination and there’s no better country to explore during the warm summer months. ROLZO driving journeys provide the opportunity for travellers to drive the world’s finest cars in the world’s most dramatic locations. Each itinerary captures a unique voyage and set the drivers on a journey of discovery along the most scenic routes, visiting remote destinations and gracing various asphalt driveways.

Pacific Coast Highway | San Francisco to Los Angeles | Length: 460 miles

Yes, it’s popular, but the lure of the sun-kissed Pacific Coast Highway drive down from San Francisco to Los Angeles is undeniable. Cruising by scenes of soaring mountains, towering trees, golden beaches and endless sky, this route also allows a window into California’s unique character. Surfing villages, elephant seal watching, farm-fresh foods and local wine are all part of the journey before it ends amid the glamour of LA. Check-in at charming coastal towns like Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea before passing through the dreamy redwood forests of Big Sur. For some of California’s most unforgettable scenes along this route, stop off for a night or two at the award-winning Post Ranch Inn. Perched high on a 1200ft coastal ridge, the ocean and mountain vistas at this luxury eco-resort are unmatched. The stylish Hotel Californian in vibrant Santa Barbara is a classy way to see out your journey. 

I-15 | Las Vegas to Salt Lake City | Length: 420 miles

Offering the maximum contrast between man and nature, this journey begins amid the glowing neon lights of Las Vegas and takes you out to stark grandeur of Arizona’s deserts and Utah’s ethereal rock formations. Heading out from the bright lights of Vegas, this drive quickly reveals an epic landscape that’s dotted by some of the most iconic sights in America along the way. The Hoover Dam, Great Salt Lake and Utah’s otherworldly Zion National Park can all be made part of this journey north so it’s worth spending a few days, if not a week, to take in the experience. Start your trip off in style at the stunning Wynn Las Vegas, before heading out to one of the world’s most secluded resorts. Amangiri’s luxury suites and tented pool pavilions just east of Zion National Park are in a setting like no other. 

Blue Ridge Parkway | Afton, Virginia, to Cherokee, South Carolina | Length: 469 miles

A total change in atmosphere from Utah’s sparse red rocks, the lush green valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains are filled with twisting roads and stunning viewpoints that sparkle in the summer sun. Winding its way through the Appalachian Mountains to the Great Smoky Mountains, your drive takes in cascading waterfalls, preserved historic sites and charming small towns along the way. The most unique moments, however, are witnessing the heavy mist blanketing the rolling landscape at dusk and dawn. Make sure to seek out iconic viewpoints such as Cahas Knob Overlook and Mill Mountain Overlook. Welcoming guests for over a century, the Omni Grove Park Inn in pretty Asheville is an opulent way to start your journey into this picturesque landscape. Further north in Virginia, the spas of the Omni Homestead Resort are a perfect way to relax after a long drive.

Historic New England, Cape Cod | Boston to Provincetown | Length: 115 miles

Witness New England in full summer bloom by getting behind the wheel and driving down from vibrant Boston into Cape Cod’s quaint collection of bayside villages and towns. Stop off at historic Plymouth on the way, before turning onto the Cape Cod peninsula via the picturesque Massachusetts Route 6A. Also known as the Old King’s Highway, this 62-mile drive strings together one charming village after another. From the old-world cafes and shops of Sandwich up to the pretty beaches of Cape Cod National Seashore, it’s a perfect drive for a bright summer day. Finish your journey at the tip of the Cape in colourful Provincetown.   Located on Pleasant Bay, the Wequassett Resort offers a beautiful coastal escape if you want to break up your trip into a few days. And if you’d like to explore the cobblestone streets and neighbourhoods of Boston, there’s no better place than the magnificent Four Seasons Hotel Boston.

National Parks Tour | Jackson Hole to Glacier National Park | Length: 558 Miles

Not only is summer the best time of year to drive through the big sky country of Wyoming and Montana, it’s also home to some of the USA’s most glorious and unspoilt scenery. Leaving Jackson Hole on route 390, head towards the snow-capped peaks of Grand Teton National Park before turning north into the stunning wilderness of Yellowstone National Park. Continue this scenic drive north into Montana’s Glacier National Park and take the famous Going-to-the-Sun-Road. With its highest point at 6,646 feet, this epic final drive will take you past towering mountains, alpine lakes, iconic wildlife and vast glaciers. If you want to spend a few days exploring Grand Teton National Park, then the Four Seasons at Teton Village is an elegant base camp. Further north, stop off at the stunning Ranch at Rock Creek on your way to Glacier National Park.

Whether it’s cruising down the Californian coast or driving through the majestic mountains of Utah, a summer of American adventure awaits with ROLZO.

Sustainability

ROLZO + CLIMATECARE

ROLZO has selected ClimateCare to offset its carbon emissions with projects that cut carbon and improve lives. As part of ROLZO’s approach to take responsibility for its impact on the environment, it has partnered with climate and sustainable development expert ClimateCare to offset carbon emissions associated with its travellers’ journeys.

Through its partnership with ClimateCare, ROLZO takes responsibility for its climate impacts by supporting carbon reduction projects that deliver positive sustainable development outcomes. It purchases verified carbon credits to offset the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by ROLZO journeys based on the number of miles driven in cities around the world.

As well as taking actions to reduce its footprint through providing access to sustainable journeys in electric vehicles, unavoidable emissions will be offset through projects including two world-leading clean cooking projects in Bangladesh and Ghana. ROLZO supports projects that both deliver positive outcomes for the environment and improve the lives of local communities. With ROLZO, travellers and travel managers know that the climate impacts of their transportation and car rental are reduced.

“We are delighted to work with experts in this sector, ClimateCare. They have over 20 years’ experience running some of the most innovative and largest voluntary carbon offset programmes in the world. Working with them has allowed us to take full responsibility for our carbon footprint and integrate action to tackle climate change and improve people’s lives.” Tom Ripert, Founder and CEO at ROLZO.

ClimateCare’s Head of Client Services, Aude Duquesne explains: “We work with forward-thinking organisations to turn their climate responsibilities into positive outcomes. Our trademark Climate+Care approach helps organisations take a smart approach to address their environmental impacts by offsetting their carbon emissions through projects which also support sustainable development”.

Insights

Is privacy the new ultimate luxury?

With safety and privacy at the forefront of travellers’ minds, the future of travel could forever change.

From the growing demand for private jet travel and chauffeured door-to-door services spanning destinations in near total seclusion to luxury hotels and private villas offering greater sanctuary than ever before, exploring the world in unparalleled privacy could be a transformative step forward.

So how to embrace a hyper-private mode mindset and where will it take us in the future?

Getting off the grid

Perhaps no form of travel personifies escapism more than air travel. And the aviation industry is leading the way in terms of new travel concepts that have privacy at their heart. 

“Before, you had many people who could afford to fly privately but instead flew commercially,” said Ryan Waguespack, senior vice president of the National Air Transportation Association. “They viewed it as a luxury they didn’t need. Now, many see it as the essential way to travel because of the safety it offers.”

The safety aspect is clear but the convenience and seclusion that private flight offers too are undeniable benefits. In fact, most private jet companies noted an increase in business in 2020. And, as CNBC reported last year, prices for certain flights are now 30% to 50% cheaper than they were the previous year, bringing private-jet tickets closer in line with first-class or business-class seats.

“We are registering a 27% Year on Year increase in bookings over the past three weeks alone,” said Bernhard Fragner in March 2020, CEO of GlobeAir, Europe’s leading private jet charter operator. According to a report by GlobeAir, passengers travelling by private jet have a 30 times lower risk of contagion than if they were to fly commercial.

Concepts such as jetpooling – sharing the cost of a private jet with people you know rather than braving the uncertainties of commercial travel if you’re not chartering on your own – have seen significant growth over the last year too. So much so, that referral/invitation-only London-based Minerva Private Travel & Lifestyle Management are now offering private jet shares for the first time.

Another rising trend that brings a previously unforeseen degree of seclusion has been the sale of prepaid cards that offer just a limited number of hours flying – around 10 or more hours. Distant are the days when to fly privately you had to own the plane or own a fractional interest in one – this concept has brought more people (often those with a slightly lower net worth) into the market who find they can fly in privacy for leisure as well as business trips.

From the very first minute

The private mindset isn’t just limited to the skies, however. 

The convenience of travelling in total privacy can now begin from the very first minute of your journey.

With professional chauffeurs able to pick you up at your front door in a high-end car of choice, you can avoid crowds and enjoy safe travel between destinations in a fully private space with the finest onboard entertainment. 

Whether it’s from Los Angeles to San Francisco or even New York to Miami, long-distance services allow clients to save time by skipping airports or train stations and instead enjoy a seamless door-to-door pick-up and drop-off — no change of transportation needed.

“Buyers are now proposing travellers consider ground transportation for longer trips,” said Neil Hammond, partner with business travel consultancy GoldSpring Consulting.

“Generally we find that for a 200-mile trip, people would rather fly than drive, but now people may realise driving is more efficient, and some of this change could be here to stay. They are equally as worried about disruption and delay as catching the virus. With roads less congested, driving offers a better option.”

With world-leading services such as ROLZO taking convenience and privacy to an entirely new level, this mode of travel could see exponential growth in the coming years.

The hyper-private mindset is ultimately about a change of scene and finding a safe haven. But, what do those secluded safe havens look like?

Finding your sanctuary

“While people are eager to get back to traveling, physical distancing will not go away immediately when restrictions lift; it’s now a mindset,” explained Misty Belles, Managing Director of Global Public Relations at luxury travel company Virtuoso.

“Villas and property buyouts are the perfect solution for those who want to travel, but still keep their distance from other guests,” continued Belles. “People are even taking over small boutique hotels.”

Take for example Sweet Bocas, a colourful self-sustainable villa that’s perched on stilts and surrounded by shimmering turquoise waters. Located on the Caribbean coast of Panama, the overwater home is only accessible by boat – perhaps another way of travel that may see greater traction in the coming years?

“Customers are now seeking more privacy as well as having exclusivity, when it comes to things like amenities and outdoor space,” says Rosella Beaugié of luxury villa company The Thinking Traveller. “Villa holidays are the ideal choice for these travellers because they offer more secluded and intimate settings while providing access to amenities and services typically offered by hotels (think: private chefs, housekeeping and wine tasting).”

As for hospitality in the city, the benefits of seclusion can be felt simply by renting out a private residence in a 5-star hotel managed property such as London’s One Denman Place. And with exceptional door-to-door services like ROLZO able to facilitate effortless travel like never before, the possibilities are endless.

With the option of a private flight and/or a chauffeured service taking you to your sanctuary, adopting a hyper-private mode mindset is a new art de vivre that will likely reshape the choices we make on how we travel for years to come. 

Insights

Is the future of travel passport-less?

“Never let a good crisis go to waste” is one of Winston Churchill’s most famous quotes, allegedly said during the darkest days of World War II. And while there are many ways to read Churchill’s celebrated lament, we should just go to the simplest one – dramatic change means opportunities for growth.  

Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has been challenging for the travel industry, it has given fresh insights into long-established practices, and may act as a scientific and technological accelerator. 

And with the upcoming introduction of vaccine passports, travel looks to be one of the first sectors to benefit from this forward thinking. But the changes don’t stop there. Will we eventually enter a pioneering world of passport-less travel?

What Is a Vaccine Passport Exactly?

Essentially, it’s digital documentation to prove that an individual has been vaccinated against a virus – in this case COVID-19. With data usually presented as a QR code, it can be stored on your phone as part of a digital wallet or on an app.

‘We will beat this crisis and reconnect our world’ reads the optimistic headline on the website of the International Air Travel Association (IATA), and it’s their app that could kickstart the rejuvenation of global travel. With 290 airlines calling themselves members, the IATA travel app will allow governments and airlines to digitally collect, access and share information on the status of individual passengers’ Covid-19 test and vaccination.

In fact, as far back as November Qantas CEO Alan Joyce had been talking about asking people to have a vaccination before getting on their aircraft. “For international visitors coming out and people leaving the country we think that’s a necessity,” he said.

But it’s not just airlines who are playing their part – individual countries will also need to decide what their policies will be at the borders. And with summer approaching, it’s imperative for countries who rely significantly on tourism to have all their processes in order.

Tourism provides 27 million jobs throughout Europe and generates around 10% of the E.U.’s GDP, so countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy will be desperate to encourage the return of summer tourists with the vaccination passport appearing as the best scheme to facilitate travel to the E.U.

“The trend now is towards what’s likely to be open,” said Toby Kelly, CEO of UK travel agency Trailfinders, when talking about destinations that will be most willing to enable the vaccine passport concept.

The Effects of New Technology

But vaccine passports aren’t without their concerns either however, with the most obvious one being the creation of a so-called ‘two-tier’ society – i.e. having one group of people who have been vaccinated and can therefore freely travel, and anybody who hasn’t been vaccinated and has to stay where they are.  

And with countries such as the UK on a rapid vaccination programme and on track to open up for summer, it could be seen as unfair that countries with less access to the vaccines have to sit tight and suffer the consequences for longer.

There’s also the issue of data privacy, a subject that will always raise its head when the handing over of sensitive personal details is concerned.

“Governments shouldn’t rush it. I think it’s a Pandora’s box and think it’s a slippery slope into having life being governed by your health status,” said Clare Wenham, an assistant professor of global health policy at the London School of Economics.

Clouds and Digital Identity – Is the Future of Travel Closer Than We Think?

With any vaccine passport likely to use both cloud technology and biometrics, international travel in 2021 could be seen as a vast experiment for the possibility of passport-less travel in the future. And surely that’s a good thing?

“Why carry your passport around with you when it’s held securely in the cloud?” said Andrew Bud, founder and CEO of iProov, who, together with Mvine, is trialling a vaccine certificate in the U.K.

“This is pretty important,” explained Bud. “The evolution of vaccine certificates will actually drive the whole field of digital identity in the future. Therefore, this is not just about COVID, this is about something even bigger.”

So, with better, safer and more efficient ways to travel potentially on the horizon, 2021 could be a ground-breaking year that brings a new digital dynamism to an industry ready to spread its wings.

Insights

Is Slow Travel the Most Rewarding Way of Seeing the World?

The Rewards of Slow Travel

Where did the time go? It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves towards the end of a holiday. And while you enjoyed some of those once-in-a-lifetime moments that only travel can offer, perhaps you’re craving a deeper connection with that memorable city or country. 

Yet all you need is a change of mindset to use your time more effectively – and that’s where slow travel comes in. Slow travel encourages taking the time to appreciate your new surroundings, to travel in a more sustainable way and to connect with the soul of a location – its people, its culture, its heritage and its food. By spending longer in one place we not only contribute to the local economy in a positive way, we also foster meaningful relationships and a unique understanding of what makes that location tick.

So could 2021 be the year we start to really see slow travel’s exciting potential flourish?

The Genesis of Responsible Tourism

Slow travel takes its inspiration from the slow food movement, a concept originating from Italy in the mid-1980’s when people saw that increased tourism was changing the way that people were eating and bringing larger, chain-based restaurants to major cities, thus taking away profits from family-owned establishments. Through a broader philosophy of appreciation for time and heritage, it aimed to preserve regional cuisine, local farming and traditional cooking methods through education of tourists and local residents.

35 years later, it isn’t a large leap to apply similar maxims to the way we travel. It also projects to be a concept that’s here to stay because of how younger consumers are shaping future travel trends. With greater sensibilities of how to help the planet and preserve more traditional ways of life, millennials are seen as ideal purveyors of slow travel.

“Responsible tourism is back in a big way,” says Tom Barber, co-founder of luxury tailor-made holiday company Original Travel. And he’s confident that it’s that younger generation who are leading the drive towards this more sustainable way of seeing the world. “They are the most ethical consumers ever,” Barber explains. “So, companies are offering ways of travelling that are increasingly ethical and less damaging to the planet.”

But what are some of the main benefits of slow travel?

Culture, Connection and Compassion

Looking closer at the main environmental benefits, the strong emphasis on staying in one location for a longer amount of time means we cut down on some of the biggest transport polluters – especially air travel. Eco-friendly alternatives like trains and bikes are favoured, while as the decade progresses, we’ll also see electric cars become a prominent part of the movement too.

Once settled in, you can then take the time to explore the neighbourhood and discover superb spots at your own pace. Spend your mornings relaxing at unique and vibrant cafes, exclusive to the area with their own distinct style and atmosphere. Get to know the owners and locals, absorbing the vibe of the area and its culture. Unearth fresh ingredients at colourful local markets and have a chef cook their unique delicacies at home.

Those local trips not only help the neighbourhood thrive, they also come with the benefit of building bonds and fostering connections with the community – a unique experience rarely found in traditional weekend city breaks or resort holidays.

“When done right it can leave positive impacts that will last long past your trip, benefiting the local communities, economies and wildlife,” says Justin Francis, CEO of activist travel company Responsible Travel.

“Slow travel enables us to learn, relax and rejuvenate,” he says. “To be part of a place for a short period rather than just crash through it.”

Where to Explore

So, you’ve got the mindset, but where do you want to travel?

Perhaps go back to where it all began and spend some time in beautiful Italy this summer. But instead of Rome at the height of the tourist season, maybe spend a week or two savouring the sublime wines, cinematic scenery and distinct culture of Tuscany’s charming towns and villages? Maybe set up base at the stunning Relais Borgo Santo Pietro, before exploring all of its regional delights. 

Though the glitz and glamour of Hollywood often comes to mind when thinking of California, the Golden State is also a wonderful place to slow travel. Not only is the Californian coast perfect for a road trip, it’s also full of eco-friendly luxury lodges (such as Big Sur’s majestic Post Ranch Inn) and charming towns to spend a few easy days in.

One of the world’s most alluring countries, slow travel is an excellent way of exploring Japan’s distinct culture at your own pace. Discovering Kyoto’s ancient spirit, charming neighbourhoods and superb coffee scene is an activity that shouldn’t be rushed. The beautiful Aman Kyoto embraces Kyoto’s unique culture and style, making it a fine central base to explore the city’s vibrant communities. 

 ROLZO proudly empowers local communities by working with a hand-picked and highly vetted network of local fleet partners that uphold the highest standards for quality and service in each region of the world.

Insights

Could Revenge Travel be the hottest trend of 2021?

“The best form of revenge is success,” once said Frank Sinatra. Adjust that famous saying by swapping ‘success’ for ‘travel’, and you have what might be 2021’s hottest travel trend. Essentially built on the concept of liberation, revenge travel is a brave and exciting movement. Missing out on the enriching experience of travel and discovery for almost an entire year has been difficult for many of us, but this concept could open up a world of possibilities.

Surprisingly, it isn’t a new phenomenon

According to Nikkei Asia, revenge travel is ‘a riff on the 1980s concept of revenge spending’, traced back to the spending explosion that took place in China at the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976. As the country emerged from an economic recession, Chinese shoppers splurged on high-end products, and the sales for luxury brands skyrocketed. 

In fact, the pattern repeated itself last year in stunning style in China’s southern city of Guangzhou. On the day its flagship store reopened in April 2020, French high-fashion retailer Hermès brought in $2.7 million, the highest figure for a single boutique in China. Will the travel sector follow retail’s path?

But while the concept of liberation after a period in the dark isn’t anything new, it’s probably fair to say that it hasn’t been seen on a global scale before. Now, as we emerge into a hopeful 2021, the entire world feels ready to spread its wings and make up for the lost year of 2020.

Even back in May 2020, a Harris Poll of 2,500 US travellers found that the yearning to travel had only increased, with feelings of a strong need to explore and have a change of scenery as one of the biggest motivational factors. But what are travel industry professionals saying about revenge travel? 

An inside perspective

“We’re seeing inquiries that are quite ambitious, and I think that’s because people have had months to re-evaluate their lives and are emerging with a different perspective on things,” said Mark Allvey, CEO of Untold Story Travel when speaking to the Boston Globe in December 2020.

“There’s a renewed realization that life is short and not everything has to be saved for a rainy day,” explained Allvey. Untold Story creates custom high-end travel trips and some of their recent bookings perhaps shed some light on the positive thinking that the revenge travel concept inspires.

Two families hired Untold Story to plan an outlandish “desert island survival” competition for them in Panama. Another group of friends are renting an entire castle in Scotland and three different families have commissioned a Mamma Mia!-themed escape to the beautiful Greek Island of Mykonos.

And while these examples are perhaps at the more unusual end of the revenge travel trend, it does show an inclination to look beyond the typical holiday and finally book that dream experience.

Perhaps the most poignant example of this comes from the luxury travel company Red Savannah, who told the story of a couple who were scheduled to be married in 2020 but were forced to delay the wedding until 2021. Their frustration led to them upgrading their honeymoon to offset the stress and sadness of the postponement. Maybe inspired by the revenge travel concept, they’re now including Rwanda, South Africa, Botswana, and the Seychelles in their honeymoon.

A positive year ahead, however you choose it

That is an extreme example of an upgrade but 2021 could also see smaller changes to your bookings that make a big difference, such as better hotel suites, moving up from economy to business class on your next flight or booking private and safer car transfers with ROLZO

Luxury Travel Advisor Josh Alexander of Protravel International said in an interview last September that his clients are “typically spending more than they originally planned to upgrade their room to a suite or to book a more expensive hotel.”

But also, don’t forget about classic movie-style getaways such as the long-distance road trip – certainly one of the more romantic ways to explore the revenge travel concept. So, whether it’s cruising down the Californian coast or booking that dreamy trip to the Maldives, there’s plenty of hope that travel will bounce back stronger than ever.

And with luxury mobility in more than 300 cities across 60 countries, ROLZO looks forward to supporting travellers in their future positive journeys in 2021.

Sustainability

ELECTRIC MOBILITY LEADERS

Though the world has been shaken up by the COVID-19 crisis, it’s also given us pause for thought in regard to how we’re doing things and living our lives. Sobering images last year of crystal-clear canals in Venice and a peaceful Times Square in New York have made us all think much harder about sustainability and the ways we can create a cleaner planet. But some countries have been thinking about these issues long before March 2020 slowed us down. EV’s represent the future of auto travel and electric mobility is one of the strongest solutions in the fight for sustainability.

With ROLZO offering responsible electric travel all over the world, here are some countries that are leading the way for electric mobility:

China

If the 20th century was the American century, then one could certainly argue that the 21st century is China’s. Of the 7.2 million EV’s on the world’s roads in 2019, 47% were in China. And while its significant manufacturing capabilities have never been in doubt, the question is whether it would be able to innovate to the same degree as its rivals. That question has now been answered. Today, China is not only the biggest producer of electric vehicles (and by some distance), it is also a trailblazer in the lithium-ion battery technology that powers EVs as well as smartphones and other mobile devices. China also accounts for over half of the world’s electric chargers.

With its massive population and fast-emerging middle class, China has a ready-made domestic market that’s able to support innovation while sustaining high levels of production. And with the Chinese government pledging to convert the nation into an international innovation leader by 2030, expect electric mobility to stay at the top of the agenda.

ROLZO cities in China include Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Lijiang and Hangzhou.

Germany

Home to some of the world’s most esteemed manufacturers, German innovation is a reliable contributor to the progress of electric mobility. With cutting edge technology provided by BMW’s i models and Mercedes Benz’s EQ range, Europe’s largest economic power is producing some of the finest luxury EV’s on the market and perhaps changing the image of electric cars along the way. It’s one thing for a relatively new name like Tesla to try to convince the world to buy into EV’s, it’s another for a renowned giant like Mercedes Benz to invest so heavily into the technology.

And with news last year that Germany will require all petrol stations to provide electric car charging, there’s no doubt as to how serious the country is about embracing EV’s for the foreseeable future.

ROLZO cities in Germany include Frankfurt, Berlin, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Gelsenkirchen and Leipzig.

United States

Although sales had a slight downturn in 2019, the USA is still a huge part of the EV drive. And leading that drive, of course, is Californian manufacturer Tesla and their insatiable thirst for exciting new electric technology mixed with a splash of style. With over 500,000 units sold, the Model 3 is now the best-selling electric car in history and its launch outside of the United States has only expanded Tesla’s reach. 1.6 million plug-in electric cars have been sold in the USA since 2010, with incentives such as federal tax credits offered on a huge number of EV’s to keep up the interest.

The USA has had a love affair with the automobile for many years and car ownership is deeply woven into the fabric of society. Of course, that means that it’s also one of the world’s largest polluters, but on the other hand there’s enormous potential for the USA to lead the way to a cleaner future if the nation can become convinced that EV’s are the way to go.

There are over 80 ROLZO cities in the United States including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

France

Outside of China, France leads the world in its adoption of light-duty EV’s. With almost 500,000 registered in France since 2010, it’s the Renault Zoe that has really caught the public’s imagination and its sales alone have now crashed through the 100,000 mark.  One particularly unique development that occurred in the first six months of 2020 was the record sales of EV’s in France, achieved despite the strong global decline in car sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What does this show? It means that there’s a clear appetite for EV’s and perhaps a longer-term change in perception of what they represent in France. In fact, a study by OC&C showed 77% of French people are considering switching to electric or hybrid technology for their next vehicle – the largest of the five countries that took part (China, the United States, Great Britain, and Germany). In its actions and its words, France is working strongly towards sustainability.

There are 20 ROLZO cities in France including Paris, Marseille and Lyon.

As the numbers in China and the attitudes in France have shown, change can happen if we want it to. And with EV use now on a relentless upwards trajectory, from North America to Europe and across to Asia, it’s clear that the change to a cleaner planet has already begun. Find out more about ROLZO’s EV options right here