It’s that time of year again, we look closely at booking trends, chat with our travel experts, brochure writers, customers and anyone else who will listen to us, and try to predict where the in-the-know traveller will be jetting off to in 2016.
This year’s list is a mix of the exotic, the adventurous, old favourites and “see before they’re gone” locations from all over the world. Wanderlust at the ready? Here we go…
Hot destinations for 2016
Bhutan is hot right now. Well, it’s pretty cold in the winter tbh, but it’s the destination on everyone’s lips. This isolated, mountainous kingdom is opening up to tourists, albeit very slowly, and the reports of those who’ve made it there are nothing short of inspiring.
The down side? You do need to be on an “approved travel program” to get there. The up side? That doesn’t mean it has to be a coach tour…
Tigers Nest Monastery, Bhutan
The number of flights from the UK to this much misunderstood country have increased in the past couple of years and it’s becoming easier to create your own Colombian adventure.
Go beyond Bogotá and Cartagena and check out the coffee region from Manizales, take part in The Lost City Trek (dubbed the ‘new Inca Trail’), and enjoy Caribbean beaches from the other side of the water.
We can't promise you'll look THIS happy.
Bali is great. No really, you have the option to party hard, relax in luxury or go off the beaten track and discover stunning beaches with a year-round surfer community.
But Indonesia is so much more than that. Think volcanic peaks peeping through jungle canopies, travelling by horse and cart into traditional villages, padding around ancient temples and visiting an orangutan rehabilitation centre. Yes Bali is great, but it’s time to get out more.
Rice fields on Java, Indonisia
Do we really have to sell Hawaii to you? Spend your days snorkelling with sea turtles, kayaking to see wild dolphins, camping on the water’s edge, hiking stunning trails and so much more.
If it seems a bit far to go for a holiday, think about adding it as an extra stop off on a bigger trip. The flight from L.A. to Auckland is a long one after all…
Long a feature the traveller’s to-do list thanks to it’s budget friendly, low cost adventures, Bolivia has developed quite a “beaten path” in terms of backpacker routes (though it’s worth mentioning that, when the beaten path includes the Salar de Uyuni, it’s a path worth taking).
There are still new adventures to be had here though, how does three days in a retro Airstream camper-van travelling across the incredible salt flats sound? Or kitting yourself out with a helmet and headlamp to visit a working silver mine? Or tracking down some of the more than 5,000 perfectly preserved dinosaur footprints around the Sucre region? Yeah Bolivia is still so cool, it’s hot.
From May 2016, British Airways is introducing new direct flights from Gatwick to Costa Rica, which means easier and faster access to one of the world’s most fascinating destinations.
Checking out the canopy in Costa Rica
The country is a cocktail of Caribbean flavours and Latin American culture, from the laid-back beach bar vibes on the East Coast to the colonial cities and Spanish influences inland and to the West. It’s not only a haven for adventure travellers (we’re talking jungle treks, white-water rafting, zip-lining and pretty much anything else) but the nature spotting and eco-tourism opportunities here are second to none.
When you think of the Maldives, what comes into your mind? If you said seven days aboard a traditional dhoni boat, hopping between beautiful uninhabited islands and small villages, swimming and snorkelling the days away on route, all for a fraction of the price of a “luxury” holiday, you’re lying or psychic.
The Maldives is finally opening up to travellers who don’t have the budget of a Russian oligarch. Get there now before all those surfers on Bali get wind of it and up sticks…
Cuba is on the brink of a massive change that came to our attention when Beyonce and Jay-Z rocked up in April 2013 (what, don’t you rely on Queen Bey for your travel news?). Since then we’ve seen the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with the US and relaxation of travel restrictions in late 2014. As things stand, potential travellers from the States still need to go through an approved tour operator in order to visit, but you can bet your Mojito that this will change sooner rather than later.
And when it does? Who knows what changes it will bring to this complex and beautiful island nation. Whether it will be for the better or worse is not up to us to speculate, but if you’d like to experience Cuba before then, you better get there fast.
Botswana is one of those places that you could be forgiven for thinking exists only in a David Attenborough documentary or glossy coffee table book. But you’d be wrong, it exists, it’s accessible, it’s not that hard on the wallet and it’s downright beautiful. Get there.
Why go to China? We could wax lyrical about panda sanctuaries, hidden mountain-top monasteries, sky bars, staring down a terracotta army, limestone valleys, huge slow rivers and enough street food options to last a life time…but instead we’ll just leave you with this thought: you can spend a night camping out under the stars ON the Great Wall of China. Yeah. Where’s our passport?