A new year is on the horizon. While many of us start off with a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm, the winter blues can soon set in. After the joy and merriment of the festive season comes a lull, and what better way to break out and liven up than thinking about your next trip? If the prospect of a brand new year has got you dreaming about dazzling destinations, here is some inspiration to help you choose where to travel in 2018.
A rough diamond, New Zealand is an adventurer’s paradise. Home to mountain ranges, waterfalls, glaciers, lakes and deserted beaches flanked by rugged dunes, this is a country with some of the most breathtaking scenery on the planet. The best way to travel around New Zealand’s two islands is by car. The islands are small, and the roads incredibly quiet. If you pick up a hire car in Christchurch, you can easily negotiate your way around South Island in a week or two depending on how much time you have available. The same applies to exploring North Island from either Wellington or Auckland. New Zealand boasts an endless list of highlights, and if you don’t plan to uproot and relocate permanently, it’s well worth putting an itinerary together that ensures you enjoy the best bits. Scale the ice sheets on the Franz Josef Glacier, visit Lake Wanaka and Lake Matheson, sail the tranquil waters of Milford Sound and relax in the thermal springs at Rotorua. Live the high life in Auckland and set your pulses racing in Queenstown, the home of adventure sports. Direct flights operate to New Zealand, but visiting this country also offers great opportunities for a multi-center trip. You could stop off in Australia, Fiji or Dubai, for example.
Affectionately known as the land of fire and ice, Iceland is climbing the most popular destinations list year on year. The good news is that although there has been an influx of tourists, Iceland is still a relative newcomer on the scene, and this means that it remains unspoiled. Iceland is an incredibly beautiful country, which boasts pristine white icebergs floating around vivid blue waters, volcanoes, glaciers, geysers and thermal pools. You could easily kick back and relax in Iceland, but you could also embark on a series of adrenaline-pumping adventures. There’s a broad spectrum of pursuits on offer here, including glacier walking, hiking, caving, sea kayaking, snowmobiling, whale watching and ice climbing. Most tour operators are based in Reykjavik, but Iceland is an excellent place to take a road trip. This is a fantastic way to experience the rest of this glistening wilderness. Highlights include the Blue Lagoon, Gullfoss and the Golden Circle, Reykjavik centre, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and the black sand beach of Reynisfjara. If you visit between November and March, you may also be able to see the magical Northern Lights. Flights to Iceland are widely available, and increased competition has driven prices down.
Chile has long been a popular destination for intrepid backpackers, but it’s starting to appeal more to the mass market. This diverse, vibrant country boasts fascinating geography and an array of natural wonders that will blow you away. From the arid sands of the Atacama Desert and the jagged peaks of the Andes to the granite stacks and crystal clear glaciers of Patagonia, Chile is a veritable wonderland for adventurous types. The good news for travelers looking to enjoy the great outdoors in Chile is that direct flights are becoming more widely available. However, you will have to make your way from major cities like Santiago to reach your destination. For a more bespoke itinerary or a once in a lifetime trip, it may be worth considering alternatives to commercial flights like the possibility of renting a jet. Of course, most people will have questions about prices. So, how much does a private jet charter cost? There’s no universal answer to this question, and the best thing to do is get some quotes based on your departure date and your destination. If a jet isn’t an option, and you choose to take the well-trodden tracks and start your journey in Santiago, you won’t be disappointed. This is an energetic, trendy city, which will provide a fantastic base for your travels. While you’re in Santiago, check out La Moneda Palace, Plaza de Armas and San Cristobal Hill.
An island retreat marooned in the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is a stunning spot to relax, enjoy the local culture and appreciate some awe-inspiring views. Although only a small island, Mauritius has real character and there’s plenty going on to keep you busy if you fancy leaving your lounger for the day. The beaches are out of this world, and if you head inland, you’ll also find verdant forests, peaceful glades and thundering waterfalls. The capital, Port Louis is a bustling, charming city well worth visiting. While in Mauritius, you can experience a host of activities including snorkelling and diving, boat trips, water sports and getting acquainted with the island’s most precious residents, the giant tortoises. It’s not every day you get to feed these magnificent creatures, so it’s well worth taking a trip to one of the island’s reserves and enjoying this unique experience. It’s easy to get around Mauritius by taxi, and you can also hire bikes and cars. There’s also a good local bus service that serves the major towns and resorts. For the best beaches, head to Ile aux Cerfs, Flic en Flac, Trou aux Biches and Belle Mare. Many airlines operate flights via Dubai, which gives you the chance to enjoy two very different breaks and experience city slicking and laid-back living.
Are you looking forward to taking a vacation in 2018? With the holidays soon to become a distant memory, there’s no better time to start planning an adventure. If you’re short on ideas, or you’re keen to break the mold and go somewhere you’ve never been before, why not take a look at these incredible destinations? Hopefully, this guide has got you thinking, and you’ll be starting your countdown to the next trip in no time at all!