A spontaneous weekend trip is fun, but there are some places that require a bit more planning. Lesser-known spots like Sri Lanka’s Gal Oya National Park, hard-to-book windows like Japan’s cherry blossom season, and destinations with limited capacity like Botswana usually need to be planned at least a year in advance. It’s also a good idea to enlist the help of a good tour operator to take the stress of planning off your shoulders, and just focus on having a good time. Here are eight places around the world to put in your calendar for next year.
This up-and-coming destination has a lot to offer, with a distinct food scene and moderate climate. The undulating tea plantations, wild jungles, and fabulous beaches make for an exciting mix of culture and relaxation. Visit the capital city of Colombo for a taste of the local cuisine, or explore Sri Lanka’s colonial heritage in Galle and Bentota. Go off the beaten path to roam with the elephants in Gal Oya National Park, a hidden gem teeming with wildlife.
Best time to go: All year round
While the land of the rising sun has plenty of seasonal delights for the whole year, the most iconic would have to be cherry blossom season. Every year during April, travellers from all over the world flock to the country to witness the flurry of blooms, perfectly pink and white. Accommodations tend to be booked out during this season, so plan now to get your spot at a Hanami, or a flower-watching party.
Best time to go: April
Dive into this jungle book and experience the incredible diversity of wildlife in the rainforests of Borneo, many of which are endemic to the island. Orangutans swing across the canopies above the ambling pygmy elephants and past the watchful eye of the slow loris. Sleep in serenity with nature at a rainforest lounge, lulled by the calls of exotic birds.
Best time to go: April to September
If breathtakingly beautiful landscapes are your bread and butter, Chile should be next on your list. The Andes mountain ranges of Patagonia run all throughout South America, made up of snow-capped peaks and honeycombed with caves. Stay at the lounges in and around Torres del Paine National Park and marvel at the glaciers and rugged granite towers, one of Chile’s most fascinating offerings. Combine it with a tour of Chile’s famous wine region or take a gander at the moai statues on Easter Island.
Best time to go: October to April
Botswana is one of the best places to go on a safari, as its arid landscape also includes an inland delta of swamps and wetlands. Called the Okavango Delta, it is home to some of the most endangered species of large mammals, such as the cheetah, both white and black rhinoceroses, and the African wild dog. The waters of the delta drain into the Kalahari Desert, a savannah with its own portfolio of creatures. Stay in one of many luxury camps in either the Delta or the desert for the trip of a lifetime.
Best time to go: July to October
A photographer’s wonderland, the unearthly sights of Namibia never fail to disappoint. Named after the world’s oldest desert, the Namib, this African country is known for its majestic red sand dunes, wildlife havens, and ethnic tribes. It is also home to one of the most dangerous coasts known to man—Skeleton Coast—due to the combination of rocky and shallow shores, and its unrelenting fog.
Best time to go: July to September
Dense forests, open savannahs, and imposing mountains make up the contrasting topographical landscape of Uganda. The landlocked country is also home to half of all the remaining mountain gorillas in the world, a critically endangered and highly protected species. Permits are required to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, with a very limited number available, so secure yours now rather than later.
Best time to go: January, February, June to September
Committed to being sustainable, Costa Rica has been working hard on all fronts to make sure the country, in all its cultural and environmental glory, is preserved and enjoyed responsibly by citizens and travellers alike. Relax on one of their many beaches or take a walk on the wild side and raft through a rainforest. You can also swim with the dolphins at the Nicoya Peninsula on the Pacific coast, as well as catch a great wave.
Best time to go: December to April
While travel right now seems like a distant memory, it’s important to keep our spirits and hopes up for when we can explore the world freely again. Scott Dunn is committed to delivering exceptional holidays of all types for all ages, with an unparalleled degree of flexibility and personalization. When the time is right, their team of travel experts will be more than happy to plan your next vacation with you. In the meantime, sit tight but let your imagination wander.