Well, hello, hello, hello and Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a fun and friend-filled time even if things do look a little gloomy now that the glitter and tinsel have all but disappeared.
If there’s one question I get asked a lot at this time of year, it’s the one about your 2016 travel plans. It comes in various forms:
– Where’s the best place to go on holiday this year (if you’re British)
So, before we get back to regularly scheduled programming, here’s the New Year Special. I’m entering 2016 with a lemsip in one hand and a box of tissues in the other, so if it sounds a little lacklustre, I’ll be back with jazzier words soon.
The recommendations are just as good though. Promise.
I’ve split the categories into “classic” and “unusual” but that’s as strategic as it gets. This really is a case of me gathering together the chats I’ve had with friends over the last few weeks.
Paris still. Paris always. Do not let that awful attack last year put you off. The city’s still as safe as ever – perhaps more so now with everyone on high alert.
I’m feeling all kinds of good things for Madrid in a classical cultural way at the moment. Even if you think you’re “not an art person,” I dare you to give Madrid another try.
San Sebastian, the coastal beacon of the Basque country in Northern Spain is rightly proud to have overcome the trials of its past to earn its place as the European Capital of Culture 2016.
Oh, and last year, I fell in love with Riga and what it has to offer.
Oooh, this one is tricky. In classical terms, there’s always New York, New Orleans and the islands of Japan but I’d also throw Quito and the whole of Jordan into the mix (just be sure to keep checking the travel advice – which is what you should be doing anyway.)
Detroit has also burst back onto the scene as it’s prospects are looking up: think Motown, cool architecture and some astonishing American history.
Then there’s Burma/Myanmar, a country rich with natural and architectural beauty that’s changing day by day.
They’re truly stunning but they don’t have the “big” animals roaming around so if that’s what you’re after then I would recommend sub-Saharan Africa for a safari.
Finally (!) if you love horses and money is no object then check out this spectacular eco ranch in Nevada or catch up with the genuine rodeo crowd in Texas or Western Canada (more about them later this year.)
Ahhhh…. This isn’t really my area of expertise and I’d strongly, strongly recommend you check things out with your doctor before booking anything. Bear in mind that you’re at higher risk of blood clots when pregnant and that you may well be, how shall we put this, more concerned with the state of drinking water and which medicines you take than usual. Less risk averse? And with good reason.
So, taking all that into account, my personal recommendation would be to not head too far from home. Don’t spend too long on a plane and don’t get too far from medical facilities you know and trust. But these are just my personal thoughts.
Again, not something I have direct experience of but many of my family travel blogging friends assure me that nowhere’s really off limits if you have a few tips and tricks up your sleeve. Let me recommend Mummy’s Little Monkey or The Family Adventure Project for starters. And EuropaPark in Germany and the Terra Botanica Theme Park in France (see smiley T-Rex pic above.)
Wheeee…well, one of the classic road trips is the Great Ocean Road in Australia. It uses Melbourne as a hub and can be completed in a leisurely and interesting week. Koalas and kangaroos virtually guaranteed.
If you can handle hairy camels and an all round hairier pace, then take to the beaches and mountains of Morocco. Again, you can cover a lot of ground and encounter plenty of derring-do within the space of a week.
Have you thought of a walking or cycling holiday? I’ve tried a few options over the last few years and would really recommend them as a way of getting under the skin of a destination while also getting fit and feeling free. If you partner with a company like Headwater (a company I worked with, I ought to point out, but only because I think they’re so good) then they can book all your hotels and move all your luggage leaving you to just follow the map and explore.
Hm. Well, for out of this world beaches, the Maldives, Seychelles and Madagascar spring to mind. But there’s Mexico, Thailand and Malaysia, too, plus plenty of beach spots in Australia. Closer to home, Europe has plenty of beaches but it can be tricky to find a balance between the crowds and the sometimes crisp weather.
Hehe. Well, it is a big, wide world out there. I have a hard time narrowing down where I would love to travel to next.
So, I’d recommend browsing around the blog!
Explore by destination: the place to start is here.
And, of course, if you are looking for a second or third opinion, I’ve rounded up some of the heavies’ lists below:
If all else fails, try spinning a globe or flicking open the pages of an atlas. You’ll have to just trust your lucky stars you don’t end up in a war zone. Or in Hull (with apologies to Blackadder and, of course, people who live in Hull.)
Happy travel planning!
*According to, well, me. But I do get a lot of practice ;-)