Ready to book your 2019 vacation but unsure where to go? Sure, Italy is always amazing and a beach holiday in Bali is an easy getaway, but if you’re ready for a little more adventure in your life, consider these trending holiday destinations. Lucy Jackson, co-founder and director of Lightfoot Travel, a luxury international tour operator that specialises in original and off-the-grid designer holidays, shares her insider intel on where’s hot for the year to come.
“There’s a new cinema institute, new design hotels and the ex-footballer mayor [has spent] USD334 million on transport,” says Jackson. Meanwhile, Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi, the nation’s capital city, launched in 2015 and has attracted the international fashion pack to the cobblestone streets of the old town. “It is also one of the world’s oldest wine regions, has amazing old cave-cities, and is a melting pot of Persian and European influences,” Jacskon enthuses.
10. Montana and Wyoming, USA
“Montana is getting more on the radar now, especially great as a combination with Jackson Hole in Wyoming (a popular ski destination with the Australians),” says Jackson. “Trips up through Grand Teton and Yellowstone, where guests can stay in very cool ranches – including Resort at Paw’s Up (pawsup.com) [are amazing for both winter and summer holidays, especially for families. The activities are endless, including canoeing, archery, fly-fishing, going on cattle drives to name just a few.” In the winter you can try cross-country skiing or event dogsledding and snowmobiling if you’re feeling adventurous.
9. Ladakh, India
“Embark on the ultimate camping experience in the high-altitude desert and have the opportunity to drive through the highest mountain pass, the only place in the subcontinent to see snow leopards,” enthuses Jackson. “Conservation efforts have also helped change the snow leopards from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’ so guests have more chance of seeing them.”
8. Andaman Islands
This remote destination in the Bay of Bengal off the southern tip of India, just got its first 5-star hotel: Taj Resort on Havelock Island. “It’s still a relatively isolated place, so great for people looking to go somewhere a bit different,” suggests Jackson. “Makes a very good combination with India, [and is] something different from the Maldives.”
7. Sinai, Egypt
The Egyptian peninsula makes for an intriguing vacation. “Trek through the Sinai Desert, climb Mount Sinai and camp beneath the stars,” says Jackson. For literary types, “Nile cruising is on trend at the moment, with the remake of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile, which she wrote onboard SS Sudan.”
“With one of the lowest populations in the world, you really will be able to get away from it all,” says Jackson. “There are signs of change, including a new Shangri-La hotel in the capital (shangri-la.com/ulaanbaatar)”. Her advice to travelers? “Go now, before the rest of the world discovers it!”
5. Aysen region, Chile
This isn’t the South America you might expect. The region “is the centre of glacier country,” explains Jackson of this remotely populated area in Chile’s south. “Half of its land is protected by public and private parks, including Patagonia Park, launched by North Face founder Doug Tompkins.” Go for incredible hiking, cyling and awe-inspiring views of shimmering lakes, snow-capped mountains and, of course, glaciers.
You read correctly. “The former drug capitals such as Medellin and Cali are now labelled the green zone by the FCO,” explains Jackson. “Colombia’s Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) is 650 years older than Machu Picchu and we’d suggest doing a multi-day hike to reach it. Other areas include colonial Cartagena, home to music, art and dance, [plus] a subterranean salt cathedral.”
Famous for its UNESCO sights and Silk Road history, this Central Asian nation is ideal for history buffs.” The new president has brought new reforms, and a 15 day entry visa has been extended to 30 days,” advises Jackson.” Tourism has increased by 25 percent thanks to Silk Road tours, and the border has opened, allowing visitors to cross to Tajikistan, while high speed trains [are] being extended to the Karakum Desert, and finally Whatsapp and social media [is] working now after a three- year break,” she says.
This Middle Eastern country on the Med is becoming increasingly popular with travelers, with tourism now one of Israel’s largest sources of income. There are “endless new hotel and restaurant openings here and [its] one of the few stable countries in the Middle East,” advises Jackson. “It’s small, meaning you can cover a lot of ground without constantly moving hotels, and offers that perfect mix of culture, history, nature, beach, great food, amazing hotels [and more].”
While you might feel like you’ve “done” Cambodia if you’ve visited the temples of Siem Reap, think again. “[There are] some great new hotel openings here coming up which will transform Cambodia from a bit of a ‘one hit wonder’ into a destination that can rival neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam in variety – new beach hotels Six Senses and Alila as well as Shinta Mani Wild in the Bokor/Kirirom National Parks will combine with Angkor Wat to make a much more complete itinerary to the country,” says Jackson. “Rosewood Phnom Penh (rosewoodhotels.com/en/phnom-penh) has also recently opened, bringing with it new bars and restaurants to Phnom Penh.”