Rather unbelievably, we are already into February. New Year’s resolutions have most likely already been broken, but the nights are drawing out (depending on where you live, but they are here in Scandinavia at least) and you may be daydreaming about what to do when winter is over.
Or perhaps you’re planning to make the most of it – we have had a huge amount of snow this week so the slopes beckon; the Alps have been blessed by a decent amount of the white stuff too and I know several friends who are taking advantage of cheap flights to enjoy snowboarding and skiing in France and Austria.
Whatever you may be considering, we’d like to give you a few suggestions to add to the mix. Some are predictable, given past content on the site, while a couple are a little left-field. But try any of these, and you’ll never forget your holidays in 2016…
Safari in Botswana
I know, no surprises here. We champion African safaris at every opportunity and Botswana in particular. The fact is, it deserves its reputation but people also need to know that you don’t have to remortgage their house in order to visit.
Hook up with a small group tour and experience the ultimate wildlife encounters. But it doesn’t stop there – Botswana has a fascinating history and her people are some of the friendliest on the planet.
Just one thing – if you go, and manage to see wild dogs…please keep it to yourself. At least until you see an article here where I’m bragging about finally spotting those elusive guys. Thanks.
Skiing in Iran
And now for something completely different. In fact, it doesn’t get much more different than this: did you even know that Iran has ski resorts? It does indeed, and they are pretty good.
High altitudes, a good snow record and extremely cheap ski passes are three good incentives to hit the slopes in Iran. The hotels are a little 1970s and alcohol is non-existent, but you can cope for a few days, right?
I have several friends who have been to Iran and every single one cannot find enough positive words to describe their visit. Again, it’s the people who really make the difference and Iranian hospitality is near-legendary.
Get the blues in Chicago
I’m going back in 2016 so why not join me? My love for the Windy City is no secret; for me it is hands down the most exciting city in the USA and I could visit every weekend without getting tired of it. (I might get tired of the transatlantic commute though.)
Chicago has a tremendous craft beer and restaurant scene, which is more than enough reason to get on a plane this minute. But it’s the blues bars and clubs that await after dinner that are the main draw for me.
You have to be good to make it on stage in Chicago so merely performing is a seal of quality in itself. This year I am finally going to make it to Buddy Guy’s place too…
Take a river cruise in Europe
This is a really neat way to travel – and gives you a completely different perspective on your destination, even if you’ve visited before.
There are a large number of possibilities here – I suggest really pushing the boat out (sorry!) and plumping for a trans-European cruise.
How about travelling from the North Sea to the Mediterranean and cruising both the Rhine and the Rhone? Count me in!
Scuba diving in Okinawa
Okinawa is a bit of Japan that looks like Southern Thailand and is closer to Taiwan than the Japanese mainland. In terms of culture it has more in common with China, too – so you can expect a real mix of influences and experiences.
The food is phenomenal and weather tropical. As if that wasn’t enough, the islands offer some of the best areas for diving in the world. And they are almost empty…so spend a few days on the main island and then take a plane for one of the really remote ones.
There are several dive spots where you can get certified but if you already have your PADI documented, you can get started right away. You are going to love the diving and the isolation…
Hiking in the Drakensburg, South Africa
The Drakensburg mountains are almost overwhelming in their beauty and many domestic visitors come here to walk or relax at one of the many luxury hotels in the foothills.
Make your way further up, however, and you’re on your own in terms of facilities. Ensure you pack properly and sign off at reception of the hotel so they know to send a rescue party if you don’t return.
You can walk for an hour or hike for two weeks on well-signposted routes, the most challenging of which include sections so steep that the only way up is to climb a chain ladder – that’s a better story to tell your colleagues at the water cooler than the one about the soggy chips in Tenerife, right?