Assuming that the Mayan end-of-the-world prediction doesn’t end up coming true, you’ve got a fresh calendar year coming up to start planning some time off. Any idea where you want to go this year? Is this the year of a bucket list dream coming true, or perhaps just revisiting an old favourite?
Let me get you started with 10 great destinations with good reason to visit in 2013.
It’s all a party in Croatia this year, because this lovely little country is joining the European Union in July. From cultural celebrations to the opening of new resorts and attractions, you’ll be able to get a lot more for your money and maybe an unexpected parade or two.
Speaking of parties, one can only imagine the festivities that Brazil will be holding during their turn at hosting the 2014 World Cup (ok so it’s not 2013 but it’s still going to be a world class party!). Travelling during World Cup is not exactly cheap, but it sure is memorable! My side tip, spare yourself a few extra days after the event and head for Buzios. One of the best beach destinations in the world!
I’ve never been to the Solomon Islands, but in the past week, I have talked to not one, not two, but three people who have been and are stark raving mad about the place. The Pacific Islands in general are quite difficult to get to, if for no other reason than long flights, but in my experience they are usually worth it. The Solomon Islands are still a bit off the beaten path, which is a good thing in this case. Get there while the getting is good.
Macedonia may seem like an usual choice, but about this time next year, you’ll be able to enjoy the cosy comforts that a multi-million Euro refurbishment of the country’s ski areas can afford. This has always been a fantastic budget ski option for travellers, but now we’re seeing many more amenities and easier access.
Lufthansa has said it’s doing a bit of brand alignment and in 2013 will be offering a new budget air service from its Frankfurt and Munich hubs. I love Lufthansa, but they can be kind of pricey – unfortunately, I always pay because their connections are the best. But if you can get a cheap ticket, why not just hang out in Munich? The city’s beer gardens are an evergreen charm, and its easy to hop on a train and head into the mountains.
Air Canada is also getting onto the budget carrier bandwagon, launching their own international budget flight network in 2013. They’ve been mute so far in specific details, but it’s probably a safe bet that one of their focus cities will be Toronto – a great excuse to visit Canada in 2013, and from Toronto you can easily hop on a train to visit other great cities, like Montreal.
It’s not just about cheap flights, but about flights at all, and the United Arab Emirates city of Abu Dhabi continues to pour on flights into and out of the country – making this small middle eastern one of the world’s busiest stop-offs. If you’ve always wondered what it’s like, now is the time to go and explore; with so much hotel capacity, you’ll be able to find the perfect accommodation despite ever growing numbers of international tourists.
I suppose I’m slightly biased since I live here, but tourism in Portland is on the rise – and since the city seems to continue to roll out more food carts, breweries, distilleries, wineries, and other things that end in “ies” – can you blame travellers who want a city break that truly feels like a vacation? Be sure if you’re coming a long way, you take the time to head for the Oregon Coast, one of the best stretches of coastline in North America.
New Zealand has forever been a hot destination after it found its fame via the Lord of the Ring series, and that looks to be a resurgence now with the new Hobbit film. This has always been one of my favourite countries to visit – incredible outdoor scenery, friendly locals, and great food. Getting here can be a challenge on your budget, but once you’re here you’ll find your quid will go far.
Last but certainly not least is Charleston – a classic city on America’s east coast. Charleston has a full roster of events in 2013, from sporting events to food, wine, and other events. The city is perfect for culinary travellers, but also a great place to learn a bit of history while surrounded by old fashioned southern charm.
Posted : Thursday, December 13th, 2012 at 11:00
Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.