Do something a little different and book an unusual holiday to a unique destination.
From the Great Migration of Tanzania in the Serengeti to the penguin camps of Gould Bay in the South Pole, the world will become your stomping ground. Here are the best places to go for travellers who like the unconventional…
Europe is everything, from fairy-tale castles, to picturesque southern beaches, hidden coves, epic history, exquisite culinary, and some of the best nightlife in the world. It’s the site of the historic roman empire, the Swiss Alps, Napoleon’s dynasty – you name it, it’s here. But don’t just go where everyone else goes. Instead, get off the bus, get out of your tourist trap town, and see what you can find.
Some good places to start include Camogli in Italy, the Loire Valley in France, and the UNESCO listed town of Berat in Albania. Or, throw it back to your student days and have a go at getting into the most elusive club on the continent: Berghain in Berlin.
The Americas are some of the most diverse collections of land in the world, literally ranging from snowy ice caps in Alaska, to volcanic islands in Hawaii, white sand beaches, colonial towns, Incan ruins and everything in-between.
Skip the Inca Trail if you want to stay away from the tourists, and head up Rainbow Mountain instead. There’re also the glacier fields of Patagonia in Argentina, or the Galapagos Islands where Charles Darwin made his historic discovery.
There is so much more to Africa than just safaris, but that doesn’t make them any more magical. Who doesn’t want to take a trip half way around the world just to hold up their slightly smaller friend and scream the Lion King songs as you watch the sunrise?*
That doesn’t mean you have to do the same safaris as everyone else though. Head around the continent to Mozambique or Tanzania, experiencing the incredible wildlife but also learning so much about the people who live there and the societies they’ve cultivated. In the land where humans first came into existence, traditions and rituals have been passed down through generations, with time-honoured ceremonies and a community spirit that welcomes anyone and everyone.
*PSA: Everyone wants to do that. Trust me, not a single person does not want to do that.
There’s no denying that January is a pretty miserable time of the year. Christmas is over, the presents are all open, you’ve probably started your New Year diet, and there’s no way any of your resolutions are still going. All in all, pretty shit time of the year. Plus, thank to Christmas and all the bank holidays, you’ve probably been trying to make your December pay last for about 7 weeks. So, yeah, January sucks and to make it worse it sucks for a ridiculously long time.
That’s why you need to get ahead of the curve, plan for your misery, and book a funky, quirky, gonna make all your mates’ jealous holiday for the middle of Jan. It’s the perfect time to head to Antarctica, as it’s warmer with the long days and the penguin chicks and seal pups will all be out and about on the ice. Or, why not try the Galapagos Islands, with the calmer seas and warmer weather making this the best time to visit. Kerala in Southern India is also fantastic for tiger watching during January.
The shortest month of the year, it’s easy to get side tracked, distracted, busy, and suddenly the whole month has disappeared. It’s a good time to get away though, with much of the southern hemisphere enjoying the perfect tropical weather, as well as countless festivals and street parties happening all over the world.
February is perfect for exploring countries in ways you wouldn’t have thought of before. Take India, for instance, where huge sheets of ice transform the landscape, making it the perfect spot to watch for snow leopards. Or Mexico, where you can see millions of monarch butterflies take flight in the Michoacán Province’s Oyamel forests.
There is almost nowhere that isn’t a good destination during April. It’s finally starting to warm up a bit in the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere hasn’t reached its coldest months yet, and tropical countries are still hovering around a manageable temperature with minimal rainfall.
It’s the best time to try something new, like taking a cruise down the Amazon river, or why not check out the multitude of festivals happening in Melbourne? Think the Formula 1 Grand Prix, Fashion Festival, Food & Drink Festival, and the world’s third-largest comedy festival. Doesn’t quite beat the water fight festivals happening in Thailand during Songkran, but it’s close.
Considering the month is named after the Greek goddess of fertility, it’s no wonder May is the perfect month for travelling: everything is new, and fresh, and reborn following the harsh winters – at least, in the northern hemisphere. Even the depths of Russia can be enjoyable during this spring month, with longer days and the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg making the chilly weather worth it.
If you don’t fancy freezing though, there are plenty of funky things to try out in the warmer parts of the world. Such as, the start of the Komodo dragon mating season on the Indonesian isle of Komodo, which sees rival males face off and fight. Definitely not something you’ll see on the beaches at Benidorm.
The perfect time to get away from work, your day to day life, and just explore. It’s half way through the year, the Wednesday hump day of months – you’ll be lying if you said you didn’t need even a little bit of a break. Plus, it’s pretty good weather for a lot of the world, without the hefty summer prices that come with the school summer holidays.
Explore the world’s oldest Christian country, Armenia, or watch the turtles hatching along Borneo’s beaches. Thanks to the dry season, June is also prime time to head on safari, and witness mountain gorillas and lions in their natural habitats.
August is peak travel season, no matter where you are in the world. And there’s a reason for that: everywhere is amazing during August. If you want good weather and culture, head to Europe. If you want fantastic wildlife, head on a safari in Africa. If you want a road trip with tonnes of weird and whacky festivals, head to the US. The possibilities are endless.
The ideal places to head during August if you’re looking for an unusual holiday, however, would be Victoria Falls or Iguazu Falls, where the months of little rain will have provided fantastic views. There’s also the migratory crossing of over 1.5 million wildebeest on the Mara River in Kenya, or the volcanic tours around Iceland where travellers can get up close and personal with the bubbling volcanic craters and lava flumes.
Whether you’re a culture junkie, a nature lover, or a beach worshipper, September offers something for everyone. There’s the mid-Autumn festival in China, the dry season in Southern Africa perfect for safaris, and prime bird watching time in Madagascar.
Take in the history along the Silk Road, where September is the perfect time no matter which section of the road you’re travelling along: it’s not too hot for the deserts of Turkmenistan, not too cold in the Kyrgyzstan mountains, and not too crowded along the main hotspots. As Goldilocks would say, it’s just right.
Just before Christmas, the end of the year can feel like a bit of a drag. It’s also quite an expensive month (Christmas presents, duh), and the sudden lack of sunlight thanks to the clocks going back is enough to make anyone feel a little bit blue. That’s why it’s the perfect time for a bit of self-care practise, and what better way to look after yourself than with a fun, exciting, unusual holiday away?
The cooler month is perfect for a fun mountain trek (think Ethiopia, or Nepal); the monsoon season having just passed, the weather is clear enough to see for literally thousands of miles – you’ll never find a better view. It’s also the start of expedition cruise season to Antarctica now the weather’s warm enough to melt the ice and allow boats to sail through.
December can be a struggle to get away. What with Christmas, New Years’ Eve, all the bank holidays, and work closing early on, not to mention numerous Christmas parties and events, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of time left for travelling. If you can though, you should try and make time because December is one of the most magical times of the year to travel.
If you want to stick with the Christmas theme, head to Lapland for a bit of reindeer sleighing, or visit Moscow’s Red Square in time for the New Year’s fireworks.
A beach holiday doesn’t have to be a week in Ibiza or some other boring Canary Islands for it to be amazing, there are literally thousands of other options with a fun, added twist that brings your holiday to that next level. From Madagascar’s remote northern shores, to the Havelock Island where elephants wander around at the edge of the tide, there are so many places that will turn your beach holiday into an unforgettable trip.
Some of the most unusual places come alive during the winter – and don’t forget, for a lot of the world it doesn’t actually get cold during the November to February disaster period in the UK. And even the places that do get cold can be so cool to visit (cool, get it? See what I did there?). Finland, for instance, has heated, glass igloos that let you see the night sky – including the Northern Lights.
Your honeymoon is one of the most important holidays of your life. You can say I’m wrong, and try and argue if you want, but you know, you know, it’s true. For the rest of your life, people are going to ask you: “Oh, so where did you go on your honeymoon then?” and you need to make sure you’ve got somewhere incredible to pull out of your hat, to avoid the pitying head nods.
Why not check out the Skylodge adventure suites in Peru, a honeymoon suite that’s about 1200 feet in the air? Or the Giraffe Manor in Kenya, famous for being a giraffe sanctuary and a hotel.
The classic holiday, the city break has everything you need: it’s quick, normally pretty cheap, you don’t have to take too much holiday at work, and you still get to fully immerse yourself in another culture. Of course, you have the classics like Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam etc. etc., but they can quickly get boring – especially if you’ve already been a couple times. That’s why we would recommend more niche destinations, like Perugia in Italy, or maybe Cordoba in Spain.
Unusual holidays are fun, and interesting, and they make for great dinner party conversations. There are also tonnes and tonnes of places out there that are off the beaten track and less well-known, so there’s really no excuse for sticking it out with a 4-day bender in Magaluf with the lads. You’re better than that.