Was one of your new year’s resolutions to ditch the nine-to-five and follow your dreams, exploring the world? Well, you’re not alone! With more and more people pursuing a life of experiences over possessions, and with the ever-increasing opportunities to work remotely while travelling, 2018 is the year to take a leap of faith and make the change! Not sure where to start? Here are our Top 10 Travel Destinations for 2018…
1. Sri Lanka
Jagged mountains, pristine beaches and rolling green farmland – Sri Lanka has it all. After years of civil war, the largely Buddhist country has experienced a boom in popularity over recent years. Fantastic food, easy transport and the super cheap cost of living are just some of the things that see travellers coming for a week, and staying for a month! And if you needed any more convincing, in 2018 the second annual Tuk-Tuk Tournament will take place in October. This is your chance to spend two weeks driving your very own three-wheeled chariot around this mighty island, taking part in challenges and local experiences along the way!
Another country with a less-than-stable past, Myanmar (also known as Burma) opened to tourists just a few years ago and remains a relatively undiscovered destination. From trekking amongst the hill tribes living in the Shan state to exploring the vast Inle Lake and visiting the temples of Bagan, Myanmar is one of the most rewarding travel destinations of 2018. Although old, slow and riddled with delays, Myanmar’s railway is the perfect way to explore the country at bargain-bucket prices. In fact, for many, the train ride across the famous Goiktek Viaduct is an attraction in its own right. If your budget can take it, a sunrise hot air balloon flight over Bagan is another essential experience!
When you think of African safari destinations, it’s usually South Africa or Botswana that spring to mind – but not for much longer! Considered the home of the walking safari, Zambia is the perfect place to get up close and personal with some of the region’s finest wildlife, at a fraction of the cost of safaris elsewhere on the continent. South Luangwa National Park is one of the more developed destinations, although Liuwa Plain National Park is the setting for one of the largest migrations of Wildebeest in Africa, and has just seen its first lodge open to the public. With some of the most highly trained guides in the world ready to take you into the bush, 2018 is the year to get wild in Zambia!
4. South Korea
While its northern neighbour dominates international headlines for all the wrong reasons, South Korea offers travellers an enchanting mix of old and new. From the bustling and ultra-modern capital city of Seoul to the traditional coastal towns of South Gyeongsang province, South Korea is a melting pot of landscapes and cultures unrivalled in the region. For the more intrepid traveller, it is still possible to join tours to the demilitarised zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea and catch a glimpse of soldiers from both sides facing off across the border. In February 2018, head into the stunning mountains of Gangwon province for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics!
In a region making daily headlines for war and conflict, Jordan is the shining beacon of peace and stability. Famed for its traditional Arabic hospitality, stunning desert landscapes and bustling cities, Jordan is the ideal place to immerse yourself in middle-eastern culture. Fancy yourself to be the next real-life Indiana Jones? Head a few hours out from the capital, Amman, to explore the ancient ruins of Petra before climbing the steep trail to the famous monastery carved out of the face of the mountain itself! With the Roman ruins of Jerash and desert wilderness of Wadi Rum all easily accessible by road, there is plenty to keep you busy!
Croatia’s southern neighbour on the Adriatic Sea, Montenegro is fast catching up in terms of tourism. The picture-perfect bay of Kotor, with its towering mountains and ancient fairy-tale towns, is already drawing in the crowds, while the Budva Riviera is the go-to spot for perfect beaches and notoriously wild nightlife. The sleepy coastal town of Tivat remains a favourite amongst those seeking a typically Mediterranean experience, with a number of high-end hotels and resorts due to open in 2018. And thanks to the strong growth in tourism in recent years, the government has significantly upped investment in infrastructure and hotels, making more and more of this great country easily accessible to travellers!
The jewel of the Adriatic, Croatia is no longer the undiscovered land it once was. But that doesn’t mean that you should overlook this stunning, diverse and energetic country! The popular resort of Dubrovnik may be slowly overdeveloping, but there are still plenty of smaller towns to get that authentic coastal vibe, amazingly fresh seafood and, of course, some great beers and wines. The cities of Split, Zadar and Pula are all great alternatives to Dubrovnik, although remember to leave time in you itinerary to explore further inland, too! Sipping a coffee in downtown Zagreb and wandering the baroque streets of Varazdin are essential Croatian experiences for 2018!
As the eighth-largest country in the world, and with a coastline stretching almost 5,000km, it’s fair to say that Argentina has its fair share of natural wonders. Mountains, lakes and glaciers? Check. Dense jungle and sweeping plains? Check. Endless vineyards and cattle ranches? Double check! Throw into the mix a historic and diverse culture, great transport infrastructure and some pretty amazing food and wine, and you have yourself a true backpacker’s paradise! If that’s not enough to have you packing your bags, 2018 sees the capital, Buenos Aires, host the Youth Olympic Games and G20 summits, meaning the country will be even more vibrant and exciting than ever!
The land where North Africa meets Arabia, with a healthy dose of French influence thrown in, Morocco is a truly unique and exciting destination for 2018! Explore the ancient city of Fez before jumping on one of the country’s excellent trains to be whisked to the souks of Marrakech and the famous Djemaa el Fna square. History buff? The Roman ruins of Volubilis will keep you busy for days. Beach Bum? Head down to Agadir to surf some of North Africa’s finest waves. Culture vulture? Art Deco Casablanca will whisk you back in time and allow you to re-enact your favourite scenes from the movie in Rick’s Café Americain!
Often overlooked amongst the middle-eastern heavyweights of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Oman is slowly establishing itself as a destination in its own right, rather than simply a flight stopover. The capital city, Muscat, is a thriving and historic hub of Omani culture with large souks, ancient forts and royal palaces. The rugged mountain ranges outside of the capital are intertwined with numerous dried up rivers, or wadis and offer some of the best off-road desert driving in the world. For the ultimate desert-island experience, take a ferry to Masirah Island where you can swim with wild turtles and dive the numerous dhow wrecks that are scattered along the coastline!