As we close the travel diary on yet another year, it’s time to start penning our travel wishlist for the next. After 40 years in the business, one thing we’ve learnt is that there’s always something new to be discovered – even in destinations you’ve previously visited. From wildlife trekking in Central America to discovering the vast and dusty deserts of the Middle East, we’ve got our finger on the pulse of the top travel trends for 2019. So all you have to think about is what to pack.
River cruising in Europe
Europe’s waterways seem to be at the top of many people’s wishlist in 2019. River ships are smaller and more intimate, meaning the crew can offer a more personalised service (and learn your favourite cocktail quicker). Plus, in most cases it’s just a short stroll from the dock into the heart of a destination, so travelling by river is a very easy and relaxing way to travel. The Danube is particularly popular in 2019, with the Rhine coming in at a close second.
In recent years, this part of the world has finally begun to be recognised as a safe and fulfilling travel destination – and it’s really taking off in 2019. Think brightly coloured humming birds whizzing through the tangled jungle, spectacular Mayan ruins and powdery white beaches to rival the most idyllic Caribbean islands. New flight routes from the UK and Europe have roused interest, yet transport within the countries is still quite limited, meaning it can be difficult for tourists to navigate. Luckily, you won’t have to worry about any of that – escorted touring really is the ideal way for travellers to easily cover all the highlights.
Our ‘Natural Wonders of Costa Rica’ and ‘Mexico’s Mayan Trail’ tours are an ideal way to discover this diverse part of the world. We’ll whisk you away into the depths of the Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica, or take you on a stroll through the colonial streets of Campeche in Mexico, founded in the 1540s. You’ll be hooked quicker than uno, dos, tres.
Each year, the search is on for the next ‘undiscovered’ destination and earlier this year Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road series on ITV really put Central Asia in the spotlight. Luckily for you, we have two tours that fit the bill. History, scenery and cuisine come together in an irresistible series of travel list ticks – plus the bragging rights of going somewhere ‘a bit different’.
Our ‘Uzbekistan – Jewel of the Silk Road’ tour has been exceptionally popular. Follow snippets of the Silk Road’s best bits – and then some. Explore three of the most important stops on this ancient route rife with mosques, palaces, museums and madrasahs. Alternatively, soak up the beautiful wilderness of the Caucasus Mountains and indulge in fine home-grown wines on our ‘Armenia and Georgia’ tour.
In 2019, there’s only one place to see and be seen when it comes to European travel. The rugged cave city of Matera in southern Italy is a fascinating place to visit at the best of times, but in 2019 its ancient streets will be overflowing with events and celebration as the city proudly holds the title of European Capital of Culture 2019.
This picturesque stone city is made up of a unique network of cave-dwelling neighbourhoods – ‘sassi’ – which have dominated this hilltop for centuries. On our ‘Puglia – Discover the Heel of Italy’ tour, we spend a whole day wandering through the charming streets of Matera, taking in the rock church and caves and learning about the monks that created this maze at the end of the first millennium.
Sometimes the perfect getaway needn’t include a 10-hour flight – and so the trend for staycations and UK short break holidays continues into 2019. It’s easy to forget that there’s so much to enjoy on our very own doorstep. From Newcastle to Exeter, our short breaks reveal the splendour of some of our most historic cities, picturesque villages and rural landscapes – and they’re particularly great if you’ve only got a few days to spare. Holidays over the festive period are as popular as ever, giving you the chance to enjoy a stress-free Christmas in the company of like-minded fellow travellers. Plus, with our VIP door-to-door transfer service taking you from your front door to your hotel and back again, exploring the UK really couldn’t be easier.