05 Jan Your 2018 Travel Checklist – where to go next
With a new year, comes new plans and ideas and I for one, believe a travel checklist should be your number one priority to plan where to go next.
One resolution which should be easy to stick to is to get out and see more of the world, from closer to home city breaks to long-haul lounging on a beach.
In need of some inspiration for your plans for where to go next? I have prepared your very own travel checklist with monthly ideas to plan your own 2018 travel adventures.
And if you need more help with planning your luxury escape, get in touch and I will help you come up with your most memorable adventure yet. Because it all starts with you.
Where to go in January
Spa time in the Cotswolds, UK
With 15 January calculated as Blue Monday for 2018, it’s definitely time to get your travel checklist in order so you can banish those impending blues. So for January, it’s time to book a luxury weekend break in the UK to kickstart your year of travel in the right way.
But where to go? The UK is chock full of options but my favourite is the tranquil Cotswold setting of Calcot Manor in Tetbury.
The manor house is set within seemingly endless acres of meadow, which you can soak up from the spa’s floor to ceiling windows. The cosy spa boasts an outdoor heated slate pool, hot tub and log fire so you can comfortably revel in the cool air of the great outdoors from the lavender lined courtyard.
Sounds like bliss to me, and the idyllic way to begin your travel checklist for 2018.
Where to go in February
Los Angeles, California
It’s time for a sunny pick me up, and now is the best time to head for the US, with more airlines than ever offering affordable flights and expanded routes.
The weather in L.A. is similar to Spring or Summertime in Britain so if you need a fix of vitamin D, it’s a star spot for your travel checklist – and in more ways than one.
After your Hollywood adventures, make some time for some shopping on Rodeo Drive, visit the Griffith Observatory for a La La Land-esque experience, and if you’re hiring a car, cruise along Mulholland to recall some the best chase scenes from the movies.
Where to go in March
I think Tokyo could easily rank high on a travel checklist for any year. Whatever your travel need or motivation is, Tokyo has the attraction or event to fulfil it, from fireworks displays to dance festivals.
But for the most magic, time your visit between late March and early-April to enjoy the bursts of cherry blossom for Sakura. Dates do change slightly, and some guesswork goes into forecasting the event, for 2018 it’s forecast from March 29 to April 4.
The insanely pink blossoms on thousands of trees, just beg for their Instagram moment. Some of the best viewing spots – also known as hanami – include Ueno Park – where the thousands of trees are some of the first in the city to blossom.
To join in the Japanese tradition, stock up on blossom infused drinks and snacks for a picnic beneath the colourful oasis of whites and pinks surrounding you, and indulge in the seasonal mantra of eating, drinking and being merry.
Where to go in April
The Spice Island of Grenada is still one of those under the radar destinations, but it has so much to offer, not least the powder white beaches, lush green forests and vibrant culture. Unsurprising of course then, that the island is a port of call for 33 cruise ships!
This year, luxury travellers will be adding Grenada to their travel checklist thanks to the opening of three new 5-star hotel openings including the Silversands Hotel which will be home to the Caribbean’s longest swimming pool.
So if you are trying to figure out where to go next for fly and flop luxury, I think you should check out Grenada for luxury without the crowds – except on cruise days of course!
Where to go in May
Belfast and the Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland
Recognised as one of Lonely Planet’s top ten regions to visit in 2018, Belfast is just a short plane hop from the UK if you are looking for a long weekend away with the girls.
The weather forecast in Northern Ireland, just like mainland UK can be anybody’s guess but Spring is the best time to add Belfast and Giant’s Causeway to your travel checklist.
The cosmopolitan city is lively year-round, but heading out of the city towards the Causeway Coast, you’ll enjoy soaking up the timeless beauty of the rural landscapes which are in full bloom.
Meanwhile, Belfast’s neighbourhoods are bursting with trendy bars, fine dining restaurants and venues while the Docklands has been revitalised into the Titanic Quarter, now home to high-end luxury apartments and an insightful museum.
Where to go in June
June is the perfect time to visit Valletta in Malta. Not only is it Europe’s Capital of Culture for 2018, but the Malta International Arts Festival kicks off on 29 June.
The event features a jam-packed lineup with a variety of genres in theatre, art, music and dance. Enjoy the balmy summer evenings typical in Malta, and mingle with locals and tourists at one of the open-air events.
From the events and festivals I have encountered on my travels, they have for the most part been insightful and some of the most memorable travel moments, affording me the chance to experience local culture at its best.
And with a range of events planned throughout 2018 in Valletta and around the island, visit any time of year and you’re likely to stumble upon something vibrant and fabulous.
Where to go in July
The south of France has always maintained a glitz and glamour. And its allure lies within its many and varied appearances from intense blue seas to its evergreen hillsides long adored by the likes of Provence and the Côte d’Azur.
While these places have long been adored, in 2018 it’s time to branch further out and Lonely Planet have tipped Languedoc-Roussillon as a top region to fulfil your quest for where to go next.
Indulge in the region’s historic roots from aqueducts to hilltop castles, before treating yourself to a vineyard tour. The region produces a third of France’s wines so you won’t have to venture far for great wine and food.
To make the most of the Mediterranean lifestyle, I thoroughly recommend you book a rural self-catering break. Start each morning with a continental breakfast of fresh bread, divine cheeses and fruity jams out on your balcony or terrace, and soak up those fabulous hillside views. Bon Appétit!
Where to go in August
The Andalucian capital seems to be on every smart traveller’s radar for 2018, and with good reason.
Seville will host the European Film Awards this year, and it’s clear that it has a movie star quality about it, having been used for a number of scenes for hit television series, Game of Thrones.
Top of your agenda should be Alcazar Palace – featured as the Water Gardens of Dorne in season five. Its opulence will dazzle you and it truly earns its accolade as one of Spain’s most spectacular residences.
Elsewhere on the architecture trail, you should have cameras at the ready for the Metropol Parasol at La Encarnación square, in the Old Quarter. The largest wooden structure in the world is designed with six imposing wooden parasols. Inside, there’s lots of reveal throughout the five levels, with a mixture of bars, restaurants, a market and museum.
Where to go in September
Buenos Aires, Argentina
I love how vibrant and diverse South America is, and for 2018, Buenos Aires is firmly in the sights of many luxury jetsetters.
Fans of art should visit the city in September for a full week of creative programming as part of the year-long Art Basel Cities Programme celebrating the best of the city’s up and coming artists.
Alternatively sports fanatics can time their visit for October to witness the world’s best talent at the Youth Olympic Games. And with major events, comes major development. Now is the time to jet off to Buenos Aires as new life is built into the city with new hotels and attractions to tempt visitors.
Aside from the spotlight events, there are other reasons to celebrate too. Tegui, in Palermo, was awarded as one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants – the first time for a restaurant in Argentina to make the list.
Where to go in October
Mauritius doesn’t need much of an introduction, so if you’re looking for a luxury beach escape, plan a visit anytime from October to December to enjoy sunnier skies.
The island is celebrating 50 years of independence in 2018, and with more flight routes launched from KLM and Air Mauritius from Europe and Africa, it makes even more sense to add a little slice of paradise to your travel checklist.
Revel in one of the island’s luxury resorts, take to the waters with snorkelling in the coral reefs or up the ante with water sports such as kite surfing or sea kayaking. Or enjoy life’s simple pleasures and lounge on the beach with a good book.
Where to go in November
Up to now, Norway has been a bit overshadowed by its Scandinavian neighbours, but in 2018 it gets its rightful share of the spotlight.
With predictions that the Northern Lights could fade within ten years, if there’s one place that should be on your travel checklist it’s Norway.
It’s claimed the country’s north is one of the most interesting places to witness the Aurora Borealis work its way across the night sky. You have an overwhelming number of ways to spot the lights, with tours, cruises, restaurants and hotels all geared up for the magical display.
Throw in Oslo’s full calendar of events as part of the King and Queen’s 50th wedding anniversary, and there is much to celebrate in Norway in 2018.
Create your own enchanting winter break in the run-up to Christmas, and spend a few days in the capital before going rural to explore the delights of the winter night sky.
Where to go in December
An African safari has long been on my travel checklist and South Africa is reportedly the time to observe wildlife at its best in the Cape and along the Garden Route.
Head for Kruger’s private reserves for the biggest opportunities for sightings – Timbavati is consistently rated one the best for guaranteed viewings.
It adjoins Kruger, and offers nine camps from affordable to luxurious. Look out for the big five here, and there are large prides of tawny lion here so cameras at the ready.
Need more inspiration? Get in touch so I can help you come up with the perfect holiday plans for your best adventure yet. Because it all starts with you.