It is December and the year 2016 is about to end. Some of you have Christmas breaks up to the first week of January and a lot of you will be checking out websites for some travel tips. Travelling with a group? Feel free to request for a quote.
Here are my top 10 destinations for where you should explore in 2017. These are based on feedback from different travelers, from different forums, and from my experience.
Ok, this is my home so I am probably biased. But Norway is far from its image of being expensive. There are a lot of flights to Norway. Mainly to Oslo, and this is a great place to start your tour around the country. You can see a lot of highlights in Oslo without spending a lot. Check my post on this. Don’t know where else in Norway you should visit after exploring Oslo? Here is Norway 101. Still don’t know where to go? Drop me a line.
Explore the major highlights and relive the amazing history of ancient Persia. Highlights are Tehran, Shiraz, Yazd, Isfahan, and Persepolis, among others. I would advise you to seek the services of a reliable travel agent who can design a good itinerary for you. This is to be able to maximise the most of your trip instead of using your time looking for places. For first timers, book a group tour roundtrip across the country. If you are scandinavian-speaking, I have an itinerary you can consider. Check it out.
3 THE PHILIPPINES
This country is such a study in contrasts and this in itself is worth exploring. When you are in Makati in Manila, you can be in any mega-city in the world. Great logistics, modern architecture, restaurants to satisfy every palate, wifi (almost) everywhere, and shops for all kinds of budgets. Once you are in one of the remote provinces, the place will probably have a call center (where people can call), no wifi, basic accomodation and even more basic logistics. But that is also a part of its charm. One of my favourite places which is in between very modern and very basic is El Nido. Need help with your trip to the Philippines? Send me an e-mail.
Ecuador is the smallest Andean nation, but is big in contrasts. Being a diver, my favorite is the Galapagos Islands. A great place to meet hammerheads. You do not need to be a diver to enjoy this place, though. Spend some time in Guayaquil, the gateway to the Galapagos Islands. Ecuador has also a lot of active volcanoes. One of the most active is Tungurahua, which is located south of Quito. For fun, you may want to have a picture between both sides of the equator. Don’t forget that Ecuador is a major supplier of cacao so do try their hot chocolates here. There are different kinds and just like coffee, the choice is endless, but in the end, just the plain, warm, hot chocolate is enough for the soul.
The USA is not just big cities and theme-parks and shopping. For nature-lovers, the country has a lot of places to offer you. Not just those well-known places, but a lot of lesser-known places as well. As far as history is concerned, the country as a whole has one, but each state has its own story to tell. My twin sister once lived in a place called Sturgeon Bay that turned out to be one of those places where Scandinavians migrates in the 1700’s. A lot of people who live there had Scandinavian names. The nature is similar to Norway. Probably why Norwegians where attracted to the place and settled here that time.
Whether you like the big-city life or are happy with camping, USA has something for you. The dollar has gone up, but most things don’t cost that much here and you get value for your money if you choose wisely.
If you want sun and sand, consider Florida’s (once) forgotten Northern gulf coast. It is now known as the Gold Coast.
This small country is more popular now than ever. You still have to do the obligatory tour to the Blue Lagoon (yes, that is me on the picture), but do go out of Reykjavik as well. It is very cold outside and the surroundings. But inside, the Blue Lagoon offers a very warm bath in its thermal pools. However, because they want to control the number of visitors for environmental purposes, do get your tickets in advance if this is a MUST on your things to do in Iceland. Other things to do would be to dive between two continents, ride an icelandic horse, do a circle trip, whale safari, walk on an iceberg. Without looking for one, you are bound to see a geyser as well. If you will join a small group, do request for a super jeep. You’ll know what I mean when you see one.
Overshadowed by its other Southeast Asian neighbours, Laos got a boost after President Barrack Obama visited the country. The logistics are not at an optimum and if you are dependent on being online the whole time, then this country is not for you. Ancient history, crumbling temples, jungles, basic accommodation, interesting kitchen. Two cities that you have to visit are Vientiane for its temples and Luang Prabang, a town on the UNESCO list. Laos can easily be combined with a tour to Thailand as most flights into the country are from Bangkok.
A safari is something I think everyone should have on their bucket list. I have been several times on a safari, and in Botswana, I once organised a package tour for a wedding. Everything from the couple to all their guests. Not a single complaint. Everything went well. In my work as a travel consultant, we do make group tours and small events and it is crucial to have local agents you know can deliver the product that you have promised your client. Botswana did not disappoint. It is also such a good example of a country’s concerted effort in conservations. They had anti-poaching even before it was popular. Once, it was unheard of to see the Big 5 in Botswana. Now, thanks to their conservation efforts, you can see all them at the Okavango Delta.
The first thing that came to my mind was that this place is a playground for adults who love themed waterparks and the ocean. I stayed at the Atlantis, a massive hotel complex with a great location. It was a trip which I combined with Miami and I glad I did make this side trip. That’s me sitting on a “chair” at the entrance of the casino. Do not keep yourself within the hotel complex. Visit the town and drive around the island as well.
In my youth, I loved reading Greek and Roman mythology. From Homer’s Iliad and the Odyssey, I already had a great picture of ancient Greece before I set foot on the country. That, to me, is Greece. However, it is also Mama Mia (the movie), sun and sand ( I have sold thousands of charter tours here), gourmet food (love the Mediterranean cuisine), and a lot more.
My Tourism students and I visited Athens for our study tour and I loved it even after removing my mythology glasses.
If you are more than 10 adults travelling together, I can help. Ask me for a quote.