So we might not be able to travel at the moment but it doesn't mean we can't plan and dream. Mark Twain once said: ‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.’
By The Age of Thirty - Full Moon Parties
Travelling around Asia and attending a full moon party has always been a big part of Gap Year travel, but don't forget that Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand have so much more to offer. Now's the time to explore Asia. Take in the ancient splendour of Angkor Wat, trek to meet hill tribes in Myanmar (Burma), explore underground rivers in Phong Nha, and taste all manners of street food at nearly every stop. Take on an epic, the awe-inspiring trip.
Book: Why not join an organised tour like G Adventures - 41 days Travelling from Bangkok to Bangkok through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myamar starting from £2,339pp with return flights from £450pp. Or if you want to just go for a short time a 10 day tour starts from £449. prices are based on travelling in October 2020.
By the Age of Thirty - Visit the Big Apple - New York
It's the coolest metropolis on the planet. Eat pastrami on rye in the East Village, dance around the Friends fountain in Central Park and dream of being able to shop on Fifth Avenue. As well as visiting the main tourist spots like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, paying your respects at Ground Zero is high on most people's lists, there are so many other things to experience in New York. Make sure you time your visit to the Empire State Building so that you exit the Art Deco lift on the 86th floor at dusk and watch New York City light up, one at a time.
Book: Fly October 2020 with Virgin Atlantic, staying at The Box Hotel, Brooklyn stay for 3 nights from £809pp.
By the Age of Forty - Let's go to Rio
Dance the samba, Brazilian-style with locals in trendy Lapa, board the historic funicular to see Christ the Redeemer and watch silky skills between local teams at the hallowed Maracanã stadium. Rio de Janeiro enjoys a unique location nestled between lush, green mountains on one side and crystal clear seas on the other. It is one of the most culturally and economically prominent cities in Brazil and features some of the world’s most iconic attractions such as Corcovado (Christ the Redeemer statue), Sugarloaf Mountain and the iconic beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. Stay for a week and explore the city or join an orgainsed tour.
Book: 10 nights staying at the 4* Vilamar Copacabana, bed & breakfast return direct flights in September 2020 from £940pp or a 15 day Wonders of Brazil tour starting and finishing in Rio with a visit to the Iguassau Falls in October 2020 with direct flights from £2,715pp.
By the Age of Forty - Big Sur Road Trip
Channel Thelma (or Louise) and put your foot on the gas. Easy wheelin’ on California’s sunlit Pacific Coast Highway, bookended by San Francisco and San Diego, is one of America’s most thrilling road trips. For lovers of Big Sur, no visit here is complete without a stop for shopping, dining, and the gorgeous setting at Nepenthe. Nepenthe founders Lolly and Bill Fassett hired Rowen Maiden, who studied with Frank Lloyd Wright, to build the landmark redwood and adobe structure you see today. Settle into a seat along the counter on the deck and behold one of Big Sur’s definitive views as you bite into Nepenthe’s iconic ambrosia burger.
Book: 14 days road trip travelling from San Francisco to Los Angeles including 13 nights in hotels along the route, car hire and return flights from London from £2,769pp with Vacations to America or if you don't fancy the drive Cosmos run a 14 day escorted tour Golden West Adventure with return flights from London travelling in October from £2,278pp.
By the Age of Fifty - Big Five and the Beach
Seeing Africa’s wildlife in the flesh is life-affirming. The Amakhala Game Reserve is a stunning wildlife reserve situated in the malaria-free Eastern Cape. The reserve is renowned for its luxury lodging as well as brilliant wildlife viewings – the area is rich in biodiversity with many animals re-introduced to the bushveld. The reserve is 90km away from the bustling city of Port Elizabeth and is located along the Greater Addo area. Guests will enjoy world-class safari adventure and excellent animal sightings, including big game mammals such as elephants, rhinos, lions and much more. The area is semi-arid and consists of a range of bird and plant life. The accommodation available ranges from ultra-luxurious to rustic and simplistic, perfect for all kinds of tourists including families and couples seeking a romantic getaway! All lodges have standard safari activities that are sure to enthral.
Book: 16 Days exploring Cape Town, Franschhoek, Addo and Amakhala Game Reserve. Travel with Eastcape Tours includes return flights from London as well as internal flights, car hire from £3,250pp.
By the Age of Fifty - Make for the Amalfi Coast
OK, Italy is out of bounds for now, but when the coronavirus lockdown is lifted head to the Amalfi Coast. It’s 25 miles of Unesco-listed cliff-edge glamour with pastel-coloured hotels, bijou boutiques and gorgeous sea views; towns such as Sorrento and Positano are irresistible. You must also sail to Capri for mouth-watering seafood in the tiny isle’s famous piazzetta.
Book: 7 nights bed & breakfast staying at the 4* La Conca Azzura, 90 minutes south of Naples, costs from £845 pp including flights travelling with Citalia. Or join Travelsphere on a 8 day holiday. On this fabulous holiday you'll stay in the village of Minori and spend a week exploring the delights of the Amalfi Coast. Prices start from £1,199 in September 2020 including flights, accommodation and 15 meals.
By the Age of Sixty - Great Wall, Great Cities.
China is a country that definitely should be visited. Top of the must see list is the Great Wall of China. It stretches for 13,000 miles and is easy to visit from Beijing. After strolling along this 2,000 year old stone dragon you must "wheeee" back down via the toboggan run at the Mutianyu section.
Book: Wendy Wu Tours offer a 14 days Glories of China tour departing in October 2020 prices starting £2,790pp, including flights, domestic transportation, visa and all meals.
By the Age of Sixty - Trek Peru's Inca Trail
The ancient city of Machu Picchu sits at 2,430 metres on an Andean mountain top. Whether you hike or ride the tourist train, the final destination is one of South America’s most atmospheric sights. The Inca Trail is limited as to the number of hikers each day, making it incredibly popular in peak season from May-September. Permits are often sold out between 6-12 months in advance.
Book: G Adventures are one the region’s largest operators, they run their own treks, which ensures the fair treatment of their porters, quality food, service, and equipment. They run a 15 day tour including a 4 day trek which includes guides, cooks and porters. The trip starts in La Paz and finishes in Lima, this tour includes internal flights however they also offer a trip which includes local overground transfers for those wanting to see more of the country. Prices start from £1,649 pp for travel in October, November 2020. International flights are not included but of course can be added.
By the Age of Seventy - See the Northern Lights
What better way to cast your eyes on the milky luminescence of the aurora borealis (Northern Lights) than from the comfort of a cruise ship in Norway, draped in a warm rug with a hot chocolate in hand? Whilst watching out for the lights you get to visit Norway and see the stunning vistas of the fjords.
Book: Sail on Cruise Maritime's Marco Polo from Tilbury on 18th February 2021. 15 nights in a Ocean View Cabin from £1,599pp includes full board cuisine, afternoon teas, late night snacks and big show entertainment.
By the Age of Seventy - Travel on the Orient Express
A journey on the elegant Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train should be on every discerning traveller’s wish list - there is simply no better way to celebrate a special birthday or anniversary in style. From the moment you board, you take a step back in time to the bygone, golden-age of rail travel when a journey was about relishing the experience rather than getting from A to B as quickly as possible. Either stay on board and travel to Europe or enjoy a luxury meal onboard on one of their many day trips.
Book: London to Venice for 3 nights. Depart London Victoria mid morning and travel through the Kent countryside. Travel down through Europe arriving in Venice early the next evening. Spend 2 nights in Venice in a 4 star hotel and fly home to London. Kirker Travel offer this trip throughout the year with prices starting at £2,998pp.
Or Belmond Orient Express offer a day trip to Historic Canterbury in September wth Brunch and afternoon tea onboard the train with time to explore Canterbury prices start from £297pp. They also offer a day trip to Winchester Christmas Market in November with Brunch and a 4 course Dinner with time to explore the cathedral and shop from £435pp.