Each and every year we are swooning over the chance to visit new and exciting places. We’re dreaming of beaches, or mountains, of local culture and sizzling street food. We’re keen to get deeper into a place, yet also visit every corner or the planet. It’s a hard ask… but we’re keen to cram as much in as possible in 2018. Here are a few places that are topping our lists, and which we think you should also consider for the new year ahead. Happy wandering!
Team ROAM x
There’s so many things we love about Vietnam – but ultimately what we love about this country is the variety of things it has to offer. In the South, you can relax on perfect untouched beaches, before canoeing along the Mekong Delta and spending a few wild nights in Ho Chi Minh City. In the centre there’s Hoi An – one of our very favourite places in South East Asia. And then there’s the North, with rice paddies shaping mountains, rainbow hill tribes and the vibrant city of Hanoi. And we haven’t even talked about the bay areas! There’s so much to see in Vietnam, and of course we are also thinking of all that food we’re just dying to get back and feast on! This year, Brits and a selection of other EU countries can travel to Vietnam visa free (for up to 15 days!). Just another excuse to get ourselves to this wonderful place!
Another country which has recently changed its visa policy is Ethiopia. From June 2018, British citizens will be able to apply for an e-visa to enter the country. This East African wonder is a real up and coming gem. We’ve heard the people are incredible, the food is delicious (and very vegetarian friendly!) and there’s incredible festivals, sights and landscapes to keep any traveller occupied. We’re very curious about Africa, and we’d love to feature more African destinations in 2018 (have a story for us? Submit here!). Perhaps the new visa change in Ethiopia could be bringing us there in the new year!
Posts to Inspire You: An Interview with Galit Govezensky
For the past few years, our use of technology while travelling has been constantly increasing. Nowadays, our destination, choices, outfit choices and picture poses are all affected by the things we see on the internet and Instagram. I can’t really imagine travelling without my phone and laptop, but I’m keen to see what it’s like. Lately we’ve been seeing a trend of tours, retreats and hotels promoting an unplugged getaway. Intrepid have recently announced a range of ‘Digital Detox’ trips to places like the Indian Himalayas and Vietnam. The company Off Grid Hideaways, bring together remoteness and luxury, with hideaways in Chile, Sri Lanka, Portugal and Norway. Perhaps this year will be the year we all learn to disconnect a little when abroad, and remember why we really travel.
Somewhere we headed this year, and somewhere which really surprised us is Poland. The country is perhaps not on the top of most people’s list when they consider travelling to Europe. But it really should be! Not only does Poland have some incredibly well preserved cities (fairytale towns galore!), it’s also cheap, and effortlessly cool. We have great memories of feasting on Pirogi’s in the Wroclaw main square, and exploring the student bars and restaurants along the riverside city of Poznan. One of our wonderful posts this year also has us very keen to visit the Tatra Mountains. It seems that Poland is a country of so many gems, and we’re ready to explore it before everyone else does!
Posts to Inspire You: A Fictional Paradise in the Tatra Mountains, Poland
Central America with Thread Caravan
While we’re pretty keen to visit just about everywhere in Central America, we love the idea of getting a little deeper into the countries and craft scene here on a tour with Thread Caravan. We featured Thread Caravan earlier this year, and just adore their concept. They run tours in Mexico, Guatemala and Panama, with each one employing local artisans and each traveller gets the opportunity to experience traditional craft from the very people who have been passing these skills down through the generations. We can’t think of a much better way to experience a place and a culture, than supporting local craft in this way.
Posts to Inspire You: Oaxaca is the Place for Me
Georgia & Armenia
Somewhere we’ve been keen to check out for a while now is the Caucasus countries of Georgia and Armenia. We’re so intrigued by the mixture of East and West in these Central Asian countries, and we’ve heard that Tbilisi is quite the cool hangout spot. We’d love to explore the cities, the food scene and then get out into the hills to see what life is really about in these countries.
Posts to Inspire You: Riding on Stalin’s Rope Roads
It’s probably no secret that we love India (just follow our co-founder Annapurna Mellor and you’ll see!). We love the culture, the vibrancy, the contrast between the landscapes and the amazing food. This year we’ve had so many wonderful contributions from India, and it just makes us want to see every corner of this country even more. Recently, the Indian visa policy has changed so it’s now possible to get an e-visa for 60 days. That’s an incredible two months of exploring to be done!
Expeditions with Intrepid Travel
Intrepid Travel run some incredible tours around the world. We love looking through their trips for inspiration, and none are more exciting than their expeditions which go truly off the beaten track, giving the traveller a unique vision to see a country through the eyes of local people. We love the idea of their Moroccan Expedition, where you have the chance to walk with Berber nomads. Or their trip along the Tamang Heritage Trail in Nepal. Of their new trips, it seems like they are on the same page as us – with a NE India tour and a food adventure through Georgia and Armenia. Sign us up!
Eco touring in Costa Rica
We love the idea of travelling around a country in an eco friendly way. Costa Rica really seems to be leading the way when it comes to Eco friendly tourism. The country has a huge array of eco lodges, suitable for any budget. We’d love to explore the beaches, jungles and cultures of this country while spending the night in a lodge which we knew wasn’t costing the planet. This is the future of tourism – and we’d love to experience it in 2018. Check out this post and this one to see some Eco Lodges recommended.
Travel blogs are a great thing, and one of our favourites this year is Along Dusty Roads. We feel inspired by all their posts, but there’s one place that has really stuck out and now has a firm place on our wish list – the Italian region of Puglia. One of the lesser known destinations in Italy, Puglia is the ‘heel of the boot’. It’s not Rome, or Venice, but this is Italy without mass tourism – and that is such an intriguing concept to us.
Post to Inspire You: 8 Reasons to Visit Puglia (from Along Dusty Roads)
Photo credit: Thomas Gravanis, Galit Govezensky, Anna Blackwell, Christina Freeth, Sophia Mullin, Emily Lush, Yuri Andries, Louise Coghill, Isabella Jusková (via Unsplash) and Jacques Savoye (via Pixabay).