New year, new you? Here are my top 10 New Year’s resolution travel ideas so you can realise your travel dreams.
Be one of those people who now look for an “experience” when they travel so combine your annual break with getting fit, gaining a new skill, or raising money for your favourite charity.
Let next year be the year you finally fulfil that lifelong ambition to actually see the world, rather than timidly thumbing an atlas every so often.
Here are my top 10 travel ideas to make your new year’s resolutions come true:
1. Outdoors action
An active holiday could be just the tonic you need after an over-indulgent Christmas and New Year season.
One of the UK’s top outdoor activity centres is the Craggan Bunkhouse and Bothy in the Speyside and Cairngorms National Park. Craggan combines great accommodation with adrenalin-fuelled activities on your doorstep. From canoeing and fishing to grass sledging, mountain biking, pony trekking and quad biking, it’s all here.
2. Eat well in the New Year
Some people start the new year with resolutions to eat less but gastronomes will be aiming to eat better. Culinary tourism continues to be a popular trend with over one million people estimated to take an international food and wine trip each year.
Fosh Food, the gourmet food centre in Palma de Mallorca has an exciting selection of hands on cookery courses. The themed evening classes offer the chance to put on an apron and learn an international set of techniques, recipes and skills, enabling you to create mouth-watering meals with confidence.
3. Let it snow, let it snow
Celebrate the beauty of the winter season in 2010 with a real snowy adventure holiday. Spend a long weekend snow-shoeing on spectacular Mount Etna in Sicily. The Bay of Naxos sparkles in the distance, pine forests surround you and the smoking summit of Etna towers above. Mastering snowshoeing should only take a few minutes and no previous experience is necessary.
Another winter pursuit to try is dog-sledding. Not only will you learn how to ‘mush’ on a dog-sledding holiday in Finland, each night you’ll be entrusted with looking after the huskies who daily whisk you across the snow.
In north America the Great Lakes region offers a myriad of winter activities. Go on a snowmobiling tour along the 6,200 miles of maintained tracks in Michigan, staying in cosy B&Bs. Or get involved with the unique sport of ice fishing.
4. Capture the moment
Make this new year’s holiday the end of setting your camera to auto. Try a travel photography course that features both beautiful scenery and tips on how to get the best out of your camera.
Capture unique images of places that few other visitors will see as you explore the breathtaking and unspoiled scenery of Iceland. Wild Photography Holidays offers a variety of programmes in the land of fire and ice, where mountains, waterfalls, fjords, glaciers and volcanoes in abundance draw photographers to the outrageous landscapes of one of Europe’s last remaining wildernesses.
In France, Jim and Lucy Fisher run digital photography, as well as painting courses from their magnificent converted farmhouse/barn in the Dordogne region, where the sandstone villages are a joy to explore with a camera and the rolling hills and forests hold a myriad of surprises.
5. Get on your bike
A cycling holiday is another great way to combine good intentions of getting fit and losing weight with a holiday experience. Cycle holidays can range from easy gliding on quiet, flat backroads to the strenuous ascents, tough climates and rugged, off-road terrain.
Spend a long weekend cycling holiday pedalling around the Cotswolds – River Windrush towpaths, ivy-covered cottages in the Slaughters and ornate 17th-century grandstands. Or explore Cornwall’s spectacular coastline on a self-guided cycling holiday. Visit Cornwall’s famous landmarks, the tranquil south coast and the spectacular surfing beaches of the north Cornish coast.
A tougher proposition would be travelling the length of Jordan, following ancient trading routes and experiencing the Dead Sea’s rugged shoreline, Wadi Rum desert, mighty hills and the stunning, rock-hewn city of Petra.
6. Transform mind and body
Maximise your potential with a nurturing and revitalising treatment course in a beautiful environment this year. From yoga, pranamaya and Pilates to spa treatments, turn your holiday into a life transforming experience in the New Year.
Improve your wellbeing and communication at the ultimate in life transforming workshops run by Elisabetta Franzoso at the Six Senses Destination Spa in the Thailand resort of Phuket. Franzoso is an internationally renowned trainer, coach and author in body and mind communication and the Life Workshop will include daily classes, lectures and fitness programmes.
Or if you’re looking for value for money transformation stay at the Rainforest Shangrila Resort, a hostel on the island of Dominica. It sits one thousand feet above sea level, away from the heat and bustle of the beach areas and the cities, on the edge of a rain forest. For centuries the natives of the island have been using the mineral-rich geothermal waters and vapours for healing, relaxation and simple pleasure.
7. Learn a new skill
Have you ever dreamt of writing your memoirs, trying your hand at poetry or creating your own fictional characters? How about combining a creative writing workshop with a Swan Hellenic cruise? The journey on the Venetian Republic features high calibre writers to provide detailed and in-depth workshops.
Or go on a tutored painting holiday in the Andalucia region of Spain with Welsh Artist Jantien Powell and Vintage Travel. There are expert teaching sessions every day, in the interior and the scenic grounds of the villa. Plus visits to picturesque painting locations such as the historic hilltop towns of Ronda, Zahara and Setenil – where the houses are built into the cliff.
8. Go the long haul
Make this new year be the year you travel to far flung parts of the world you’ve always dreamed of visiting. New Zealand is on the travel wishlist of many but time and distance are often the excuse for delaying.
There’s a new way for active visitors with limited time to experience New Zealand’s diverse outdoors to its fullest. AWOL Adventure’s The Big Day Out is a nine-hour adventure based around Auckland’s east coast, including kayaking, snorkelling, mountain biking, finishing off at a surf beach and relaxing with local wine and cheeses.
Experience authentic Maori culture on the recently launched Food of the Chiefs Tour in Waimarama in New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay. This two-hour tour gives independent travellers the opportunity to visit the Hakikino 15th Century Maori village – an archaeological site that has only recently been opened to the public.
9. Set yourself a charity challenge
If you’ve set yourself the challenge to get fit next year why not have fun while raising money for your favourite charity at the same time? From organised charity walks and bike rides in the beautiful English countryside to ultra marathons in exotic locations, a charity challenge will be the experience of a lifetime.
Set yourself a stretch target with ultra marathons in Iceland, Namibia or the Grand Canyon. Or visit the Anixab community at Sorris-Sorris in Namibia to assist with general renovations to improve the learning environment in the region’s schools which are in a state of disrepair.
Across the Divide has a wide variety of ideas for your New Year’s resolutions. There are physical challenges such as walking and biking in the UK, the London to Paris Charity Bike Ride, trekking the Great Wall of China, Everest Base Camp or Kilimanjaro.
10. Enrich your child’s mind
If the bored refrain: “Are we nearly there yet?” is all you can look forward to on your next family holiday, make a difference in 2010 by planning an awe-inspiring family adventure.
There is a wealth of choice these days, with hundreds of family trips designed to appeal to children as well as parents, whether you have little ones or teenagers.
Discover exotic destinations you may never have considered before, such as Belize in Central America. From exploring ancient Mayan ruins to snorkelling and cave-tubing, Belize has it all and with a favourable exchange rate. English is the official language and the country is small enough to navigate by car.
Closer to home, there are some unusual family holiday ideas to be found at the Glen Tanar Estate. Set in the heart of Royal Deeside and in the Cairngorms National Park, Glen Tanar has the expected walking, cycling, riding and trout and salmon fishing. You can take part in bushcraft activity events and learn how to comfortably live in the wilderness by using the resources that nature provides – just like Ray Mears.
By Natasha von Geldern
What’s your New Year’s resolution for travel in the new year?
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