As we do every year, we’ve pulled together our list of top five destinations to visit in the coming year. Yeah, I know, there are lots of these lists floating out there. In fact, last year, the New York Times put out their list of 52 places to go in 2018, and then they actually sent writers to all of them! That sort of proves our point about how a lot of these lists are ridiculous. No one could possibly go to 52 exotic and often remote destinations in 12 months. Even if you had the money, how would you find the time?
That’s why our list is more manageable. Five places. Only five. And to prove that all of them are very do-able, this year, we’re going to highlight some of the itineraries that our favorite preferred travel partners have put together for these places. So without further ado…here we go!
Egypt is back! After unrest kept US tourists away for a few years, now that things have stabilized, the consensus is that it’s a great time to visit this incredible country. Maybe you’re a luxury river cruise enthusiast who’s looking for an incredible exotic itinerary? We’ve got that. Or you’re looking for a classic upgraded land tour? We’ve got that, too.
But, right now, we’re super excited at some of the itineraries that our preferred travel partner, G Adventures, is offering. These small group tours are authentic and immersive, and an week doing in-depth exploration of Cairo, Aswan and Luxor, with visits to a Nubian village, a sailing excursion on a traditional falluca, and lunch with a local family can all come in at under 1000 USD per person. Call us if you want to get in on that!
2. The Azores
In the north Atlantic Ocean, 800 miles west of Portugal, sit nine breathtaking island—Sao Miguel, Santa Maria, Terceira, Faial, Pico, Sao Jorge, Graciosa, Flores and Corvo—The Azores! This is undoubtedly Portugal’s best-kept secret. Abounding with adventure, the remote archipelago extends more than 320 miles, with each island possessing its own dramatic landscape and distinctive, charming character. The Azores’ world-leading sustainable tourism and award-winning natural parks and marine reserves provide an unspoiled landscape that’s perfect for unique and unforgettable experiences.
The Azores are easy to travel to from North America, especially with our preferred travel partner, Delta Vacations. If you’re looking for some outdoor adventure, a seasonal direct flight from JFK (May through September) bundled with a resort and spa overlooking the cliffs of Sao Miguel Island, combines luxury and relaxation with unique opportunities for outdoor adventure. Or opt for a a modern hotel close to Ponta Delgada’s marina, enjoying the incredible food and hospitality that you’ll only find in Portugal. We’d love to send you to the Azores, so call us, and we’ll plan your next amazing getaway!
3. Abu Dhabi
The cultural capital of the Arabian Gulf, Abu Dhabi, has never looked better as a travel destination in 2019. Visit the new Louvre and the iconic Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Have adventures in the desert, and take a day trip to Sir Bani Yas Island—a desert island in the middle of the gulf that’s been irrigated to accommodate luxury resorts and a nature preserve with cheetahs, gazelles, giraffes and more! There’s so much to see and do in Abu Dhabi, and you’ll have a cultural experience that’s anything but cookie cutter.
Of course, we can book a flight and a hotel, and get you a really terrific bundled rate, but have you ever thought about an Arabian Gulf Cruise? It’s not too late to join Huckleberry Travel on our week in the Arabian Gulf, where we’ll also visit Dubai, Doha, Bahrain and Sir Bani Yas Island. We’ll be traveling on MSC Cruises, which may be the best cruise line that you’ve never before heard of. It’s classic European-style cruising, with beautiful ships, lots of inclusions, and for a premium product, the fares are what you’d expect to find on a cruise line that’s not nearly this high-end. If you’d like to join us in February—or if you’d like to explore on your own at another time—give us a call! We’d love to help!
Anguilla is back! With 33 white sand beaches, a slew of newly-renovated resorts, and maybe the best dining in the Caribbean, this is a great time to go to Anguilla. It’s just about a year after not one, but two hurricanes devastated the island, but with new beachfront suites and villas, luxurious spas, and terrific golf, this is the Caribbean beach vacation that you’re definitely going to need this year. And, on an island where tourism is the leading industry, you’ll be helping the local economy, and supporting communities that desperately need your tourist dollar
Through our preferred travel partner, Classic Vacations, we can arrange for a luxurious resort stay in Anguilla at any number of luxury resorts. The Malliouhana Auberge Resort Collection has just reopened 43 refreshed oceanfront rooms and suites, and are poised to debut 11 new beachfront suites, 4 garden suites and a two-bedroom beachfront villa, not to mention a completely new spa. CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa has expanded golf and spa programming in this Mediterranean-style resort, as well as the first hydroponic farm on the island, which supports culinary sustainability. Belmond Cap Juluca and the Four Seasons Resort and Residences are also back on-line, offering luxurious Caribbean beach vacations, with all of the amenities you could ever hope to find. All of these properties are Classic Preferred resorts, which means that when we book your vacation with our travel partner, you’re sure to get preferred pricing, added amenities and world-class service.
5. Sri Lanka
The secret is out about Sri Lanka, everybody. That’s why 2019 is the time to go. The civil war ended ten years ago in 2009, and yet tourists have been somewhat slow to realize that Sri Lanka has incredible beaches, deliciously-spiced cuisine, amazing temples, and some of the best safaris outside of Africa. A country that’s the size of the state of West Virginia has a whopping eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If you’re looking to combine adventure, culture and cuisine, you need to put Sri Lanka on your list for 2019.
Our preferred travel partner, Cox & Kings, is the longest established travel company in the world. Its distinguished history began in 1758 when it was appointed as general agents to the regiment of Foot Guards in India under the command of Lord Ligonier. Today, however, they operate luxury custom itineraries all around the world, including completely customizable, fully independent itineraries in Sri Lanka. Or, if a luxury custom itinerary isn’t on budget for you, Cox & Kings is now offering small-group escorted tours in Sri Lanka, where you get all of the luxury and elevated service that Cox & Kings is known for, but with the advantages of small-group pricing. Their Escorted Discovery tour of Sri Lanka promises luxury, and offers the best of must-see destinations and less-visited, exotic locations: comfortable accommodations and small group sizes with never more than 25 travelers. You’ll discover the world in comfort and camaraderie with like-minded travelers. And the 13 day Sri Lanka group starts at less than 2200 USD, per person.
And that’s our list! I have to say, though, this year was really difficult for us to narrow down to just five destinations. Certainly, we’ve got our own travel planned for this year, which goes beyond this list. We’re escorting groups in 2019 and have even started planning for 2020! And we’ve been planning trips for clients next year that go to Hawai’i, Peru, Alaska, Italy, London, the American West, Morocco and lots and lots of other exciting destinations. So, if you’re dreaming of traveling this year, we’re here to help!