As someone who has dragged children to many exotic destinations on the far side of the globe, I’m all for long-haul travel. So when Joe Bond asked if he could write a guest post for my blog, I said yes. I’m not sure that I’d attempt to get to NZ for half term, the twenty six hour flight and punishing jet lag are a little off-putting, but if we had a month to spare it would be a different story. We never did make to to those glaciers…
The best long-haul destinations for 2012
Where can you find the best long-distance holiday? Well, that’s a pretty tough question, given the size of the earth compared to the likely ground you’ll manage to cover in a two-week trip. But we do live on an amazing planet, and taking a long-haul flight to a far-away destination is wonderfully disorientating and magical, because you can be instantly transported out of the dull British winter weather to a completely different reality. It would be hard to surpass the images that a real ‘holiday of a lifetime’ will etch in your memory.
And if it seems feasible to fit it into a February half-term then why wait? Here are some ideas for some great experiences you can have this time of year:
Northern India is benefiting from improved infrastructure and is a perfect place to visit in February. If you’re looking for a different land, then India’s contrasts and colours will hit you as soon as you step off the plane. Try a tiger safari, negotiate the bustling streets of Delhi, and explore the blooming valleys of Sikkim.
Or you could choose South East Asia, which has lost none of its appeal. The pound still remains relatively strong compared to some far flung currencies, with pretty favourable currency exchange rates in Thailand and Vietnam, so you can be sure of good value while you’re there – especially if you steer clear of large tourist areas. Head to the national parks in Northern Thailand and simply relax on its southern beaches.
Plus, as Burma opens up to tourism it’s promising to be a travel trend for 2012, if you prefer somewhere further off the beaten track. Its impressive temples, fishing villages and famous rivers allow your navigation of the country to be a unique experience in itself.
Air fares to the other side of the world tend to cool down a little after Christmas, but the weather holds out a little longer, so Australia and New Zealand are definitely worth checking out. Don’t miss the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers on the New Zealand’s South Island, or the opportunity to spot sperm whales off the coast from the small town of Kaikoura.
In Australia, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, with its glittering night parades and dancing, runs throughout the whole month. And of course, the beaches, the Great Barrier Reef and trips to Kangaroo Island offer unforgettable experiences and plenty of photo opportunities.
Many memorable moments are on offer in Latin America as 2012 gets started. Disregard the nonsense over Mayan predictions about the end of the world in December, speak to the locals and climb Machu Picchu in Peru. You’ll never forget being in an Incan urban wonder – and breathless in tropical mountain forest 2,430m above sea level.
Further south on the continent, you can spot stars from the Atacama Desert, learn the tango in Buenos Aires, see the best views in the world at Bariloche, or head further south to see penguins, and eventually the great white continent of Antarctica.
Always make sure that whatever far flung destination you choose, you’re fully covered by your travel insurance and shop around in advance for your travel money to get the best rates. If you’re taking holidays more often, you may like to think about multi trip annual travel insurance.