Paying off debts, saving money, quitting smoking, spending more time with your family and going to the gym three times a week are all perfectly valid goals for January, but let’s face it – how happy will they really make you in 2016?
It’s those amazing experiences that make your life more interesting and exciting, which is why you should team your resolutions with travel. After all, exploring the world is the perfect excuse to change your daily routine and take on some better habits.
So without further ado, here are our top resolution-worthy destinations for 2016 – compiled by Lauren Burvill and Alexandra Gregg:
Be more cultural
…IN ABU DHABI
Need to ease up on trashy reality TV in 2016? Make your next holiday a cultural one complete with inspiring traditions, art and food. This year the world’s artistic eyes will all be on Abu Dhabi with its highly-anticipated and soon to open Louvre Museum and Zayed National Museum (Abu Dhabi’s version of the British Museum). While the two haven’t been without controversy, the museums will be the first of their kind in the Arab world, offering an exciting insight into the region and its culture.
Away from the shiny museums and glitzy shopping malls, it’s in Abu Dhabi’s surrounding dunes where you can explore a completely different aspect of the Emirates’ culture: the traditional. A desert safari offers a perfect opportunity to experience old Abu Dhabi complete with henna painting, shisha, belly dancing and a traditional dinner served under the stars.
Soak up some sunshine
While many of us crave a sunny day to boost our mood (and our tan), vitamin D is actually incredibly important for your health, namely our bones. If your aim for 2016 is to maintain a healthy glow and healthy dose of vitamin D, then we recommend making your way to Miami, the USA beach city which enjoys 249 days of sun each year.
From serviced beaches with cabanas for hire to nude beaches, Miami offers ample opportunity for soaking up some rays. The city’s main beaches, public pools and parks even boast free sunscreen at numerous dispensers to encourage safe sunbathing. For prime sunny conditions, book your sunbathing city break from December to May.
Attend a world event
…IN RIO DE JANEIRO
Attending a world event isn’t just a popular New Year’s resolution – it tops many a ‘things to do before you die’ list too. Forget the World Cup and the Super Bowl, if there’s only one global sporting event you can see, it has to be the Olympics. Here you’ll witness the best activities in the world undertaken by the most-talented athletes, we’re talking the real cream of the crop and they are, quite simply, awesome. Rio promises to infuse colour and culture into this iconic spectator event, making it one of the most memorable Olympics we’ve ever seen. Apart from London 2012 of course.
Soak up the Olympics atmosphere in Rio on a Small-Group Journey to Brazil.
Become a morning person
…IN NEW ZEALAND
If you need to work on your wake-up skills, travelling to the other side of the world could be just the ticket. When it comes to sunrises, New Zealand is a standout destination that puts on an incredible show and a strong case for waking up early.
If you’re motivated to be one of the first to witness the day, Gisborne on the eastern side of the North Island, is the first city in the world to see the sunrise. For a sunrise with a spectacular view to match, take in the morning’s first rays from the summit of Mount Eden in Auckland on the North Island or – if you need even more motivation to get out of bed – from a hot-air balloon above the South Island’s striking Canterbury Plains.
Take the stairs
“I’ll take the stairs tomorrow” is a lie that we’ve all told ourselves at some point (or maybe every day). But what if you could swap that guilt for a once in a lifetime, step-climbing adventure – with no temptation of a lift in sight? Enter the Inca Trail, the historic and world-famous hike that boasts its finishing line at Machu Picchu, a Peruvian landmark that claims a top place on most people’s bucket lists.
In addition to the incredible mountain scenery you’ll see an ancient history you’ll retrace, you’ll also be in for an incredible work-out. The beginning of the trail right through to Machu Picchu spans 46 miles. Wear a pedometer and you’ll clock up to 70,000 steps!
Did you know? From May 2016, British Airways will operate direct flights from London to Lima, the capital of Peru.
Take better travel photos
…IN MYANMAR (BURMA)
Fed up of getting home after an incredible trip and finding your snaps don’t cut the mustard? You know the kind of photos we’re talking about: washed out, poorly focused, a rogue thumb creeping in on the corner. Sadly these aren’t the kind of pictures you can show off to your friends to make them jealous of your globetrotting. But don’t worry, 2016 is your year. And there’s no better place to get familiar with your camera and bring back enviable shots than Myanmar.
This Southeast Asian gem is a travel photographer’s dream – think undulating landscapes, diverse vistas, abundant technicolour temples, iconic bridges, gravity-defying fishermen and warm, vibrant people. Using the right equipment, a sturdy tripod and the rule of thirds, you can’t possibly go wrong.
Experience the best of Burma on one of our tours or Small-Group Journeys.
Switch off from the world
Netflix binges, scrolling Facebook feeds, pointless Snapchatting: these were the vices of 2015. And while you don’t necessarily need to give them up entirely, 2016 is your chance to break free from technology – at least every now and then anyway. Enter Malaysia.
Langkawi is a tropical paradise, not to mention one of the best places to get off the grid in Malaysia. Try the Andaman Resort, a luxury retreat nestled between an ancient rainforest (we’re talking millions of years old) and the tranquil Datai Bay with its fringing coral reef. There’s Wi-Fi here but, given the fact you’re on a tropical archipelago, the signal isn’t exactly super-speed. TV is pretty minimal here too: there are just eight free channels, only three of which operate 24 hours a day.
Be more romantic
Mauritius is pure Castaway, Robinson Crusoe fantasy. Couples and honeymooners take note: it’s the perfect romantic getaway too, so what better place to splash out and spoil your loved one? If you love the ocean as much as you love your belle or beau, you can walk along secluded sands together, dine on the beach, take a dusky catamaran ride to a secret cove or watch the perfect sunset from the seemingly never-ending silica in Flic-en-Flac.
For magical scenery away from the coast, get lost in myriad plants and flowers at Pamplemousses, an 18th-century botanical garden filled with the intoxicating scent of pollen. With your appetite for the wilderness suitably whetted, head for the iconic Black River Gorges National Park. This rugged expanse of emerald hills and jungle-clad peaks is all about raw romance with enough heart-pounding vistas, thrill-seeking valleys and magical cascades (try Alexandra Falls!) to really get your pulses racing.
Take better care of myself
Want to get into shape for the New Year? Or do you simply crave a bit of pampering? Then look no further than Bali: the perfect destination for a health and wellness Escape. From the Alila Seminyak to the Double Six, dozens of hotels offer on-site spa facilities for their guests – many spanning several floors of the property – while others are famed for being a spa retreat in their own right, such as the Como Shambhala Estate.
Nestled in an interior Ubud paradise, Como Shambhala is all about a holistic approach to everything, especially when it comes to its resident experts: a yoga teacher, Ayurvedic doctor and an on-site dietician. Even the food is nutritionally balanced. If you’re not seeking that inner Zen, there’s still plenty to keep you busy, from working out at the gym or hiking through the estate grounds, to indulging in a beauty treatment.