Who travels full time and gives you the best insights on being a local? Who experiences everything first hand and delivers it with authenticity? Who could tell a story in the most natural way? TRAVEL BLOGGERS. Everywhere I go, I see the most authentic travel bloggers ruling the world, writing and sharing their experiences. I met a handful of them, too, and believe me when I say they are who they are in person or online. I needed not to purchase a guidebook to navigate my travels. These bloggers are my bunch of human Lonely Planet books who definitely helped me in my world wandering.
Excited on what they’re about to say? Here’s the list of best trips 2016 according to these wonderful travel bloggers.
Audrey Bergner-Jeffrey of That Backpacker recommends taking a road trip around Ireland
My suggestion for travel in 2016 would be to hire a car and go on a road trip across Ireland. I went on a one-week girls’ trip this fall and it was one of the highlights of the year. Not only was the Irish countryside beautiful, but the people were incredibly warm and kind. We spent our week visiting castles, stopping in for fish and chips in cute harbour towns, driving down winding roads that took us through the cutest of villages, and generally being blown away by the beauty of the countryside.
Our girls’ road trip was only one week long, but during that time we managed to check out the nightlife in Dublin, visit monastic ruins in Glendalough, drive an incredibly scenic portion of the Wild Atlantic Way, and stare in awe at the Cliffs of Moher before crossing over into Northern Ireland where we saw the Giant’s Causeway, ran across the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and drove through the Dark Hedges. If you’re looking for beautiful landscapes, historic sites, and welcoming locals, you really can’t go wrong with a trip to the Emerald Isle!
The Everest Base Camp Trek is on Lexie Willems’ (Steps2Follow) top recommendation.
After Nepal’s tragic experience with a 7.6 magnitude earthquake in April, 2015, the country and it’s beautiful people have suffered many more losses than their homes, loved ones and their livelihood. Since the earthquake, tourism has been down, way down, in Nepal. Tourism, being one of the most important economies in Nepal, is in drastic need of a pick-me-up to help the local people of Nepal who work in this industry repair their lives. That’s why I recommend my favourite adventure around the world thus far, the Everest Base Camp Trek. Nepal has made a steady effort to improve popular tourist attractions, that being the many mountain treks that the majestic Himalayan terrain affords. The trails are once again open for trekkers and deemed safe for those looking for the ultimate adventure.
Trekking to Everest Base Camp is the most challenging, eye-opening and educational experience you can find yourself in. You will learn to use mind over matter when your muscles are begging you to stop and when your body learns to adjust to low oxygen levels the higher you climb. Don’t let these challenges stop you, the remote landscapes you will see are the most amazing in the world and the unique Buddhist and Sherpa cultures you will be exposed to will leave you a little more wealthy, enriched with knowledge of peace, acceptance and love. Most treks are from 9-14 days.
Love diving? Justin Carmack of True Nomads encourages you to go diving in the Red Sea around Dahab.
One amazing place I would recommend travellers visit in 2016, would be the South Sinai of Egypt. To be more precise, to go dive the Red Sea around Dahab. I had a quick stop in Dahab because I had head of the famous Blue Hole, the world class SS Thistlegorm wreck and many more dives, and I ended up staying 11 months. The diving was amazing, with warm water and 40 meter visibility all year round. Dahab is a very safe place, yet not many tourist go, so I had insanely great dive sites to myself. The food was great, and the diving and accommodation some of the cheapest in the world. What more could I ask for? If you aren’t into diving, nearby is the famous Moses (Mt Sinai) mountain, tons f great camel safaris, and just a couple hours from the Great Pyramids. If you are looking for somewhere a little off the beaten path, this is my recommendation, and favorite place to visit.
“My best trip recommendation for 2016 would be the Vatnajokull National Park in Iceland.” – Meg Jerrard of Mapping Megan
Vatnajokull National Park in Iceland should be at the top of every travelers list for 2016 – this is the largest National Park in Western Europe, and has a range of outstanding natural wonders which truly capture the interplay between fire and ice. This region covers 13% of Iceland’s total land mass, and you can witness glaciers which descend to black sands, hot streams which erupt from frozen banks of ice, Iceland’s highest mountain, largest glacier, and Europe’s most powerful waterfall.
Travellers can witness the long canyons and enormous waterfalls at Jökulsárgljúfur, Skaftafell’s high moorland and paired glaciers, the wilderness of Lónsöræfi, and the remains of Lakagígar’s catastrophic volcanic event which will occupy you for days. You can drive snowmobiles across Europe´s largest glacier, sail among icebergs, or explore black sand dunes on ATV´s. Hiking, ice-climbing, skidooing and even dog sledding are also among the adventurous activities offered within this enormous park; there is truly so much to do!
Two Scots Abroad Gemma and Craig said Canada is a must-see!
Toronto, Niagara Falls, Montreal, Canadian Rockies, Vancouver Island, Vancouver. There is no denying that this intriguing list of destinations make up Canada’s hotspots. However there is a hidden gem tucked away in the West Coast of British Columbia that many Vancourites don’t even know about, the Sunshine Coast. We had the pleasure of spending the summer on the Coast in the quirky yoga loving, vegan priority town, Roberts Creek. Our home town was a gateway to nature and playtime. We swam in lakes, hiked trails, kayaked and paddleboarded all over the Coast. We even did some impromptu whale watching during a chilled out fishing trip too. Skookumchuck Narrows aka Sechelt’s Rapids are a sight to behold! Two to three times per day the waters explode and go wild. If you are lucky, you’ll spot a kamikaze kayaker taking on the challenge! Our favourite hike was at Smugglers Cove, the scenery really is just stunning.
Soames Hill is also not to be missed, don’t be put off by the challenging stairs. If hiking isn’t your thing, then join a boat ride around Pender Harbour, spot the seals and million dollar marina homes. Although the Coast is a Mecca for the healthy conscious, there is a nice balance of dining out, live music, and even a craft beer brewery in Gibsons!
More road trips from Himanshu Barsainya’s (Everything Candid) Trans-Himalayan Region of Spiti Valley, India.
For travel aficionados I would recommend an adventurous road trip to Trans Himalayan Region of Spiti Valley in India. Spiti Valley, a veritable Sangri-La, is a cold mountain desert located on the Indo-Tibet border along the Spiti River. To reach this place you have to cross across Himalayan ranges and in doing so you pass thru some of the highest motorable passes of the world such as Kunzum and Rohtang Pass and also drive on the one of the deadliest road on planet earth i.e. NH22 from Shimla to Kaza, amidst all pervasive might of Himalaya.
For an explorer and nature lover it’s a living museum, with bare and eroded mountain ranges giving a chance a witness the art form of Mother Nature at its best on each turn. It has a long list of must visit places such as the ancient Buddhist monasteries of Kee, Kaumik, Tabo and Dhankar, as well as the mystifying lakes at Dhankar, Nako & Chandratal, 500 year old mummified Lama at Gui, beautifully landscaped villages of Loser, Langza, Mud etc. It is also home to the highest Asian village of Kaumik, the highest post office in the world at Hikkim and the highest petrol pump in the world at Kaza!
After this adrenaline pumping road trip to Spiti Valley which remains cut-off from mainland for 4-5 months in a year and almost untouched by the modernity, rest assured that you would come back as a better human being and evolved traveler.
According to Hungry Partier Drew Goldberg, a 3-day trek in Myanmar will change your life.
I had the wonderful opportunity to go on a life-changing trek across Myanmar with a small group of people. It was one of the most eye-opening and raw experiences of my life. The trekking journey was 2 nights, 3 days and about 70 kilometers. We woke up everyday at sunrise, and walked until the sun set. The entire group was about 6 trekkers, a guide, and a chef who prepares incredible local meals.
We walked up hills, down valleys, across train tracks, through gardens, fields and caves. Along the way, we passed through dozens of little villages where I saw many smiling faces and waving hands. In the villages, I walked through schools where kids will come running, screaming and jumping on my leg to say hello. Each night, we slept in a village who welcomed us with open arms.
This 3-day trekking adventure was like stepping in a time machine back 200 years. I got a first-hand experience of what life is like without electricity, the internet, washing machines, and hot water.
Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is made by hand from natural resources like bamboo and wood. I’m talking about houses, bathrooms,showers, playgrounds, textiles, shirts, chairs, tables, hats, etc.
People ride cows and horses to get around — there are no cars. All foods are locally grown in the gardens and fields. I highly recommend to go on this life-changing experience if you plan to visit Myanmar!
Camila Labaronne of Wandering Secrets will give you infinite reasons to go to Crete.
Crete is one of Greece’s islands, easy to reach by plane or by ferryboat. Because of its size and diversity, it’s a destination by itself and a very popular spot for Europeans. It goes with all kinds of budget. You can go as low as 10euros a day and as high as you want! Crete has a wide range of accommodation, food and activities fit for all purses. Cretans are amazing people. It is where I met the most generous, open minded, smiling people in all my travels. If you feel like talking and opening yourself to the world, you’ll find yourself sharing meals or drinks with people you’ve just met. You might even find a roof and a job, or be taught a Greek song by a lyra player.
The food is incredibly tasty, healthy and fresh. Seasonal veggies, the peculiar food combination, the yoghurts, fruits and olives — you’ll never be disappointed even with a low budget trip! Don’t miss out the wine and stronger brandies, too! “Sit down, relax, enjoy” are the words I’ve heard the most in my time there. It just gets to you how relaxed Cretans are. Enjoying their island the way they do is the best way to leave with unforgettable memories. Or better, it will make you stay.
Inma Gregorio of A World to Travel says South Africa is the next big thing in travel 2016.
If you have never made it to the Southern tip of the African continent, 2016 might be the perfect time, since South Africa couldn’t be more ready for you. Last year I checked that myself on a 2 week trip around the country and, on top of being much safer and beautiful than I had imagined, every day there was so filled with new experiences and awesome people that I couldn’t help it and had an absolute blast. A few of my recommended spots would be Johannesburg’s hip neighborhoods full of street art and gourmet cafes; Stellenbosch wineries and antiques shops; Cape Towns’ street markets like The Old Biscuit Mall and Water Shed, the central waterfront, stunning nature surrounding it such as Table Mountain and unique experiences that the city offers like champagne cruises at sunset and world class dining as the one I enjoyed in Nobu and Gold.
Ever heard of St. Helena? Iain Mallory of Mallory on Travel will walk you through it.
Agreeing with Lonely Planet doesn’t always sit well. However, the guides list including St Helena, the island lost in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean as a top destination for next year is spot on. There may only be one reason, but certainly plenty more motives for visiting. The island is due to complete the building of a new airport in 2016. This will make it far more accessible, as at the moment the only way to get there is a 10 day round trip by boat from Cape Town.
Being able to visit one of the most remote places on earth far more easily will undoubtedly appeal to many; the reason. The friendly people, impressive landscape, equally fantastic wildlife and quaint capital of Jamestown should provide the motivation. Napoleon’s final exile is also set to become a hotspot for whale shark enthusiasts. Large shoals of the world’s largest fish are appearing in the waters surrounding the island each year.
My hot tip however, would be to take the voyage by ship before the airport is completed. Tourist numbers will still be small and taking the RMS St Helena to the island makes it one of the most exciting journeys still available.
Up for a dancing trip? Sofie Couwenbergh of Wonderful Wanderings thinks a hip hop trip to Los Angeles is worth it.
If you’re a fan of dancing, I highly recommend doing a hip hop trip to Los Angeles. Some of the best dance schools and hip hop teachers in the world are there. You can enjoy the Californian sun during the day and take classes at night before showing off your new skills at one of the many clubs in the county. The great thing is that you can show up any time and just join, as most schools work with a classes card or a pay-as-you-go system and not with annual subscriptions. If you’re really motivated, you can even enter an audition and who knows, you might be dancing for Usher next year! If you’re just a hobby dancer, you can combine taking a few classes with exploring the different sides of Los Angeles: alternative Venice Beach, touristy Santa Monica, queer West Hollywood and the mountainous north. There’s so much more to Los Angeles than just Hollywood and it’s high time people find out!
Love and Road‘s Natalie Deduck and Robson Cadore cordially invite you to explore Cabo de Gata Natural Park in Spain.
Fisherman villages, Mediterranean sea and Spanish food. A combination that never goes wrong, and is still kept as a secret in some parts of Spain. In 2014 we discovered Gabo de Gata Níjar Park, a protected area hidden on the coast, between Cartagena and Málaga. A stunning place that is still off the beaten path, with untouched beaches, steep hill and goats on the road.
Cabo de Gata is a natural park, a huge one, you can drive inside for days, but can camp or stay only in a few villages. The sea is crystal clear with rocky mountains, to reach some beaches we had to trek for almost 3 hours. To enjoy the park you definitely need a car and more than 3 days. The weather is perfect from spring to summer, sunny and dry, although the sea can be quite chilly even in June.
There you will be surrounded by nature, raw landscape. You can walk on the beach by yourself for hours, kilometers. It´s a paradise for water sports, cycling, running and hiking. For me a perfect destination, and empty, almost no tourists! But if you want to experience Cabo de Gatas still untouched, without that massive crowds, you must hurry. Not only us discovered this secret paradise in Spain, Anthony Bourdain in his travel show Parts Unknown visited Gabo de Gata this year and fell in love too. I’m not surprised at all, the park is amazing and definitely one of the best destinations for 2016.
Matt Gibson of Xpat Matt is one of the many people who are deeply awed by the Banaue Rice Terraces in the Philippines.
The Banaue Rice Terraces. Just 12 hours north of Manila, these millennia-old rice terraces that were hand-carved from the jagged mountains of the Philippine Cordilleras are still farmed in almost the exact same way that they were when they were first constructed 2000 years ago.
The bus ride to Banaue is long, uncomfortable, and overly air-conditioned (seriously, bring a blanket) but it’s worth it. While the terraces at Banaue and Hapo are stunning, the most spectacular (pictured) are the rice terraces at Batad, which can only be reached by an hour-long drive over rough dirt roads, followed by a steep hike several-hours long. It’s a long and hard journey, but trust me, it’s worth it.
Hiking the official Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is definitely Claudia Tavani of My Adventures Around the World‘s top recommendation.
I still remember every minute of my Inca Trail. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life; a dream come true that I would love to live again not only for the amazing sites I visited but also for the bonding experience with the members of my group. When picking the trail, I had no doubt I only wanted to walk the official one, despite knowing that it would be significantly more expensive than other options. My main interest was seeing the sunrise over Machu Picchu from the Inti Punku (the Sun Gate) and I knew that the only way to do that would be through the official Inca Trail. Other trails may be good, may offer great views, but they don’t hit any of the sites which are only accessible through the official Inca Trail and, most importantly for me, end up in different points, meaning that one can only enter Machu Picchu through the main gates which open at 6 am, well after sunrise. Not even if I had rushed to the Sun Gate (which is a good hike from the site) I’d be able to see the sunrise. The view was worth every dime I paid for. So much so that tears of happiness rolled down my cheeks as I stood in awe of it.
Jaguar Spotting In August or September In The Northern Pantanal, Brazil is Gilles Barbier of Grand Escapades‘ best trip 2016.
Yes, the Pantanal is unique! Who doesn’t dream of spotting such an elusive “Big Cat” (the third biggest in the world) as the Jaguar, an animal that played a central role in the old cultures of Central & South America. And the Pantanal is indeed a place where your chances of spotting Jaguars in the wild are really high if you go there in the right season… Actually, the only place in the world!
But the Pantanal offers much more than that: the largest tropical wetland area in the world is home to one of the greatest bioderversity on earth. Birdwatchers will be in heaven, with altogether 700 species in this area (I spotted, photographed and identified approx. 50 species in less than 5 days, and bird-watching was definitely not my priority). Besides Jaguars, there are many other mammals to be spotted, small and big: monkeys, rodents like the Capybara, Foxes, Deers, Coatis, and if you are lucky Armadillos, Sloths, Anteaters & even Tapirs. If you like snakes and have luck or a lot of time, you can find 80 species of those, amongst which the rare Anaconda & the Boa Constrictor. Even if you like caimans, you will get an overdose of them… With an estimated population of 20 million, you have there a mind-boggling concentration of 100 Black Caimans per square kilometers… Not exactly the right place to go for a swim. And last but not least, the Pantanal is still little traveled, even though its uniqueness is by far no longer a well-kept secret!
“Cuba will be the new trend in 2016,” – Flora Baker of Flora the Explorer
For 2016, I’d really recommend visiting Cuba. The island will continue to change in the near future so it’s worth experiencing the unique elements of Cuban life as it is right now: cruising the streets in the classic old cars, wandering the tobacco fields, relaxing on the stunning beaches, absorbing the Che Guevara slogans and graffiti, and discovering the ‘casas particulares’ system, where tourists stay overnight in Cuban people’s homes due to the lack of hotels. From smoking cigars and sipping local rum to taking hundreds of photos and learning about the country’s history from the very people who live there, there’s no doubt that Cuba is a fascinating country, completely individual and totally unforgettable.
… Johnny Ward of One Step Forward seconds that. Cuba should definitely be in your list!
It’s common knowledge that the US and Cuba have thawed their relations and Cuba is on the cusp of undergoing a huge tourism boom, and there is no doubt that it will help the local people in respect to average salaries, exposure to globalisation however it also means Cuba is about to transform, and the old world charm will soon be diluted. With that in mind, time to head there before it becomes unrecognisable from the Cuba that we love from all the old books and movies.
… and Nellie Huang of Wild Junket also voted for Cuba. Wow, Cuba is definitely on the top list!
In recent years, there’s been a lot of buzz about Cuba especially since the economic liberalisation by the communist government and Obama’s plans to resurrect diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba. Now is the best time go, before the Cuba we know today transforms into something else.
For the past 50 years, Cuba has remained in a time warp: American-made classic cars line the city’s cobbled streets, colossal churches loom over Art Deco buildings, while locals line up for their rations in a crumbling, 18th century building. Shop vendors hawk their ware on potholed streets, dominoes sit at tables perched on the kerb, and families watch TV in their living rooms with windows wide open.
For now, Old Cuba isn’t going anywhere just yet — but who knows how long it will stay that way. So go. Now.
Etramping duo Cez Krol and Agness Walewinder recently finished a 3-day trip in Tokyo and they were definitely fascinated!
Here we’ll introduce you to few things you can do if you have 3 days to see Tokyo: Go to a sumo fight on your first day. It is rarely possible to see a Sumo fight outside of Japan, so I strongly recommend you go and see it while in Tokyo. For those who don’t know a lot about Sumo, it is not just some 2 fat men pushing each other out of the ring, there’s way more to that. You can read more about my experience here, or just go there yourself and learn more.
On day 2, go people watching at Shibuya Station and Akihabara. Just outside Shibuya station you can find the most congested pedestrian crossings in Japan. It’s a great place for people watching and an amazing spot for funny photos. I guess it’s one of the must-sees in Tokyo. Another place that you should not miss is Akihabara district which is easily accessed by metro. That’s a home to all things Anime. Shops and restaurants will simply blow your mind with cuteness, colours, and some sex themes.
On the third day should surround yourself with a bit of history, and there’s barely a better place for that than the Imperial Palace. It’s a huge complex in the middle of the city, so walking around and reading about the past will take you good few hours. When you finish, you can go and see the whole city from above in the Tokyo Skytree tower, one of the highest in the world. Although Agness was a bit disappointed with it, many people say it’s good to go. An alternative would be to go on a local food tour and eat some local Japanese cuisine – sushi is a must!
Finally, my personal recommendation will be Uruguay.
The smallest country in South America where the poorest and the most simplest of all the Presidents of the world lives.The country is too small that there are even more cows than its total population. Biking the entire country is possible, too. Beautiful sights like Punta del Este and Punta del Diablo will give you a 5-star vacation feel. Tango your way to Montevideo while getting drunk in mate in parks with the Uruguayans. Just so you know, marijuana is legal but that doesn’t give us the right to be reckless. 😉 Above all these, the Uruguayan people are the sweetest in all of Latin America. You will find yourself being at home when you are around. However, the cost of living is really high but worth the penny.
© All photos provided by the travel bloggers listed above.
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