A brand new year full of adventure is about to begin, and it’s time to start planning where you’ll be visiting in 2020.

Your 2020 travel plan is all about being organised, and noticing which trips are best for each opportunity. We believe every year should include:

  • Adventure Trip – exchange a couple of week’s annual leave for traversing a new country, exploring all needed to tick the destination off your bucket list. Every person deserves an adventure and it can be achieved, totally hassle free.
  • 7 Day Recharge Holiday – break annual leave into 3 weeks for the adventure (above) and 7 days for a recharge holiday at a separate point during the year. This is the kind of trip where you base yourself in one place, check out the local scene, and partake in some of the destinations activities, but mostly just take it slow and forget about all the pressures of the World back home.
  • Multiple Close to Home Exploration Jaunts – when you put your mind to it, each year there are plenty of opportunities to jet away somewhere relatively close by, and explore. In fact; New Zealand has 4 public holidays in 2020 that coincide with a weekend. That means there are at least 4 times for the year that you can pack a small bag and explore your own backyard.

Now that your opportunities have been broken into travel categories, here are our top picks for each, during 2020.

Adventure Trip

If you aren’t already taking an annual adventure, 2020 is the time to start. Most people have a far flung destination they’d like to visit, but place it in the ‘too-hard’ basket. No need for that; adventure trips can be hassle free when solid planning and a little guidance happens.

Begin the process by narrowing down your top two or three places to explore. Now check which month you have available for time off work or life commitments. Select a mid week departure date, and finally reach out to us to help decide which destination best suits your travel dates. Now let’s begin planning your epic adventure.

Here are our top adventure destinations for 2020.

Sri Lanka

Although it’s possible to tick off dedicated areas of Sri Lanka in short time frames, Sri Lanka is best explored all at once, in 2-3 weeks.

Expect to be surprised by how calm most of the country is, with welcoming, friendly, and charming locals. The most economical way to travel between areas is with a private driver, which also makes exploring hassle free.

Sri Lanka has everything an adventurous soul needs. Wildlife (Yala and Udawalawe National Parks are protected areas for wild animals), surf beaches (choose between the South or East coast), swimming beaches with small, authentic villages, lush bush land for hikes (Ella is a must visit) and historical regions. Hassle free, intrepid travel. We can help put your itinerary together, makign sure you don’t miss a thing!

Los Angeles – Tulum, Mexico

If you haven’t heard of Tulum yet you’ve possibly been under a baby boomer rock. Tulum is an eco village on the edge of the Caribbean coastline, in Mexico. Think; Yoga and surfing, chilling and slowing down. That’s what Tulum is all about.

Tulum’s combination of Mexican, rustic, eco resort vibe romanticises the place and with some of the largest underwater caves in the world, there is plenty to do.  We recommend beginning a crispy clean holiday in Los Angeles, staying in Santa Monica, before flying to Cancun. From here head an hour South to Tulum for a week and If you have more time up your sleeve, add a few nights on Isla Holbox.

Thailand (North to South)

Thailand is one of our all time favourite destinations. Culture, hospitality, beaches and jungles; Thailand has it all.

Starting in the North, travellers will be treated to the countries cultural epicentre with jungle treks, hill tribe villages and historic regions. Central Thailand boasts buzzing Bangkok and airy Kanchanaburi regio. The south is known for paradise islands.

We recommend exploring as much of the country as possible: Chiang Mai, Bangkok & Kanchanaburi, Phuket or Krabi, Koh Samui.

Bhutan

Bhutan has been nominated as Lonely Planet’s number one destination for 2020, and we think there couldn’t be a better winner. When it comes to unique, Bhutan leads the pack.

A country that has vowed to be carbon neutral by 2020, in a time when most countries are still trying to be carbon friendly, Bhutan also determines the needs of their people through a National Happiness Scale.

Expect ornate temples built into cliffs, on a backdrop of nature. Large spaces of land with only the sound of a stream flowing, or wildlife calling. Travellers are only permitted a tourist visa when entering in a group tour and we can book your Bhutan adventure, hassle free.

South of France Camping Road Trip

No need for your trip to France to be a cliche. How about instead heading to the famous French Riviera for a camping road trip? Fly to London, take the Eurostar from London St Pancras to Paris and make your way to Perpignan where your road trip begins.

The South coast of France is lined with campgrounds on the. Minimal fuss, quality amenities and plenty of scenery. Expect peace, sun, and relaxation. After time relaxing at campgrounds on the sand, the journey ends with some of the most famous destinations on the French Riviera. St Tropez, Antibes, Nice, and Monaco where energy rises and Monte Carlo with it’s luxury cars waiting outside.

The 7 Day Recharge Holiday

We believe that everybody needs a 7 day getaway throughout the year to rejuvenate and re-inspire. For travellers limited to 4 weeks annual leave, use one week for a rejuvenation holiday (saving 3 for an adventure). Choose to begin your leave on a Tuesday to avoid price hikes too. It’s these week long vacations which are more about chilling somewhere distant, than heading off the beaten track; time to invigorate the soul.

Here are our top picks for a week long vacation in 2020.

Phuket, Thailand

We think Thailand is the ultimate package. For the 7 day holiday though, Phuket is a perfect choice.

Within 40 minutes of leaving Phuket airport you can be at your resort, swimming in your pool or enjoying the ocean.

Expect western style resorts that combine authentic Thai styling with luxury. You won’t need to spend a lot either. Phuket has tranquil beaches, is hopping distance to the islands and close to lush jungle for day hikes. Check out the local markets, choose a new restaurant each evening, and be sure to treat yourself to a daily Thai massage for as little as $NZ5 too!

Hong Kong, China

Just like Singapore, Hong Kong is perfect for New Zealanders who fancy a new city to explore, with a culture and history different to back home. In as little as 7 days or less, Hong Kong can be explored with that adventure type of feeling.

Take a trip to Macao, hike some of the countries best hikes right in the city, take the gondola, dine in interesting restaurants, explore markets, and most of all get to know every nook and cranny of a city that has become home to more than 3000 ex pat Kiwis.

Gold Coast, Australia

The Gold Coast has made a comeback as a major contender in the overseas holiday market. 7 days is ideal for a Gold Coast getaway, be it with the family or as a fun couples holiday.

Expect to choose from two kinds of accommodation; Self contained units that are perfect for preparing meals at home, reducing costs, and have down time. Or high-end, sky rise hotels with all the trimmings.

There are three main areas: Main Beach, Surfers Paradise or Broad Beach. All are walking distance to long stretches of patrolled beaches and pedestrian access malls. Kids can be entertained a short drive North at Australia Zoo or at any of the theme parks and water worlds. Expect all day, outdoor entertainment and loads of energy. The Gold Coast isn’t a low cost holiday but is a fun option for those seeking an energetic week long jaunt away from home with plenty to do.

Close to Home Jaunts

Long weekend’s and public holidays are ideal for exploring interesting places, close to home. Time may seem limited, but organisation presents opportunities.

A few of our personal travel rules can help turn a long weekend into an epic adventure:

  • Avoid places where traffic congestion is known. There’s nothing worse than losing a day stuck in traffic. Instead, choose somewhere slightly off the beaten path.
  • Avoid lengthy check in times. When you have just 3 days available to travel, domestic flights with just a 30min check in time mean you won’t be sitting around an airport lounge during valuable travel time.
  • Be organised. Book long in advance to avoid price hikes or sell outs. And organise the items you’ll need to take with you long before you go to prevent feeling under pressure and rushed. We recommend booking all your 2020 travel at the end of 2019.

Try one of these spots for your 2020 long weekend.

Queenstown during Summer, Spring or Autumn

Forget the ski season; head to Queenstown during the shoulder months when domestic airfares and accommodation are lower, but entertainment and scenery uncompromised. Queenstown doesn’t need snow to be enjoyed. Go mountain biking, play outdoor frisbee golf, ride the luge and gondola, sail the Earnslaw, and enjoy the view from one of Queenstown’s popular restaurants or bars.

We’ve never heard a disappointed Queenstown traveller!

Wellington all Year Round

The saying “you can’t beat Wellington on a good day” is undisputable. Whether it’s a windy Winters day or pristine blue sky with sunshine, the city centre impresses. What makes Wellington a front runner for a long weekend away is that the airport is located close to the city centre making it easy to enjoy all that sights and entertainment on offer, across just a few days. Take a tour of Weta Workshop, wander Te Papa and the city markets, take a ferry to Some Island and ride the cable car. Then when night falls, pick from some of the countries best selection of restaurants, bars and entertainment (we love Fidels, Siem Reap, and the rooftop bat at Arborist).

Wellington’s cafe culture is is ideal for coffee lovers to enjoy each morning and for the active traveller, day walks like the Escarpment track, Mt Victoria or Mt Kau Kau offer magnificent views. For the surfer, Lyall Bay is a stones throw from the airport and a relaxed, friendly bay to wander, chill or eat your heart out at Maranui watching kite surfers out the window. Jam packed full of jy for a long weekend away.

When your long weekend gets a Bonus Day

One extra day added on to an existing long weekend can open up Pandora’s Box by way or destinations. Our top picks for the extended long weekend are.

Singapore

The beauty of flying from New Zealand to Singapore, is that Singapore Air and Air New Zealand make the 13 hour journey a comfortable, economical, and direct one. Upon arrival, Singapore city centre is a stones throw from the airport too (approx 25min by taxi), so travellers can be exploring soon after landing.

Singapore has always impressed us. Expect a clean, orderly and cosmopolitan city. Expect activities that kids of all ages will enjoy while equally ensuring adults are not short of spectacular experiences too.

Take a trip to Sentosa Island, Check out KidZania, shop Orchard Road, visit China Town, explore the famous Night Safari, relax at Marina Bay Sands or rub shoulders with the best at Raffles. Singapore links the key attractions with easy cable cars, monorails or shirt walks too which means time is spent enjoying plenty of activities, even over short time frames.

Melbourne

With low cost airline carriers making the short flight affordable, there’s every reason to take a long weekend in Melbourne. Expect to embark on Australia’s art capital, with galleries and exhibitions galore. For warmer months, St Kilda beach can be pleasant but Melbourne’s best attractions are within the inner city. Music, theatre, art, shopping and laneways of quirky eateries. Melbourne doesn’t need warm weather to be enjoyed.

Samoa

You don’t need a week to head to Samoa; A 4 day weekend is perfect for relaxing in the simplicity of Samoa’s peaceful beaches, plus sightseeing the key attractions. We love that Samoa’s true appeal is not in places to visit, but rather the local people, adding to this being an ideal shirt stop.

Fly to Apia and head to your accommodation in less than 40 minutes. Be sure you take a book for lazing beachside after dips in the tepid water. You’ll need just a day to visit the island’s famous To-Sua Ocean Trench and Upolu. If you’re a keen surfer set two days aside for the intrepid hunt of the elusive break with a local guide; the surf isn’t always easy to access.

Now let’s get the calendar out and start planning!