Condé Nast Traveller Middle East



At a time when last-minute travel isn’t on the table, we’re looking to timeless bucket-list trips that are best planned a year in advance, from spiritual Bhutan and the wilds of Botswana to Peru and the Galápagos

Let’s face it: with so much uncertaint­y surroundin­g the pandemic, jetting off a week after you plan a trip isn’t so viable right now. And while we’re typically all for spontaneou­s, last-minute bookings (hello, cheap flight deals), it's more realistic to look at trips that have to be planned in advance – way in advance. We’re talking about those multi-destinatio­n vacations, speciality experience­s, limited tours and itinerarie­s that take more coordinati­on than your average weekend away and give you something to look forward to as the world slowly opens up more. Here are 25 trips that you need to plan well in advance, from coastal Croatia to Peru and the Galápagos

A safari through Botswana

If 10 days on safari sounds like your ideal vacation, head for Botswana to camp near the wildlife (the best time to visit is from May to September). Don’t miss the Central Kalahari Game Reserve – offering some of the best summer wildlife viewing in Africa – and be sure, too, to visit the Makgadikga­di Pass, where some 30,000 wildebeest and zebras pass through during the Great Migration. Spend time with a colony of habituated meerkats while you’re there, and, upon your arrival at the Okavango Delta, make the most of the diverse environmen­t, which you can explore via game drives, bush walks and canoes.

Travelling Croatia’s coast

Croatia’s undeniably beautiful coast and rich history make for idyllic vacations. Stop by the capital, Zagreb, where you’ll see Baroque architectu­re and the fortified old city before moving on to Plitvice Lakes National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage site, home to 16 lakes and waterfall after waterfall. Then head to Split, an ancient port city, for gorgeous views of the Adriatic. The last leg should be spent in Dubrovnik – the filming location of Game Of Thrones’ King's Landing – where you can grab a few more days by the coast before you depart.

Exploring Ancient Egypt

Calling all history buffs: Set at least 10 days aside for this journey, starting out in Cairo, where you’ll tour the pyramids, ranging from the less-frequented Bent and Red Pyramids in Dashour to the Great Pyramids at Giza.

Then move on to Aswan for the High Dam and Temple of Philae, before seeing another ancient temple in Edfu: the shrine of the Falcon God Horus. A day in Luxor will show you the Karnak and Luxor Temples, before you return back to Cairo, where you’ll shop in one of the world’s oldest marketplac­es.

Adventurin­g in Peru and Galápagos

Craving the ultimate adventure? Spend two weeks checking two huge items off your bucket list – Machu Picchu and the Galápagos Islands. While in Peru, travellers should tour Cusco’s colonial sites, make an excursion to the “Sacred Valley of the Incas” and, of course, to Machu Picchu. Then it’s time to head to the Galápagos Islands via Ecuador. Explore the various islands with a tour provider who can help you snorkel with penguins and sharks, embark on a volcanic hike and observe the famed ecosystems (two words: giant tortoises) – you definitely won’t be bored.

On safari in the Brazilian Amazon

If you thought safaris were exclusive to Africa, think again. Start out in Rio de Janeiro, where you can spend three days exploring the capital city, including the colonial mansions, imperial palace and Tijuca National Park (an Atlantic rain forest). Then head into the jungle to experience guided hikes, archery classes and swimming with endangered Amazonian dolphins. Nature lovers should also book a leg of the trip to Pantanal, where you might encounter anything from a “giant otter” to howler monkeys.

Island-hopping in Indonesia

Going island-hopping in Indonesia may sound like a dream, but you can easily make it a reality. Yes, you should stop by Bali: Visit the rural heartland’s many temples in Ubud, such as Pura Taman Ayun and Pura Luhur Batukaru (near Gunung Batukaru, Bali’s second highest mountain), and tour Kusamba, where local fisherman produce artisanal sea salt on volcanic black sand. But also stop by Yogyakarta in Java, where you can see the UNESCO-acclaimed Borobudur Temple and explore the palace of sultans in the old city. There will still be plenty of time to see more of Bali if you circle back for your departure and sun on Jimbaran Bay, one of Bali’s most beautiful beaches.

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 ??  ?? From left: Wildlife in Tanzania; historical Egypt
From left: Wildlife in Tanzania; historical Egypt
 ??  ?? From left: Houses in Greenland; Machu Picchu
From left: Houses in Greenland; Machu Picchu
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