The great thing about the start of a new year is that not only does it provide a great chance to change your life, close to home, within aspects like your career, body, and finances - it’s a great time to think about travel.
The challenge is that we all tend to have travel bucket lists, which we endeavour to tick off as we progress through our life, yet, as the years pass us by we find ourselves in a place where many items remain yet more and more destinations and experiences are added to the list.
Therefore, you might want to approach this list with a little caution, on the basis that if you’ve got a bucket list that’s already close to bursting, you might want to consider revisiting those options before adding more to your already burgeoning bucket list.
Whilst the Ukraine is technically at war with Russia, this doesn’t affect the majority of places a tourist would visit as it’s in the far eastern border - whereas the more popular tourist destinations such as Lviv, Kiev and Odessa are well away from the conflict.
The Ukraine is currently one of the cheapest developed countries to visit, in the world, and on that basis it makes travel a lot more fun and exciting - as you can simply experience much more, no matter what your budget. Places like Lviv are the perfect place to spend a weekend where you’ll be greeted by friendly locals with very few English speaking tourists. Indeed, you’ll be somewhat of a celebrity figure around town - and it’s in Lviv that you can experience a winter wonderland without the price tag of other snowy destinations.
In summer, you might want to consider heading to the coast, where you will find Odessa, a beautiful port that retains its authentic charm whilst being a tourist town - though, as many of the tourists will be local, in the sense that they will not be English speaking it will retain a very ‘foreign’ feel.
Singapore (Year Round)
Singapore is a melting pot of cultures with an incredible foodie scene. Whilst Singapore isn’t particularly cheap, it has some high quality establishments and if you are looking to have a SE Asian base where you can earn some money, Singapore makes an ideal spot as you can earn a good wage here, and the regulations for foreigners working within Singapore are pretty easy to navigate, in fact you could even get a HDB resale flat with relative ease as an expat.
In addition to being a great place to visit, it’s a great place to have as a base for exploring nearby parts of SouthEast Asia due to its major transport hub. Indeed, there are some very cheap flights to the majority of tourist destinations within SE Asia that take less than a few hours to get to from Singapore.
Morocco has mixed reviews, in that it’s a lot like marmite… you either love it or hate it!
There are a multitude of experiences to be had here though, from relaxing on the Atlantic beaches to strolling around the souks, to trekking up mountains, and riding camels through the Sahara Desert. With such variety there tends to be something for everyone here, and if you are visiting anytime soon it’s a land of contrast, as you can go from the heat of the souks in Marrakech to the snow capped range of Mt. Toubkal.
Marrakech is an incredibly colourful and vibrant city. The majority of people visit here just for a little while as it can feel somewhat like an endurance test, particularly in summer, when you are battling the sweltering heat along with the gauntlet of street hawkers lurching anything from henna to live snakes at you!
It’s certainly a colourful experience, and one that doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can stay in a beautiful riad for less than $100 and feel like a king. You can eat out for less than $5 and be fed to bursting, and a local taxi ride around town is likely to cost only a few dollars.
Then, if you head out to the more chilled out coastal town of Essaouira you will have a completely different experience - one that is much more aligned with local culture by the sea; meaning it’s much less relaxed; by no means is it a tourist resort - it’s very local and you’ll have never smelt a harbour / fish market like it. It’s certainly worth taking the two hour trip out of Marrakech and spending a night or two in this quaint yet bustling town.
Great Britain (Spring)
Whilst the battle of brexit is making front page news throughout the world, the one thing that is going less noticed is the fact the British pound has plummeted meaning you can now visit the UK without the need to take out a second mortgage. Whilst places like London still remain expensive, in world city standards, you can head to some of the areas of natural beauty such as the Lake District (in North England) or Snowdonia (in Wales) and find some great bargains in addition to some interesting local cultures.
The best to visit the UK is the Spring, as this is the time when Britain is Bloom, meaning even in the large cities, you’ll find beautiful gardens full of daffodils and tulips throughout the cities… whilst, in more rural locations you can find small hamlets that lead to tiny forests dotted with bluebells and snowdrops.
If you’re looking for somewhere to take a summer break that feels a little more authentic and traditional than the holiday resorts we’ve all come to disdain, you might want to head over to Portugal where you will find excellent glasses of wine for less than €2, incredible cuisine, and the most wonderful climate for a summer trip.
Portugal, much like Spain gets hot in the summer, but due to the rugged Atlantic coast, you get the benefits of strong winds to keep you cool. The combination of blue skies, strong winds and intense sunshine make it the perfect summer vacation, and if you are looking to stretch your budget, this is a great option.
Are any of these destinations already on your bucket list?