Where have you always dreamed of visiting? For some, this time at home has made us think even harder about when we’ll make that big holiday a reality – and there are so many delicious ideas to choose from.
It’s hard to imagine when we’ll next be able to indulge in wanderlust with reckless abandon.
We might have flickering hopes for a cute cottage on the UK coast or perhaps a bothy in bonny Scotland for the coming spring, but even staycations are very much subject to the fluctuating effects of coronavirus.
The events of this year, it seems, have made travellers all the more appreciative of a pre-Covid era, when it was possible to plan a trip anywhere in the world.
Realising what we had has prompted a trend that sees big ‘once in a lifetime’ trips taking precedent.
After working with hotel, travel and hospitality clients from around the world, travel PR specialist Fox Communications has predicted that planning one big trip will become more important to people in 2021 and beyond.
“Border closures and grounded airlines caused commercial air traffic to shrink 41% below 2019 levels last March, and whilst the slow resumption of flights in summer has allowed people to travel domestically or short-haul, next year is expected to be the year of the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ journey,” a spokesperson from the firm tells Stylist.co.uk.
“Travellers have had the time to plan and research their next trip, which they will be focused on making a remarkable and meaningful experience. Whether it is helping local communities or learning a new skill, travellers will look for transformative experiences as they never did before.”
To add to the growing sense of anticipation, the experts at ABTA, the UK’s travel trade body, have just released their top predictions for 2021. And epic trips come top of the agenda, with “ticking off the bucket list” a lead motivation for those yearning to break free from their living rooms next year.
ABTA members are expecting spectacular experiences, such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, trekking the Inca Trail and searching for the Northern Lights, to be popular in 2021 – with the past few months having given us plenty of time to cook up elaborate escape plans.
The Stylist team echo this mindset entirely – after a year like this one, who doesn’t want to throw their flip-flops in a suitcase and cut loose from the daily grind? Below, we share the ‘once in a lifetime’ trips we’ve been dreaming of, for those in need of a little imaginative fuel.
“After a year of being inside, I’ve felt inspired to plan a trip for 2021 that I would have never considered before. Me and my oldest and best friend are going to the mountains in Switzerland or Slovenia.
“I have never considered myself a hiker, but I can’t think of anything better than getting out of my small bedroom in a small city and being surrounded by fresh air, rolling views, walking on something other than concrete and spending quality time with my closest pal outside of my household.”
Chloe Gray, fitness writer
“I don’t take many holidays but that big dream trip in my head is and will always be South Africa. I would love to spend a month there and do it all – Johannesburg, Cape Town, a safari at Kruger, the vineyards, the cliffs at the Cape of Good Hope, forests, lagoons – South Africa has the most amazing mix of ecosystems so it’s a nature lover’s dream destination.
“Then there’s the people who I have always admired for having such grit, the incredible culture, the history…I have read about it all but I want to go and experience it all myself!
“That said even when we can travel again it’s an expensive trip so it might have to stay on the dream list for a few more years. I will get there eventually though.”
Katy Harrington, acting commissioning editor
“I’ve always dreamed of going to Greece and the events of 2020 have motivated me to treat myself next year. Something about the beauty of how fresh and vibrant Santorini looks is so different from the grey aesthetic of a cold winter, it just pulls me in more.
“A relaxing beach holiday is what I’m craving and if Santorini couldn’t be more inviting it is also infamous for its brilliant wines.”
Lily-Ella KilKenny, digital intern
“I want to go to Japan! I’ve dreamed of strolling the streets of Tokyo and visiting the deer in Nara for forever, but after the last year, my resolve to explore has grown even stronger.”
Lauren Geall, junior digital writer
“It feels like a bit of an uninspired cliché to put it into writing for all the world to see but I’ve always really wanted to do a road trip throughout Italy – no time frame, no real plan apart from working my way from the top to the bottom to visit vineyards and pizzarias over a long hot summer.
“It’s that lazy, indulgent freedom that I’m desperate for.”
Jazmin Kopotsha, deputy digital editor
“After this year, the thing I want most is those holiday cliches. I want to step off an Easyjet plane with my neck pillow still on and feel the heat hit me, knowing that the humidity will have my hair growing by the second.
“I want to completely switch off for a good seven (but ideally 10) days, with the only thing to worry about is how much aftersun to slather on when I inevitably burn.
“Sitting on the beach with my husband and in-laws, drinking Mythos, eating lamb kleftico and soaking up some rays with a book. That’s my happy place.”
Felicity Thistlethwaite, executive editor digital
Lake Bled, Slovenia
“I want to go to Slovenia and swim in Lake Bled! I was planning to go this year with my boyfriend but, y’know, Covid, so it’s been pushed back indefinitely.
“I genuinely can’t wait for things to be safer and more normal again so I can plunge headfirst into those crystal blue waters.”
Kayleigh Dray, digital editor-at-large
“I cannot wait to go to Vietnam. I had originally planned to go in April for a big road trip, starting in Hanoi and working my way towards Hoi Chi Minh.
“I want to walk around, enjoy the gorgeous weather and soak up the beautiful culture – all with a banh mi in my hand.”
Hanna Ibraheem, senior beauty writer
Bryon Bay, Australia
“My best friend lived in Byron Bay for nine months back in 2018 and she hasn’t stopped talking about this beautiful place and the magical energy it holds since.
“We planned to go back there this Christmas and spend the holiday together, her reconnecting with the friends she made a few years ago and me experiencing it for the first time.
“I loved the idea of visiting somewhere so far away which sounds completely removed from my busy London life, but I know I’ll make it there one day!”
Megan Murray, senior digital writer
Colombia, South America
“Few places on earth capture the essence of adventure quite like Colombia does for me. This is a country that just brims with energy and colour; and the more I read about it, the more I want to go.
“Partly, it’s to do with the transformation element; not all that long ago, many parts of Colombia were no-go areas, overrun by violent drug cartels. Now it’s home to elaborate flower festivals and Medellín, the so-called “City of Eternal Spring”. Problems still exist, of course, but this is a nation that’s firmly on the up.
“It’s also to do with the diversity of experience you can tap into there: from the unsung nightlife of Bogotá to vast swaths of Amazonian rainforest, the salsa vibes of Cartagena and the palm-fringed paradise that is the Rosario Islands.
“Oh, and the street food – who doesn’t love a freshly baked arepa filled with avocado, black beans and mozzarella cheese?”
Anna Brech, Stylist contributor
Images: Getty / Unsplash