All the big names in travel, from The New York Times to The Lonely Planet, have released their reports on the best places to visit in 2013. Not wanting to be left out, we checked out their lists, had a little think about it, and pulled together our own top ten awesome holiday destinations for 2013.
If you’re lucky, you could even win a holiday to one of these glamorous places…
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil’s ‘Marvellous City’ has always been a bucket list favourite for travellers. With laid back beaches and a world famous carnival, Rio is the perfect place to unwind. Copacabana and Ipanema beaches have been immortalised in popular culture, as has the statue of Christ the Redeemer. There are more reasons to get excited if you snap up a holiday to Rio in a holiday giveaway; next year the city is hosting the Soccer World Cup, and in 2016 Rio will be the first South American city to host the Summer Olympics.
Hobbit mania has put New Zealand back on the map, but there’s more to this country than rolling countryside and breathtaking scenery. Adrenaline addicts have been flocking to Queenstown for years to enjoy extreme sports and outdoor activities, and with 19 new cycle paths being built there are even more ways to enjoy the outdoors. If you enjoy a tipple, you’ll love slurping your way around from Hawke’s Bay to Marlborough.
The Cook Islands
Island holidays on this little corner of Polynesian paradise are fast becoming a favourite travel destination for Aussies, and it’s no wonder. There’s plenty to keep everyone occupied during a trip. Foodies can sample some of the best seafood in the Pacific, adventurers can explore imposing mountains and lush jungle, and beach lovers can snorkel in the crystal clear waters with shoals of parrotfish.
There’s always something going on in this hyper modern Asian city. They hold a Summer Spectacular from June to August, featuring a Dragon Boat Carnival and Beer & Music Festival. There are also massive Chinese New Year celebrations in February, and a month dedicated to eating and drinking in November. Now that’s what we call a great holiday.
It might not exactly be off the beaten path, with Australian tourism up by a third, but there’s a reason why Hawaii is a vacation favourite. Oahu is the ideal place to visit if you want to enjoy island life but with the convenience of a big city too. It’s home to the capital Honolulu and the famous Waikiki beach. Rainforest hiking trails are just a short skip and jump away.
There are plenty of amazing places to visit during an overseas trip, but if you're visiting Europe this year be sure to pop into France. The French city of Marseille has won the joint honour of European Capital of Culture 2013- shared with the Northern Irish city of Derry. Another French destination sure to have your friends green with envy is the Cote D’Azur: also known as the French Riviera. France also boasts its own version of Disneyland; a surefire hit with the kids.
The Caribbean is the sort of tropical paradise everyone would love to visit on vacation. EthicalTraveler.org chose Barbados as their number one ethical destination to visit this year. Barbados scores high in environmental protection, social welfare, and human rights. On Barbados you can find areas of real natural beauty and interact with locals in a meaningful way, while relaxing and enjoying the Caribbean sunshine. It's a great place for a family holiday as well as a honeymoon.
The Emerald Isle is the ancestral home for thousands of Australians, and 2013 is probably the best year to pay a visit to the motherland. Ireland is holding a yearlong tourist initiative, known as The Gathering, which aims to bring Australians, Americans, and others with Irish blood home for a vacation. There will be cultural festivals, sporting events, and concerts throughout 2013. For a real treat, take a trip to the small town of Lisdoonvarna in September for the annual matchmaking festival. You can get flights with Qantas or Virgin; that is, if you don't win free flights in a travel contest.
Most people want to win a holiday to an exotic destination, and it doesn’t get much more exotic than Tahiti. The people are friendly (their philosophy, ‘aita pea pea’, means ‘not to worry’) and often say hello on the streets. It’s the perfect escape for couples, especially honeymooners and married couples who want to renew their vows in a traditional Tahitian ceremony on the beach. With quaint markets, stunning waterfalls, and the chance to learn to surf, what’s not to love?
Ok, so it sounds like a bit of a cop out as it’s not technically a destination. But according to Australian travel agents, the big thing in luxury travel this year is cruises. More people than before are booking a luxury cruise for their summer holiday. If you win a cruise, it’s a cheap and easy way to see the world. Cruises stop in fabulous port towns all across Europe or Asia, and most offer up free fine dining and buffets.
Where would you like to win a holiday to?