You don’t have to own a backpack and slum it in hostels to go travelling, as culture and adventure await even on a short break. Fitting your travels in with an All Inclusive holiday means you can get the best of beach lounging and culture hunting. And for those who want to pack all they can into a week away, island or even country-hopping is an option for stacking up all the holiday-worthy locations in the vicinity.
Check out the reasons below why you should catch the short-stay travelling bug soon.
1. Be an eco-tourist
Few places in the world do eco-tourism better than Costa Rica, and that means you can experience its exotic natural environments and see the fascinating wildlife, all while supporting conservation efforts. Traverse walkways and zipline through a cloud forest, see frogs in the rainforest or get up close to volcanoes and geysers, before heading back to your comfortable beachside hotel.
2. Meet Santa
Santa’s official home of Lapland is bursting with festivities and provides magical winter family breaks that feel like they’re a world away, but are less than a four-hour plane ride away. As well as seeing the main man, activities include snowmobiling, reindeer sleigh rides, ice fishing and of course plenty of snowball fights.
3. Go island hopping
If one sunny, beach-ridden island isn’t enough for you on your travels, choose a central base and get hopping. Some island groups are close enough to take them all in by boat on a leisurely week away, like the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands. Whereas with bigger chains like Greece and the Caribbean you’ll need to focus on certain areas. For example use historic Kos as a central hub for the south-eastern Greece Dodecanese islands.
4. That sunset sigh moment
Something that makes your travels well and truly worth it is sitting with the water lapping against rocks below, with a drink in hand, while the orange sun dips below the horizon. It’s the end of a fantastic day exploring or relaxing and you can raise your glass to more of the same tomorrow.
5. For the best clubbing in the world
If you’re a bit bored of Saturday night out in the same old places, hop on a short haul flight to see how other countries do it. Depending on your clubbing style you could dance to the never-ending house beats in Ibiza, boogie down Bar Street in Faliraki, party with the a lively crowd in Sitges or join in with trance beach parties in Goa.
6. Go skiing and sunbathing in the same day
One of the best-known sun-ski destinations is the Italian Lakes, where you can soak up some rays by the lake then head up to the Alps for action on piste. But many people didn’t know that Cyprus gets snow on its Troodos Mountains between December and March each year. Stay in nearby Paphos where temperatures are between 15 to 20˚C in December and don your snow boots for active days out.
7. Boost your Instagram page
If you like to document your life in pictures, heading off somewhere beautiful will add kudos to your Instagram page and create some serious holiday envy. So get snapping those whitewashed buildings, blue seas and delicious seafood platters. Maybe some hot dogs or legs snaps too for good measure.
8. Ultimate rest and relaxation
Because sometimes that’s exactly what you need. Find R&R in classic spots like the Maldives and Antigua. They’re perfect for less beaches, more hiking and hot springs. Try the mountains and lava fields of Landmannalaugar in Iceland, around three hours from Reykjavik. And you can always stick around in Reykyavik for a while to make use of its warm lagoon and cool bars.
9. Take in Thailand
You might think Thailand is too big to tour around on a short holiday. But from the largest island of Phuket to Khao Lak on the mainland only takes an hour by road, passing along the stunning coast through Khaolak-Lumru National Park on the way. Or go via boat to Krabi via the jaw-dropping beaches of the Phi Phi islands.
10. See the Northern Lights
The chances of seeing the spectacular light display of the Aurora Borealis – or Northern Lights to you and me – get better the further north you go. Best between September and March, head out on a dog-sled tour of Finland’s northern quarter, Lapland. Or for a bit more comfort try a coach tour from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik.
11. Cross country
Get in more than one country while you’re away by using picture-postcard Dubrovnik as your base in southern Croatia and travelling down to Montenegro by car or train. Just show your passport at the border crossing before taking in Lake Skadar, towns perched on rocks and just as many excellent beaches as Croatia.
12. The best beaches in the world
Sands that consistently top the best beaches lists include the spit of sand that is Zlatni Rat Beach on the Croatian island of Brac. Navagio, or Shipwreck beach, on the Greek island of Zante comes complete with its own boat on the sand and Eagle Beach in Aruba is what Caribbean dreams are made of.
13. Try authentic cuisine
When you go on holiday, you wonder how it is they get such flavour in the cuisine. Part ingredients and part atmosphere, whether it’s a gyros in Greece, grilled sardines in Spain or rum from Cuba, good food and drink on holiday is so hard to replicate back home.
14. Visit the pyramids
They have a big reputation and a huge presence, so seeing the pyramids is on many people’s bucket list. Egypt’s Great Pyramids of Giza are almost certainly the most talked about ancient wonders but they’re actually second in size to Mexico’s Great Pyramid of Cholula. Take your pick from Pharoahs or Aztecs, desert or jungle and be prepared to be amazed.
15. Gaze at the stars
An under-the-radar Canary Island, La Palma is a hub for astronomy. Just four hours’ flight from the UK, and with no time difference, you can be in an observatory or star-gazing from a mountain top in no time. What better reason to travel than seeing the stars up close and personal?
16. Sand in every colour of the rainbow
When tired of the cliche of golden sands, try out something a bit different. The black volcanic sand found in the Canaries contains minerals said to be good for your back while some beaches in Crete are formed from pink shells. There are even deep terracotta numbers like Ramla Bay beach in Gozo, Malta.
17. Spa experiences like no other
Forget hot-tubs when you can bathe in the hottest natural spring in Europe on the Greek island of Lesvos. Or soothe your pains in a Hammam bath in Turkey or Morocco. You can really get the circulation going with a Finnish sauna experience, which also involves a cold lake!
18. Shop in style
When fed up with the retail options back home, hop on a flight and mix sun and shopping. Pick up exotic goods in Marrakech‘s souks, visit as many of Dubai‘s 96 malls as you can, or shop for Murano glass and designer goods in Italy.
19. Soak up the history
We’ve all heard of Pompeii, but what about the Palace of Knossos – a millennia old Minoan palace in Crete? Or you could swap the ancient churches and amphitheatres of Rome for the town of Nessebar in Bulgaria, the whole of which is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
20. Your grape of choice
You may drink a glass of vino or two while you’re away, but learn about the grape varieties and vineyards of your holiday spot and you’ll know what to pick up when you’re back home too. Sample cava in Catalonia, Madeira on its namesake island or any of the wines of Greece, who’ve been producing it since 4,500 BC.
We hope this has given you some inspiration for holidays that feel like you’re getting a flavour of the exotic. Have you tried any of our travelling ideas? If not, what’s on your itinerary for next time you go away?