With all of the delicious travel imagery that we see on social media nowadays, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of vacation-voyeurism. But you know that blogger on Instagram who always seems to post the most turquoise blue vacation images, or your friend on Facebook who hasn’t stopped posting extravagant travel snaps since her GAP year? Well there’s no reason why you can’t live an equally as decadent life. You just need to pick the right destinations to visit.
To help you get thinking about where your next picturesque holiday could be, SCTI has prepared a top ten list of exclusive international destinations you didn’t even know you needed to visit. All you have to do now is book your tickets, purchase travel insurance, pack your bags and take to the air.
1. Staniel Cay, The Bahamas, for secluded luxury
Part of the fashionable Exumas chain of islands and home to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, this remote Caribbean spot is a mere two square miles in area. That doesn’t mean that it won’t provide you with plenty of luxurious relaxation, however, as it is host to 14 charming bungalows and an 18-slip marina. For an insider’s look check out Natasha Oakley’s guide here.
2. Myengdong, South Korea, for shopping
Myengdong is lauded as being one of Asia’s best destinations for travellers looking to spend some serious retail money. Despite being listed in the top ten most expensive shopping destinations in the world for the past three years, high-end retail and local boutique brands are actually known to give considerable discounts to tourists, so make sure you take your passport with you when you hit the strip.
3. Avignon, France, for Festival d’Avignon
For the more culturally inclined, how about experiencing a summer festival of creativity, artistry and theatre in the south of France? Festival d’Avignon is one of the country’s oldest extant thespian festivals, founded in 1947. Each year the cobbled streets of this rustic town are transformed into a warren of theatrical delight centred around the Palais des Papes courtyard.
4. Andalucía, Spain, for beautiful Architecture
You may have heard of the legendary townships of Seville, Cordoba and Granada, each famous for their historical and architectural significance, but what you may not realise is that they’re all within close proximity in the south of Spain. This is the ideal region for travellers wanting a mix of food & wine, bespoke accommodation, idyllic landscapes and cultural history, including the stunning Moorish Alhambra.
5. Nice, France, for the Cours Saleya
The engulfing scent of fresh cut flowers, the taste of glisteningly fresh produce and the beating pulse of bustling foot traffic – the Cours Saleya is a visceral feast for the genuine foodie. The market is located between the crystal clear waters of pebbled beaches and the old town, and is complete with the picturesque features of French markets you’ve only read about in books – complete with striped awnings and smiling vendors.
6. Oravae Cottage, Solomon Islands, for true tropical seclusion
There’s a certain majesty that can only be found when you get off the grid and get in touch with nature in its truest form. For this kind of experience look no further than Oravae Cottage in the Solomon Islands. Built from local supplies with an over-water veranda this tropical hideaway sits on its own private island fronting a lagoon. There are also plenty of activities to balance the downtime.
7. Trinidad & Tobago for Calypso Carnival
You won’t be able to stop smiling and grooving when you hear the Afro-Caribbean rhythms of calypso music in its exuberant traditional environment – Trinidad and Tobago. The Calypso Carnival is a larger-than-life celebration of colour and life, which involves long days and nights of dancing, costumes and street parties. It’s a great alternative to Rio’s carnival if you’re concerned about crowds.
8. Karnataka, India, for a bohemian escape
North of the popular tourist hub of Goa, Karnataka state in South West India is known for its lush forest foothills to the east and coastal region of Karavali to the west. It is a rich centre of ancient and traditional culture and has many highly regarded Ayurvedic ashrams accessible to travellers seeking a holistic wellness experience. There are also plenty of eco-tourism establishments too.
9. Hakone, Japan, for quirky hot springs
Experience traditional onsen in some of the world’s purest hot springs, simultaneously submerging yourself in geothermal heated pools and ancient bathing culture. If you’re looking for something uniquely different you can visit Yunessun Spa Resort, which offers visitors the option of taking a dip in a green tea spa, sake spa, coffee spa and red wine spa.
10. Kauai, Hawaii, USA, for an exciting family playground
Recharge and invigorate your soul with a trip to this oxygen-rich island of Hawaii. Mum and dad can unwind with walks through lush forestry and time spent by the pool whilst the kids can get wild with the many water and nature activities around the island. The Grand Hyatt in Kauai also has a stunning saltwater lagoon which meanders through the property, fit for kayaking, snorkelling and exploring.
Southern Cross Travel Insurance is a commercial partner of RESCU.