The Fear Of Missing Out might be common, but as far as we’re concerned, it’s the Joy Of Missing Out that prevails!
“More Canadians are asking us to help them beat the crowds and discover something special before everyone else catches on,” explains Allison Wallace, our vice president of corporate communications.
So in the spirit of blazing our own trails, we’ve asked our Expert Travellers from coast to coast to weigh in on their favourite ways to experience Flight Centre’s top travel destinations for 2020. Let’s see what they had to say.
The well-trodden Yucatan Peninsula shows no sign of losing favour among Canadian travellers, but escaping the Cancun crowds for Mérida is a fantastic way to experience the region anew.
Boutique hotels, creative dining, and a gorgeous mix of pre-Hispanic, colonial, and contemporary cultures all make Mérida especially appealing to travellers with refined tastes.
Expert Traveller Tip: “Taking part in local weekly events is a must-do! Learn traditional Mexican dances in Parque Santa Ana, and catch the Mexican ball game held in the town square.” Jessica Pong of Toronto
Fashionable cities, Baltic beaches, and crisp mountain ranges offer an eclectic palate of Swedish experiences to choose from. Dabble in some gallery hopping in Stockholm, fine dining in Malmo, or enjoy the best of the Scandinavian outdoors: islands, ski slopes, bike trails, and the Northern Lights.
Try taking the train to combine your Swedish getaway with other European countries like Denmark, Norway, and Finland. It’s a wallet-smart, planet-smart way to design a marvellous vacation.
Expert Traveller Tip: “The Vasa Museum is a must-see. It is Sweden’s 17th-century version of the Titanic which sunk in the Baltic Sea in 1628 and was only re-discovered in 1961. Resurrected, it is now inside the museum for all to see. You’ll find an old and still functional theme park (Gröna Lund), the ABBA Museum, and a small National Park perfect for a picnic – a very local experience.” Genevieve Coleman of Vancouver
When Canadians travel to New Zealand, 4 times out of 5, they combine their trip with another South Pacific destination like Australia or Fiji. But don’t make the mistake of underestimating it; New Zealand is a country worth lingering in.
Whether you’re canyon swinging, skydiving, and white water rafting with Topdeck or soaking in Māori culture, Kiwi beaches, and exquisite wine tastings with Collette, you can experience New Zealand your way.
Expert Traveller Tip: “Getting to travel the two islands for about six weeks, I had the opportunity to test my limits (jumping out of a plane, anyone?!), experience culture (watching hakas and feasting at hangis), sheer sheep, climb mountains, and so much more. The people are friendly, the landscape driveable, and the experience unmatched.” Lindsay Johnston of Guelph
Luxury can be breakfast in bed at a 5-star hotel, but it can also be breakfast around a campfire. Scotland is an underrated haven for hiking and camping.
There are more travelling adventures in Scotland than you can swing a golf club at. Try hiking the Isle of Skye, grab a paddle and enjoy some sea kayaking, pack your climbing boots and make your way to the Ben Navis’ summit, or spend a night under the stars at Loch Lomond.
Expert Traveller Tip: “Edinburgh is just incredible. You’ve got the history – Edinburgh castle and the cobblestoned streets- but it’s a university town [with a] young, vibrant, energetic population…There’s always something going on … and it’s just such a friendly city.” Allison Wallace of Vancouver
Try dipping a little further south for your next tropical escape. Both of Costa Rica’s coastlines offer some of the most beautiful beaches and best surfing conditions in the world. Inland, escape to biodiverse rainforests and cloud forests, waterfalls, volcanoes, and thermal springs.
You can taste Pura Vida with every sip of local coffee, with every chance wildlife encounter, and with every moment of pure adrenaline.
Expert Traveller Tip: “Skip the all-inclusives here and take the adventure! Do a tour to see the country and what it really has to offer!” Jennifer Shee of Ottawa
When you really need to slip away, there’s no better place than Bali. Reconnect here, the most romantic place on earth. Clear your mind at one of the many yoga and meditation resorts dotting across the island. Refresh your spirit in temple after temple.
With a vibrant foodie scene, unparalleled coral reef snorkelling, and bustling up-and-coming beach towns, Bali has something special for families, solo travellers, and honeymooners alike.
Expert Traveller Tip: “Sanur is a sleepy coastal town with sheltered beaches making it ideal for families. Take a stroll on the Sanur Boardwalk to scout out the best beach to relax on or do some watersports. At night, visit the Sanur Night Market to try your hand at bargaining and don’t forget to taste the local street food.” Carmen Bishop of Vancouver
Adventure, relaxation, culture, nature, romance – it’s all here. 2020 will be one of the best times to treat yourself to a Bahamian island getaway.
“The Bahamas is an archipelago of hundreds of beautiful islands, most of which weren’t affected by Hurricane Dorian. An expert can help you discover the perfect hideaway for your trip,” Wallace says.
Expert Traveller Tip: “While visiting the main tourist spot of Nassau & Paradise Island, why not take the ferry over to Harbour Island for the day? The Pink Sand beach is often voted one of the best beaches in the world!” Marcus Johnstone-McKinney of Toronto
As far as hot and sunny getaways go, consider looking to something a little more far-flung. “The Philippines has become one of our most popular flight bookings,” says Wallace. Its immaculate beaches and world-famous cuisine make the journey worthwhile, especially since it can be a very affordable destination.
Honeymooners can have their fill of upscale suites and secluded beaches, while nature-lovers can enjoy gorgeous hikes (Chocolate Hills is a must!) and some of the best diving in the continent.
Expert Traveller Tip: “El Nido, Palawan, is heaven on earth. It’s an untouched paradise with some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet. On your way there, or on your way back, you must do the Iwahig River firefly tour. Slightly off the beaten track, the Iwahig River is just outside Puerto Princesa, the island’s main hub. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a boat guide who will tell you all about the constellations in the sky above you.” Crissandra Ayroso of Vancouver.
For those who have fallen in love with the picturesque coastline of the Mediterranean, up and coming destination, Cyprus, offers one rewarding step further. “Try a guided tour of Northern Cyprus with Intrepid,” Wallace recommends.
Northern Cyprus is especially new and untouched, as far as tourism goes. Try accenting your beach days with trips to castles, mosques, and monasteries; go sailing; enjoy a sunset swim; find your new favourite meals in small enchanting villages; or even spot wild donkeys.
If Vietnam hasn’t made it on your foodie travel wishlist yet, what are you waiting for? Culinary-themed guided tours and river cruises are sprouting up all over the country as Vietnam appears on more travellers’ radars. Explore the big cities, picturesque countrysides, and enticing beaches at your leisure, tasting the best of Vietnamese cuisine along the way.
Expert Traveller Tip: “I had the opportunity to experience Hanoi and Ninh Binh this year. I recommend the Coffee Egg Cafe and street train, and also the amazing climb and stunning views at Hang Múa!” Jennifer Cameron of Milton.
Redefine your vacation, your way, whether that means enjoying new foods, spending time outdoors, or exploring cultures that are special to you and your family. Talk to an Expert Traveller today to start your journey!