What if you had a gazillion annual leave holidays saved up? We know what we’d do – we’d travel somewhere new every month of the year!
If you’re thinking the same or if you’re stuck for ideas on where to go and when in 2016, here’s our showcase of beautiful travel destinations – by month:
Great for: A winter wonderland with a difference
If you really want to escape the sweltering summer heat, China is a brilliant place to cool down. Skiing and snow activities can easily be placed on your itinerary throughout the Chinese winter, and popular resorts can be found in Beijing, Harbin and Jilin.
Aim to top off your trip with a tour through Harbin’s magnificent Ice and Sculpture Festival, a visit to the beautiful Yellow Mountains or a trek along the snow-covered Great Wall.
Great for: Crowd lovers and party revellers
February marks high travel season in Brazil, but the upside here is that the place is pulsing with vibrant crowds and loads of fun things to do. The country’s key celebration – Carnaval – kicks off in Rio on February 5th and shouldn’t be missed!
After celebrations wrap on February 9th, head to the beaches to enjoy the summer sun or get yourself into the Amazon for a boat tour, though note it may be a little wet and rainy.
Great for: Flowers like you’ve never seen them before
Amsterdam is a wonderful place all year round, but March is prime tulip-touring time! Flowers of all kinds bloom into colourful beauty on a mass scale in the later half of this month, especially at Keukenhof in Lisse.
Outside of that, market-exploring, museum-visiting and traditional Dutch dining are all great options. Don’t forget to check out events like ‘5 Days Off’ and ‘24H Amsterdam’ too!
Great for: The cherry blossom experience
Speaking of flowers, we couldn’t help but whisk you away to the glorious world of Japan for the infamous cherry blossom season. It starts in March and often goes through to May, so April is one of the best times to visit to be guaranteed some beautiful pink landscapes.
Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima are the prime cities to visit for cherry blossom viewing, while other parks (like Kakunodate in Akita) are worth a visit.
Great for: Spring weather and everything American
The USA has a lot to offer the keen traveller in May! Especially since the weather is warming up for Spring and travelling now means you’ll beat the summer (and peak season) crowds.
There’s absolutely no shortage of things to do here, and highlight events include the Cinco de Mayo festival (particularly in Los Angeles and the country’s southwest), the closing day of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Kentucky Derby in Louisville and Memorial Day.
Great for: Castles, highlands, cities and beautifully mild weather
What better way to make the most of the dry and warm(ish) weather in the world’s north?
Scotland in June is amazing, with attractions open late, city events buzzing, the sun going down at 10pm or later and outdoor activities – think trekking, hiking, canoeing, cycling, rafting, sailing, golfing, fishing – aplenty.
A trip to Glasgow, where the West End Festival will be on, is recommended too.
Great for: Incredible outdoor adventures and landscapes
If you crave a stunning rugged wilderness that is fairly untouched, organise a summer trip to Iceland. July means 24-hours-a-day of sun here, meaning you can make the most of your outdoor escapades. Top activities include glacier hiking, lagoon and hot spring dipping and all-round fjord, waterfall, highland, volcano and coastline exploring. There’s lots going on (in the way of festival, events etc.) in the capital of Reykjavik, and in other towns and villages as well.
Great for: Witnessing the Great Migration
When it comes to travel, there are a few things in life that are worth witnessing in the flesh – and for wildlife lovers, the Great Migration might just be one of them.
For August holidayers, heading to Kenya is your best bet, where you’ll hopefully see streams of zebra, gazelle wildebeest conducting their annual river crossings. It’s not an exact science, however, and rain often dictates when the migration will occur, so check with a tour agency before booking.
Great for: Fulfilling your tropical island fantasies
Tropical holidays should never be underestimated and Vanuatu in September is our choice pick. Why? The rainy season has yet to arrive, the weather is warm but not overly hot, and the ocean is perfect for swimming all year round. Plus, September means you’ll beat much of the holiday tourist crowds.
Port Vila, on Efate, is loads of fun, but make sure you get inland and/or out to the islands too for the best tropical experience.
Great for: Wintry landscapes and the Northern Lights
If the Aurora Borealis is on your bucket list, Canada is one of the prime destinations in the world from which to see it. While you can go at any time throughout the winter, October can promise clear skies, milder weather and lots of amazing viewing opportunities across the country’s northern region.
Of course, there’s always a chance that the skies won’t let up and you’ll miss out on the lights, so choose a destination that offers a range of other activities or sights – or combine your trip with a stint in a big city or a ski resort.
Great for: A perfect Cambodian trip
By November, most of the monsoon rains should’ve cleared out of Cambodia, making way for the dry season. The weather is yet to get dusty and hot and peak travel seasons are only just kicking off.
Temple exploring, market visiting and street food tasting are all a must in the place. Beach and water activities can be great too, though bear in mind that temperatures will stay around the mid-20s.
Great for: Dazzling snowfields and a beautiful Christmas
Never done France in the winter? It’s probably safe to say that you’re missing something spectacular. Glorious alps and snowfields, glittering cities and an unforgettable Christmas-y atmosphere make this country a true dazzler in December.
Paris is the place to go for big monuments and huge light displays, while Christmas markets can be found in destinations like Strasbourg, Amiens, Nice, Caen and Boulogne.
Photo credits: susivinh, emmajg, Terry George, carriezimmer, cyber0515, the-o, angelo_antonell, Felix Haller, Cody Kwok, Grace Wye, ajbatac, mikebehnken, rose_des_vents