Want to know where to go for adventure travel in 2018? Climbing Everest is so last year (and pretty difficult, too). We’ve put together a list of perfectly do-able adventures for 2018, whether you’re a die-hard thrill-seeker or the kind of traveller who loves seeking out the world’s most remote places.
1. Try river cruising
Millions of people sign up for cruises every year, but growing numbers are ditching the world’s oceans and opting for a river cruise, instead. And river cruisers getting younger too, thanks in part of a number of cruise lines going all out to target younger passengers. Take river cruising specialist U by Uniworld, which is targeting 21 to 45 year-olds with adrenaline-fueled onshore activities like rock climbing and rafting, while onboard, there’ll be DJs, rooftop lounges and yoga classes. Our tip? If you’re new to cruising, start with something short-haul rather than jumping in at the deep end with a Mekong river excursion. Cruises down the Rhine or Danube are just as spectacular and a great way for first timers to dip their toe into the world of river cruising.
2. Chill out on the Cambodian coast
The Thai islands are officially full, which is why people are looking for alternatives to Phuket, Phi Phi and Koh Samui. This is where Cambodia comes in. Set sail for the coastline of this beautiful country in 2018 and you’ll discover a spectacular world of lush rainforests, diverse wildlife and some of the friendliest people in the world. If you’re wondering where to stay in Cambodia, we recommend heading to Sihanoukville, which has some of the country’s largest (but still wonderfully cheap) beach resorts, or to Cambodia’s Koh Rong Islands, which are located in the Gulf of Thailand. We also love Kep. Originally known as Kep-sur-Mer, this was a glamorous beach resort for the first half of the twentieth century. It’s now one of Cambodia’s most popular destinations for backpackers, thanks to a growing number of beach hut resorts. Prices start at around £30 for a night in a two-person beach bungalow (find your own beach bungalow here).
3. Cycle your way around Singapore
Norwegian’s new Gatwick to Singapore flights mean it’s now possible to get to Asia’s garden city for around £400 (singles start from £150). And it’s the perfect time to discover this beautiful destination. The city-state’s contract with F1 has just been renewed, making 2018 the ideal time to watch the famous night time street circuit race, and it’s now even easier to explore Singapore’s green spaces, thanks to two new bike share schemes (OFO and O-bike). The fact that more and more people are exploring the city by bike has convinced the government to create a fantastic new cycling route. The Connector Trail winds between Singapore’s many parks. Our advice? Start by pedaling your way over to Windsor Park, a protected nature reserve where you’ll find monkeys, turtles, butterflies and lizards. Read our quick guide to Singapore before departing for the best street food and attractions too!
4. Visit the Florida Keys’ lesser-known islands
Top of your “to do” list for 2018 should be some Floridian island-hopping. Venture beyond tourist meccas such as Key West to islands like Marathon and Islamorada and you’ll discover cheaper prices, fewer tourists and deserted beaches straight out of a Bounty advert. The Lower Keys have some of the best wildlife, including the ridiculously cute Key deer. Although accommodation options on these islands are more limited than in other areas of the Florida Keys, there’s still something for everyone, including a handful of luxury resorts alongside campsites and independent hotels.
5. Explore the Peruvian Amazon
Last year, British Airways’ launched the UK’s first direct flights to Peru, and the number of visitors to landmarks like Machu Picchu went through the roof. This beginner’s guide to Peru is perfect if you haven’t been before. The better news? There are still plenty of ways to get off the beaten track. Some of the best rainforest lodges in Peru can be found in the Tambopata National Park. Although the area’s been protected from over-development, you’ll still find a range of accommodation options, ranging from luxurious lodges to rustic tree houses high above the treeline. If you’re feeling brave, opt to stay at one of the remote research stations – many take a small number of guests, who share their accommodation with the scientists working there. One of our favourites is the Tambopata Research Center, a two-day trip downriver from the jungle town of Puerto Maldonado.
6. Sign up for a vineyard tour in Sonoma (the new Napa Valley)
Napa Valley is so last year. Head to Sonoma, which is a short drive from San Francisco, and you’ll find over 400 vineyards dotting a spectacular stretch of the Pacific Ocean, along with 50 state and regional parks. And no matter when you head to this beautiful part of the world, there’s sure to be an event taking place, whether it’s the Sonoma Country Harvest Fair or the region’s regular wine and food festivals. Our favourite wineries include BobDog Wines (Sonoma’s highest vineyard) and Roche Winery & Vineyards, famous for its Pinot Noir.
7. Get back to basics in St Helena
Keen to really get away from it all? Head to St Helena, the world’s most remote island. Luckily, getting there is now significantly easier. This year saw the launch of the first flights to St Helena, a volcanic tropical island in the South Atlantic Ocean which is 4,000 kilometres east of Rio de Janeiro and 1,950 kilometres west of the African continent. In the past, anyone hoping to visit the island would have had to spend several weeks on the cargo ship which delivered the island’s post. The (admittedly few) travellers who visit St Helena are drawn by the wildlife and the spectacular, volcanic landscape. It’s also got a fascinating history – Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to the island in 1815, and he died there in 1821.
8. Go star-spotting in Chile
Chile is another place which has recently become more accessible, thanks to a new direct flight launched by British Airways. Top Chile attractions include the Torres Del Paine National Park, vibrant Santiago and the coastal haven of Valparaíso, but in recent years it’s become one of the world’s top stargazing destinations. Our favourite spot is the Atacama Desert, which is also one of the world’s darkest places, thanks to the lack of light pollution. There are a number of hotels (we love the Elqui Domos, which has telescopes in every bedroom) and more observatories are opening to the public, too. One of the most famous is the Alma observatory, which recently guided tours.
9. Learn how to be a cowboy (or girl) in Texas
This next adventure is another one brought to you courtesy of a new flight route – in this case, Norwegian’s UK-to-Austin route, which launches in early 2018. We love Austin for its sheer quirkiness (its logo is Keep Austin Weird, after all) but it’s the wide open spaces of Texas which are putting the Lone Star State on the map. Whether you dream of learning how to work a lasoe, or simply want to saddle up for a horseback exploration of this beautiful part of America, there are a wide range of ranches to choose from. Top picks include the Flying L Guest Ranch & Villas, which is ideal for families (amenities include a water park, tennis course and golf course) while wannabe Lone Rangers looking for something for authentic will love the Silver Spur Guest Ranch, where you can channel your inner cowboy with long-distance horseback rides or sign up for hayrides, campfires dinners and fossil digs.
10. Swim with whale sharks in the Seychelles
New flights are certainly helping opening up the world in 2018, and it’s a great year for adventurers. British Airways are launching direct flights from Gatwick to the Seychelles in early 2018, and if you thought dolphin watching sounded rather tame, why not consider swimming with whale sharks? A number of tour operators offer this unique activity, although if you prefer something land-based, you’re also in luck. Top of the list would be an exhaustion-inducing hike through the UNESCO-listed Vallée de Mai on Praslin, a glass-bottomed boat tour and a paragliding excursion.