12 holiday destinations to explore in 2024
Well, here we are in 2024! Thankfully our travel lives have basically returned to normal after a tumultuous few years, so we’re well and truly ready to start mapping out the next 12 months of must-do destinations. If you’re ready to forge new travel dreams for 2024 and beyond, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve curated a list of 12 of the best holiday destinations to explore in the year ahead. From bustling city holidays in North America to safari treks in Africa, and everything in between, these are our picks for the best places to travel and the best times to go.
Best places to travel in January, February, March
Summer is a great time to spend in Australia, with countless domestic travel opportunities to enjoy. But if adventure is calling beyond our shores, it can also be a thrilling time to travel overseas. Get your last minute planning on!
Here are three of the best places to travel in January, February and March.
1. Nagano, Japan
Best for: World-class skiing and immersive culture.
- Nagano has everything you need for your ultimate winter escape. From Onsens and ski resorts to festivals and snow-globe villages, there’s a plethora of activities on your Japanese winter adventure.
- Ski resorts like Hakuna or Nozawa are the best places to visit in January, as well as February and March as this is when they are in their prime, and if winter sports are up your alley – you’ll be in snowy heaven. For those not so inclined to carve up the powder, there are fun attractions such as the Jigokudani Monkey Park – watch the adorable snow monkeys bathing in the natural hot springs.
- Winter festivals like the Nagano Tomyo festival bring a sense of community and fun to your trip to Nagano. Try the winter cuisine such as soba noodles and hotpots at these festivals to warm up after a day exploring this scenic Japanese island.
2. La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Best for: Adventurous souls seeking the ultimate Central American Experience.
- Visiting Central America in the dry season is essential if you want to make the most of sunny days, and with average temperatures hitting 26 degrees in Costa Rica in March, it’s a no-brainer to add this to your 2024 wish list.
- La Fortuna is an ideal hub to base yourself for your Costa Rican adventure. From here, you can book rainforest canopy escapes, adventure tours, waterfall visits and rafting escapades from this bustling town.
- Costa Rica’s most spectacular volcano, Arenal, is the ideal hiking trip from La Fortuna, with options dependent on how long you want to hike and the views you’re most compelled by.
3. Koh Lanta, Thailand.
Best for: The sunset seeker who wants a slice of adventure on the side.
- Boasting some of the best beach sunsets in Thailand, Koh Lanta provides that perfect mix of a relaxing rustic beach break and some options for adventure.
- Take a short boat trip to the surrounding islands to explore. Koh Chuek, Koh Waen and Koh Muk can be done in a day trip and offer exceptional snorkeling and caves.
- For the budget traveller, Slacklines Hostel is a must visit. Try your hand (or foot!) at slacklining in the middle of the islands’ forest. Otherwise, there are a plethora of beachside hotels and resorts if you’re after that sandy white luxury.
Best places to travel in April, May and June
Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere means spring has sprung up north, with temperatures creeping up and businesses preparing for the summertime crowds. Here are three destinations where you can take advantage of the so-called “shoulder season”.
4. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Best for: Kings Day celebrations.
- Not only is Amsterdam slightly cheaper to travel to in the shoulder season, it is also one of the best places to visit in April as it allows you to experience the festivities of Kings Day, which lands on the 27th of April. There are a range of events dotted around the city over this time, so you’re sure to find something that tickles your fancy.
- Experiencing the action from the canals is a must-do – don your orange get up and book yourself onto a boat! Try the local tompouce (a pastry eaten on all important events of the year) and play some quirky street games to get right into the spirit.
Remember that a lot of the regular transport options will be closed around this time, so plan accordingly!
5. Seville, Spain
Best for: Culture enthusiasts seeking a perfect springtime escape.
- Europe in May only means balmy temperatures, colourful scenes and celebrations. What more could you want for spring?
- Marvel at the blossoming gardens at the historic Alcazar , take a stroll along the Guadalquivir River and soak in the Sevillian culture. Tapas eaten among crowds just outside the bodegas on the streets or squares are an essential part of Sevillian life. Order a popular potato tortilla, or a serranito (typical hot sandwich of Seville) and take your seat to watch the bustling streets.
6. New Orleans, USA
Best for: Experiencing one of the world’s best festivals.
- Immerse yourself in Southern culture at New Orleans Jazz Festival. In 2024, it’s on between April 25th and May 5th , so start planning those flights to the US now!
- Experience world class music, food, art and culture within bustling streets and age-old traditions. In 2024, the first confirmed music act is the Rolling Stones, which can only be a sign of the excellent line up to come!
- Learn about southern American traditions, try the local cuisine of crawfish, jambalaya and fried chicken and stay in one of the historical guest houses – you won’t regret it!
Best places to travel in July, August and September
If you’re into hitting Aussies slopes (or mostly avoiding winter at the beach!) Australia is a great place to stay during the winter months. However, if you’re missing those scorching beach days and late sunsets, these three destinations could be the key to your endless summer.
7. Bali, Indonesia
Best for: A tried and true classic – a luxe villa escape!
- A fun fact – Bali was our most popular destination for travellers in 2023*! There are not many other destinations that are so close and can offer so much – villas, good weather, surfing, yoga, music, beaches... the list goes on.
- Bali is one of the best places to visit in September, although this can be the busy season, it’s best to visit during the dry season – especially because holidays to Bali are often shorter, you don’t want to be spending your annual leave huddling away from a thunderstorm every day!
- Remember to take time to explore the island and its surrounds – take a day trip to Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and even Lombok. If you’re taking a quick trip, decide what the focus of your holiday will be so you’re not jumping around too much – is it a yoga retreat, a surf trip or just some R+R at a pool villa?
And – remember to read our tips to avoid the dreaded Bali belly!
8. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
Best for: Astounding scenery and plentiful outdoor adventures.
- Everyone needs to experience a safari at least once in their life, right? And the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is a great option!
- Visiting over July, August or September coincides with the Great Migration, a natural phenomenon where many herds cross the Serengeti in pursuit of fresh grazing pastures. As well as captivating safaris to witness the habitats of lions, elephants, buffaloes, leopards and rhinoceros (how amazing!), you can also partake in other activities such as Hot Air Balloon rides to take in the landscapes from the sky.
- To immerse yourself in the local culture, visit the nearby Maasai villages, located on the outskirts of the park to gain insight into their harmonious co-existence with nature.
9. Kandy, Sri Lanka
Best for: Culture and nature enthusiasts alike, seeking scenic beauty.
- A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kandy boasts serene charm, filled with temples and Buddhist pilgrimage sites. If you’re a good-botanical-garden lover, the Royal Botanic Gargens and The Peradeniya Botanic Gardens will keep you busy with their impressive array of flora.
- From Kandy, you can explore the central highlands, visiting the tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya and take in the breathtaking views of the Ramboda Falls.
- Foodies won’t be disappointed with the abundance of Sri Lankan rice and curry, along with street food snacks such as ‘kottu roti’ – a chopped roti dish with veges and meat, or local sweets like ‘kovum’ or ‘kokis’.
Best places to travel in October, November and December
The Australian spring is also considered a shoulder season for some of the world’s most popular travel destinations. Here are three places to visit in October, November and December.
10. Salzburg, Austria
Best for: Captivating Christmas markets the whole family will love.
- Top of the list for Christmas destinations is the quaint and romantic home of Mozart (and the Sound of Music!) which comes alive at Christmas time. Enjoy the festive lights, chilly weather (with snow if you’re lucky), and the sound of Carols as you wander the towns’ famous Christmas markets.
- Stay in one of the Old Town hotels and you’ll feel like you’re right at home in a winter fairytale. Whether your style is lavish, quirky, trendy or classic, you’ll find your ideal accommodation in Salzburg. Watch the snow fall from your window before you head out to feast on a soul-warming Strudel!
11. South Pacific Cruise
Best for: Pleasant spring conditions for reclining on deck.
- For the best places to travel in December, think an endless blue sea, tropical shores, sunchairs by the pool and a good book - cruise holidays can be the ideal way to recharge the batteries with an easy and stress-free travel experience.
- The Australian spring sees pleasant conditions for cruises to the South Pacific. Itineraries like this 7 night P&O pacific island cruise include stops in Noumea and Port Vila, allowing you to explore the beaches as well as the enriching culture.
12. Lagos, Portugal
Best for: An off-season relaxing beach adventure.
- Known for being a scorching hot destination over the European summer months, Lagos offers much more palatable temperatures over October, November or December. The southern Portugal city comes alive in these months, showcasing its rich cultural heritage. The bustling markets such as the Mercado Dos Escravos and the captivating Ponta da Piedade cliffs are must-see attractions (that could even give off a misty and moody flair at this time of year!).
- As it is the winter in Europe, you’d be visiting outside the main tourist season, meaning you can take a more authentic peek into the lives of Lagosians, immersing yourself in the laid-back culture and traditions. Beaches may be chillier, yes, but a quick refreshing dip in the sea followed by a long beach walk sounds like a dream to us!
In our ever-evolving landscape of travel, we hope that your 2024 allows you to explore all the dream destinations that your heart desires. Whether you’re into historical cities, lush beaches or cultural festivals, your year of travel awaits!
*Based on SCTI destination data from 1 January 2023 - 31 November 2023
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