2021 is here, and with it another year of improvements to some services and destinations – and a slow degradation of others. When you spend your money on a long-haul holiday, rather than a cheap and cheerful nearby destination, you’ll want to be sure of the best value for your money.
We’re here to help.
Wherever you go, make sure you book with an airline that will make your long-haul flight a pleasurable part of the holiday as a whole. Your travel specialist will be able to recommend the best ones, but with most airlines, long-haul trips are where they pull out the stops and offer some of the best services to make your hours aloft enjoyable.
Don’t start your holiday after the journey; make the journey a part of the whole, pleasurable experience.
Unmissable long haul destinations to visit in 2021
Check out some of these destinations for the best experiences in long-haul holidays for 2021.
Is this the year you’re tying the knot with that special someone? Mauritius is a great destination for honeymoons and couples wanting a romantic getaway from life’s regular routines.
About twelve hours by plane from London, Mauritius lies in the heart of the Indian Ocean and offers a warm-weather experience with a wealth of beaches, lagoons, and reefs. You’ll want to tour the Black River Gorges National Park, which is s great place for short or longer hikes and wilderness experiences.
Be sure to spend some time in the capital city of Port Louis, touring the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical gardens or taking in a race or two at the Champs de Mars horse track.
And, of course, you’ll want plenty of time to relax on the beach.
The best time to visit Mauritius
The weather is warm all year round, but this is, after all, part of Africa, and you’ll want to avoid the hottest times of the year. January and February are the scorchers, in Mauritius, so you’ll want to avoid them. The ideal time for a trip to this area is anytime from May to December. The weather will be sunny and dry, and cool enough to enjoy being outside.
Yes, Rajasthan – why not? You haven’t heard your neighbour mention their recent trip there, but if you did, your interest would be piqued – and for good reason. Rajasthan is a new and exciting destination for holidayers who are looking for something different to broaden their cultural experience and add some spice to their lives.
It will take about twelve hours from London to the capital city of Jaipur, usually requiring one transfer – which can actually be a welcome break in a longer flight. Once there, architectural delight awaits, with excellent destinations such as the City Palace, the Amber Palace and the pink sandstone Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds).
For something a bit wilder, visit the Ranthambore National Park and Talao Lake. Ever seen a tiger prowling in uncaged freedom? This is your chance.
The best time to visit Rajasthan
Summers in Rajasthan are generally too hot for enjoyable tourism, so most visits occur in the winter. Between November and February are the best times to visit Rajasthan. Go outside of this period and you’re liable to hit temperatures in the mid-forties and above – crippling to a comfortable holiday. Winter temperatures will be in the mid to late twenties, perhaps hitting thirties on warmer days… much more conducive to a pleasant holiday.
For holidayers who are up with the sun, seeking fun activities to fill the day, Santa Barbara offers a long list of great options. It can take form fourteen to sixteen hours, from London, with one transfer, but it is worth the travel time.
This south-facing city on the California coastline blends Mediterranean style with American flair and that laid-back Californian vibe. Santa Barbara’s State Street is a great place to shop in upscale boutiques, explore a wide range of wines from nearby areas, and pair them with excellent dishes from top restaurants.
You can take in some local history at the Mission Santa Barbara, an 18th-century Franciscan friary with an attached museum. It’s worth spending some time at the Santa Barbara zoo, too, which packs a lot of punch and variety into a relatively small area. The botanical garden is also stunning, with great specimens of local and exotic flora in a pleasant atmosphere.
If you’re the more active type, Santa Barbara’s coastline offers kayaking and other water sports in a truly stunning Californian setting. There are some excellent parks, including Ganna Walska Lotusland, and Cabrillo Bike Path is a great place to get some exercise alongside those iconic Californian palm-lined boulevards.
The best time to visit Santa Barbara
There are two suggested periods for visiting Santa Barbara. From March to May – the springtime months – is one of them, and September to November – late autumn – is the other.
Santa Barbara has a mild overall climate, so it isn’t the weather that is the critical factor here; it’s more the ebb and flow of tourist traffic. Early spring and late autumn are lower-density times for tourism, so you’ll get to see all of the same things, in beautiful weather, but without fighting lines, clogged reservation lists, or restricting traffic. Go at the right time and it will be almost like they set up the whole, beautiful place just for you and your holiday.
Dubai & Maldives
If you feel the strain of trying to nail down just one destination for your annual holiday, let it go… book the perfect twin-centre holiday with a trip to Dubai and the Maldives.
A quick six-hour hop – quite reasonable for a long-haul voyage – Dubai is a great place to kick off your holiday. You’ll be able to see the 830m-tall Burj Khalifa tower stretching above this iconic city, a giant among sky-scraping giants, and explore the fun and excitement that clusters around its base. Luxury shopping, Dubai Fountain – jetting water choreographed to music – and a whole host of upscale restaurants and activities await you in the centre of this city.
Moving outward, the delights don’t wane. A cluster of artificial islands just outside of the city are home to Atlantis, The Palm, a stunning resort that includes water parks, marine parks, and beaches that include drink services and a level of attention rivalled in few other places.
A little over four hours, by plane, and you can then be in the Maldives, a South Asian archipelago chock-a-block full with snorkelling, SCUBA diving, fishing, surfing, and most any other water sport you can think of.
Explore individual islands, taking in their distinctiveness while getting a better feel for the Maldives as a whole. Enjoy tropical fruit plates and drinks while you relax on white-sand beaches surrounded by turquoise waters and clear blue skies.
The only drawback? You’ll enjoy it so much, you won’t want to go home.
The best time to visit Dubai & Maldives
November to April – the winter months – is considered the best time to visit Dubai. The popular Shopping Festival – yup, they have that – is in January and February, so this is an especially popular time. There will be crowds, but with good reason. If you are an avid shopper and have the bank account to back it up, you won’t want to miss this time.
The Maldives’ ideal window for a visit coincides exactly. The weather is warm and pleasant (with the following exception) all year round, but May to October is the monsoon season, so unless it’s your goal to experience one of nature’s most powerful expressions of weather – stick to the recommended period. You’ll be able to lie back in your comfortable beach chair, cool drink in your hand, and reminisce about the adventures you had in Dubai, the treasures you found, and your current view of that wonderful, green-blue hue of expansive ocean.
Fill your next year with engaging stories of adventure and history in this culturally-rich destination. A direct, six-hour flight from London lands you in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan.
Known for its mosques and its location on the famous Silk Road, this country is a gem for those interested in architecture, Islamic history, or the history of East-West trade and exploration.
Samarkand, another major city in the country, is home to the Registan Plaza, a noted square bordered by four-hundred-year-old schools, famous for ornate mosaics and a rich history. The ornate mosaics covering the simple, perfectly-proportioned buildings, arches and pillars will please your eye and bring an appreciative smile to your face. It is truly a location worth seeing in person.
The best time to visit Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan has two main periods that are ideal for a visit. April and May are best for a spring visit, and September to early November for the autumn.
Visiting during these periods will allow you to experience the dry heat of the desert climate without baking you to a brick-like consistency – and will avoid the surprisingly frigid winter extremes. Temperatures can range from below zero in the winter, to above forty in summer, so visiting during the shoulder seasons will set you down right in the sweet spot.
Exotic, diverse, and an icon of cultural interest, Japan has long been a destination of choice for those wanting to experience something very different from typical Western culture. Eleven and a half hours from London, Tokyo is a popular destination to begin exploration of this other, island nation.
For a bird’s-eye view of the whole city, the adventurous can rise to the observation deck of the Tokyo Skytree, a huge tower that spears upward over the rest of the city. This kind of ultra-urban architecture is set alongside traditional Japanese gardens, religious sites and natural gems, like the Meiji Jingu Shinto shrine and garden. You’ll want to see Ueno Park, Ginza and Hamarikyu Gardens, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Building too.
Tokyo isn’t the only place worth seeing, however. Not far away is Mount Fuji, an iconic image of Japan, and well worth seeing. It features in so much of the artwork, that it is said ‘If Mount Fuji is not in a painting, it is because the painting is a view from Mount Fuji.’
The famous sites of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have museums and interpretive centres surrounding the only instances of nuclear weapons used in war: the controversial dropping of ‘Fat Man’ and ‘Little Boy’ by the Americans at the end of the Second World War. Sapporo, the northernmost island, is known for its natural beauty and wilderness.
The best time to visit Japan
March to May are the spring months, and September to November comprise the autumn season, and many consider these the best times to visit Japan. Rainfall will be at a minimum, and the mild temperatures and clear skies mean easy travel and great views of buildings, mountains and other scenery. It’s also conducive to hiking, temple visits, and wandering around gardens or urban plazas. Spring, especially, has its delights, including the famous cherry blossoms which adorn the country with massive, tree-born blooms of tiny, pink and white flowers.
The climate varies quite a bit from the northern islands to the southern tip though, and there are many things to do year-round, so weather may not be the key component in your decision of when to visit.
Festival season runs from June through August, and these events will certainly add a cultural flair to your visit.
2021 may be the year of your best holiday yet, and any of these long-haul destinations could be the setting for it… maybe even more than one! With an excellent airline service on a modern plane, the hours spent getting there will only serve as a time of anticipation and increasing excitement.
Once there, you’ll be able to experience a culture and climate profoundly different from the British norm, and that kind of experience delights and refreshes tourists over and over again.
Contact your travel specialist about any of these amazing destinations, and set off on your next adventure. The world awaits.
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