We’re waving goodbye to Deal Expert Will today and as he heads off for six months of travelling around Africa and Asia. Admittedly, not everyone can up sticks for months at a time, but as 2012 draws to a close, and the thought of another mince pie is enough to send you into a mild panic, how about making 2013 the year of The Big Trip? Even if you only have 20 days of annual leave.
I’ve just been to South Africa on a trip along these lines and am now preaching its virtues to anyone who’ll listen. With only a 2-hour time difference, a pound that's strong against the rand, and the chance to guzzle delicious wine for about £3 per bottle and eat exotic meat like kudu and ostrich, it’s a great destination for a special trip -- a real crowd-pleasing box ticker with great scenery, warm weather during our winter and the chance to get within a metre or two of a lion (and the rest of the Big Five) on safari.
Ever fancied swanning round the eastern Caribbean on a 6-star cruise ship which has butler service as standard? This surely has to rate as an ultimate trip of a lifetime. Silversea cruise line won the Condé Nast Traveller Favourite Cruise Line award this year, and this ship has walk-in wardrobes and the only Relais & Château restaurant at sea.
I also love this 10-day Nepal tour for £445 (excluding flights) which gives you a guided tour that takes in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan National Park. One morning you’ll watch sunrise over the World Peace Pagoda and you’ll also visit the spiritual village of Lumbini -- the birthplace of Buddha. That has to be good for the soul.
While bucket lists and trips of a lifetime are all well and good, it doesn’t all have to be high end and high budget. Maybe your resolution should just be to do more, to make the most of your local area. I’m going to try to go somewhere at least once a month, even if it is just an hour from home. This is where you need to look for local deals in your area -- in my case, London and the Southeast.
I’m a big believer in getting started with your New Year’s resolutions before 1 January, because otherwise the start of the new year really is just one big depressing cliché. So go on, do something amazing next year. You might as well get planning now.