Your 2020 Holiday Hotlist
Where the past meets the future
A tantalizing fusion of the ancient and contemporary, vibrant Japan is at the top of everyone’s must-see list for 2020. Fresh off the back of hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup, this sleek destination is a traveller’s dream. Safe, stylish and steeped in centuries of culture, Japan is sure to tick all the boxes, and as the 2020 Olympic's host, the country is geared-up for a myriad of fresh visitors.
Visit Japan in springtime to admire the soft blooms of its famous cherry blossoms, or witness the mighty Mount Fuji stretch up through clear skies into soft wisps of cloud; there’s so much to see and experience outdoors, even in the bustling metropolis of Tokyo. The Meiji Shrine, set in a forested park in Shibuya, is thick with centuries of atmosphere and is a serene spot to visit for a culture fix. Or why not visit the impressive Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa? It's the oldest temple in Tokyo and has a wonderful shopping street running up to it called 'Nakamise' that sells traditional kimonos and fans, trinkets and snacks.
For beaches, culture and stunning landscapes
Journey off the beaten track and visit far-flung Goa, the sunshine state of India, for a cultured trip surrounded by stunning landscapes. Explore the dreamy shores along its bohemian coastline, brimming with rustic charm, and get lost in this original hippie-haven that’s captured hearts all over the world. From beaches and rustic towns to sites of natural beauty, all with a heady mix of Indian and Portuguese cultures, Goa is a cultural hot spot that you should definitely consider as your 2020 getaway.
To visit Goa is to experience the landscape. An UNESCO World Heritage Site that's older than the mighty Himalayas, the Western Ghats region houses Goa's most important areas of biodiversity. Made up of wetlands, forests and parks, this untamed stretch is teeming with life. Birds and boars roam the thick forests, while endangered sea turtles paddle on foamy shores, all of which can be taken in on a guided tour. Or why not take to a spot of Goa's 78 miles of coastline, fringed with everything, from calm, empty stretches to bustling party beaches, complete with psychedelic trance parties. Beaches such as Arambol and Palolem are worth a visit - Goa is, after all, renowned for its irresistible shorelines.
But it's not just the vistas that pull visitors to this area.There's plenty of culture to get your teeth stuck into, and it's relatively untouched by tourism.
Kick back on the stunning Spanish archipelago
Kick back on the largest of the stunning Spanish archipelago and adjust to island life in sun-soaked Tenerife. Bask in the sunshine and get your boost of vitamin D after a cold and wet winter. Perhaps spend your time enjoying once-in-a-lifetime activities, such as whale watching, or passing sunset evenings cocktail-tasting, or savouring a tipple from one of Tenerife’s luscious vineyards. But this island isn’t just a sun-worshipper’s paradise...
The peaks of rugged Mount Teide are rewarded with gasp-out-loud views during a daytime climb - but Teide at night is a really special experience. Walk through thick, moonlit pine forests and turn your eyes to the velvety night sky to take part in Teide's stargazing events - Teide National Park is recognised as a 'Starlight Destination'. Gazing up from the peak of the volcano, expect to be dazzled by the Milky Way, the Summer Triangle and even sporadic meteor showers!
Meanwhile, back at sea level, supplement your days with delicious seafood, fished fresh from the ocean, that will make up dishes for lazy lunches and intimate evening dinners, as you watch an orange-stained sunset. A favourite spot to enjoy this is the stretch of Playa de las Américas on the southwestern stretch of the island. It twinkles on the island's sandy shores, offering its bustling nightlife and gorgeous views to all.
Float away on Lake Balaton, aptly dubbed ‘The Hungarian Sea’
Float away on Lake Balaton, aptly dubbed ‘The Hungarian Sea’, and enjoy a break in this splendid summer lakeside spot. Nestled at the foot of softly climbing hills, this sprawling lake is a drop of tranquillity only 84 miles from the bustling city life of Budapest. But don’t be fooled by the rolling landscapes and peaceful waters; Lake Balaton is a hot spot of activity that’s the perfect shore-side haven, either as a couples' retreat or for a family summer break.
At nearly 50 miles long, the lake is awash with the crisp white sails of boats and the spray of water - and it’s not just for admiring! Take to these warm waters and make a splash with water sports, such as kayaking, or even wake boarding (if you’re feeling brave), or perhaps just take a dip and enjoy the views as you paddle. Sun-worshippers can lounge on the lake's sandy shores, and those with a nose for exploring have a wealth of nearby bustling towns and villages to meander through, from places such as Siófok, a lively party town that dubs itself 'the capital of summer' to the elegant, historic town of Keszthely and laidback villages near Badacsony, where walking and wine-tasting tours are more the order of the day.
While you're experiencing all that Lake Balaton has to offer, snack on tasty treats such as corn on the cob, grilled sausages, or lángos, a bread-like pastry topped with the likes of garlic sauce, cheese, sour cream or ham, and not to forget the delicious wines borne from its lush vineyards.
Take from this European waterside destination what you will; be it an active break or a flop and drop retreat, but make sure it's on your destination list for 2020!
Your 2020 slice of paradise
A true tropical retreat, experience an idyllic trip infused with the sweet twangs of coconut and a touch of rum. Leafy palms and ribbons of white-sand beaches hug the shores, soft enough to luxuriously wiggle your toes in, on an island which is rich in culture and history.
Of all Jamaica’s beaches to take your pick from (there are plenty), the private Doctor’s Cave Beach is the perfect spot to unwind and breathe in the life of the island - you’ll instantly feel life slow down and feel like a drop in the ocean. And for a fee of just $6, you have access to a fully stocked bar and grill. If, after luxuriating on the beach, you feel like exploring a little, why not visit the Bob Marley Museum for a flavour of the island's reggae roots? Or perhaps head over to the southeast of the island and reward yourself by bathing in the healing waters of the Blue Hole Mineral Spring - its spring waters have therapeutic properties - and you can book yourself in for a mud massage to pummel away those stresses.
or a taste of history and legend, Rose Hall Great House - also in Montego Bay - is a restored Jamaican-Georgian style mansion. The estate offers a tour and a museum which documents the slave history of the house, and the legend of the White Witch of Rose Hall. There's also the famous Sam Sharpe Square - for an important history lesson - and the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience if you'd like to sample a fiery tot of rum.
To top this all off and really embrace island life, eat at Jamaica’s rich table of food and try your hand at delicacies, such as ackee and codfish (an island favourite), jerk chicken, fragrant curried goat or even fish tea (don’t be fooled by the name, it’s actually a tasty soup!) Whatever calls to you, it can all be made possible with an RCI exchange holiday.
For a thrill-ride - quite literally!
Consider Orlando as a leafy metropolitan sunspot that will answer your call for adventure. With Florida being the theme-park capital of the world, it's easy to see why Orlando is such an attractive family holiday destination, but we know that theme parks aren't for everyone. There's so much more to this spot to fill your days while you're on holiday...
The city of Orlando itself is a cosmopolitan destination that's abuzz with life; you don't need a roller coaster to enjoy this place! Sat nestled right in the city centre of downtown Orlando, is Lake Eola Park. A glassy stretch of water surrounded by parkland, this urban spot is the perfect place to unwind and watch the world go by. The art-deco style Linton E Allen Fountain fizzes and spurts at the centre of the lake and you can rent a boat and paddle out to the middle for a front-row view of the city.
Further downtown there are indoor activities to keep everyone occupied, such as a visit to the Orlando Museum of Art, indoor go-karting and even sky diving! Or how about living life through the eyes (or spacesuit) of an astronaut during a visit to The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex? It's the perfect day trip for young and old alike. Or if a sandy shore-side retreat is still a holiday-must, Cocoa Beach is a pretty spot, and it's only an hour away from the heart of Orlando. Take the chance to enjoy a day on the pier, perhaps fishing or watching the sun slip behind the horizon while you enjoy a delicious supper.
With Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and LEGOLAND being just a taste of what's on your doorstep, it's not surprising that Orlando has the accolade of the theme-park capital of the world. The parks are full of magic and a visit is well worth your time while you're here. But if teeth-chattering, stomach-churning thrill rides aren't your bag, there are countless other things these parks have to offer, from air-conditioned shopping experiences to gentle rides and fantastic shows. It makes a day out at one of Orlando's theme parks perfect for every member of the family and a magical trip you'll never forget.