Planning for a holiday of a lifetime

31 March 2015

Northern Lights - a holiday of a lifetime

Any holiday nowadays can take you off to far-flung places or exotic destinations, but the concept of ‘a holiday of a lifetime’ means something else altogether. This special journey is about making your dreams come true, and is perhaps the fulfilment of a long-held desire, or even a life-changing adventure. Now that you’ve earned your retirement after a lifetime of hard work, why not treat yourself and plan for that once-in-a-lifetime holiday.   

Obviously the most important thing is to identify where you want to go. Most people have a certain destination in mind, but if you have some difficulty deciding, here are a few ideas.

Northern Lights 

The Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) are one of nature’s greatest displays and witnessing them has been found to be more desirable than visiting many time-honoured tourist hotspots. The mysterious, multi-coloured show - which lights up the sky above Norway with a wondrous glow - resembles a natural lava lamp and has become a prime reason to fly north for a winter break, despite the often high costs and the cold weather. The best time to travel is September to mid-April, as these are the months when the nights are at their darkest and so there is more chance of seeing this wonderful spectacle.

 An African Safari

An African safari

This is one of those trips that feature on plenty of people’s bucket lists, and there are many African destinations to choose from. Whether you head to Cape Town, Tanzania, Kenya or Zambia, make sure you keep an eye out for the ‘Big Five’ game animals – the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard and white or black rhinoceros. However, animals aren’t the only sightings to tick off your list. Depending on where you head you could also make a stop at one of the world’s many wonders, such as Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River.  

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Route 66

Route 66

When it comes to fly-drive holidays, Route 66 has got to be up there among the ultimate. Created in 1926 as one of the first numbered highways, the route from Los Angeles to Chicago is the most famous of all American roads. Although no longer fully accessible in its entirety, notable stretches like the 320-mile south-western Arizona section from the Petrified Forest to Kingman are and will take you past Flagstaff at the base of the beautiful San Francisco Peaks – a great spot for hikers and home to the Museum of Northern Arizona. The many vast and varied landscapes, small towns and big cities that you will pass through make the practical matters of hiring and insuring a car and driving on the right well worth it.

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Walking the Great Wall 

Walking the Great Wall of China

The Great Wall, one of the greatest wonders of the world, was listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 1987 and runs across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus, stretching approximately 5,500 miles from the east to the west of China and can be seen from out of space. Over 2,000 years old, some sections of the wall are now in ruins or have disappeared but there are still plenty of opportunities to marvel at this attraction of architectural grandeur. You can do shorter half day and one-day walks if you just want a taster but if you’re going all that way, it’s worth booking a longer excursion. Exodus has some good packages, which will take you away from the tourist hot spots.

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Hiking through the Himalayas 

Hiking the Himalayas

Since the first successful ascent of Mount Everest, over 60 years ago, the Himalayas have become far more accessible to walkers. Okay, so climbing earth’s highest mountain might be beyond most people’s reach but there’s no reason you can’t take in some of the Great Himalaya Trail. This network of treks and paths together form one of the longest and highest walking trails in the world. You’ll walk beneath the world’s highest peaks and visit some of the most remote communities on earth within the lush green valleys, arid high plateaus and incredible landscapes of Nepal.

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However, a trip of a lifetime doesn’t necessarily have to be to somewhere exotic or far away - it could be a religious pilgrimage in Europe, such as walking the Camino to Santiago in Spain, or a trip in homage to your favourite sports team, such as visiting Real Madrid’s Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.

But wherever you decide to go, make sure you do your research before you book and prepare well before you travel. It’s a good idea to write a packing list so you don’t forget anything essential you might need and, if you’re going away for any long length of time, make sure your affairs at home are taken care of.

Now all that’s left to do is start the countdown to your holiday of a lifetime!

IMAGE SOURCE: Shutterstock

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