Hot and happening destinations for 2014 are the talk of travel circles right now, in the wake of the release of Lonely Planet’s annual Top 10 lists. As someone who’s sometimes asked to contribute to these kind of lists for travel publications, I’m always interested to see how my own ideas stack up against others’ views. Because it’s really subjective; what I think is an amazing destination – or somewhere I’d aspire to add to my travel plans – may not appeal to others.
I’ve been to more than 50 countries, but of Lonely Planet’s Top 10 countries, I could only tick off four (and one of them so long ago and so briefly it barely counts). I’ve never been to number 1, Brazil (although my daughters have) and have seen number 2, Antarctica, only from the air. But agree whole-heartedly with LP’s choice for number 3 – Scotland. I’ve been there several times and have close connections, through my family history and a life-long friendship.
Number 10 on the list is Malaysia, a place I certainly agree is worth visiting. I’m surprised its the only place in Asia on the list, but of course, it’s all about perception.
Lonely Planet also lists places that it thinks appeal to certain kinds of travellers. On the list for family travel are some of my personal favourites, and places I’ve travelled to with my children: New York City and Italy.
Then there’s Hawaii, Thailand and India, also among my favourite places.
LP also suggests some great options for homestays, where you can feel part of a local family (or at least like an honoured guest in a local home). One of these is an Iban longhouse in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. I’ve not stayed in one, but spent a memorable day visiting – and it’s a wonderful experience.
For adventure, the only place on the LP list that I’ve been to is Cape Horn – and that was unforgettable. I’m taking a close look at the other recommendations!
Then there are beaches and islands. Two of my favourite places in the world make the list: the Cook Islands in the South Pacific, and Australia’s near-northern neighbour, Papua New Guinea, one of the most exotic places I’ve ever been (twice).
What’s on your top 10? Or your travel plans for 2014? I’d love to know.