Being back at work after Christmas is pretty shit isn’t it? We think so, too, which is why we’re day dreaming about getting on a plane, train or motorway to get away from the daily grind.
From walking holidays on home soil to jet-setting off to faraway lands, here are the destinations HuffPost UK journalists have their sights set on this year.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
Amy Packham, Assistant Editor for Life
“I am always so focused on heading on long-haul trips that sometimes I forget about some of the amazing countries we have in Europe that I haven’t yet visited. I really want to go to Slovenia at some point this year, mainly because once I saw a picture on Instagram of Lake Bled and I have never forgotten it (trust me, go and Google it now). It sparked my interest and now I’m hooked.
Ljubljana and the colourful city – littered with beautiful nature. I’m a big fan of walking and saw a great walking tour I wanted to do, basically I just need to get off my arse and book it.”
Natasha Hinde, Lifestyle Reporter
“I’m planning on going in late April so I can check out the cherry blossom (love a bit of nature, I do). I’ve wanted to go for years now, but I haven’t been able to afford it.
“On the top of my list is staying in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese-style inn, which is quite expensive but has also been recommended by lots of friends. You get to wear traditional robes, eat amazing food and sleep on tatami mats. I’m keen to visit Tokyo, too – because you can’t go to Japan and not visit the bustling capital city – and Kyoto, for the culture: the gardens, Buddhist shrines and so on.
“Another highlight will be eating all the sushi – I’m hoping to go on a tour where you get to buy fish at the market and then learn how to make the dish from scratch. It’s going to be a once in a lifetime trip.”
New Forest, England
Rachel Moss, Lifestyle Reporter
“This year I’ll be exploring the Great British countryside with not one, but two walking holidays (yes, I was born middle-aged). My boyfriend and I have booked a long weekend to explore the New Forest in March, with plans to go to the Lake District later in the year.
“In 2018 I went to Cyprus and to the Peak District and although I loved both trips, I definitely found the latter more restorative. We spent four days in the fresh air, hiking up hills, leaping over rivers and recovering in country pubs. By the end I not only felt utterly relaxed, but also energised and ready to come back to work with renewed enthusiasm. It completely convinced me UK holidays are the way forward, saving time (and money) on travel. No doubt I’ll be craving sunshine by June and we’ll probably book a last-minute break abroad too, but for now, I can’t wait to don my hiking boots again.”
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Matt Bagwell, Executive Editor of Entertainment
“Last year I only had one holiday abroad (my annual pilgrimage to the gay mecca of Sitges, near Barcelona) and I really noticed it come the end of the year as I was knackered, so I intend to have at least three holidays in 2019.
“First up I’ll be heading to Puerto Vallarta in Mexico with my best mate in March. I always opt for the flight and apartment option because I love the freedom that affords, plus I’m not a fan of hanging out with a load of strangers (and their kids) around a piss-filled pool, but on this occasion we’re going all-inclusive at an adults-only 5 star hotel. I love my food, so the prospect of stuffing my face all day everyday from one of the 8 restaurants (and making the most of the free bar) was a no-brainer for me.
“Puerto Vallarta is famed for its gay scene, so there’ll be plenty to keep us entertained in the evenings and it’ll be nice and warm too. The only downside? Well, I’m no fan of flying and it’s a twelve hour flight, but there will be wine on tap, so I think I’ll be fine.”
Rachel McGrath, Entertainment Reporter
“The holidays you take as a kid will always be the most memorable ones and for me, the weeks that will always stick out are the ones spent in Crete. It’s a place that came into our lives when my parents randomly picked one of those last-minute deals you see in the window of travel agents (in this case, in the long defunct Co-op in my hometown) but after one week there, we were sold and went back intermittently while I was growing up.
“It holds a lot of memories – the town of Agios Nikolaos is where my brother learnt to swim, where I wrinkled my nose up after eating a snail for the first time and at the small group of apartments we stayed in, I met my first ever pen pal.
“It’s been over 10 years since I last set foot on Crete but my mind often strolls there still, when I ponder whether the pizza place is still by the beach, who now lives in the blue and white house by the bakers and if hotel owner Yannis still does weekly quiz nights. This year, I’ve decided it’s time to answer those questions once and for all – and luckily for me, the only way to do so is by going back.”
Sophie Gallagher, Lifestyle Reporter
“I’ve wanted to go to Iceland for years - so many friends have said how beautiful it is and how friendly the people are. The thing that always put me off was the price. Although you can get cheap flights with EasyJet the accommodation and food once you’re there are apparently not kind on the budget. But I finally bit the bullet at Christmas and bought a four-day trip for my partner and I in February.
“It’s just the two of us going and we’re going to be based in Reykjavik for our whole trip - we’ve booked a cute little AirBnB in the centre of the city - with plans to do day excursions to places like the Blue Lagoon, the geysers and the Gullfoss waterfall. People have said snowfall can be heavy at that time of year, which I’m thrilled about, but it also means we’re not planning on driving anywhere ourselves and we’ll both need to be extra vigilant on packing very warm clothes. I’m most excited to see the northern lights.”
Brogan Driscoll, Editor of HuffPost Finds
“My lovely friends are getting married in South Africa over easter and a big group of my university pals are heading there for an extended trip. It’s long been on my bucket list, but heading to celebrate such a special event and with so many people I love will make this trip extra special.
The loose plan is to spend a few days in Cape Town, before heading to the wedding (which is on a vineyard in Stellenbosch – the country’s wine region), and then driving along the famous garden route for a week where we’ll go on safari, head to The Cape (the most southernly part of Africa), and generally have a lovely time.”
Charlie Lindlar, Blogs Editor
“To celebrate our first wedding anniversary, my wife and I are planning to hit Venice in the summer. I went once as a kid with my grandparents, for whom the city had all sorts of important meanings, and I can’t wait to rediscover it as a grown-up. Beyond the romantic-ness, I remember being taken by the labyrinthine layout, the Machiavellian/debauched history, and the incredible food on every corner.
“A big highlight for me now would be seeing it all by canal, which I think lets you take in the place in a totally different way - until now I’ve had to make do watching the boat chase scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. And, of course, it’ll look amazing on Instagram.”
Amy Packham, Assistant Editor for Life
“I’m a massive fan of big two-week backpacking trips, which I try and do at least once a year. I’ve been to South America and Asia (a lot) with memorable moments in Sri Lanka and Indonesia – this year, I’ve got my heart set on India.
“I’m not one to spend a fortnight at a beach resort, I prefer my holidays to be jam-packed with a diverse range of activities and locations. So I’ve booked a tour that heads to Delhi, Jaipur, Pushkar, Mumbai, Goa, Udaipur and more. It’s a part of the world I have never explored and I can’t wait to get on that plane.”
Louise Whitbread, HuffPost Finds Reporter
“My best friend has lived in Hong Kong for three years and I first visited in 2017, and have just booked to go again this June. I cannot wait. For me, Hong Kong has everything – the food is fantastic, the nightlife is buzzing and the views are incredible.
“You can find all the delights of a city and serene private beaches and seaside towns in the same place.”