Fancy somewhere a bit different next year? Beat the crowds to our pick of 2016’s hot destinations…
Get a head start on the rest with our guide to the destinations, resorts, cities and countries and places that will soon be on everyone’s holiday bucket list.
1: PERU – From £569pp for seven nights
Machu Picchu has long been on everyone’s list. Next year the captivating ruins will be even more accessible when British Airways launches a direct route to the capital Lima on May 4, with three flights a week departing from Gatwick. It is home to stunning colonial architecture and pre-Inca ruins, which are often overlooked. So before you head inland, you can explore this bustling coastal city and its excellent museums, great shopping, lively nightlife and some fine seafood.
THE DEAL: Book by December 20 for seven nights’ B&B in Lima at the three-star El Ducado. From £569pp, with flights from Gatwick (May 4 – June 29) with BA Holidays. Lima is a great jumping-off point for sites and towns across Peru.
2: CUBA – From £1,395pp for eight nights
Relations between Cuba and the USA are thawing to such an extent that visitors to the Caribbean island are set to soar. So it’s worth getting out there before the place has a Disney makeover. Soak up the fading colonial beauty and enjoy an idyllic beach break. Take in the Unesco World Heritage site of Old Havana, visit Ernest Hemingway’s home and a cigar factory during the first three days of the tour in the capital. Then head off to Trinidad to soak up more of the cultural wonders before hitting the beach in Varadero.
THE DEAL: Mercury Direct offers an eight-night tour staying at hotels in Havana, Trinidad and Varadero, with guides, flights from the UK departing June 20 and transport, from £1,395pp.
3: KOTOR, MONTENEGRO – From £784pp for seven nights
Kotor is drop-dead gorgeous and next year’s must-visit city, according to Lonely Planet’s new book Best In Travel 2016. The coastal town, which dates back to between the 12th and 14th centuries, is in a secluded spot in the Bay of Kotor where the super yachts drop anchor in summer. See in the New Year in style at the Hotel Astoria, which was originally a Gothic Palace in the beautiful walled city of the old town. Set in the centre of Kotor and close to its historic attractions, the exquisite hotel is the perfect base to soak up the labyrinth of tiny piazzas and Juliet balconies of the medieval town.
THE DEAL: Prestige Holidays has a week from December 29 starting at £784pp, including Ryanair flights from Stansted, breakfast and private transfers.
4: BURMA – From £2,445pp for 14 nights
Following the lifting of Western sanctions and the election of Aung San Suu Kyi as leader, Burma is becoming increasingly popular. Get there now for a chance to see a country where the 21st century has barely intruded – before it all changes.
THE DEAL: Explore’s Burma Highlights includes the temples of Bagan, an Irrawaddy River cruise, the Shwe Indein pagoda complex, hiking in the Shan Highlands and a tour of the ancient capital of Inwa. The 14-day tour costs from £2,445pp on selected dates next year. Includes flights, B&B and guides.
5: ICELAND – From £401pp for three nights
The land of fire and ice has been blinking on the hip holiday radar for a few years, but trips to the island just below the Arctic Circle are set to soar. Volcanoes, glaciers and hot springs – and capital Reykjavik is a great place to party on long summer nights. Low-cost Wow Air (wowair.co.uk) will fly from Bristol in May.
THE DEAL: Thomson has three-night B&B breaks at the four-star Reykjavik Lights from £401pp with flights from Gatwick on February 7.
6: COSTA RICA – From £930pp for seven nights
This Latin American paradise is the hottest ticket in town. With coasts on the Pacific and the Caribbean, it is loved by surfers who ride the waves off the soft, white sands as well as trekkers through the dense rain forests. After a day or two relaxing on the beach in Playa Tamarindo, head into the jungle and go zip-lining over the treetops at the Rincon de la Vieja volcano national park. Or traverse hanging bridges at Monteverde Cloud Forest on wildlife treks.
THE DEAL: Thomson has seven-night B&B holidays staying at the four-star Platinum Esplendor Tamarindo from £930pp (based on two adults sharing) including flights from Manchester on January 4, and transfers.
7: KALAMATA, GREECE – From £689pp for seven nights
Laid-back Kalamata, which lies in the far south of mainland Greece, is known for long beaches, olives and honey. And with the news British Airways will be launching direct flights to the ancient Peloponnese city in April, it looks set to attract a lot more Brits. The clear warm water is popular with sunbathers and swimmers, and has a raft of water sports. There is also a wide choice of bars, restaurants and shops lining the busy marina, and plenty of history for culture vultures.
THE DEAL: BA has seven nights’ B&B at the five-star Westin Costa Navarino Resort from £689pp with Heathrow flights between April 30 and May 7. Book by December 31.
8: SAN JOSÉ, USA – From £759pp for seven nights
Next May, British Airways will start direct flights from Heathrow to the Californian city that is tipped for big things. It’s between San Francisco and LA, making San José the ideal base from which to visit Yosemite National Park, the Napa wine region and for the famous drive along the Pacific Coast Highway.
THE DEAL: BA has a seven-night fly/drive break from £759pp if booked by December 17. With flights from Heathrow in May, and car hire.
9: PUERTO RICO – From £1,599pp for 10 nights
With 270 miles of sandy beaches, all-year sun and designer malls, it’s a twist on a Caribbean holiday. Low-cost airline Norwegian (norwegian.com/uk) has launched the UK’s only direct flights from Gatwick to the capital San Juan, with its Unesco-protected fort and fantastic restaurants, bars, galleries and lovely beaches.
THE DEAL Combine three nights’ room-only at the four-star Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino with a seven-night full-board Caribbean cruise, from £1,599pp on January 27 with DialAFlight. Book by Thursday.
10: INDIA – From £729pp for seven nights
Travel to India has just got a whole lot easier and cheaper now that its e-visa system has been extended to British passport holders and the cost reduced. And with queuing up at the embassy or sending your passport away consigned to the past, visitors to the subcontinent are set to rise. It will certainly give a boost to already-popular Goa, so it might be worth getting in before everyone else figures it out.
THE DEAL: Thomas Cook has seven nights’ B&B in Goa staying at the three-star Resort Lagoa Azul in Arpora starting at £729pp, including flights from Manchester on March 3.