Tips and trends for overseas travel in 2023

Palm trees and mountains on a lush island looking out to sea

If you’re wondering where to travel in 2023, then this post is for you. With the reemergence of overseas travel lately, it’s predicted that 2023 is going to be a bumper year for foreign holidays. Yet trends have changed significantly from what they were a few years ago, and there are some incredible up and coming destinations that have suddenly been thrust into the spotlight. Instead of booking a resort holiday on the Turkish Riviera or the Costa del Sol, people are heading to little-known African islands, the remote Himalayas, and South American jungles.

There’s still a bit of reluctance to join the crowds, with many holidaymakers opting for far-flung places away from the bustle. This demand has meant that several relatively new destinations have suddenly appeared on the radar, and it’s likely they won’t remain “undiscovered” for long. So, if you want your own little slice of paradise without having to share it with the masses, check out the emerging destinations further down the page.

Crashing sea waves against black volcanic rock lined with palm trees

Remote African islands are becoming increasingly popular

Tips for stress-free travel in 2023

Beware of price rises

After a couple of years where holidaymakers have generally been sticking to domestic travel, 2023 will see foreign trips firmly back on the map. So much so that prices have risen sharply with demand, and a week in the Costa del Sol isn’t the cheap getaway it used to be.

Therefore, it’s super important to book your vacation well in advance if you want to try and nab a good deal. There are still bargains out there if you know where to look, so it’s worth searching for things like the love holidays promo code or discounted flight sales to see if you can pick up a cheaper trip. Prices also seem to be rising steeply in the weeks leading up to a departure, so don’t leave booking until the last minute unless you need to be a bit flexible. Generally speaking, the earlier you book, the better value you’ll get out of your time away.

Book well ahead

In the same vein, it’s also a good idea to make early reservations at hotels and restaurants when there is still good availability to be had. Now everyone is flocking back abroad, rooms and tables are suddenly filling up like never before, with most places still operating at the same capacity as in previous years.

So, if you have a clear idea of where you want to stay, and the places you’d like to eat, then strike whilst the iron is hot. A lot of accommodation spots are offering free cancellation or lower than usual deposits, which can be a godsend if parting with your hard-earned cash so long before your holiday seems a little unpalatable.

Travel off-peak if you can

We’ve all seen the chaotic airport scenes during summer school holidays, and in the lead-up to the Christmas period. Staffing issues and the sudden increase in demand has caused havoc at many airport hubs across the UK, resulting in cancelled and overbooked flights, long delays and even longer queues. This isn’t the way you want to start your holiday, but unfortunately things don’t seem to have settled down and it may be a while before they do.

Therefore, it makes sense to travel outside the school holidays if you can, and avoid the worst of the rush. Yes, if you have children this is not usually possible, or practical, but for everyone else, do consider the benefits of off-peak travel.

Fly from smaller, regional airports

Much of the flight chaos has been occurring at the larger airports like London and Manchester. It makes sense, seeing as there is a much higher volume of passengers passing through these hubs, so there’s far more to go wrong. If you can, think about flying from a smaller airport, where there are fewer flights and people to have to contend with. This can make for a much more stress-free experience.

Regional airports often have parking right there onsite too. This means you can usually walk straight from your car to the terminal in a matter of minutes, unlike the lengthy shuttle transfers needed at the larger, national airports. If you do have to depart from a bigger airport, try and book yourself into an airport lounge so that at least you can relax once you reach the other side of the chaos!

Trending destinations in 2023

Sao Tome and Principe

This tiny twin island nation lies in the Gulf of Guinea, off the coast of west Africa. Despite its remote location, Sao Tome and Principe is relatively easy to reach, with direct flights from Lisbon several days a week. These volcanic islands are famed for their virgin rainforests and pristine sandy beaches, as well as the abundant cacao and coffee plantations that now lie abandoned and are fun to explore.

Aerial view of banana shaped beach with rainforest to the left and ocean to the right

Banana Beach on Principe

Mass tourism hasn’t yet reached the islands, which means experiences and interactions here are the real deal! There are several eco lodges in the forests and by the beaches, where turtles hatch in season. Whale watching and boat trips are popular activities here, as well as hiking the jungle trails and bird watching in Obo National Park. Much of the island terrain is designated as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, and there is much endemic flora and fauna to be discovered.

Bhutan

Bhutan has finally opened its doors to tourism once again, and intrepid travelers are beginning to venture back to this mysterious Himalayan kingdom once more. The government has increased the tourist sustainable development tax to $200 per person per day, which is over and above what you’ll need to pay for accommodation, food and guides. This may feel a bit elitist, and will mean the country is inaccessible to many, but if you can afford it, a holiday in Bhutan will be about as far from the crowds as you can get. Tourist numbers are capped too, so you’ll have many of the sights to yourself.

Tiger's Nest in Bhutan

Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan

Temples and hiking are the main features on a Bhutan itinerary, and travel here always has a deep cultural element. You’ll get to meet the locals, with homestays being a popular way to connect with the welcoming people of Bhutan. Archery is the national sport, so if you want to see how good you are with a bow and arrow, this is your chance. Meanwhile, the day trek up to the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery is a must. Perched precariously on the side of a cliff, this photogenic monastery offers staggering views and quiet contemplation.

The Azores

These Portuguese islands drifting out in the Atlantic Ocean feel a million miles from the mainland, yet they’re just a short hop by plane from the UK or Lisbon. There are several islands to choose from, but most people opt to use Sao Miguel as their base. This is the largest island, and likely where’ you’ll fly into. It boasts dramatic landscapes, stunning beaches and all the activities you could wish for – you could easily spend a couple of weeks here.

Sete Cidades in the Azores

Sete Cidades in the Azores

Hiking up the volcanic craters to admire the caldera views should be top of your list – Sete Cidades offers the most dramatic panoramas. There are lots of hiking trails and biking routes to enjoy if you want to burn off a bit of energy. Over in the east of the island, the Furnas region is known for its hot springs and ancient cedar woods. This is the Azores at its most tropical and there’s even a geothermal pool for swimming in. Whale watching is popular here too, and the chances of clapping eyes on these marine giants is pretty high.

Guyana

The wilds of Guyana are so remote that few tourists ever get to see their beauty. Much of this South American country is covered by rainforest, so jungle lodges and wildlife adventures are the main events here. Most people spend a couple of days in the capital, Georgetown, discovering more about the culture and enjoying a food tasting tour with a local. Then it’s time to head deep into the forest, usually on a short domestic flight unless you fancy a lengthy overland jeep ride. At the lodges you’ll enjoy canoe trips, caiman watching, animal tracking and night walks to experience all the jungle has to offer. Accommodation is rustic, but just adds to the experience.

Kaieteur Falls in Guyana

Kaieteur Falls in Guyana

The one thing not to miss on your trip to Guyana is the mighty Kaieteur Falls. This is the largest single drop waterfall in the world, and makes for the best holiday photos you’ll ever snap. You can fly there from Georgetown and spend a couple of hours exploring the trails around the falls and enjoying multiple viewpoints. Intrepid explorers might like to do the multi-day trek which ends at the falls – there’s jungle camping and river swimming to be had during this adventurous trip.

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