4 must-see travel destinations to tick off your bucket list

Are you suffering from holiday blues and itching to book your next adventure?

Well before you start packing your suitcase for your usual destination, take a look at some of the best places to visit in the upcoming year.

one pensionJapan

Japanese MountainsJapan may be best known by Westerners for sushi and sumo wrestling but Japanese culture extends far beyond the stereotypes. It is arguably one of the most diverse and multifaceted countries in the world; traditions date back thousands of years yet technology and innovation play a key role in society.

Following a successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan is fast becoming number one on bucket lists of tourists and travellers alike - and for good reason.

If you’re looking for an adventure, Akan National Park boasts scenic views, beautiful lakes and is a perfect haven for hikers.

Alternatively, if you want to be immersed in Japanese culture the capital has a plethora of sights to see, great food to try and local customs to explore.

 

two pensionsThailand

Thailand ShoreThailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia and visitor numbers increase by millions each year. It is favoured by beach-loving Brits in particular for its hot and humid climate and very affordable prices. For example, a three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant could cost just £11. Whether you’re a fun-loving night owl or in need of a tranquil escape from the daily grind, you’ll find just what you’re looking for.

This cultural gem has over 5,000 miles of stunning coastline, crystal clear waters and idyllic islands to explore. Phang Nga Bay, which lies in the Strait of Malacca towards the southern tip of the country, has beautiful emerald-green seas, limestone cliffs and caves that can be reached by canoe.

However, natural beauty isn’t all that Thailand has to offer: the local cuisine, sophisticated yet packed full of flavour, is incredible and will really get your taste buds tingling.

 

three pensionsArgentina

Argentina WaterfallArgentina is not for the faint-hearted. It has a rich history characterised by war and civilisation, and agriculture still lies at the heart of the country’s economic prosperity.

It has a rustic and unspoilt landscape comprising Iguazú Falls – a stunning waterfall that is definitely worth a visit – and the Glaciers National Park that is home to spectacular glaciers and scenic lakes where you can take in the surroundings on horseback.    

A trip to Argentina wouldn’t be complete without sampling two of its specialities: steak and red wine. One of the best steakhouses around is Don Julio in Palermo, and what better way to end the night than with a spot of tango?

four pensions

Indonesia

Indonesia SeaIndonesia is home to an eclectic mix of ethnic groups, languages, flora and fauna. It is the place to be for adventure-loving thrill seekers.

Here you can walk alongside the world’s largest living lizard and the closest thing we have to dinosaurs, the Komodo dragon, which can be found in the Komodo National Park. Or head over to Kuta Beach in Bali where you can rescue turtle eggs or release a young turtle into the sea as part of the Kuta Beach Sea Turtle Project.  

What’s more, a staggering 20% of the world’s coral reefs are in Indonesia! This makes it one of the best scuba-diving and snorkelling spots on the globe.

Aside from the wonders of the sea, Indonesia has the largest Buddhist temple in the world, the second largest tropical forests and active volcanoes that are also hiking routes!

The cost of such a trip may seem out of reach but going on holiday doesn’t have to cost the earth; if you shop around you can find some really good deals, especially in the January sales.

Many people turn to their credit card to pay for a holiday but this could lead to bad debt. It would be far more efficient to start saving now and put away as much as you can per month. For example, if you plan to book a trip for two costing a total of £1200 you could each save an attainable £100 a month for 6 months.

The same principle of saving modest sums of money regularly is the key to financial comfort, and is particularly effective when applied to pensions. Pensions offer tax-free growth and tax relief on contributions, and with a workplace pension you can also receive employer contributions, all of which boost your savings and could mean a significantly larger fund when you need to access it.  

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