New Year's travel planning guide

FITTING ANCHORAGE: Port Resolution, Port Vila, Vanuatu - somewhere to aim for this year?.
FITTING ANCHORAGE: Port Resolution, Port Vila, Vanuatu - somewhere to aim for this year?.

Mixing travel in with your New Year’s resolutions can help broaden your horizons, and Flight Centre has jotted down a list of top ideas to help travellers reflect on the past and get their bags packed for the year, ahead of their New Year’s sale.

Spend more time with the kids
The little ones can meet their favourite DreamWorks characters from movies like Shrek or Madagascar on a family cruise holiday. Family-friendly cruise ships include Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas or Oasis of the Seas and Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic.

Step outside your comfort zone
Take the plunge on a bunghy jump in Queenstown or climb Mount Everest in Nepal for the ultimate challenge. For something unique, travel to Santa’s workshop in Finland and ride a dog-sled through the snowy mountains or swap a hotel stay to sleep in a capsule in Tokyo.

Be more active
Sign up for a marathon in another country and get your legs across the finish line. Some popular options include the New York marathon and the Paris marathon. Or suit up in safari gear and jump in a jeep to explore the African plains. There are guided sightseeing trips that take you into the heart of Kenya, Botswana and Namibia to spot lions, giraffes, tigers and more.

Reconnect your mind, body and spirit
Yoga is one of the ways to find inner peace and build core strength, so why not travel to a yoga and meditation retreat in Bali, Thailand or India? Some luxury resorts in Southeast Asia offer complimentary daily yoga classes as part of the activities programme, so it is worth asking when you book. Just across the ditch, Byron Bay and the Gold Coast hinterland offer plenty of holistic escapes, from The Byron at Byron and Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat to the famous Golden Door Health Retreat.

Feed giant pandas in China, teach English at a children’s orphanage in Kenya or work with the turtles on Costa Rica. Giving back to a local community when you travel is rewarding, so a lot of travellers are combining holidays where they can volunteer and explore – an idea is known as Voluntourism. Some of the best volunteer projects are led by experts on placements from a week to a month, so you really can make a difference.

Learn something new
Cooking classes are available in most parts of Europe, whether you are travelling through Italy, island hopping along the coast of San Sebastian in Spain. See Limoncello made from real lemons on the Amalfi Coast or learn to make pasta in Tuscany. History buffs can discover the stories of New Zealand and Australia’s war heroes on ANZAC Day on a guided tour that maps out the Battlefields in France and Turkey.

Stress less
Book your holiday in advance and be prepared for your trip early by doing your research. Enjoy the experience of planning a holiday, without the last-minute rush. When you are decided on where to go, speak to travel experts about different flights and get advice from your friends and family. It’s also helpful to attend travel expos, sign up to deals newsletters, and look at booking an all-inclusive resort with extra bonuses, such as the myTime group of properties through Flight Centre.

Celebrate another culture
Kick off the year with the Chinese New Year celebrations in February, then have fun on St Patrick’s Day in Dublin and enjoy beers with pretzels at the annual Oktoberfest in Munich. Other great options include the Running of the Bulls in Spain, Queens Day in Amsterdam and Hogmanay for New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh.

For more ideas and some amazing deals, check out the New Year sale at any Flight Centre, or call 0800 427 555.