Iceland Top of the list and there is a reason why. This destination is extremely popular for 2016. Many tour companies, including Trafalgar, have created new itineraries centred on this fascinating and up and coming destination. The capital city of Reykjavik hits the trifecta with culture, history and natural beauty abundant. Visit the Blue Lagoon in south-western Iceland to experience the geothermal waters and the other-worldly panorama. Tip: if you are flying from the US to Europe, it is often cheaper to fly with Icelandic Air so why not have a stopover in Reykjavik and explore what Iceland has to offer.
Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
This region, comprised of Udine, Gorizia and Trieste, is featured in Lonely Planet's 'Best in Travel 2016' and is one that is dear to my heart. When I was sixteen I travelled to Italy on exchange where I spent the following two months in a small suburb of Udine living with a host family. The subsequent year I returned on exchange in a little town called Cividale near the Slovenian border. This is such a beautiful part of the world with the Dolomite Alps in the background. It is gaining traction as a prominent wine region but is also home to the infamous grappa. Do not miss Miramare Castle in Trieste!
I have had numerous clients travel to Japan of late and heard great reviews. Whether they want to hit the ski slopes in Hakuba, live the city life in Tokyo or see the more traditional side of Japan in Kyoto, Japan has something for everyone. Whilst the most popular time to visit is March/April to, fingers crossed, get a glimpse of the elusive cherry blossom season, September/October brings with it the amazing autumn foliage. It is also worth a stay at a local ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn, where bedding is a futon on the tatami floor and guests are required to wear a yukata (summer kimono) throughout their stay.
Your own backyard!
Whilst your own surroundings may not be at the top of your bucket list, being a tourist in your own city or country can really open your eyes just as international travel does. Prior to travelling the world, I did a lot of travel around Australia with my father and only through appreciating my own country am I able to have a sense of gratitude and pride when exploring foreign destinations. Australia is such a diverse country we do not even realise. From the Simpson Desert and Uluru to the Great Barrier Reef, from the cities to the beaches, from the rainforests to the short history of our nation. Living in Brisbane, there are many day trips we can do on the weekend to beautiful places like Byron Bay, Maleny or Noosa. Tip: Instead of watching that holiday countdown tick down to zero, appreciate every day and explore your own surroundings, you may be surprised by what you find!