While the summer break has barely finished and your lazy days at the beach will soon become a distant memory, if you’re anything like us, you’ve probably already started planning your next holiday.
Each year, a number of ‘hot’ cities are named as the IT destinations for 2015. Here are our top ten picks to put on your bucket list:
The centenary of the Battle of Gallipoli will be held this year, and although only 8,000 Australians can get tickets to the dawn service on Anzac Cove, the Gallipoli peninsula is still worth visiting all year round, with day-long guided walks, as well as monuments and memorials to see in the Gallipoli Historical National Park. Elsewhere in Turkey, the capital Istanbul offers an array of museums and historical sites, while the Turkish Riviera to the southwest is best for beach resort stays.
When Birmingham was named one of Rough Guides’ top ten destinations to visit in 2015, many thought they were ‘aving a laugh. But the UK’s second-most populous city is shaking off its boring and dreary reputation with a host of events in 2015, including the return of the city’s vibrant Bull Ring markets, two matches of the Rugby World Cup and the third Ashes Test. They haven’t managed to do much about the weather, though, so be sure to bring a raincoat.
If you can’t choose between the sand and sun of Majorca and the rich cultural offerings of Madrid, Málaga is a good compromise. Located on Spain’s Costa del Sol in the south, this beachside city will open a satellite gallery of Paris’ Centre Pompidou in 2015, featuring artwork by (Málaga-born) Pablo Picasso.
With the US relaxing its embargo on travel to Cuba by American citizens, travel experts have warned that visitors who want to experience the authentic, old-world charm (such as classic cars and art deco architecture) that Cuba has to offer should go this year, before the country inevitably follows the path of many other central American islands, and begins to Westernise for the tourist dollar.
Named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012, the capital of Morocco is starting to become a serious North African hotspot for holidaymakers thanks to its laid-back locals, exquisite colonial architecture, a modern tram system, and the country’s first contemporary art museum, the Musee Mohammed VI, which opened late last year.
Did you know Contiki is travelling to Colombia for the first time in 2015? Even if you are not a 20-something who wants to sit on a bus for a week, you should still visit this central American gem, as it has various cultural festivals throughout their summer (June-August), including the city of Medellin’s popular Festival of the Flowers and the International Tango Festival.
Singapore turns 50 in 2015, and there will be a host of events to celebrate, spread over the entire year. Highlights include: the National Day Parade in August and the opening of the National Gallery Singapore in November.
While Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has been hampered by civil unrest in recent years, the country appears to have returned to political stability, leaving its beauty ready for rediscovery. The country’s largest city, Colombo is home to an eclectic mix of Sri Lankan, Indian, Chinese and Thai architecture. Hang with the locals on Galle Face Green opposite the beach, or come in May to see the city light up with lanterns for Vesak, the festival celebrating the life of Buddha.
With lower Manhattan now truly rebuilt following 9/11, New York’s downtown is officially open for business. Pay your respects at the 9/11 Memorial and the One World Trade Centre, before exploring the new eateries and shops that have opened up around the site.
For those who would rather enjoy a local vacation, Adelaide is the place to holiday Down Under this year. The South Australian capital was the only Australian city to make the New York Times’ list of 52 Places to Go in 2015, due to its close proximity to wineries and beaches, energetic arts scene and dining scene, as well as its reputation for live entertainment. Visit during one of the city’s many festivals (the Adelaide Festival, WOMADelaide, SALA and the Adelaide Film Festival) to see it at its best.
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If you’re shopping overseas and the merchant asks you if you would like to pay in Aussie dollars, say no. While it seems like a convenient choice, as a general rule the dynamic currency conversion rate will not be as competitive as the one offered by your credit card provider.
You never know when you might be caught out without an ATM in sight, so bring a small amount of Aussie dollars and the currency of the country you’re travelling to.
Most countries now require a PIN for card transactions, so be sure to have yours memorised.
Unless your travel money card has absolutely no overseas ATM fees, you should avoid making multiple withdrawals, as a $5 overseas ATM fee every day will add up to a hefty $35 over just one week.