7 Travel Destinations Not to Miss in 2011

So a new year is nearly upon us and the potential for even more fantastic travel adventures. I always come into a new year with millions of ideas of where i would love to visit and always find it incredibly difficult to decide where best to go.

So, i thought i’d share with you my 7 travel destination tips for 2011 which should be near the top of your list too!

1. Morocco
A stunning country with huge variety and a rich culture. If you haven’t been to Morocco then you’re missing out. Flowing deserts, snow capped mountains or beaches and great surf; it’s got the lot. I recommend trekking in the High Atlas mountains, the quiet beach town of Taghazoute and the long trip into the Sahara and Erg Chebbi for starters.

2. Georgia
I’ve raved about Georgia before, and it’ll still be just as good in 2011 as it was in 2010. Fantastic landscapes, great value and wonderful people, it’s an easy place to have a fantastic time. Kazbegi is the stand out area in my opinion – get there before the crowds…

3. Honduras
I discovered my love of travel in Honduras and it is still a stunning destination. Most people know it for the idyllic beaches of Roatan and the Mayan ruins of Copan but there is much more to it than that. The hidden wonder is La Mosquitia, a huge expanse of jungle which covers the entire eastern side of the country. This is a true insight into remote living where travel is only possible in cayucos down the river infrastructure, and just to arrive requires a byplane landing on a grass strip. It’s worth the effort.

4. Patagonia
I still haven’t found a more breathtaking place in the world than Patagonia. With glaciers as far as the eye can see, snowy scenes and wildlife at every turn and incredible trekking opportunities it really rewards you for making the trip to South America’s tip.

5. New Zealand
The adventure traveller’s dream. New Zealand combines stunning scenery with adrenaline pumping activities and can keep the pickiest of backpackers happy. It also has a good selection of cities which can provide you with some restbite from all the bungees and skydives if it all gets too much.

6. India
India has always been a rich stomping ground for backpackers and nothing’s changed for 2011. Wonders of the World like the Taj Mahal, exotic beaches down the west coast and desert landscapes such as Jaisalmer are just the start of the offering. And whilst the cities can be very claustrophobic, you’ll struggle to find any country which provides so much to see and soak up. And then there’s the curries.

7. Turkey
On my list for 2011, Turkey is a huge country with incredible history and a never ending list of things to see and do. Fly high in a hot air balloon over Cappadoccia, visit the stunning ruins of Ephesus or explore the wonder’s of Istanbul by sailing down the Bosphorous. Throw in some beautiful beach getaways and the barran mountains of Anatolia and you’ve got yourself a great destination.

So there’s some food for thought – share your own recommendations for 2011 in the comments and make it an even more difficult choice!

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Backpacking Photo of the Week

The Petronas Towers are an icon of Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia. When they were built they were the tallest buildings in the world and a true landmark which were recognisable across the world. When visiting South East Asia and the Malaysia they are a must visit, as is a trip up to the top where you can get incredible vistas across the city and beyond. Visiting the towers at night or during the day make them a totally different animal and its worth setting aside enough time to do both during your stay…

5 Travel Bloggers to Follow in 2011

As we come towards the end of 2010, the number of travel blogs out there is escalating at a rate of knots. This means that there is loads of fantastic, first hand information out there, but it also means that it is often hard to find the wheat from the chaff.

I decided to put together a list of my 5 favourite blogs that i’ve discovered this year and that you should be reading in 2011 if you’re not already!

Wild Junket
Nellie writes a wide range fo fantastic posts, from destination tip to more general travel tips when you’er on the road. She always has an interesting slant on things and is a great example of someone who is doing travel blogging write – i’m always learning from her! I particularly like her ‘Your Wildest Adventure’ series which i was lucky enough to contribute to

Cumi and Ciki
The travelling monkeys! Cumi and Ciki merge the joys of food and travel and really bring it to life for the reader. The posts are always jam packed with amazing photos and Mei is an absolute legend and seemingly ever present on Twitter. Be careful though, you’ll always end up leaving extremely peckish!

Y Travel Blog
I only discovered Caz and Craig’s blog fairly recently but have become a huge fan. It’s absolutely brimming with tons of information, from travel tips and destination info to tips on working abroad. Their Facebook page is also a must follow, it’s incredibly interactive and the guys do a great job of involving the groups members with everything they’re doing.

Trail of Ants
A great name for a great blog! Ant provides a unique view on the world and plenty of great information alongside it. It’s also home to the (amusingly named) T-Bag Directory, a one stop shop if you’re on the look out for some great travel resources.

Suzy Guese
Suzy is a gem. A fiery redhead cruising around the world and sharing it in an imaginitive way. She has some great stories to tell and does it on a great looking, easy to navigate blog. She even helped me when i was in the process of redesigning this humble little blog which gives her extra points!

So there you have it! 5 more blogs to add to your list and to keep up to speed with. If i can get anywhere close to the quality that these guys are producing in 2011 i’ll be very happy indeed!

Buda + Pest = Great City! – Budapest, Hungary

Top Backpacking Destinations Ranking: 8.5/10

Budapest is an incredible city and fully warrants its title as the Paris of Eastern Europe. It is the kind of place that can please any visitor, whether you’re looking for a quiet getaway or going on a raucous stag do. It’s also easily accessible so there’s no excuse for missing it out on your backpacking trip if you’re in Europe.

And once you arrive it’s easy to. The transport network is wide ranging and you can take your pick from the many on offer when heading across the city – Pest is even renowned as being great when explored by skateboard! If you’ve got the skills i guess…

Castle Hill will likely be high on your agenda when you arrive. As well as providing stunning views across the city its also home to the Royal Palace and a variety of museums that make it worth the trek up the hundreds (and thousands!) of steps. From there it’s definitely worth hopping on board a boat for a trip down the river. It’s an easy way to take in both Buda and Pest as there’s plenty to see on both sides and this is a great way to pick out the ones that catch your eye.

Once you’ve dried off your boat feet you should head to downtown Pest (on your skatebaord?) which is home to much of the stunning architecture the city has to offer. The neogothic parliament building and St Stephen’s Basilica are just a couple of the stand out attractions though there is enough there to keep you busy for weeks. If you get tired of wandering around and need a break then fear not, there are plenty of beautiful parks spread around the area, unsurprisingly for somewhere likened to Paris.

And we haven’t even got on to the food and drink yet! Budapest is strewn with unique eateries that really make dining an experience and allow you to do something different every night you’re there. My favourite was a medieval banquet we ate with our hands which left my sat at the table, as stuffed as i’ve ever been, with a board so full of food it looked like we hadn’t touched it! Needless to say we had a good packed lunch the next day.

And, of course, drinking will certainly not be an issue when you’re backpacking in Budapest. Many visit the city to do just that and forget about the rest. The Hungarians know how to drink a beer and are always very welcoming in inviting backpackers under their wing and showing them the best night spots. Just don’t get fooled by some of the local scams that have started popping up where you get invited into bars by generous locals and then slapped with an unscrupulous bill which you weren’t expecting…

Budapest is a stunning city with so much to do you’ll almost certainly leave feeling like you missed a bit. Don’t worry though, you can always go back, i have and still feel like that when i leave. I’m always left with one nagging thought though – are all city names split by the river? Pra and Gue anyone? Answers on a postcard…

TBD Top 5 – The Best in Travel: 1/12

Top 5 in Travel - MoroccoThis blog is dedicated to providing the best information on backpacking destinations around the world so i decided to make this week’s Top 5 in Travel specifically about destinations around the world. That way all you wonderful readers can benefit from other fantastic bloggers’ destination tips as well as mine!

The first is from Chris Around the World and is a great insight into the attractions of Leipzig in Germany. She’s got some fantastic tips, great photos and makes you want to go there straight away! http://caroundtheworld.com/2010/11/17/bach-faust-porsche-and-other-leipzig-tourist-attractions/

Two Backpackers provide the next fantastic post with an incredible experience on the road in South America. Everyone loves a road trip and this made me want to go back to Chile and Peru and do it all over again – http://www.twobackpackers.com/2247/south-america/road-trip-northern-chile/

Next we head to the Middle East with Y Travel Blog. I’ve never been to Syria but these guys certainly made me want to! I’ve been raving about them on Twitter and i’d certainly recommend their blog to anyone – http://www.ytravelblog.com/places/middle-east/the-souqs-of-aleppo-syria

This post is on a blog i’ve only recently discovered but am a big fan of, mainly because of the amazing photos. I’m not surprised Nancie provides the chance to buy the prints because they’re all top notch! This one in particular provides some great info on travelling in rural Korea – http://budgettravelerssandbox.com/2010/11/day-tripping-in-rural-korea-part-1/

Finally, a post from the fantastic Uncornered Market. This is about a well known destination, though with a wonderful twist due to the festival which was taking place. It’s always worth checking the calender to see when is the best time to visit these better known places in order to get a different, enhanced experience – http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/2010/11/loi-krathong-festival-bangkok/

As always, share your own favourite recent posts (even if they’re your own!) in the comments and i’ll add you to my list and try to include you in the future!