Holidays may be temporarily on hold, but planning magical
trips is still possible, says Sarah Marshall.
Spontaneity shapes thrilling travel escapades, but there’s also a case
for careful, methodical planning. Often, the preparation – deciding on a
route, reading up about a destination – can be just as enjoyable as the
Global movements may have ground to a halt, but thoughts can still roam
freely. So use these gifted moments to fantasise about the future, plot
epic adventures and set goals to realise lifelong travel dreams.
Always wanted to scale a snow-capped mountain or sit within trunk’s
reach of an African elephant? The time is coming. Take inspiration from
these life-affirming adventures, accompanied by relevant tips for using
lockdown to prepare.
Make winter tracks across Siberia
Watching the world unfurl whilst trundling along train tracks is the
epitome of slow, nostalgic travel. Long distance railway journeys
provide an opportunity to discover the lay of a land in detail, often
accessing off-grid areas and communities – all done from the comfort of
The Trans-Siberian is intrepid at the best of times, but a winter
departure pushes boundaries even further. Crossing snowy steppes,
mountain ranges and eight times zones, the sumptuous Golden Eagle will
cover 10,000km, pulled by various steam locomotives.
Visit one of most remote towns in Siberia, sizzle in a traditional
Russian sauna (known as a banya), discover the Kremlin Fortress in Kazan
and dog sled across the deepest lake in the world, Lake Baikal, frozen
solid at this time of year.
Form family bonds on a South African safari
Anyone remotely interested in wildlife should do an African safari at
least once in their lives. Chances are you’ll want to go back again and
again. Reassuringly malaria-free, South Africa is a good choice for
families, and prices are much more reasonable too.
Highly intelligent and credited for their strong social bonds, elephants
are a favourite to observe in the wild. Expect to see plenty at Addo
Main Camp, on the fringes of Addo Elephant National Park on the Cape,
close to Port Elizabeth.
Hailed as excellent for children, the collection of caravans, tents,
chalets and rondavels have access to cooking facilities, a swimming
pool, bird hide and floodlit watering hole where animals come to drink
at night. Visitors can explore in their own vehicles without a guide
(keeping down costs), although the camp also offers 4WD safaris.
Hike through Nepal’s Himalayan valleys
After weeks of being cooped up inside with views restricted to a 2km
radius, the idea of walking for days through ever-changing scenery
sounds like pure bliss.
The Himalayas present some of the best trekking opportunities on our
planet, and although epic Everest is for serious pros, a much more
manageable option is the Annapurna Sanctuary, a glacial basin surrounded
Regarded as one of the best routes for acclimatisation in Nepal, the
natural amphitheatre is revered for its unique plant and animal life,
and worshipped as a residence for Hindu and Buddhist deities. Hike
through towering forests, sleep in traditional teahouses and watch the
sunrise over glistening, cloud-piercing peaks. Join an escorted tour to
enjoy the full benefits of a local guide, and the fulfilment of
completing a challenge as a group.
Discover the big blue in Egypt or Indonesia
Nature has been one of the few beneficiaries of lockdown: skies are
bluer, birdsong is louder and fish stocks are recovering as trawlers are
forced to rest. Very soon the seas will be even more colourful and
active, making a dive holiday a top priority to book.
The Red Sea is an affordable and accessible option; Egypt’s Sharm El
Sheikh resort on the Sinai Peninsula is ideally located to explore
dazzling Ras Mohammed National Park. Further afield, Indonesian
archipelago Raja Ampat is the epicentre of the Coral Triangle, the most
biodiverse marine environment on earth.
Savour wilderness with the kids in Scotland
If isolation has sparked a fondness for back-to-basics living, consider
a camping trip for your next family getaway; considerably cheaper than
staying in a hotel or cottage, a holiday under canvas is a practical
option all round and proof dreams can be realised closer to home.
Scenery, solitude and sheer space make Scotland ripe for adventure.
Steps away from the beach, Runach Arainn on the Isle of Arran is a
three-yurt glamping site adorned with creature comforts; Wheems Organic
Farm on Orkney has a mixture of yurts, sheepskin-lined bothies and
meadows for tent pitching available.
True boy scouts and girl guides might consider wild camping. Thanks to
the 2003 Land Reform Act, it’s possible to pitch a tent on most
unenclosed land (although byelaws do apply to East Loch Lomond).