When Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, advised against all non-essential travel overseas for a period of 30 days on Wednesday, it finally struck home: it’s time to give up thinking about travelling abroad at all for a while.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t time to plan the perfect trip you’ve always dreamed of. These days of self-isolation and social distancing could turn out to be ideal for masterminding a big adventure.
So why not put your feet up, start dreaming — and planning too.
Oh Georgia! (And Armenia)
The lively Georgian capital of Tbilisi. Georgia is hidden away in the high mountains of the Caucasus
How about an adventure deep in central Asia next year? You may need to get out the atlas to locate Georgia and Armenia, but that’s all part of the fun.
Georgia is hidden away in the high mountains of the Caucasus with remote villages, monasteries, ancient churches and the lively capital of Tbilisi.
The tour continues to Yerevan, Armenia’s intriguing capital, moving onwards into rugged countryside with medieval castles before stopping at Gori, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin.
Details: A 16-day trip from £2,325pp with accommodation, guides, meals and transfers; flights extra; register without a deposit (undiscovered-destinations.com).
You can visit the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu on an 11-day Inca highlights trip that is currently deposit free
Put your name down deposit-free for an 11-day Inca highlights trip from Lima, Peru’s capital, to La Paz either for a late autumn, winter trip or 2021 getaway.
Tours, with a maximum group size of 19, cover eight nights in hotels and two in jungle lodges in Amazon rainforest that’s home to more than 600 bird species and 1,200 butterflies.
It moves on to the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, Cusco, Lake Titicaca and La Paz.
Details: An 11-day tour from £1,266pp with accommodation, guides and transfers; flights excluded (tucantravel.com).
Offbeat in Albania
Tirana, the capital of Albania, one of the calling points on a tour around Albania, Montenegro and Serbia
Explore some of the most remote parts of Europe in May 2021 on a journey around Albania, Montenegro and Serbia, with remote railway rides and ferries included on an off-beat adventure.
The organisers promise to take you ‘off the tourist map’ from Tirana, Albania’s capital, via beautiful Lake Ohrid to Gjirokaster (birthplace of Albania’s former communist ruler Enver Hoxha).
Afterwards the tour continues to Podgorica, Montenegro’s capital, from where you catch a train to Belgrade in Serbia.
Details: A 15-day tour from £2,050pp including hotels, guide, transfers and flights; register without deposit (ffestiniogtravel.com).
Animals of the Arctic
On the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, pictured, you could spot polar bears and walruses
Join a wildlife cruise along the northern coastlines of Norwegian island Spitsbergen next June and you could spot polar bears and walruses aboard the 53-berth, ice-strengthened MS Quest.
Polar bears can be seen on the pack ice, while birdwatchers can enjoy the sight of hundreds of Ivory Gulls, Little Auks and guillemots. There are also talks on the region’s flora, fauna and history.
Details: A nine-day tour is from £5,595pp including flights, transfers, one night’s B&B in Oslo, a seven-night full board cruise and guides; free registration (naturetrek.co.uk).
When coronoavirus is (finally) gone the impulse to get away from it all — well away — may be overwhelming. Self-isolation will mean something quite different if you find yourself booking a trip to stay on Fanjove Private Island off the coast of Tanzania.
The island has six bandas (traditional wooden structures) that are well spread apart and have been adapted in a beach-chic style. Go snorkelling on a coral reef and eat freshly caught seafood — no need for stockpiling cans of tuna in the Indian Ocean.
Details: A seven-night, all-inclusive stay with flights, transfers and one night B&B at the Serena Hotel in Dar es Salaam from £3,399pp; free registration (turquoiseholidays.co.uk).
A sailing gulet, a traditional handcrafted wooden Turkish vessel
Another relaxing way to escape it all could be to join a long gulet cruise (a traditional handcrafted wooden Turkish vessel).
Companies are happy to take names on ships, pending deposits when coronavirus has ‘settled down’ and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has given non-essential travel the all-clear.
A fortnight-long trip around the Dodecanese beginning in Bodrum and ending in Marmaris includes stop-offs at Kos, Samos and Rhodes with visits to historical sites. Maximum 18 passengers.
Details: A 15-day cruise in June 2021 is from £4,295pp including all meals, transfers and guides, but not flights (petersommer.com).
Inside the Sydney Cricket Ground, where one of the test matches in next year’s Ashes Down Under will be held
The next Ashes clash between England and Australia is due to be held Down Under from November 2021 to January 2022.
It’s something cricket fans can really look forward to after all the recent troubles, so how about saving up for a tour to watch one of the most famous showdowns in the sporting calendar?
Details: Prices for tours yet to be set, but register interest at: freedomdestinations.co.uk/ashes.
Ian Fleming wrote most of his James Bond books at his secluded Jamaican estate, GoldenEye. It is close to the Jamaican capital, Kingston
Ian Fleming wrote many of his James Bond books at his secluded villa, GoldenEye, which he had built on the north coast of Jamaica.
Combine a four-night stay at the slick resort built within the grounds of GoldenEye on a superb two-centre break in Jamaica with three nights at the marvellous Strawberry Hill hotel outside of Kingston, the capital.
Expect a super-stylish, Bond-like adventure.
Details: Seven nights from £2,385pp including breakfasts, spa treatments, flights and transfers; register for free and deposit will be taken when FCO travel advice alters (caribtours.co.uk).
Take a real hike
The Simien Mountains in Ethiopia, pictured, which are described as brilliant for hiking
Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains are brilliant for hiking, with rugged landscape for some serious rambling.
If you’re feeling in need for an active getaway after too much time at home, how about heading to the east African country for an organised walking holiday based at Simien Lodge, on the edge of an escarpment with brilliant mountain views.
Details: An 11-night tour from £2,820ppp including flight, transfers, full board and a guide; departures in March and April 2021; free registration (ramblersholidays.co.uk).
Victoria Falls, pictured, which is a stop-off on a 75-day drive from Nairobi to Cape Town
If you really want to get away on the adventure holiday of a lifetime, how about a 75-day day drive in an open-sided converted truck on a mega journey from Nairobi to Cape Town?
Game drives, a visit to Victoria Falls and a stop-off at the dramatic Sossusvlei Dunes in Namibia are arranged. You camp along the way (equipment provided).
Details: 75 days from £3,878pp, with 60 per cent of meals provided, but not flights; free registration (oasisoverland.co.uk).