There are some destinations which draw lots of tourists; from hiking to Machu Picchu to going in search of gorillas in Rwanda, these sites are nothing short of iconic and everyone wants to see them. As a result, travellers need to book much further in advance to secure that perfect itinerary. We want you to see and do everything you want on your holiday so our specialists have picked out some of the main destinations that need the most advance planning and identified how far ahead you need to start thinking about each one.
All of these destinations are already incredibly booked we recommend planning now for 2022 if you've got them on your bucket list.
Best time to go: May - October
Going in search of bears is one of the most epic wildlife adventures imaginable. Spotting one of these majestic and powerful creatures in the wild is a thrilling and humbling experience, and one that has become so popular that many of Canada's bear lodges book up over a year in advance. The bear spotting season runs from May to October, with the salmon run which takes place from late August to October providing arguably the best sightings.
Best time to go: July - September
The Pantanal is the world’s largest wetlands area and a paradise for nature lovers. Its also a brilliant destination for those who are more active with riding, hiking and 4WD excursions being some of the best ways to explore this fascinating part of Brazil. Those who travel here should keep a lookout for the elusive jaguar, along with monkeys and more than 600 species of vibrant birdlife. Hotels in this region do book up very quickly though so its best to book more than a year in advance!
Best time to go: July - October
Recognised as the largest movement of mammals on Earth, the Great Wildebeest Migration is a natural phenomenon like no other. The wildebeests’ nomadic lifestyle follows Africa’s rains, which provides them with fresh grass on which to graze. From July to October, the herds are in the Masai Mara, where the show reaches its climax with some seriously dramatic river crossings. The lodges with the best views of these crossing points book up almost a year in advance.
Best time to go: April - October
Successfully securing a Machu Picchu permit tends to be a deal breaker when planning a trip to Peru, and from 2020 onwards capacity is set to be just a third of what it used to be. Permits for the year ahead start to be released around October, making this the optimum time to book your holiday. The best time of year to travel is between April and October, so these permits are usually the first to get whipped up.
Best time to go: March - April
Images of Japan’s cherry blossoms have graced many travel inspiration lists, so much so that it has become synonymous with the country itself. Many tourists want to visit Japan in April so they can join flower-watching parties, called Hanami, and enjoy the rosy ambience, making cherry blossom season particularly hard to book. Japanese hotels release their rooms a year before travel so it's best to book in April for the following year.
Best time to go: November - March
The Polar Regions are unlike anywhere else on Earth; Antarctica is frozen wilderness of dramatic icefields, turquoise glaciers and glittering icebergs. Only a limited number of expedition ships are able to go to Antarctica to try and preserve its natural beauty so these get booked up fast. If you can, visit in January when wildlife is at its most plentiful and expect to see penguin chicks beginning to hatch.
Best time to go: December - February
Many flock to Scandinavia in hopes of seeing the elusive Northern Lights as the winter nights grow longer. Iceland, Finland and Norway are especially popular as they are firmly in the Arctic circle, maximising your chances of seeing this impressive phenomenon. This is the ultimate family holiday for the February half term as holidays are jam-packed with things to so you better book in advance!
Best time to go: June - August
Rwanda is home to half of the remaining mountain gorillas in the world and to track these fascinating creatures, visitors require a permit. Only limited number of small lodges and six tracking permits are issued per family per day, meaning the encounter is as intimate and as unobtrusive as possible. With only 96 permits available each day in Rwanda, it is highly recommended to book in advance to enjoy this iconic wildlife experience.
Best time to go: October - December
This Himalayan kingdom is an unspoilt gem whose sweeping landscapes, crisp air and ancient culture leave tourists feeling refreshed and inspired. Bhutan has has carefully managed the numbers of tourists who travel to the country in order to preserve its unique traditions so you really need to book this destination in advance.
Best time to go: May - September & December - March
Botswana is well known for its plentiful game, vast plains and relatively few tourists. The government has made an effort to limit the number of tourists, resulting in only a handful of luxury camps and an exclusive safari experience. Peak season is between May and September, but most camps operate at full capacity all year round. For a good choice of camps, it's worth planning your trip 12 months in advance. You can also see the impressive Zebra migration (2nd largest after Serengeti/Mara) between Nxai Pan and Makgadikgadi Pass, where some 30,000 wildebeest and zebras pass through from December-March. Not alot of people focus on this, but it is spectacular.