Where will 2023 take you? Here are some suggestions

Where will 2023 take you? Here are some suggestions

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If 2022 was about the triumphant return of travel, expect 2023 to be about creatively reimagining it amidst the chaos. That’s according to Booking.com, which polled more than 24,000 travellers across 32 countries and territories via an online survey in August.

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We all know how staff shortages coupled with a surge in travellers led to flight and luggage delays this past year. Despite persistent travel woes, travellers are feeling overwhelmingly optimistic about their excursions in 2023. Nearly 64 per cent of the Canadians surveyed report that travelling will always be worth it.

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So what’s at the top of Canadians’ travel wish list?

Both surfing and a city break can be had in Sydney, Australia.
Both surfing and a city break can be had in Sydney, Australia. Tourism Australia

Off-season destinations for sun and savings

Booking.com reports that over half of Canadian travellers (52 per cent of those who responded) will look to save money by considering off-season destinations. Interested in shelling out approximately 40 per cent less for accommodations, meals and activities than what you’d pay in a U.S. sun destination? If yes, look to Fiji.

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Fiji Airways’ new direct flights out of Vancouver open up a new Pacific paradise. The twice-weekly night flights arrive at 6 a.m. local time, offering Canadians a bonus day upon arrival.

The soft coral capital of the world, Fiji is a hot spot for scuba divers. Snorkelers will find similar access to brightly coloured coral reefs and exotic fish in bathwater-like ocean temperatures.

fiji boat cruise
Snorkelling in Fiji’s crystal-clear South Pacific is just as good as scuba diving. South Sea Sailing

New access to Asia

Of those surveyed by Booking.com, 51 per cent of travellers believe the best use of their budget is to opt for one or two longer vacations instead of several short breaks. Starting this spring, WestJet will offer direct flights from Calgary to Tokyo, granting easy access to Asia for intrepid travellers.

For sweeping views of the capital, head to the top of Tokyo Skytree.
For sweeping views of the capital, head to the top of Tokyo Skytree. Photo by Japan National Tourism Organization.

Even if you don’t speak the language, it’s very easy to get around Japan with its efficient public transportation and most restaurants offering English menus.

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Travel tip: One of Japan’s busiest seasons for internal travel is Golden Week which ends May 9. Try to avoid visiting during that period when hotels and trains are bursting.

You’ll find near-perfect temperatures travelling mid to end of May, plus Tokyo’s May sumo tournament runs over two weeks from mid-to-late May. June is Japan’s rainy season, so be prepared for showers if you’re travelling that month – unless you’re headed to Hokkaido which is relatively unaffected.

Despite what you may think, Japan has only gotten more affordable over the years. Check out Japan’s National Tourist Organization’s excellent guide to budget travel.

Less than a 90-minute train ride from Tokyo lies the historic city of Nikko, home to many shrines.
Less than a 90-minute train ride from Tokyo lies the historic city of Nikko, home to many shrines. Photo by Japan National Tourism Organization

Reconnect to your Scottish roots

Another new WestJet direct flight offering this spring is Calgary to Edinburgh, Scotland. Almost five million Canadians claim Scottish ancestry, and 2023 may very well be the year to reconnect with Scottish roots.

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Almost a third of Canadian travellers surveyed by Booking.com want their travelling experiences to have a more back-to-basics feel, and are looking for ‘off-grid’ style vacations to escape from reality and switch off and experience life with only the bare necessities.

hills of edinburgh
Even if you have no Scottish roots to reconnect to, you’ll enjoy exploring the hills of Edinburgh. Photo by Kenny Lam /VisitScotland

Scotland’s bothies fit this desire perfectly. A bothy is an old stone building offering refuge on the hills, though in Scotland’s eastern lowlands, it’s a traditional home for farm workers. Like a backcountry alpine hut, facilities are minimal, but if you’re wanting to go off-grid, there’s no better place to stay.

City slickers can explore Edinburgh, Scotland’s historic capital city which is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is also a UNESCO City of Literature. Continue the UNESCO theme and discover all of Scotland’s UNESCO designations on Scotland’s UNESCO Trail – the first of its kind in the world.

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westjet calgary to scotland
One of the United Kingdom’s most beautiful cities, Edinburgh can be explored any time of the year. Photo by Kenny Lam /Visit Scotland

Edinburgh is home to 10 major festivals, many of which are held over the summer months when the city’s streets turn into a stage for performers from around the world covering theatre, comedy, jazz and art.

Come and say g’day

Direct flights have also been reestablished from Vancouver to Sydney, Australia on both Qantas and Air Canada. From abseiling down Sydney’s Blue Mountains and kayaking through the heart of Melbourne to surf lessons in Brisbane’s Sunshine State or treetop adventures in Adelaide, it’s unlikely you’ll run out of inspiration.

The best sights of Melbourne are found along the Yarra River
The best sights of Melbourne are found along the Yarra River Melbourne Visitor Information Centre

The new year will be a big one for Australia, hosting both the FIFA Women’s World Cup and Sydney World Pride. WorldPride brings the global LGBTQIA+ community together from Feb. 17 to March 5, 2023. But if you just want to stroll around and soak up the vibe, plan to visit May 26 to June 17, during VIVID SYDNEY, the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas.

Where do you plan to travel in 2023?

P.S. You may also be interested in: Come and Say G’day and 25 Reasons why Canada in winter is awesome.

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