One of the unsung joys of booking a group adventure is that all the little details are taken out of your hands. So, rather than waste time planning how to get from A to B, you can kick back with a passion fruit cocktail (sea views optional) and let Flash Pack’s team of travel pros take care of the leg work for you.
This includes not just logistics but also the many moments of delight that are the signature of a brilliant Flash Pack escape. Dynamic and decadent experiences are what we live for: it’s written into the DNA of our ethos as a travel company. It’s what gets us up in the morning.
Not for us the tired old footprints of the beaten track; instead we veer off to get under the skin of a place, with a string of unique and meaningful itineraries. Often, these feature activities that would be difficult to curate on your own, too: they involve local knowledge, exclusive access or routes that are best tackled as a small group.
So, without further ado, here are nine unforgettable moments of adventure to tick off your wish list in 2022 – here’s to a life more bold.
Admire the Northern Lights of Finland on your own private island
The ethereal Northern Lights are a spectacle all of their own – but the magic of Mother Nature ramps up a gear when you add a private island into the mix. This winter Finland trip unfolds deep in the heart of Lapland, complete with a snow-clad island that is available exclusively for Flashpackers.
Hotel Vartiosaari is located on the aptly named Aurora Island in the middle of the River Kemijoki, and can only be accessed via a 70-metre hanging bridge. Rooms are tucked away in cosy Finnish cabins, and there’s a hotel sauna on-site, as well as a large traditional Lappish Kota with log fire where meals are served. This quiet, private setting – a private winter wonderland – is a great spot from which to admire the Northern Lights. Providing the night is clear, you’ll have a front-row view to the shimmering skies above.
Find out more about Flash Pack’s winter Finland trip.
Search for octopi in the kelp forests of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa
If you haven’t watched My Octopus Teacher yet, you’re in for a treat: the Netflix documentary is all about how a filmmaker forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in the South African kelp forest. And it’s exactly this experience that you can try out for yourself on a South Africa sojourn.
Flashpackers will be provided with snorkels to embark on this magical ocean adventure around the eerie and beautiful subterranean kelp forest. A specialist guide will take you to the best spots away from other swimmers, with a chance to see squatted gully sharks, seals – and, yes, magnificent octopi – that hang out in this remarkable habitat on the Cape Peninsula. Afterwards, the wildlife wonders keep coming as we marvel at the colonies of African Penguins at Boulder Beach and pop by Cape Point Nature Reserve to say hi to a dazzle of zebras.
Find out more about Flash Pack’s South Africa trip.
Hike a back door route to the Rose Red City of Petra, Jordan
Forget the typical entrance to Petra, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. It’s much more exciting to hike a secret “back door” route to Jordan’s ancient Nabatean kingdom, for an experience that’s straight out of Indiana Jones.
Join us as we cross the desert landscape on a 15-kilometre trek, seeing the Rose Red City emerge in the opposite direction to most tourists. Your first glimpse of this archaeological gem will be all the more spellbinding thanks to the unusual passage in. Our route involves climbing a steep stairway over blush-coloured rocks, before the majesty of Petra is unveiled. Cue: a maze of wow-worthy caves, temples and tombs – the time-honoured remains of a once-thriving desert empire.
Find out more about Flash Pack’s Jordan trip
Grab an insider view of Colombian street art in Bogotá
The Colombian capital of Bogotá is fast becoming the go-to destination for vibrant street art, with iconic works that reflect the city’s volatile history. The best way to appreciate these murals, however, is through the eyes of a seasoned local. Step forward photographer Andres Trujillo: one of the little-known stars of the Bogotá arts scene.
Having worked closely with ex-guerrilla members and graffiti artists on a range of social projects, Andres knows everything there is to know about Colombia’s artistic soul. Join him on a tour around La Candelaria, a scenic neighbourhood packed with hidden gardens, colonial buildings and vivid bursts of graffiti art. With Andres’ stories to fuel you on, you can get a true sense of what the murals are all about.
Find out more about Flash Pack’s Colombia trip
Get up-close with the drama of the wildebeest migration in Tanzania
Every year, more than 1.5 million wildebeest move in a vast loop across the Serengeti plains, in search of seasonal rains. A safari in Tanzania provides a unique window onto this incredible sight, often described as the greatest show on Earth. The experience gets better still if you stay at the award-winning Bush Rover Migration Camp, with rooms set across a series of converted Land Rovers.
This off-grid location means that guests can get closer to the wildebeest migration, and other safari wildlife, than most other tourists. Along with daily game drives, you’ll catch amazing views of the migration just from your private Land Rover veranda. It’s not unusual to see wildebeest calves or the odd cheetah wandering into camp, along with herds of elephants washing in a nearby river. All this, with the lap of luxury – think campfire canapés, cocktails and hand-drawn baths – to boot.
Find out more about Flash Pack’s Tanzania trip
Stay overnight at a Buddhist temple in Koyasan, Japan
To really understand Japan, you have to be familiar with not only its neon cities but also its age-old spiritual heart. The best type of trip to the Land of the Rising Sun will have a good helping of both. One of the more poignant moments on offer here comes with an overnight stay at a Buddhist temple in Koyasan – a sacred monastic hub dating back to the year 816 AD. This UNESCO World Heritage site is steeped in quiet natural beauty, surrounded by ancient trees and natural hot springs.
This once-in-a-lifetime sleepover provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse at monastic life, as you dine and pray alongside the temple’s resident monks, as well as participating in practices such as morning meditation (ajikan). Delicious vegetarian food is all part of the experience, as the opportunity to bathe in a single-sex Shukubo communal hot water bath. Above all, this evocative stay is about quietude, and the ability to revel in nature light years away from the hassles of modern life.
Find out more about Flash Pack’s Japan trip
Share lunch with a real-life Luchador in Mexico City
Your average lunch al desko will pale in comparison next to the chance to break bread with a Luchador: one of Mexico City’s masked superheroes who blend legend with kilos of wrestling prowess. Learn all about how these pop cultural legends train to get in shape, before trying out some of their moves in a duel with your fellow travellers.
A street food lunch follows, with the opportunity to find out more about the Luchador lifestyle as you share dishes with your new friend/ freestyle wrestling champ. Of course, no wrestling experience would be complete without a live Lucha Libre show, so in the evening you’ll head to Arena México to see this flamboyant battle of good versus evil up-close – with a Luchador providing commentary for you. A downtown bar-hopping tour follows, for a suitably lively end to the night.
Find out more about Flash Pack’s Mexico trip
Make your own-brand red wine in Mendoza, Argentina
Mendoza, a scenic city dotted across the foothills of the Andes, is the largest wine-producing region in South America. So what better place to conjure up your very own blend of red wine? This experience is one in a million, allowing you to make your own tailor-made version of the good stuff – guided by winemakers with generations of experience in the art.
Start by taking a tour of one of the many family-run vineyards in the region, learning all about their wine-making process amid the highland vineyards. Then it’s over to you to see if you can create something to rival the delicious tang of Mendoza’s world-famous Malbecs. Could this be the start of a brand new career? Who knows, but it makes for an amazing workshop, topped off with a visit to the nearby Susana Balbo winery – home of Argentina’s first female winemaker – for a three-course gourmet lunch.
Find out more about Flash Pack’s Argentina trip.
Travel through Morocco's Agafay desert in a vintage sidecar
Calling all diehard adventurers. The lunar plains of the Agafay desert are yours to revel in, with views from the best transport imaginable: a cool vintage sidecar. Hop aboard for a journey like no other, as you get whisked through a cinematic landscape that stretches out across the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.
Some of the best scenery here can be found with a route leading to the Kik Plateau, over 1,000 metre above sea level, with breath-taking panoramas all round. Seeing this from a sidecar really is a special and unusual experience, topped off with a picnic amid the peaks.
Find out more about Flash Pack’s trip to Morocco
Fancy more inspiration? Check out Flash Pack’s full fleet of global getaways right here.