So many countries, so little time. With a wealth of destination inspiration on the radar, deciding where to go next can be tough. But Flash Pack is here to help. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite places to visit in 2024, based on data from our most sought-after trips; plus new festivals, flight routes and cultural events worldwide. Grab a pen and get stuck in – your wander list awaits…
With a cocktail of treats to its name, Portugal is Flash Pack’s most-booked trip of 2023 – and it shows every sign of continuing its strong streak. This is a country that combines the old-meets-new-world charm of cities such as Porto and Lisbon with pristine beaches, and the wild beauty of the Douro Valley wine region.
The result is an intoxicating mix. Solo travelers here can kick back with beach yoga, explore Portugal’s iconic Atlantic surfing scene, take a sunset cruise along the River Tagus or get a taste for foodie highlights including bacalhau (dried and salted cod) and bolo de bolacha; a dessert made from tea biscuits soaked in coffee and buttercream. Family-run quintas and vineyard tastings are all part of Portugal’s appeal, too, as is a new generation of wine hotels such as Quinta de Casaldronho: a plush rooftop pool retreat nestled in 40 acres of olive groves and fruit orchards.
Family-run quintas and vineyard tastings are all part of Portugal’s appeal
“Portugal will remain an interesting destination in 2024 because it is a country that offers something for everyone,” says Pack Leader and Portugal travel expert, Eva Lois Estévez. “The country has positioned itself as the destination for activities in the natural world such as hiking and surfing, sustainable travel, and is ideal for solo travelers looking to embrace Portugal’s traditional roots.”
Egypt hardly needs to sell itself as a world-class destination. The Nile, the pyramids and the Valley of the Kings are all permanent fixtures for the bucket list – putting this land of wonders third in Flash Pack’s top 10 most popular solo travel trips booked for 2024 to date.
Next year ups the ante for Egypt’s treasure chest, too, with the opening of Cairo’s Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM); the world’s largest archaeological museum complex, located on the Giza Plateau. Situated right next door to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, GEM’s displays are similarly wow-worthy. Visitors will be awed by a 3,200-year-old statue of Ramses II, as well the chance to see King Tut’s entire treasure collection.
2024 sees the opening of Cairo’s Grand Egyptian Museum
Egypt is more than the sum of its ancient history, though. This is a country that has plenty of contemporary appeal, too. “With nearly 30 years’ experience, I love to bring the wonders of Egypt’s past alive with my tales of mythology,” says Flash Pack leader, Faten Ibrahim. “But I’m also interested in helping groups to explore the modern side of my country: the evolving food culture; the different neighborhoods; what people get up to on a Friday or Saturday night.”
Japan and South Korea
Following the busiest cherry blossom season on record this spring, Japan is currently leading the list of Flash Pack’s most-booked destinations for 2024. And with its showcase of unique experiences ranging from lunch with a sumo wrestler to meditation with monks in Koyasan, one of the country’s most sacred sites, it’s not hard to understand why.
However, Flash Pack co-founder Lee Thompson predicts that the increased popularity of South Korea may attract some run-off from 2024 bookings; as solo travelers seek to discover more about Japan’s relatively untapped East Asian neighbor.
South Korean culture is having its moment in the sun
Against the backdrop of a Korean TV boom driven by smash-hit shows such as The Glory and Squid Games, South Korean culture is having its moment in the sun. With Korean street food (hello, tteokbokki) and K-pop supergroups (BTS, we’re looking at you) also in the limelight, there’s never been a better time to visit East Asia’s hottest peninsula.
Happily, 2024 is also Visit Korea Year in the country – slogan “ride the Korean wave” – which means travelers will be treated to an extra-special helping of K-culture events, ranging from firework shows to a festival of kimchi and major global gaming expos. Pre-empting the demand, United Airlines is among those laying on extra flights to the world’s current capital of cool. Be prepared for a treat for the senses; whether that’s healing forests, martial arts with monks or a spot of true-Seoul karaoke.
Celebrating the dawn of a new era after decades of violence during the Pablo Escobar years, Colombia is Flash Pack’s fifth most-booked trip of 2023. What makes it so compelling? Outstanding natural landscapes, coupled with scope for authentic local experiences such as the street graffiti tours and the chance to experience Bogotá’s eclectic nightlife (featuring carnival beats and performance art, no less).
Medellín’s Berracas de la 13 enterprise, meanwhile, offers visitors to the hilltop Comuna 13 neighborhood – once a no-go area – the chance to meet and cook with the women behind a unique community project. Headed up by social activist Paola Rivas, the female empowerment network runs a series of initiatives, including a restaurant that directs money from visitors back into the local economy.
Spectacular scenery only enhances Colombia’s star power
Spectacular scenery only enhances Colombia’s star power; highlights include colorful Cartagena (a muse for Gabriel García Márquez), cloud forest and mountains in the uplands of Medellín and the idyllic Rosario Islands.
Pack Leader and Columbia travel expert Oscar Dario Rincon Muñoz says: “Colombia has had an interesting level of growth in the last 10 years... More and more people are looking for innovative travel experiences with local communities, and Colombian authorities are encouraging tourism to create more opportunities and development for locals.”
Serene Sri Lanka
Ranking fourth on Flash Pack’s top 10 most popular destinations of 2024, Sri Lanka is reclaiming the solo travel stage after a tough few years. This chimes with an uptick in slow travel, and a growing appreciation for dialing back to nature – as more visitors seek to savor the moment in an always-on world.
There are so many opportunities to do exactly that in Sri Lanka; with its gorgeous tea plantations, temples, sunset hikes and wildlife hotspots such as Yala National Park. As Sri Lankan chef Dom Fernando explains, this is also a fabulous place for foodies. “The kind of food you’ll find in the markets and restaurants of Colombo, Jaffna or Kandy draws inspiration from all over the world,” he says. “Our culinary heritage is influenced by South Indian flavors, but we’ve also taken on ideas from Malays, the Dutch, the Portuguese and Indonesian cultures.”
Sri Lanka rules the travel charts for slow, immersive adventure
Another reason why solo travelers love Sri Lanka is because of its iconic train journeys; including a four-hour ride through jungle valleys from Kandy to Nanuoya. “Nothing beats the romance of a slow train trip somewhere extraordinary,” says Flash Pack founder, Lee. “Sri Lanka’s iconic upcountry train routes are a major part of its appeal. With more US travelers adding to an uptick in interest from UK customers this year, 2024 will be the
moment when it all comes together and Sri Lanka once again rules the travel charts for slow, immersive adventure.”
With its legendary beaches, iconic rainforest and emerging afro-tourism experiences, Brazil is a destination that delivers on all fronts. In 2024, there’ll be even more reason to visit this feel-good country thanks to a new Virgin Atlantic route flying daily and direct from London to the buzzing hub of São Paulo (easily in time for the G20 summit, taking place in November).
There are so many highlights to explore South America’s land of perennial sunshine; think street art in Rio de Janeiro and the unexplored islands around Paraty, Brazil’s creative coastal hub. But the people of Brazil are perhaps the biggest draw of all.
There’s no party in the world like a Brazilian party
“Brazilians are very warm and people-orientated by nature; we love to be around friends and family, and we have a very mixed culture, too,” says Brazilian artist Camila Pinheiro. “In São Paulo, for example, you’ll find Japanese and Italian influences, then we also have a strong Afro-Brazilian heritage – particularly to the northeast of the country, in states such as Bahia. This all comes together in a rich fusion of music, dance, art and cuisine. There’s no party in the world like a Brazilian party.”
The sweet life is well and truly alive in Italy next year, with the launch of Orient Express – the Dolce Vita, a luxury train service revived from its heyday over 50 years ago. A series of express and historic train services (some overnight) will be unveiled in tandem with the Dolce Vita, on iconic routes such as Milan to Genoa and Rome to Calalzo.
Mosey around the capital, Rome, by vintage sidecar
If that wasn’t enough, American Airlines is coming in on the action, too, with a new nonstop Philly to Naples flight beginning next spring. The upshot? There’s every excuse to familiarize yourself with Italy’s chorus line of delights; including Roman ruins, Neapolitan pizza, Mount Vesuvius vineyards – and even the chance to mosey around the capital by vintage sidecar.
Delivering a double-whammy win, Jordan appears seventh on both Flash Pack’s list of most popular trips of 2023 and its most-booked destinations of 2024. As Pack Leader Fadi Abu Jaber explains, “Guests here are always blown away by the friendliness of our culture and the beautiful hosting. There’s always something original or different to do, too, like stargazing from the rooftop of a desert ecolodge or brewing up cardamom tea over an outdoor fire surrounded by prehistoric valley ranges.”
There’s an extra reason to pencil in a visit next year, too: 2024 sees the launch of Jordan’s inaugural Medaina Festival. For three nights only, the Nabatean kingdom, along with its sister icon, the Wadi Rum, will be taken over by a line-up of global DJs, foodie events and stargazing.
Jordan is an incredibly diverse destination
Promising “an extraordinary party amidst the ancient city of Petra”, the festival is just one of the many ways in which Jordan – now more accessible than ever due to a fleet of budget flights from the UK and Europe – is evolving its offering.
In this incredibly diverse destination, you can be partying in the coastal city of Aqaba one moment and off-roading and glamping in ancient dunes the next. With local tourism also on the rise, the best kind of adventure here will also take an immersive look at community traditions e.g. by dining with a Bedouin family.
Natural New Zealand
A gorgeous island country a long way away – but in 2024, the journey to New Zealand will be that much easier thanks to Air New Zealand’s world-first Skynest sleep pods. Available on New York and Chicago routes from next September, these unique sleep zones will offer economy passengers the chance to spread out in a proper bed for four hours at a time.
New Zealand has adventure scrawled all over it
Think of it as extra enticement to explore a landscape of countless natural marvels. Swimming with dolphins off the coast of Kaikoura, ice-hiking on the Franz Josef Glacier, a flight to the heart of Milford Sound fjord; you name it, New Zealand has adventure scrawled all over it. And the country’s growing reputation as a leader in regenerative tourism, including authentic Māori-led experiences, is another reason to visit next year. As Oscar-winning actor and writer Taika Waititi says, in a new ad campaign for his country, “There’s no place like it on earth.”
Flash Pack is a group travel company that specializes in small group adventures for solo travelers in their 30s and 40s. Find out more about how we work, and our mission to build a global community of friendships.
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