Searching for inspiration and travel ideas for next year? We've got all the ideas and tips you need to start planning a trip to make 2023 a year to remember!
For many people around the world, travel plans in 2022 centered around reuniting with friends and family following the disruptions of the pandemic. The travel industry has sprung back into life and we've all rejoiced at the opportunity to jump on a plane and travel again.
Looking ahead to 2023 it's the perfect time to explore somewhere new, and we have lots of travel ideas to share, from an epic Antarctic cruise with two very special guests, to stunning lodges in the heart of the Amazon.
Don't get left behind while your friends and family head off on the trip of a lifetime - make 2023 your year!
Get inspired for your next big trip with our top destinations and travel experiences for 2023, as recommended by our expert Destination Specialists. Whether you're dreaming of an amazing experience with your family, exploring with your friends, relaxing with your partner or simply discovering remote places by yourself, we've got you covered.
Team Viva's top travel ideas for 2023:
- Ideas for travelling with family
- Ideas for travelling with your partner
- Ideas for travelling with friends
- Ideas for travelling solo
Ideas for travelling with family
Our top three travel destinations for families in 2023, in South and Central America. Which one will you choose?
Those with a soft spot for wildlife, especially those who prefer to view rare animals in their natural habitat, will find a lot to enjoy on a cruise in the Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is without a doubt the best place in South America to see wild animals, thanks to its incredible isolation and variety of flora and fauna. Marine iguanas, giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, flightless cormorants, and a plethora of other marine and semi-aquatic animals can all be found here but nowhere else on Earth. It's a perfect destination for families with children aged 6 years and older who love to enjoy the outdoors and spot amazing wildlife.
Any time of year is good for visiting the Galapagos Islands, although the weather is warmest between December and June. The Galapagos Islands are very popular over the Christmas season, so definitely plan your trip early if you want to visit during the 2023 Christmas period. There are numerous ships that cruise the Galapagos, from budget to luxury, and our destination specialists can help you to find the perfect ship and itinerary for you.
> Read more: Guide to the Galapagos - How to get the most out of your visit
Experience the world's largest jungle, the Amazon Rainforest. There are more than 10,000 species of mammals, birds, and reptiles in the Amazon, making it the home of at least 10% of the world's known biodiversity.
It is hugely vast, covering parts of nine countries. Spotting colourful and musical birds such as toucans, hummingbirds and macaws, you'll begin to get a sense of the Amazon's extraordinary beauty and diversity, and seeing enormous river otters, sloths, capybaras and monkeys with the help of knowledgeable tour guides is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that everyone in the family will treasure.
Most visitors to the Amazon either take a river cruise, or stay in a jungle lodge. Amazon lodges range from rustic to luxury, and offer the chance to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the jungle around you, while river cruises in the Amazon give you the opportunity to explore different areas and ecosystems.
> Read more: How Responsible Tourism Helps Protect the Amazon
Some of the most amazing scenery of deserts, mountains, and jungles can be found in Mexico, and you can visit incredible Mayan ruins in Mexico that are sure to delight the whole family. Listen to howler monkeys in the jungle, sample tequila at a working ranch, stroll through colourful markets sampling tacos, tropical fruit and delicious ice creams, and chill beside the turquoise waters of the Caribbean.
Mexico is the perfect destination for families with teenagers who want to go hiking, biking, or trekking to get a taste of Mexico's natural beauty, or dive into the vibrant Mexican culture and celebrate the Day of the Dead with its buzzing carnival atmosphere!
> Read more: Top 10 Things to See and Do in Mexico City
Travelling with your partner
Treat your partner to a trip to remember in 2023 with our top travel experiences for couples.
Buenos Aires - Iguazu Falls - Rio de Janiero
Combine two of South America's greatest cities, with the breathtaking power and beauty of the world's largest waterfall system, for a romantic trip perfect for travelling with your partner in 2023.
Known as the "Paris of the South", Buenos Aires is brimming with rich history, contemporary beauty and vibrant Latin spirit. From here, it's a short flight up to Iguazu Falls - the largest and most spectacular waterfalls on the planet (nearly twice as wide as Niagara Falls!). Take your partner for a stroll along walkways through stunning national park, spotting toucans and coatis and taking in panoramic views of the falls.
Follow that up with a visit to Rio de Janiero, hands down one of the world's most stunning cities. Visit iconic sites at Sugarloaf Mountain and the Christ the Redeemer statue, explore the lively streets and plazas, or unwind together on Rio's famous beaches.
Bonus Tip: Our Signature trip from Buenos Aires to Rio includes an intimate Asado (Argentinian BBQ) experience in Buenos Aires, and a traditional Argentinian tango show, perfect for a romantic and memorable holiday with your loved one!
> Read more: Top 10 Things to Do in Buenos Aires & Beyond
Mendoza Wine Region
With the removal of COVID-related border restrictions, 2023 is a fantastic time to travel to Argentina, and when you do, don't miss out on visiting Mendoza. A haven for food and wine lovers in the foothills of the Andes, Mendoza produces more than two thirds of all of Argentina's wine and is home to over 1,200 wineries!
Treat yourself and your partner to a delectable degustation with matched wines at one of the world-famous wineries, explore the area together on bikes, or take a tour of Mendoza city's wide leafy avenues and cosmopolitan city centre.
> Read more: The Best Places to Drink Wine in South America
What better way to finish 2023 than on a cruise to the most isolated and pristine destination in the world? Antarctica really does take your breath away (and not just because it's cold!) - the totally surreal landscape of towering icebergs, glaciers and inquisitive penguins simply defies description.
Travel with your partner in your own private cabin, relax in the onboard jacuzzi together, and create memories together that will last you a lifetime. There are plenty of different activities to experience in Antarctica, from kayaking amongst the icebergs to visiting the Penguin Post Office. You can even camp together on the ice if you're brave enough! On a recent Antarctica cruise, our Destination Specialist Emma actually had a couple of passengers get married onboard!
Bonus Tip: Join legendary polar explorer Professor Mike Stroud OBE and former New Zealand Prime Minister Rt Hon Sir John Key on a once-in-a-lifetime VIP cruise to Antarctica in November 2023. You'll not only have the chance to meet both special guests, you'll also hear first-hand their incredible stories from their lives and travels, including Mike's record-breaking 95 day crossing of Antarctica on foot!
> Read more: The Best Small Ships Going to Antarctica in 2023-2024?
Travelling with friends
Some destinations are best enjoyed with friends to share the experience. Here are our favourite ideas for travelling with friends in 2023.
If you and your friends love exploring the great outdoors, we definitely recommend visiting Patagonia together in 2023. Home to some of the world's most stunning landscapes, Patagonia covers more than a million square kilometres and stretches more than 1,800 kilometres from the volcanic region south of Santiago to Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn. This vast nature reserve is home to nature in its purest state.
Unmissable highlights include the mind-blowing Perito Moreno Glacier, spectacular waterfalls, towering peaks and of course luxury Patagonian lodges to relax in after the days adventures.
> Read more: Patagonia Travel Guide - What, When, Where & How
Bolivia's Salt Flats
Take stunning group photos worthy of hanging on your wall at the famous Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia! This is easily one of our favourite travel ideas for 2023, and is perfect for travelling with a group of friends.
The dry season is the best time to see Incahuasi Island, an oasis surrounded with huge cacti up to 10 metres high, and the rest of the glittering Salar de Uyuni salt desert, which reaches as far as the eye can see. Alternately, if you visit during the wet season, you might see a thin layer of water floating on the salt flat, reflecting the sky in amazing ways—a photographer's dream!
Bonus Tip: Combine your visit to Bolivia's Salt Flats with a visit to Atacama, the driest desert in the world, and look for flamingos, soak in hot springs, watch geysers bubble, explore desert landscapes and gaze at the spectacular night sky. Take a look at our Signature Highlights of the Andes & Salt Flats itinerary for more info.
> Read more: Top 10 Things to See and Do in Bolivia
Make 2023 the year you embark on a solo adventure! These incredible travel experiences are perfect for travelling on your own in 2023.
Join a small-group tour of South America
Travelling solo doesn't have to mean holidaying on your own - join a small-group tour in 2023 and meet likeminded travellers from around the world!
There are a whole range of advantages to joining a small group tour. Not only will you have your itinerary planned to perfection for you, you'll have an expert guide to travel with who knows the local landscapes and customs and can share insights that bring a richness and depth to your travel experience. And of course you'll meet other travellers in the group who share similar interests and often end up becoming new lifelong friends!
Our top pick for a small-group tour in 2023 is this 16-day Enchanting South America tour, which of course takes in all the major highlights of South America like Iguazu Falls and Machu Picchu, but also treats you to some exclusive experiences like discovering secret speakeasy bars in Buenos Aires, and visiting an innovative and creative community project in Rio de Janiero. With departure dates available from May 2023 and limited spaces on each tour, you'll want to book in early to reserve your spot.
> Read more: Solo Travel on a Group Tour
Explore the Polar Regions
Expedition cruises in the polar regions are a popular choice for solo travellers - in fact you may find there are more solo travellers on board your cruise than people travelling together! Our Antarctica Destination Specialist Pia Knarston travelled to Antarctica solo on the Ocean Endeavour (read her blog about her cruise here), and loved the experience of meeting so many fascinating people from around the world.
Because of its remote location and sparse human population, the Canadian Arctic as well as Antarctica has become a unique habitat for animal species. While you can witness polar bears in the Arctic and meet indigenous cultures, in Antarctica you will see seals, whales and vast penguin colonies, and take part in activities such as polar plunge, camping on ice and kayaking with whales.
> Read more: Great Polar Cruise Experiences
Stewart Island Aurora Hunters
If you are interested in astrotourism and wildlife, the Aurora Hunters Small-Group Tour of Stewart Island would be a great fit for you. Stewart Island is a designated international Dark Sky Sanctuary, which means it is one of the darkest places to see the night sky, and an intriguing area to spot the Southern Lights as well as the Milky Way. Departures for this tour are scheduled close to the new moon when skies are dark, and over the months where Aurora activity is most likely. With an expert local guide, this is an unforgettable trip and a great option for solo travellers in 2023.
Ready to plan your 2023 travel adventures? Get in touch with our Destination Specialists today and start turning your dream trip into a reality!