Hot, hot, hot: 9 amazing trips to Wanderlust’s 2019 Hotlist destinations

They are the must-visit destinations of 2019. From cycling in Petra to discovering Georgian wine with Wanderlust’s Lyn Hughes, these are the trips that offer the best way to experience them

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1: Japan – all the best bits, on a budget

Shinjuku, Tokyo (Dreamstime)

Shinjuku, Tokyo (Dreamstime)

Have you always wanted to visit Japan but felt it was beyond your budget? This super-affordable nine-day introduction to the Land of the Rising Sun is the solution. 

The key is travelling by train which, to be honest, is the best way to get around the country anyway. With your rail pass in hand, you're within easy reach of Tokyo's nightlife, the famous geisha district of Kyoto, and the gorgeous mountainous region of Hakone.

Each new destination includes an orientation walk with your guide, and plenty of free time to discover the side of Japan that interests you. Whether it is the country’s fabulous cuisine, manga art or traditional tea ceremonies, you’ll be pointed in the right direction – with hot tips on the most affordable options, of course.

Trip: Japan on a Shoestring

Who: G Adventures

When: Regular departures throughout the year

How long: 11 days

How much: From £1,439 (exc. flights)

2: France – explore Burgundy by boat

Abbey of Saint-Germain d'Auxerre, Burgundy (Dreamstime)

Abbey of Saint-Germain d'Auxerre, Burgundy (Dreamstime)

Explore some of the most stunning countryside in Europe on board a beautifully restored barge on this cruise through Burgundy with KE Adventure Travel.

Starting in Dijon, you’ll spend a relaxing week cruising the region’s picturesque rivers and canals. Each day you'll have the option to go ashore and visit small villages, world class wineries and bike through vineyards and forests. And in the early evening the chance to relax on deck with a glass of wine in hand, taking in the unmistakable atmosphere of this unforgettable part of France.

Trip: Burgundy Riverboat Cruise

Who: KE Adventure Travel

When: Departures Apr–Oct

How long: 8 days

How much: From £1,979 (exc. flights)

3: Jordan – discover Wadi Rum and Petra by bike

'Traffic' in Wadi Rum (Shutterstock)

'Traffic' in Wadi Rum (Shutterstock)

Discover some of the most fabled sites in the Middle East on this cycling tour of the Kingdom of Jordan with Exodus. 

Cycling is the by far the best way to soak up the sites of this extraordinary country. You’ll amble through olive groves and hill top villages in the north, while further south you’ll ride along desert roads where the communities are sparse and nomadic and the landscape vast and spectacular. Peddle through Petra, spend a night under the stars in the Wadi Rum desert and float in the Dead Sea – what a way to experience this fascinating country. 

Trip: Petra & Wadi Rum By Bike

Who: Exodus

When: Departures Mar-Jun, Sep-Oct

How long: 9 days

How much: From £1,099 (exc. flights)

4: Greenland – explore its frozen coasts and ice caps

Welcome to Disko Bay (KE Adventure Travel)

Welcome to Disko Bay (KE Adventure Travel)

Discover one of the world’s last great frontiers on this walking holiday through western Greenland with KE Adventure Travel.

Starting at Disko Bay, the Iceberg Capital of the World, you’ll immerse yourself in Inuit culture before setting out through wild backcountry to Greenland’s Ice Cap, Kangerlussuaq. Here the solitude of the Arctic tundra is broken only by occasional herds of reindeer and Greenlandic Musk Ox. After conquering Russell Glacier, you’ll sail amidst gigantic icebergs at sunset, 350km north of the Arctic circle. A truly unforgettable journey.

Trip: The Frozen Coast and Ice Caps of Arctic Greenland

Who: KE Adventure Travel

When: Jul and Aug

How long: 8 days

How much: From £3,145 (exc. flights)

5: The Silk Road – discover it all

Mausoleum Shochi-Zinda in Samarkand (Shutterstock)

Mausoleum Shochi-Zinda in Samarkand (Shutterstock)

Stretching from Turkey to China, the Silk Road makes for an incredible overlanding trip – indeed, some people class the traders' journeys as the first forays into long-distance touring. You can't get a more immersive – or memorable – Silk Road experience than Dragoman's whopping 120-day Istanbul to Ulaanbaatar trip: it ticks off more ancient ruins, wild frontiers and lush oases than any other itinerary. 

You'll make tracks in a purpose-built overlanding truck, sleeping in homestays, family-run hotels and wild camps along the way. The highlights are too plentiful to list (trust us, it goes practically everywhere) – and you'll gather incredible souvenirs, fantastic photos and unforgettable tales wherever you venture. 

Trip: Silk Road Between Istanbul and Ulaanbaatar 

Who: Dragoman

When: Departures Mar, Jun and Jul

How long: 120 days

How much: From £8,365 (exc. flights and kitty)

6: Fiji – indulge yourself on a luxury sailing trip

A remote beach in Fiji (Dreamstime)

A remote beach in Fiji (Dreamstime)

Discover Fiji’s unspoilt beaches, remote reefs and abundant marine life on this bespoke South Pacific sailing trip with Exsus.

Gliding atop turquoise waters on your luxury vessel, you’ll visit corners of the country very few tourists reach and enjoy a level of comfort that is hard to beat. The sunsets are spectacular, the drinks perfectly chilled, and the memories guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Trip: Luxury Fiji Beach and Sailing holiday

Who: Exsus Travel

When: Flexible dates throughout the year

How long: 13 nights

How much: From £8,300 (inc. flights)

7: Argentina – encounter its otherworldly north

Landscape in northern Argentina (Dreamstime)

Landscape in northern Argentina (Dreamstime)

Explore surreal landscapes and immerse yourself in traditional village life on this tour through Argentina’s enigmatic north with TravelLocal.

This journey will take you into the heart of the Humahuaca Gorge, a UNESCO-listed region renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and cultural artefacts. From multi-coloured mountains to giant salt-flats to village fiestas and traditional concerts, this is a trip that will introduce you to a side of Argentina very few visitors get to see.

Trip: Explore Salta & Jujuy

Who: TravelLocal

When: Flexible dates throughout the year

How long: 12 days

How much: £2,030 (exc. flights)

8: Belize – go in search of temples and beaches

Time to relax in Belize (Dreamstime)

Time to relax in Belize (Dreamstime)

Discover Central America’s most recently unearthed Mayan ruins, spot wildlife on river trips deep into untouched jungle and snorkel coral reefs in azure Caribbean waters on this 14-day adventure in Belize with Rainbow Tours.

Starting in the Cayo District, you’ll explore cave systems and Mayan ruins before heading deeper into the jungle to Lamanai, an ancient ruin that looks like it came straight out of an Indiana Jones movie. You’ll enjoy a series of guided nature walks before ‘retiring’ to your beachfront hotel in Placencia where you can swim and snorkel, or trek in the nearby Cockscomb Jaguar Reserve.

Trip: Belize Mayan Discovery & Beach

Who: Rainbow Tours

When: Flexible dates throughout the year

How long: 14 days

How much: £4,495 (inc. flights)

9: Georgia – discover it with Wanderlust’s Lyn Hughes

Tblisi at sunset (Shutterstock)

Tblisi at sunset (Shutterstock)

There are few places left in Europe that can be truly labelled 'undiscovered' but Georgia remains one of them. Set at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, lying across a key section of the fabled Silk Road route, it is a fascinating country – both culturally and visually. You’ll discover the best of this ‘Middle Eastern Europe’ on a small group tour, led by Wanderlust’s own, Lyn Hughes.

Lyn will introduce you to Georgia's cosmopolitan capital, Tbilisi, as well as the UNESCO-listed former capital, Mtskheta, the ancient cave town of Vardzia, Gori (the birthplace of Stalin), and the vineyards of Kakheti, one of the oldest wine-producing areas in the world. You will have the rare chance to travel to the beautiful mountainous region of Tusheti and to explore some of Georgia's breathtaking monasteries and fortresses.

Trip: Discover Georgia with Lyn Hughes

Who: Wanderlust Journeys

When: 24 July 2019

How long: 11 days

How much: £1,825 (exc. flights)

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