Downtime: your perfect vacations for 2018

From touching the bottom of the world to hitting soccer highs, we offer a few ideas for getaways in 2018.

Where will 2018 take you? The bottom of the world, perhaps? Tracking gorillas across a volcano? Or perhaps a seat at the World Cup final is more to your taste.

If you’re like most FinanceAsia readers, working life already involves more than enough travel. While lapping up the sun on a vacation or feeling the beat of a different city on a short break are fun (not to mention essential for the mental health), it takes something really special to get you truly excited about a trip. Here, we present a few ideas to go where you’ve never been before.

The South Pole

Ever dreamed of making like Amundsen and Scott, exploring the wildest, most isolated and hostile environment on the planet? Want to tie your South Pole trip in with a visit to the stunning city of Cape Town, a walk with emperor penguins and all kinds of other fun in the snow? Hong Kong-based Jacada Travel has you covered.

The company offers a luxury, tailored 11-day trip that includes two days of exploring Cape Town, transfer to the Whichaway Camp in the Antarctic – with only a dozen travellers at most at any one time – and a one-night stay at the geographical South Pole.

Activities on offer include ice trekking, kite skiing, abseiling and exploring ice caves – all tailored to the individual traveller or party. A particular highlight is a flight to see a huge gathering of emperor penguins up close.

As for the polar trip, there’s a seven-hour flight rather than a multi-week dog trek, but there’s still the thrill of standing on the one spot in the world where you know things will never go South.

Prices start at HK$649,000 ($83,055).

Wild Rwanda

It’s a country many of us still associate with tragedy and genocide, yet the years since its civil war have seen Rwanda develop as something of a model of stability and economic progress in Africa.

Increasingly pinpointed as an emerging luxury travel destination, this country at the heart of Africa boast spectacular landscapes, ancient forests and abundant wildlife. It’s biggest attraction may well be the 300 mountain gorillas who live in its Volcanoes National Park.

Lightfoot Travel, which has offices in Singapore and Hong Kong, offers nine-day tours of the country including two days of tracking gorillas with experienced, professional guides.

Prices start at $9,564 per person and again, tours can be tailored to meet your requirements.

The World Cup

Antarctica and the gorillas will still be there in 2019, but there’s only one chance every four years to catch the premier event in international soccer: the World Cup.

Securing tickets will, as ever, be tricky, with 1.3 million ticket requests submitted to soccer’s governing body, FIFA, in just 24 hours after sales resumed on December 5. What’s more, Russia is not known for being the most tourist-friendly country, although onerous visa rules are being relaxed for ticket-holders for the duration of the tournament.

For those prepared to pay a little extra, a plethora of tour organisers are offering packages, from flight and match tickets – though you might want to be absolutely certain they can get hold of the tickets they’re promising.

If you prefer to go direct and secure a hospitality package from source, you can go to the website of FIFA’s hospitality provider. The final, two ‘Match Pavilion’ tickets (the minimum number you can order) will set you back $16,500 including tickets, pre-match hospitality, a buffet-style meal and commemorative gift. It’s your chance to give someone – and yourself – a special experience they’ll never forget.

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