2016 holidays to book now
Inca Trail permits
Peru’s Inca trail travels through jungles and fortresses before its epic conclusion in Machu Picchu. No wonder the route is so popular, and a permit is required to hike it.
The annual quote for travellers is issued in mid-January. Permits for May, July, August and September normally sell out that first day, so you really need to reserve your summer place the previous autumn.
Gorillas in the… missed?
Summer is the best time to spy Rwanda’s mountain gorillas, as it brings the clearest conditions. As with the Inca Trail, there are necessary permits. Once again these are limited, and for peak months they are snapped up around a year ahead.
The same is true for rooms at the best eco-resorts, whose guided rainforest hikes will have you locking eyes with endangered primates.
Sydney Harbour’s fireworks display is the world’s most famous New Year’s Eve bash. That means attending requires some serious forward thinking.
The most urgent task is to book a high-floor room at a harbour-hugging hotel like the Shangri-La. Then, as soon as they go on sale—normally early February—nab yourself a seat on a December flight.
Cuba not so libre
By gradually easing their restrictions on citizens travelling to Cuba, the US has made access to this Caribbean island harder for everyone else.
American holiday firms are block-booking hotels and beach resorts so if you’re after a fly-and-flop holiday or time in Old Havana’s classic residences, don’t leave it long. Otherwise it’ll be a case of close, but no Cuban cigar.
It’s a sprint, not a marathon
Want to experience Rio 2016? If so, you have to move fast. Think less Mo Farah, more Usain Bolt. Only a few remaining events have tickets.
A trip to sample the atmosphere is equally tricky. Rio’s hotel rooms are only available via official Olympic packages.
Your best bet is either Airbnb or staying in a nearby beach resort like Búzios or Angra dos Reis. They are only a hop, skip and a jump away. Be sure to book sharpish, including your flights.
September 2016 brings a three-minute annular solar eclipse when the moon passes between Earth and Sun, attaining a ring of fire. This line of totality passes through Indonesia.
To maximise your goosebumps, climb Mount Batur and watch paddy fields and Buddhist temples disappear into sudden darkness. Only a limited amount of hikers are allowed atop the active volcano at one time, though, so get in fast.
No room at the Japanese inns
Japan's cherry blossom season is a great time to see the country. It usually leads to viewing parties and thrilled festivals across the nation.
Blossom season typically peaks between the end of March and start of April. Beautiful temple city Kyoto is the most popular spot.
Small-group tours are already selling out, and all the best ryokan (traditional inns) will have filled before December.
To book or not to book?
Elsinore, the Danish home of Hamlet's Kronborg Castle, hosts the world’s oldest Shakespeare festival every August.
Marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, next year’s three-week event includes a star-studded Hamlet production in English. Details of the play’s stars are being closely guarded.
Tickets, certain to be hot property, will go on sale very shortly.