Posted on: January 28, 2024 Posted by: Comments: 0

Blame the never-ending rain, long office days or the constant emails about the British Airways January sale, but this time of year we are hard-wired to start planning how to use our annual leave. If you haven’t spent all of your money on your own Taylor Swift tour around Europe and are open to a new adventure this year, then we have compiled a guide to stylish holiday destinations that are worth adding to your bucket list for 2024.

If this is the year you want to finally book in a two-weeker and venture beyond the sun-lounger, then we propose a train tour of Japan where you can explore some of the world’s biggest, buzziest cities, and then unwind in an Onsen and soak in the spectacular nature. Trust us, the Japanese practice of shinrin yoku (forest bathing) will make your emails feel a million miles away. If escape and isolation is what you are after for 2024, then the deserts and national parks in Namibia have to be seen to be believed and will act like a factory reset.

If you want to avoid long-haul flights and jet lag this year, however, then you might want to join the wave of “coolcationers” who are swapping their week at the beach for some time in the mountains and coves of Northern Europe, whether that’s in Scotland or Switzerland. 

Below we give you a heads up on the most significant hotel openings this year and where to visit ahead of the inevitable crowds. However this is Who What Wear so we naturally also pay as much attention to what you should wear, as where you should stay – let’s face it, building a travel capsule can be even more fun than putting together your itinerary. So for each destination we have compiled a list of the key items you should take along for the ride with you.

Keep on scrolling for some serious wanderlust – but be warned, it might lead to many hours lost on SkyScanner.

Where to Go: In 2022 Sri Lanka experienced unrest due to the severe economic crisis, however the UK government has now removed its warning to avoid travel to the country and it is experiencing a welcomed boom in tourism. “There’s every reason to believe that 2024 is going to see a big comeback for Sri Lanka,” says Rachel O’Reilly from Worldwide Travel company Kuoni. “Tourist arrivals surpassed one million in 2023, setting an undeniably positive tone for the year ahead.” There is no shortage of luxury hotels nestled among the tea terraces and along the golden coastline, such as Haritha Villas + SpaAhu Bay (we recommend you Google image search this one) and Hide Ella Hotel + Resort

O’Reilly notes that the tourist board is also investing in experiences and infrastructure in 2024, including a new 300km hiking route from Hanthana Mountains to Nuwara Eliya’s hill stations called the Pekoe Trail that snakes through tea plantations and forests and is a truly magical experience for any keen trekkers and nature lovers. If you like to (in the words of Ken) “beach”, however, there is an increasing trend of travellers combining Sri Lanka with a few days in the Maldives for an indulgent end to the trip. 

What to Pack: Visitors to Sri Lanka tend to combine adventure with lazy pool days, so you’ll want to pack boots for trekking and linens for safari drives (this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see leopards) along with your bikinis, flip flops and Kindle.

Where to Go: The Greek islands will always be a popular option over the summer months, however last year’s brutal heatwaves are making some consider an alternative option to their summer holidays. Condé Nast Traveller has named “coolcationing” one of its key travel trends for 2024, as the travel network Virtuoso has reported that 82 per cent of clients are considering a trip with more moderate temperatures in 2024. Popular destinations include Scandinavia, a road trip around the Scottish highlands and a trip to the mountains and lakes in Switzerland. It can be easy to associate relaxation with hours spent at a beach, however these beautiful landscapes across Northern Europe can be the ultimate escape from your to-do list and a practical option for young families too away from blistering heat. Not having to queue for prime real estate by the pool is another added benefit. 

What to Pack: Layers are the key here, with knitwear and a quilted jacket (this Toteme one is the ultimate purchase) in your suitcase for when the temperature drops. Davy J’s swimsuits are designed for wild swimming and are a sensible purchase for an outdoors-focused holiday like this one. 

Where to Go: Almost every report on travel trends for 2024 highlights Grenada as a key destination, due to the increased flight routes from the US and the UK and the much-anticipated opening of La Sagesse, which is the Six Senses’ first resort in the Caribbean. This isn’t the only significant hotel opening on Spice Island however, as Silversands resort is adding 28 incredible villas to the property and Spice Island Beach Resort has had an extensive redesign. It’s destined to be a favourite for honeymoons in 2024 and beyond, but there’s a lot more to the island than luxury resorts. “It’s more than just a beach stay,” says O’Reilly. “I went for the first time last year and was struck by the beauty of the island inland, with cascading waterfalls, volcanic lakes and rainforests teaming with biodiversity.” There is also an underwater sculpture park (called Molinere) where you can dive past incredible sculptures which are submerged among the fish. Expect to see this luscious island all over your Instagram feed in no time. 

What to Pack: This is your chance to go all-out with your high-summer wardrobe, with tropical prints, basket bags and sarongs. Just don’t forget the SPF 50. 

Where to Go: When it comes to stylish luxury resorts, it doesn’t get much more spectacular than Forestis–you can feel a sense of calm just looking at pictures of this sustainable Alpine resort which has the most spectacular panoramic views of the mountain range. This design-led hotel had a quiet launch due to the pandemic, however it has rapidly become an insider favourite, cemented by the fact that Burberry hosted a trip here. If you lose half a day of skiing (in the words of Gwyneth Paltrow) to the spa, that’s no bad thing. The modernist architecture and expansive vistas look straight from a James Bond film. 

Mr and Mrs Smith has highlighted the South Tyrol region as one of its key places to visit in 2024 and says that the Parkhotel Mondschein in Bolzano “exudes such powerful creative energy that coolness is bestowed on you just by being there.” Hotel de Len, meanwhile, promises to improve your sleep with a “regenerative sleep experience” that can help you get a restful eight hours (or more). 

What to Pack: If you’re a skier visiting in the winter months, some of our favourite items for the slopes include We Norwegians base layers, Sorel boots and Perfect Moment’s houndstooth sets. However Forestis is just as magical when the ice has melted, when you’ll live in cycling shorts and trainers for hikes in the woodland. But let’s be honest, most of your time at Forestis will be spent in the spa, so invest in a swimsuit you love.

Where to Go:  “There is a definite buzz around Namibia which is something of a well-kept secret in Africa,” says O’Reilly. “It’s often overshadowed by safari giants like Kenya and Tanzania, however the tide is turning and we foresee Namibia gaining attention in 2024 as adventurous customers forge their path off the beaten track.” What is so amazing about this country is how vast and untouched the landscape is, as this is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. The pictures of Sossusvlei almost look otherworldly, with white salt pan and towering red sand dunes, while you can see giraffes, elephants and zebras at the Etosha National Park. Plus, the pound is currently strong against the Namibian dollar making it one of the best options for a safari holiday in 2024. 

“Our new Namibia Explorer Tour will let you take in the country’s highlights, while self-drive adventures are also recommended due to the excellent infrastructure, left-side driving and short distances between major sights,” adds O’Reilly. Angelina Jolie recommended Zannier Hotels open a resort in Namibia and the result is Sonop, a luxury camp which is built on giant boulders in the Namib Desert. You couldn’t feel further away from home while “camping” under the stars here.

What to Pack:Like any safari or adventure holiday you will want to pack sensibly, with binoculars, lots of layers and insect repellent. Embrace the safari spirit, and pack neutral-hued linens and game drive-ready shirts. When we say Namibia is isolated, we mean it – so this is somewhere you will want to plan for carefully and make sure you haven’t forgotten your swimsuit because there is no popping to Zara in the desert.

Where to Go: We understand why the word retreat might make you think of vitamin drips and colonics, thanks to medical detox centres like The LifeCo in Bodrum where Kate Moss famously frequents. While these places will forever be popular with those looking to focus on their health or address any signs of burnout, there is also a new wave of retreats which don’t involve wheatgrass shots and early wake-up calls, but are just as healing. These trips are ideal for those who want an adventure and to be taken care of, without the admin of compiling an itinerary or trying to assemble a group of friends to go on the same dates.

Influencer Lindsey Holland learnt how to surf in her ’30s, and she quickly fell in love with the sport and lifestyle so much that it inspired her to launch her own wellness retreat called Marnie Rays. These group trips are all about balance, giving guests the chance to learn something new, but with time to relax and make new friends. For next year, trips include surfing and mindfulness in Bali, hiking and paddleboarding in Greece and a more local surfing trip in Cornwall. 

Dr Rebejah Jade is a doctor and yoga teacher that runs BPOC classes in London called Pana, and following the pandemic and Black Lives Matter she decided to create wellness retreats in Africa and the Caribbean, which are a celebration of Black culture. “Yoga, nature, community and travel are our tools for re-connection to our heritage,” Pana says of the concept for its retreats . The next available trip in October 2024 is to the coast in Ghana and is a digital detox with no Wifi or TVs, enabling you to really disconnect and be present in the experience.

In the wake of the pandemic, there has been a rise in group trips which focus on community and having fun while learning something new. If yoga or surfing isn’t for you, perhaps you’d be interested in learning a winter sport instead. Mount Noire and Off Piste Ski Trip both organise inclusive ski trips which bring Black culture to the mountains, with everything organised from lessons to fondue dinners.

For wellness lovers looking to indulge, influencer-haunt Heckfield Place in Hampshire has lots of treatments that will help you to unwind and in January is launching nature-focused retreats. The spa menu includes a 90-minute nature therapy treatment, in which you have a restorative 1:1 walk with a wellbeing psychologist designed to bring calm. But at £180 an hour, this is a little pricier than your average countryside stroll.

What to Pack: Look for sportswear with a stylish edge, such as Wales Bonner’s hyped-up collaboration with Adidas Originals and anything from Alo Yoga. These holidays might be active, but don’t just pack your gym kit because there is also lots of time for exploring where you aren’t working up a sweat.

Where to Go: Japan had a strict approach to tourism during the pandemic, with visitors restricted from entering for almost 1,000 days, which led to a swarm of tourists in 2023 which is set to continue well into 2024. It was voted as the best country in the world in Conde Nast Traveller’s Reader’s Choice Award in 2023. There is so much to see in Japan, which can make it an overwhelming trip to plan, however the Shinkansen trains mean you can cover distances quickly. The country swells with visitors during Sakura season (April to May), however the landscape is just as beautiful after the last petal has dropped. Naoshima has become a popular addition to the typical trail which includes Tokyo, Kyoto and Hakone, as the island is famed for its modern art, including the giant yellow pumpkin installation by Yayoi Kusama you have no doubt seen on your Instagram feed.

When it comes to hotels, Mr and Mrs Smith has called out the boutique Shinsho-An in Kyoto as one of its key destinations to visit in 2024. It only has four suites and used to be invitation-only before adding Mr and Mrs Smith to the list – but this means you need to be very organised to get a room booked for blossom season. There are also many significant luxury hotel openings this year, including Janu in Tokyo (a sister brand of the impeccably stylish Aman hotel chain famed for its Utah outpost) and a Rosewood beach resort on Mikayo Island which will no doubt both have an A-List clientele in no time.

What to Pack: Firstly you’re going to need a big sturdy suitcase, as those visiting Japan tend to stay for at least two weeks and spend a lot of time lifting luggage on and off the Shinkansen bullet trains. The street style scene in Japan is legendary, so don’t be afraid to make a statement with your own outfits too. Just leave room in your suitcase for the inevitable shopping you will do in Tokyo. 

Next Up: The Only Spring/Summer 2024 Fashion Trends I’m Bothered About

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