May maybe May and co.'s month to campaign before yet another election but we can all agree that the current whirlwind of politicos spouting seemingly endless streams of specious speculation is hardly gripping the nation. But while you may have your political tribe nailed down, what about your all-important travel tribe? Now there's a cause to get excited about. Are you a Brat Packer looking to release your feral children into the wild on safari? Perhaps you're more of a Great Escaper in search of spiritual enlightenment, or even a Water Baby hoping to submerge yourself off a picture-perfect coast? Take the quiz here, but in the meantime try these on for size…
Wildlife Wayfarer: Canoeing & Walking in Northern Botswana
From the salt and sand of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans to the lush waterways of the Selinda Nature Reserve, Botswana's beguiling landscape is home to a staggering diversity of wildlife and some of the best luxury lodges in the business. While the big game players are all there (see what we did there?), from elephant to giraffe and lion, safari-goers will also have the opportunity to spot rarer species like pangolin, aardwolves and the elusive brown hyena. Equally impressive is the variety of ways you will see the game, from walking safaris through the Kalahari to canoeing in the Okavango Delta and 4x4 game drives by night.
Dive Master: Muck Diving in Northern Sulawesi, Indonesia
For those unfamiliar with the intricacies of the scuba diving lexicon, muck diving is a lot more pleasant than it sounds. It actually refers to diving along the seabed to spot 'macro' marine life (which is actually micro), like tiny shrimps, pygmy seahorses and psychedelic slugs called nudibranchs (as pictured above). And where to see these colourful critters? There's nowhere better than Northern Sulawesi, home to the Bunaken National Park and the Lembeh strait.
Early Adopter: Albania
It's no exaggeration to suggest that Albania might just be the last remaining truly secret corner of Europe. Once a place of isolationism and mystery, synonymous with concrete bunkers and communist rule, Albania is in fact a land of incredibly hospitable people, dramatic mountains, remote valleys and architecture influenced by the likes of the Illyrians, Ottomans and Italians. They've even found a use for all those bunkers by turning them into museums, music venues and the like. Our very own Amelia Stewart has recently returned from exploring Albania and has the inside track on how to make the most of this under-explored gem.
Winter Sun Seeker: Mexico
If there's one cliche that's true about the British, it's that as soon as a single ray of sun hits our shores we all whip out the shorts, barbecues and Pimm's - because who knows when we will see the sun again. We may incur world-wide ridicule (and the odd dodgy tan line) but it's absolutely worth it. There is, however, a solution to this affliction - travelling to a country where the sun actually shines on a regular basis. Genius. While Mexico offers so much more than just sunshine, it's a pretty good place to start. Aside from the Vitamin D, visitors can expect ancient ruins, vibrant colours, buzzing cities, beautiful beaches, fabulous food and pretty much anything else you could ever wish for.
Gastronomic Globetrotters: New Zealand
New Zealand may not be the first destination to spring to mind when you think of ultimate foodie escapes but there is no doubt that it's home to some of the very finest cuisine on the planet. Its culinary credentials comprise being the home of the flat white coffee (although Australia might have something to say about that), a flourishing farm-to-fork scene and hands down the best burger on the planet: the Fergburger. Then there's the wine, produced on hectares of picturesque wineland, distinctive for its purity and vibrance. The luxury lodges here are some of the best in the world (Eagle's Nest and Cape Kidnappers being two of our favourites) and their menus bring together the very best in New Zealand's fabulous food and drink.
City Slicker: Venice
Any city where you have to arrive at your hotel by boat gets our vote, but Venice goes so much further in being one of the most compelling city break destinations on the planet. The idyllic visions of admiring the city's Gothic architecture as you weave through the waterways aboard a gondola absolutely live up to expectation and, once you hit land, it only gets better, from the Byzantine-tiled St Mark's Basilica to the stunning views from the Campanile bell tower and the delectable cicchetti (small plates) served at the many bacaro dotted throughout the city. Venice is best enjoyed in the autumn once the summer hordes have retreated and you can explore in an altogether more relaxed environment.