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Favourite Travel Experiences of the Month #31 – January 2014

Welcome to 2014! Happy New Year from all at Not Just a Holiday, we are excited for all of our travel prospects this coming year, we hope you have a prosperous 2014 wherever your travels may lead you! This month we feature a range of end-of-year themed articles from across the world wide web, such as; National Geographic’s favourite 2013 photos, and the best 10 islands to visit in 2014.

Other articles examined this month include; Thailand’s top budget beach hotels, 20 abandoned places across the world, and 15 charming Italian villages. We conclude with our first holiday of the month for 2014; The Canadian Rockies.

We kick things off as usual with our top 10 articles of the month gone by.

Havana

Photo courtesy of gustaffo89.

1. Trip Advisor concluded last year by compiling a list of destinations on the rise in 2013. The top 10 includes destination as far apart as Kathmandu, Havana and Fortaleza in Brazil. Several have made it on our 2014 bucket list.

2. In a photo summary of 2013, National Geographic featured their favourite photographic memories from the past 12 months. Our personal favourite was an arial shot of a lake in Poland, the collection is definitely worth 5 minutes of your time.

3. 2014 has been declared the International Year of Small Island Developing States by the UN. To coincide with this, Lonely Planet has posted their top 10 Islands to travel to this year. See for yourself the beauty these islands possess as well as some of the environmental issues that have caused the UN take note.

4. This year is of course the 2014 Football World Cup in Brazil, featuring 32 nations from across the globe. The Independent looks at these nations in a different light and has started a series listing their to visit each of the 32 countries this year, starting with the host country.

5. Technology has vastly changed the world of travel, especially in the last two decades. Embracing technological advances can often be handy on the road and with a large quantity of Western travellers equipped with SmartPhones, apps have sprung up for nearly everything. Check out these top 10 travel apps to take with you on the road in 2014.

Hashima Island - Japan

Photo courtesy of chrisluckhardt.

6. 20 cool abandoned places in the world on imgur is one of the most fascinating photo collections we have seen in a long time. From Siberian mines to Japanese theme parks, the photos are simply breathtaking and often remarkable and hard to believe!

7.  A relaxing hotel on a budget? They are in abundance across Thailand’s beach resorts, check out The Guardian’s 10 best-value Thai beach hotels.

8. Italian countryside provides some of the finest culture in Western Europe, small villages rich in history dot the hillsides across the North and South alike. Explore 15 charming small Italian towns listed on Buzzfeed last month.

9. Sweden’s world famous Icehotel in the village of Jukkasjärvi, Swedish Lapland has opened for its 24th season with a range of new sculptures from over 1,600 tonnes of ice! See a full gallery of photos with The Guardian for the certain inspiration to visit.

10. BBC Travel’s ‘Around the World’ series has shown some truly inspiring destinations in its 11 episodes so far. Episode 9 really stuck out for us as the team visited Chile; a fascinating blend of old and new.

Holiday of the Month – Canadian Rockies – Western Canada

The Canadian Rockies provide some of the finest mountain scenery and skiing anywhere on the globe, so it’s no surprise that thousands flock to its renowned resorts each year. Fortunately due to the mountains vast area it rarely feels overcrowded especially at the larger ski resorts such as Lake Louise and Sunshine Village. Banff and Jasper National Parks form a large chunk of the region and their respective towns of Banff and Jasper form ideal bases to explore from. The Icefield Parkway that connects the two regularly makes top scenic driving lists and its easy to see why with endless mountains on either side, stunning lakes such as Peyto and Bow, and the magnificent Columbia Icefields keeping your eyes entertained throughout.

The town of Banff is just a 90 minute drive from the city of Calgary, home to the nearest international airport, making it a popular initial destination in the Rockies. Featuring the best range of accomodation, shops and nightlife, Banff is perfectly equipped for travellers on a range of budgets and needs.

The impressive mountain range is not just a winter destination, during the summer the abundant wildlife and breathaking hiking trails attract another section of the tourist market to marvel in the beauty.

Banff - Canadian RockiesPhoto courtesy of irakshiv.

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