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Trips You Need to Book a Year in Advance

Written by
Jennifer Richt, Susann Pietschmann, Alex Carey, Jane Dumble, Lily Bunker & Byron Thomas

Sometimes, spontaneity is what makes a trip. With some once-in-a-lifetime adventures though, booking in advance is a necessity.

From cruising through the Galapagos Islands to rolling through Europe on the Venice Simplon-Orient Express, there’s some adventures you just don’t want to miss.

To help you experience some of the world’s best bucket list trips, our experts have put together this list of trips to book a year in advance.

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Inca Trail & Machu Picchu, Peru

One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is famous the world over. Situated on a mountain ridge 2,400 metres above sea level, this remote location is reached via an iconic walking route. Latin America’s Inca Trail is one of the most famous and beautiful treks in the world, accompanied by moving scenery, fascinating legends and inspiring local Quechan communities. Understandably, the Inca Trail is extremely popular and has limited places, so if you want to enjoy this Latin American wonder in the most mindful way possible, it’s best to book in advance. 

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Everyone wishing to complete the four-day trek to Peru’s ancient mountain citadel requires a permit, which are restricted to just 500 per day for trekkers, guides and crew. The following year’s permits are usually released in October, and the most popular period for walking the trail is from May to August. At Jacada, our experts make sure that your trek is comfortable and away from the crowds so you can enjoy your Inca Trail experience in the most serene way possible. 

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The cost of an Inca Trail permit is included in your tour and the camps you can choose between range from deluxe tents to entirely private setups that come complete with expert guides and porters. As trekking the Inca Trail is such a popular way to see Machu Picchu, we recommend booking well in advance in order to avoid disappointment. 

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The Galapagos Islands

One of the most incredible places on the planet, the Galapagos Islands are the only place in the world where you can get so close to wildlife. The lack of large predators on the island group means that the iconic predators who call this place home are truly fearless. From swimming with sea lions to meeting giant tortoises, it’s no surprise that the Galapagos Islands are in high demand. It’s particularly important to book in advance if you’re planning to go on a luxury Galapagos cruise, as the smaller, more intimate boats tend to be extremely popular. 

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We recommend thinking about when you’d like to go around a year in advance, as this will ensure you have the widest range of hotels and cruise ships to choose from. The Christmas holiday tends to be the most popular time for travellers to visit the Galapagos, so you may even want to start planning a little earlier than a year in advance if you’re planning a Christmas break. For more options and quieter islands, the Galapagos Islands see a dip in visitors from April to May and September to October. 

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Milford Track, New Zealand

New Zealand’s Milford Track lies in the heart of the South Island’s Fiordland National Park, amidst deep blue waters and lush forests. One of New Zealand’s finest walks, the Milford Track starts in the rural town of Te Anau, which is set on the eastern shore of the largest lake in the South Island. The 53-kilometre track winds across suspension bridges, boardwalks, mountain passes and up past the impressive Giant Gate waterfall. With pristine lakes, soaring mountain peaks and sweeping valley views, the Milford Track is one of New Zealand’s most treasured walks.

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As the Mildford Track is located high in the Southern Alps, it only opens from October to April each year. To preserve the region’s natural beauty, a maximum of 40 people per day are allowed on the four-day hike. Camping isn’t permitted, so all walkers must have pre-booked accommodation in huts provided along the route, which we’ll take care of for you. Early booking is essential though, as many visitors book their accommodation months in advance. 

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Venice Simplon Orient Express

Arguably the world’s most famous luxury train, the Venice-Simplon Orient Express is truly exquisite. This iconic journey from London to Venice and many other European cities is one that gives passengers a true insight into the golden age of the 1920s and 30s. Aboard this original 1920s model train, you’ll roll through sublime landscapes in complete luxury. The charming vintage cabins are a window through time, with wonderful floral marquetry, delicate glass panels and elegant black lacquer adding a unique charm to the cabins. 

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With three different restaurant cars, this luxury train journey is great for foodies too. Dining onboard is an unforgettable experience, with ingredients bought at stops along the route to guarantee freshness. Once-in-a-lifetime trips aboard the Venice-Simplon Orient Express often sell out well in advance, so booking a year before you want to travel will ensure you get the best seat in the house. When you’re on board, enjoy the scenic views from the champagne bar with a glass of the finest fizz in hand. 

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Antarctica

Magnificent scenery, untouched natural beauty and fascinating wildlife make the White Continent a truly unique place. Surrounded by swathes of ice and water, Antarctica is full of opportunities for adventure. The best time to visit this winter paradise is usually between December and March, so it’s wise to book early if you’d like to experience Antarctica at its best. During this time of the year, the temperatures are milder and there’s a higher chance of spotting wildlife such as penguins and whales. Journeys down to Antarctica from its ports officially run from November to March, so you can visit any time between these months. 

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If you’re visiting Antarctica from Ushuaia in Argentina, allow yourself a day or two to explore the world’s most southerly city. This is also a good idea for more practical reasons, as lost luggage or delayed flights from Ushuaia mean many travellers miss their cruise departure. We’ll take care of all these details for you though, so all you have to worry about is enjoying your trip. Being in Antarctica is a real adventure – you’re completely disconnected from everything and surrounded by awe-inspiring, powerful landscapes. The White Continent is such a bucket list experience that it’s worth booking well in advance to make sure you can experience it in all its glory. 

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Gorilla tracking in Uganda and Rwanda

With only 800 mountain gorillas left in the wild, it’s no surprise that access to their homes is tightly controlled. The majority of mountain gorillas live in the Virunga Mountains, split between Uganda and Rwanda. The highest concentration of primates on earth can be found in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, while the gentle slopes of Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda offer a somewhat less arduous gorilla tracking experience. 

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Around 10 habituated gorilla families live in each country, with only 10 or eleven permits for groups of up to 8 people issued per day. These permits can sell out months in advance, so the earlier you get in contact with us about booking your gorilla tracking trip, the more likely it is we can accommodate your preferred dates. Keep in mind that the most popular times to visit are in the drier seasons from mid-December to early February, and from June to August, when the gorillas are easier to spot. 

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Feeling inspired? Our expert travel designers are always on hand to help you plan your next adventure.

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