Imagine Travel is a unique specialised tour operator that boasts several accolades without losing any of that personalised touch or value for money, essential to creating your ideal holiday.
Destinations you need to book in advance
The increase in direct flights and new route networks is making the world a much more accessible place. This has led to a boom in international travel as we head to countries previously off the travel radar. As a result of this heightened demand, travellers need to book much further in advance to secure their ideal trip. Our specialists have chosen some of the main destinations that need the most advance planning and identified how far ahead you need to start thinking about each one.
With the Inca Trail being one of the major draws of Peru, successfully securing a permit can be a deal breaker when planning a trip. Permits for the year ahead start to be released around October, making this the optimum time to book your holiday. The best time of year to be in Peru is between April and October, so these permits are usually the first to get whipped up. Planning ahead also allows you the best choice of accommodation for Peru's other highlights, in particular the Amazon lodges which also book up months in advance.
Japan's cherry blossoms are world famous for infusing the country with the joys of spring and every year, the Japanese celebrate their arrival with flower-watching parties called hanami. Crowds flock to Japan to enjoy the rosy ambience making cherry blossom season the most difficult time of year to secure accommodation at a reasonable price. Hotels in Japan release their rooms one year before travel, so book in April for the following year to secure the best prices and to enjoy a wider choice of accommodation options.
Namibia is a photographer’s paradise, where vast red dunes collide with crashing waves and desert-adapted wildlife roams the land. Over recent years Namibia's popularity has boomed and there simply aren't enough properties to accommodate the high demand. For stays between July and September, it is always difficult to find space and we recommend booking at least 12 months in advance. For those wishing to travel this summer, we may be able to find some pockets of availability but you'll need to act fast.
Extending like a frayed ribbon along the west coast of South America, Chile seems to increase in popularity every year, especially since British Airways launched a direct flight in 2017. Venturing down to Patagonia at the southern tip of the country to witness the magnificent mountains of granite and ice rise is a travel highlight. Lodges in and around Torres del Paine National Park are sparse and incredibly popular, so to get your first choice we recommend booking 10-14 months in advance. The best time to travel is from October to April.
Home to some of the most exotic and endangered animals on Earth, Borneo is a wildlife lover’s paradise and there's one property which never fails to impress. Set amid primary rainforest in Danum Valley, Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge is a unique nature retreat that delivers on all levels. The guides are first-class and the chalets offer a level of luxury incongruous with their location in the depths of the rainforest. The best time of year to visit is from April to September and to be sure to get a room you should book a year in advance.
Often described as Africa's 'premier' safari spot, in Botswana the game is plentiful, while the tourists are scarce. There are very deliberate measures in place by the government to keep tourist numbers low, while still reaping the financial rewards of the industry. The result is a small selection of very high-end camps, offering a luxurious and exclusive safari experience. Peak season is between July and October, but most camps operate at full capacity all year round. For a good choice of camps, it's worth planning your trip 12 months in advance.
Costa Rica is another country which has benefited from the introduction of direct flights with British Airways in the last few years, resulting in a boom in tourism. This is our best-selling destination in Latin America, yet it's a fraction of the size of most of the other countries we sell, meaning demand frequently exceeds supply. The best time to travel to Costa Rica is from December to April and in order to get your first choice of accommodation, we advise booking a year in advance.
Brilliantly diverse and blessed with epic beauty, Sri Lanka is perfect for families, with plenty of activities to keep children of all ages entertained. As a result, it is hugely popular during the school summer holiday months, when much of the island is experiencing good weather. To escape the crowds, we recommend visiting some of the less-visited spots, specifically to go in search of elephants in Gal Oya National Park. There's only one property in the area and it gets booked up quickly during the summer months, so plan a year ahead.
Uganda is home to half of the remaining mountain gorillas in the world and to track these fascinating creatures, visitors require a permit. The price of gorilla permits has risen sharply in recent years in Rwanda, while Ugandan prices have continued to remain much more competitive. Consequently, the demand for Ugandan permits is high as it is by far the most cost-effective destination to enjoy this iconic wildlife experience. To avoid disappointment, we recommend securing your permits up to a year in advance.
The opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin on a trip to the legendary Galapagos Islands is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The unrivalled bird, marine and wildlife viewing is second to none and to preserve and support these unique islands visitor numbers are strictly controlled. Whether you plan to explore on a cruise or a land-based trip it is important to book at least 12 months in advance. This will ensure we can tailor your itinerary to your exact requirements.
Speak to our specialists to plan your new adventure
Call us on 020 3141 2800 for more information