Spring is almost upon us, and this is a time when many of us start seriously considering our travel plans for the year ahead – whether we’re lured by the sunny beaches of Tenerife or the bright lights of New York.

At hoppa, we’re no different, and the travel bug has bitten many of us as well. Here is a look at some of our favourite and recent holiday destinations, as well as some of our upcoming and bucket list adventures.


Stephan – IT Security Engineer

In the last year, I visited Bali and Singapore, and it was amazing. Singapore is one of the most interesting places I’ve seen and it's beautiful, but it is really expensive – and Bali is a lot like Thailand, but better. I got to drink the famous or infamous Kopi Luwak aka Cat-poo-cino, which is coffee made from beans that have been digested by the Asian palm civet cat.

I did a Eurotrip a few years ago and ended up going snowboarding in this small town in Germany called Winterberg, and I would have to say that was my favourite place. It’s this typical skiing town where everyone knows everyone. On the weekend most of the town is in one of the town’s three bars at night, and during the day everyone is on the slopes.

I went here to learn how to snowboard on beautiful and quiet slopes, and after the second day, I considered myself a pro. I was nowhere close to a pro, but I went down a medium difficulty slope without falling so I claimed pro status, naturally.

Later this year, I am going to Australia – specifically to the Surfers Paradise in the Goldcoast. I’m going to see if I can still surf and to explore the area surrounding it – there are lots of great beaches. One of my favourite music bands come from Byron Bay, which is close to the Goldcoast, and I hope that I can go see them live while I am there.

My all-time dream destination is Laplands in Finland – I want to live in the Igloo hotel, take a ride on a real reindeer sled, and obviously enjoy some snowboarding and skiing.


Haider – Management Account

In the past year, I’ve visited the Ibiza for the destination for the ultimate party holiday, Lebanon for a chilled holiday looking at different sights and enjoying the Lebanese culture (definitely recommended if you love food and a relaxing holiday), and Malta for a summer holiday with friends – I would say this is a ‘light’ version of a party destination. It’s a very good destination that gets packed with tourists in the summer but a bit small for my liking.

I’ve also visited Agadir in Morocco, which was one of the craziest holidays I have been to – it’s a lovely cultural filled city that has plenty of beaches, parties, and drink. I loved the hustling nature of the locals, as they try to trick you in paying 2 or 3 times the local price, but it’s on you to be smart enough to realise when it's being done to you. It’s an ideal city if you want to experience the Arabian, Berber, and European cultures all within the same country.

Barcelona is one of my favourite cities – I went there for my birthday two years ago, and now I go once a year. The Catalan culture is very energetic, so it always brings up positive memories.

Istanbul is another city with a lot of diversity. The Romans, Byzantines, Egyptians, Christians, Ottomans, and everyone else in between have left their own individual marks in the city, which is still present to this day. I was fortunate enough to visit ‘Salt Bae’s restaurant – it was so good that I would go back to Turkey just for that steak!

Then I also had some quick breaks to Amsterdam – which was a lot quieter than I expected, but they love to rave out there, Paris for a quick city break, and Brussels just to explore the city and see what it had to offer – it was one of my quiet holidays.

The best holiday destination I’ve ever visited, though, is Ibiza. It’s absolutely crazy. I had the ultimate party of a lifetime from the moment I jumped off the plane to the moment I got home. Day clubs, nightclubs, hotel clubs – it has everything.

I went on a Stag Do and managed to book the “Awake All Night” room in Ushuaia Nightclub. The room was located in the club and lived up to its name as I was out until 10 am every day and sleeping until 11 am – caffeine is a must out there. The only negative point was that I came back broke.

In 2019, I’m planning another trip to Ibiza for the end of season parties, to Morocco for a friend’s birthday, and I plan to country hop around Africa or the Middle East later this year to help out orphans and local communities. I’m still deciding the exact countries and logistics of the trip but I have been wanting to do this for a couple of years.

My bucket list destination, however, is Brazil or Colombia – I’ve always wanted to go to South America as I had a fond affection towards their vibrant culture.


Tshegofatso – Hoppa Care Team

I’ve recently been to Mozambique, which was great – but my favourite holiday of all time was at The Kruger National Park in South Africa.

During the next year, I’m also planning trips to Cape Town, Swaziland, and probably Durban. The “O Ship” cruise with South Africa’s best DJs is also something I’d like to do this year.

My all-time dream destination, however, has got to be Paris.


Nicholas – Operations Lead

I recently visited Graskop in Mpumalanga, South Africa. It’s the most chilled out place I’ve ever been in my life – just a whole bunch of retirees drinking away their remaining days, whilst enjoying the views!

The best holiday destination I’ve ever visited, though, was Disney World in Florida when I was about 10 years old. I think that I could have stood still, staring around in wide-eyed wonder for the entire seven days we were there. Luckily, I got to experience most of the rides, and my inner child still wants to go back there.

I will probably end up going to Graskop again this year to satisfy my inner old man – peace and quiet, incredible views of scenery and waterfalls make it the perfect place to go to wind down. The short drive to the Kruger National Park makes it even better.

As for dream destinations, I don’t know that I have a specific, top of the list destination. I’m a real sucker for a new experience, so any travel will suit me just fine.


Nishani – Accounts Receivable

Material objects don’t last forever but memories do, and the best are made when you travel. That’s my motto.

My story is one of a while back. It started when I was 19, sixteen years ago. I was blessed to have worked in the travel industry and was allowed to travel and experience the world.

I first started my travels by winning a fully paid for travel educational to the country “down under.” Australia is magnificent, with its breathtaking outback lifestyle and rainforests. I had to fly on 13 aircraft within Australia (8 hours on one flight, which shows you in itself how big Australia actually is…)

I visited Perth, Melbourne, Cairns, and Brisbane. It was truly an experience I would not forget. Visiting the Great Barrier Reef, swimming with the underwater world of beauty and colour – it truly is a forest underwater. I also Had an experience with travelling by cable car over the tropical rainforest in Queensland. It took a two-hour journey by train to get there and travel back by cable. Every moment is scenic, you never want to even blink an eyelid.

Meeting the Aborigines was also so historical to me, and the Twelve Apostles in Victoria is a must-see. You travel there on the Great Ocean Road by bus and enjoy the ocean’s magnitude and beauty. Carrying a koala is also something I had to do, all fuzzy and warm, simply gorgeous…They are the cutest little ears ever. This was truly an amazing and unforgettable travel experience.

Then, the previous company I worked with was kind enough to take the staff of 52 to Dubai, just for a weekend. But it was not an ordinary “fly there and holiday” experience. We actually had a team building which was based on The Amazing Race.

Flying there was so awesome with all your staff friends onboard an aircraft (drinks can get to you). On landing, we were given a few hours rest and the race began. We were given backpacks, a few Dirhams, and a list of items to collect around the city. Apart from it being a team building, we got to experience the people, culture, food, and areas first hand, by jumping on buses, trams, and little gondoliers to get to where we needed to.

The evening was most spectacular with the famous singing fountains. Apart from the buildings and landscapes of Dubai, it's truly a country rich with resources. The rest of the time was spent at leisure visiting Souk markets and little alleyways filled with aromas and trinkets of all sorts. Dubai is a must-see as well.


Stacey – Marketing Executive at hoppaGo

I’ve recently been to Kefalonia in Greece – an incredible island with amazing cultural influence of Greek and Italian. It was where the movie “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”, with Nicholas Cage and Penélope Cruz, was filmed, and this made the island famous. We went in August and there was a serious heat wave, which made it over 40 degrees Celcius – so that nearly killed me. But it is so beautiful, with super friendly people, incredible food, and it is not expensive at all.

I love Thailand – it is not an expensive holiday, the culture is so different, and the various types of people are fascinating. I loved the beaches and the shopping of course. You can basically go with an empty suitcase and come back with a whole new wardrobe for half the price you would pay anywhere else. The snorkelling is incredible and being able to just go from island to island on a boat is amazing. The nightlife is definitely something you cannot miss – the one road in Phuket, you can walk for miles with just bars upon bars (don’t forget the ping-pong shows).

This year, the plan is hopefully to visit Sweden and go skiing. I haven’t been skiing since I was a child so would love to go again.

My dream destination is Japan – I am absolutely fascinated by the culture (ever since I was a little girl) and would love to visit the various small towns, learn the culture, and try all the various food. I feel like Asian cultures have so much to teach us.


Matthew – COO

In the past year, I’ve visited both Sicily and Sorrento – both were beautiful places with great people, great food and great wine!

Florida was probably the best destination I’ve ever visited, though, purely because of how much fun my kids had there. Not just the parks, but we visited the Everglades, got to ride on an airboat, visited Miami, and also visited the Kennedy Space Centre. Also, the people working in the parks, restaurants and various attractions couldn’t do enough for you.

This year, we will probably be going to look at a short haul trip to somewhere in Spain, since the flight and hotel prices look good at the moment – as does picking up a good value airport transfer!

Choosing a bucket list destination is difficult – too many places out there still to visit. I would definitely like to visit Canada, but also Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines would be next on my list.


Fabio – Online Customer Experience Representative

Recently, I travelled to London from South Africa, where I live. It had been a bucket list destination of mine to travel to. It might be a cliche, but had the best vibe and all round ideal atmosphere for me. I like how Londoners keep to themselves but also know how to have a good time. From using the Tube to restaurants and markets to really great pubs and going into the country.

I would recommend visiting if you know some locals – you get taken to some really great places other than the popular tourist attractions which make for a better experience for any destination you travel to.

The best holiday destination I’ve ever travelled to, though, is New Zealand. I thought it would be boring but was totally blown away. The cities are all well kept and clean. The people were a lot of fun and great to be around. What made it stand out the best is the activities one can experience there. For example, we surfed in the morning and snowboarded the same day that evening, travelling between the North and South island. Auckland is also by far my favourite city.

Later this year I will be travelling to California. I am going to Yosemite and Big Sur. These areas have been on my bucket list for a very long time. I have been to the USA a few times but have never had the opportunity to experience these areas. I have planned a camping and road trip with my family and friends there. Take time to Google these areas, and you will see why have I have chosen this trip.

My all-time dream destination is any wine region of Italy. Italian countrysides are peaceful and quiet, yet you can do so much there with a good bottle of wine.


Hendrik – Purchasing Manager

Over the past year, I have visited Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Both are amazing coastal towns within South Africa. Cape Town was the best as you have so many things to do, wine farms, Table Mountain, the ocean, and of course, the V&A Waterfront.

The greatest holiday destination I’ve ever visited, though, is Mozambique. I must say it was my best holiday as it takes you away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Things are so relaxing in the country, and they have amazing beaches and even better food. I love the local way of doing things.

My all-time dream destination is Greece – as you can see the theme of the above, I love the beaches, and from images I have seen and people that I know in the country, the beaches look amazing. It is definitely a place I would love to visit.


Stanley – Hoppa Help Team Representative

Israel has to be one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting – everything from the people, the lifestyle, the ‘togetherness’ – it’s really something to experience!

The people seem a little rough around the edges at first, but as you get to know and understand the country as a whole, you really fall in love with the place! And the people!!! And the history... WOW! It is incredibly rich in history and the lessons it can teach you. The entire experience is one I would love for the world to have.

As my next stop, I have my eyes set on Japan. I mean, could anyone argue that this is one of the best places to go and visit? It is so colourful, exciting, and it is an incredibly well-structured country. This will definitely be my next stop! What I would give for just a week... I’d get on a plane and go tomorrow if I could! But I have no doubt that it’ll be worth the wait.


Minet – Language Desk Spanish Executive

I have visited Mendoza, Argentina and really enjoyed it as it is a picturesque city and a nice “snowy” destination.

Choosing a bucket list destination is very difficult, but Italy is one of the many dream destinations I have as it is so historic.


Vicki – Senior Inventory & Demand Executive

Last year we visited Bridport, which is located in Dorset in the UK. It was a lovely staycation as there is so much to do in Dorset, as you have Monkey World, Lullwoth cove (which is absolutely stunning and my little one loved having a dip in the sea……fully clothed ha ha), Weymouth etc.

We went with my four-year-old and his grandparents, and each day we found activities that kept everyone amused, although it definitely helped that the UK had an Indian summer, so we had gorgeous weather in September. We will be looking to visit Bridport again in the future.

One of my ultimate holidays was my year of travelling in Australia, as I saw so many wonderful destinations that were all so different and took your breath away in their own way.

One of my favourite trips in Australia was to Darwin in the Northern Territory, as this is where you felt that you saw the real Australia. We were in the outback and each night we slept under the stars. It was truly an experience I will never forget.

Although on the other side, I also loved staying in Sydney (this is where I spent a good few months, as I lived in Sydney) as it’s a city that is constantly buzzing when you are in the centre, however you drive 10 minutes out and you reach the most stunning beaches (eg Coogee and Bondi), where the beach vibe is so relaxed.

Australia truly has a destination for everyone, whether you want to go on an adventure through the Bungle Bungles, want some thrill-seeking fun by heading to mission beach for white water rafting or skydiving, want to relax on any of the stunning beaches (although the most stunning is definitely Cable Beach in broom or the Whitsundays), or head to the city for a hustling bustling nightlife. I would love to head back to Australia one day.

This year we are having another staycation, and I am heading with my husband and 4-year-old to the New Forest in the UK. This (I am hoping) will be a nice relaxing holiday, as we are staying within the forest, so we can take my little one bike riding lots. However we also plan to go to Paultons Park, Beaulieu, Lymington, so we can see some sights.

The holiday on top of my bucket list is to take my little one to Disneyland in America when he is slightly older. Myself and my husband went there for our honeymoon and it was truly the most magical experience (even as adults), and I can't wait to share this with my child and see his face.


Valentina – Purchasing Manager

Recently, I’ve visited Sofia, Bulgaria – a very cool destination for a city break! Lot of history, good food, and many local NGOs to book a walking city tour and other activities with. It is not expensive at all, which helps.

Peru has been one of my favourite destinations, though. Machu Picchu is one of the most mind-blowing site I have ever seen.

This year I am planning to travel to Crete in Greece. It is a well-known destination for summer holidays, but this island is rich in treasures and archaeological sites to be discovered. Traditions, culture, and nature make this island a dream destination all year round.

The Philippines is on my bucket list – the nature is just incredible.


Ruargh – Front End Developer

In the past year, I did a motorbike trip through Botswana, Victoria Falls, and Namibia, which was pretty amazing. But the best destination I’ve been to was Timbuktu, where I enjoyed Christmas on the dunes.

This year, I’m planning a trip to Zanzibar, but my all-time dream destination is Antarctica – while it’s still there – because it is unique, remote, extreme, and exceptional, and because I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll never be able to go to space in my lifetime (which would otherwise be on top of my bucket list).


Vicky – Content Executive

I love travelling and try to go as often as I can. In the past year, I travelled to the Portuguese Islands on the MSC Sinfonia, which was a really wonderful value-for-money experience. This trip made me fall in love with cruises – your accommodation, travel, food, and a fair bit of entertainment are built into the price, making it really easy to budget upfront for.

The islands themselves were great to visit. The locals were friendly, the beer was great, and there were lots of beach activities to get involved in. The ship staff were also great – it’s a really well-oiled machine, and they’re great at getting masses of people wherever they need to be without too much trouble. I was very impressed.

We had a balcony room, which meant that we always had an ocean view, and it was very relaxing to sit with a cup of coffee and watch the sun sink into the sea.

The best place I’ve ever been, though, has got to be Zanzibar. The beaches are white, the water is warm, the people are friendly, and even though everything is priced in USD, it is great value for money. If there is one place I’d love to visit every year, it would be Zanzibar.

I’ve also climbed Kilimanjaro in Tanzania – and that was another incredible experience! They make it as easy as possible for you, with sherpas that carry most of your belongings and cook and serve you, and yet it is still a very tough climb! You have to even start for the summit in the middle of the night to ensure you get to the top and back to camp on the same day. Hiking at night on the steep, slippery slope is an incredible challenge – but reaching the top is an experience that cannot be described. It’s simply incredible.

Later this year, I’m hoping to go on another cruise in the Mediterranean. We haven’t ironed out the details yet, but we’ll most likely start in Venice and then take it from there. Ideally, it will include Greece, which is on my bucket list.

Also on my bucket list is Bali, New York, Vietnam, Croatia – and many more cruises around the world. But really, I’m happy to go anywhere in the world. I just love to travel and experience new things.


Been anywhere interesting recently? Or do you have any exciting upcoming plans to share? Let us know in the comments!

 

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