Tommy Lloyd
Author: Tommy Lloyd, Managing Director

Tommy has over 15 years experience within the insurance industry, and his primary focus is helping travellers find the right cover for their medical conditions.

14 min read

While 2020 may have pressed pause on our international travel and holiday plans, it doesn’t mean that we’ve stopped thinking about travel. In fact, a recent study by Medical Travel Compared revealed 83% of us are feeling optimistic about travel in 2021. To reveal the full extent of Britain’s wanderlust for global exploration, we’ve analysed Google searches for every county in the UK, uncovering the most searched for holiday destinations for 2021. 

These are the top 10 destinations of choice as revealed by the country’s collective online Google searches since the start of the year.

1) The Maldives

Famed for glorious equatorial weather and renowned for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the Maldives is the number one search destination for Brits. The postcard-perfect island paradise is a magnet for beach lovers wanting to relax on the seashore or for those wanting to explore the ocean.

Where is the Maldives? 

The independent island nation, consisting of about 1,200 islands, is located in the warm, north-central Indian Ocean.

Things to do in the Maldives 

It’s been referred to as a stunning piece of heaven on earth. Watersports and activities are plentiful with scuba-diving, surfing, flyboarding and snorkelling all highly recommended. Swim with mantas, explore sunken shipwrecks or marvel at bejewelled coral reefs. Don’t forget to eat like a local; each island is renowned for having its own unique signature dish.

The currency of the Maldives is the Maldivian Rufiyaa. 

When is the best time to visit the Maldives? 

Travel reports and reviews indicate that the best time to visit is between November and April. Although this is peak season, you will avoid the monsoon period so it’s worth paying a bit more for better weather.

Olhuveli Island, Maldives

2) Mexico

What do ancient Aztec ruins, tacos, mariachi bands, tequila and football all have in common? Mexico of course. This dream destination is second on the list for Britons’ 2021 holiday plans, and top of the list for Scots.

Where is Mexico? 

The United Mexican States is located in the southern part of North America, bordering the USA to the north, and the Central American countries of Belize and Guatemala in the south. 

Things to do in Mexico

Mexico is a magnificent treat for the senses. The country’s rich historical heritage offers a walk down memory lane with archaeological sites, like ancient Mayan pyramids and cities proffering a glimpse into ancient civilisations. 

If it’s the beaches and warm weather you’re after then you have a choice between the vibey, bustling resorts along the Pacific Ocean or the uber-cool Yucatan of the Caribbean Sea. Don’t forget about the food and festivals! Cinco de Mayo and Carnival are just some of the huge celebrations that take place in the country. 

The currency of Mexico is the Mexican Peso.

When is the best time to visit Mexico?

It really depends on what you want to do while you’re in the country. December to April is the best time to visit the beaches because this is the dry season, but you can also expect larger crowds and higher prices at the resorts, tourist attractions and restaurants.

Tulum, Mexico

3) Bali

Beautiful Bali is number three on the list. This dream vacation spot is like something straight out of a tropical fairytale. The island destination offers visitors a back-to-nature experience with unspoilt beaches, lush green forests, volcanic mountains and age-old temples.

Where is Bali?

Bali is an island and province of Indonesia located in the Java Sea. The island covers an area of roughly 5,700 kilometres squared and has a population of more than 4 million people. Bali is Indonesia’s most popular tourist destination and welcomes millions of tourists to its shores each year.

Things to do in Bali

Bali is renowned for offering some of the best surfing conditions all year round. Even if you’re not a surfer, you will be enthralled with the sandy shores and sparkling waters of beaches like Padang Padang and Pandawa. Enjoy a cultural experience and visit some of the sacred temples, like Elephant Cave and Tanah Lot. We highly recommend taking a deep breath and enjoying an exotic sundowner while watching a beautiful sunset. 

The currency of Bali is the Indonesian Rupiah.

When is the best time to visit Bali?

Bali has two distinct seasons - the rainy season and the dry season. We recommend visiting during the dry season which runs from April through to October. Be advised though that the peak season is July and August, so you may want to avoid those months if you’re trying to nab a bargain.

Tanah Lot, Bali

4) Dubai

The perfect weekend break comes in at number four on the list. It’s been a hub for international trade, travel and tourism for several years, offering visitors a spectacular display of opulent living and decadent lifestyles. 

Where is Dubai?

Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates located on the eastern Arabian Peninsula along the Persian Gulf coastline. 

Things to do in Dubai

The traditional souks and upscale malls give shopaholics the opportunity to shop until they drop. Dubai Mall alone provides shoppers with an Olympic size ice rink, indoor theme park and an aquarium! The iconic Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest mega-skyscraper and boasts a one-of-a-kind stratospheric bird’s eye-view of the famous city.

The currency of Dubai is the Dirham.

When is the best time to visit Dubai?

Dubai can get quite hot, so it’s recommended to visit in winter, which is November to March. You can expect cool temperatures of about 25℃ at this time of the year. However, it’s also peak season, so you should book in advance to avoid disappointment.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

5) Thailand

Thailand is destination number five and has long been a favourite holiday choice for British tourists. The country is a spiritual oasis of gorgeous beaches, wellness retreats, delicious cuisine, ancient temples and cosmopolitan cities.

Where is Thailand?

The country is located at the centre of the Indochinese Peninsula in Southeast Asia. Thailand shares its borders with Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos and Myanmar. 

Things to do in Thailand

Phang Nga Bay, located near Phuket, Similan and Phi Phi Islands are some of the best tropical beach getaway destinations in Asia. Visitors are treated to picture-perfect turquoise waters and marine life, not to mention the awesome nightlife. 

If you’re looking for a more spiritual retreat, opt to visit the 400-year-old Ayutthaya temple or book a stay at a wellness resort where you treat yourself to an authentic Thai massage. 

The currency of Thailand is the Thai Baht.

When is the best time to visit Thailand?

Whether you’re a history buff or a beach bum, we recommend visiting during the cooler months of October to February. You can expect average temperatures of between 28-30℃, which is perfect for rest and relaxation.

Phuket, Thailand

6) Turkey

This transcontinental country has always been a bustling hub of visitors for centuries, so it’s no surprise that it comes in at number six. Who could resist a visit to Europe’s ‘capital of culture’, which remains the fifth most popular tourist destination in the world and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site? 

Where is Turkey?

Turkey is unique in that it is part of both Europe and Asia. The country is located on the Anatolian Peninsula in Western Asia and the Balkan Peninsula in Southeastern Europe. 

Things to do in Turkey

The country is a virtual smorgasbord of choice offering visitors glorious Mediterranean beaches and ancient cities dating back to the Ottoman and Byzantine civilisations. If you’re in Istanbul you should visit the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, built in the 6th century. 

Another great option is to take a leisurely boat cruise along the Aegean coastline to enjoy the unique coastal towns and beaches along the way. 

The currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira.

When is the best time to visit Turkey?

April through to October is the best time to visit Turkey. The weather is warm enough to enjoy the beaches and cool enough to pursue outdoor activities and exploring.

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

7) Barbados

Barbados may be small compared to other countries but it’s still top of mind for the Brits, coming in at number seven. It’s a favourite destination of choice for those sun-lovers seeking an authentic Bajan experience and a laid back Caribbean getaway experience. 

Where is Barbados?

The island country is located in the West Indies, in the Caribbean region of North America. The island itself covers an area of just 432 kilometres squared and has a modest population of roughly 280,000 people. 

Things to do in Barbados

Sun, sea and surf are part of the real deal in Barbados, along with some delicious local rum. There are an estimated 1,800 rum shops on the island itself and the country is literally surrounded by perfect sandy shores and cool waters. So, spend your day relaxing at a beach or honing your skill with a kiteboard or on a surfboard and sailboat. The nightlife is also pretty fabulous so save some time and energy to venture out and take it all in. 

The currency of Barbados is the Barbadian Dollar.

When is the best time to visit Barbados?

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when to visit Barbados considering that the weather is good all year round but the dry season runs from December to May and the rainy season from June to November.

Barbados

8) Greece

Greece, the crossroads of Europe and famed as being one of the world’s top travel destinations, slides in at number eight. The birthplace of western civilisation offers so much variety for a visitor with its picturesque islands, ancient sites, rich culture and tasty food.

Where is Greece?

Greece is located on the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe and is surrounded by famous bodies of water with the Aegean, Ionian, Cretan and Mediterranean Seas all taking up territories within the country’s watery borders.

Things to do in Greece

It wouldn’t be very Greek if you didn’t try some glorious island hopping. With over 50 islands to choose from, rent a sailboat or catch a ride on a ferry to explore islands like the Cyclades Islands or Santorini and Mykonos. 

If the idea of island hopping isn’t appealing, you could opt to soak in the arts and culture with a trip to ancient historical sites, like Delphi (once considered to be the centre of the world), Corinth or Cape Sounio. Find medical travel insurance for holidays in Europe. 

The currency of Greece is the Euro.

When is the best time to visit Greece?

The best time to visit Greece is during spring, which is May to June, and autumn, from September to October. This will give you the perfect type of weather for exploring and island hopping.

Oia, Santorini

9) Jamaica

The island getaway, Jamaica, comes in at number nine. The unique culture of the country makes it a hotspot for romantic interludes, family breaks, weekend rewinds, weddings and trips with friends. It’s no wonder that Jamaicans welcome more than four million eager tourists each year. Will you be one of them?

Where is Jamaica?

The island country is located in the Caribbean Sea close to Cuba, Haiti, the Cayman Islands and the Dominican Republic. It covers about 10,000 square kilometres and lists the tourist sector as one of its chief earning revenues. 

Things to do in Jamaica

The beaches are breathtaking. Revel in the warm, tropical weather by lounging at some of the world’s most iconic beaches, like Montego Bay or Negril or, be a bit daring and experience a range of watersports and activities, like snorkelling or horse-riding on the beaches. 

We don’t need to tell you that Jamaican culture is one of a kind, but do take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the experience with a live Reggae show or Dancehall street dance, and don’t leave the island without trying the amazing jerk chicken!

The currency of Jamaica is the Jamaican Dollar.

When is the best time to visit Jamaica?

Do you really need a specific time to visit Jamaica? The temperatures and weather are pretty fabulous all year round. It is a little more wet and humid around May to August, and peak season starts in December, tapering off by April.

Jamaica

10) Cuba

The largest Caribbean island rounds off the list at number 10. Cuba has a magical, lost-in-time appeal that speaks to the discerning traveller. Be it the sultry salsa music, colonial towns, history of revolution or vintage cars, there’s an enticing attraction to visit this unique country.

Where is Cuba?

The Republic of Cuba is located in the area where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean meet. It is relatively close to the USA, Bahamas, Haiti and the Cayman Islands.

Things to do in Cuba

The beaches are tranquil (and uncrowded), and there’s Latin-inspired music everywhere! You could quite literally find a place to sit down and be entertained for your whole trip. However, it’s worth mentioning that there are no less than nine World Heritage Sites located in Cuba, like the Viñales Valley and the San Pedro de la Roca Castle. Otherwise, it’s definitely worth exploring the amazing scene in Old Havana. Get some snapshots of the local people, architecture and Cadillacs. 

The currency of Cuba is the Cuban Peso and Cuban Convertible Peso.

When is the best time to visit Cuba?

Cuba enjoys a tropical climate, which means there are two very different seasons: the dry season from December to May and the rainy season, with very high humidity, from June to October. We recommend visiting during the dry season when the temperatures are a lovely 26-30℃ and the skies are eternally sunny.

Havana, Cuba

Methodology for Study

Google search data was used to establish the search volume in each county for the terms ‘[destination] 2021’ and ‘[destination] holiday 2021’ for the most popular holiday destinations among Brits. 

The total searches per county were added together to establish the most searched for destinations per region (based on NUTS 1 statistical regions). 

Data was taken from the period of January 2020 - June 2020.

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