Our travel expert reveals which type of holiday is best for you

Northern lights in Norway

Want to know how to spend your precious annual leave? Find out which holiday type suits you best…

When you’ve only got a 20-or-so days in the annual leave bank, it can be hard to know how to spend your precious time off. Holiday planning can be stressful, so you want to make sure you get the perfect balance of relaxing time, activities and new experiences.

Whether you’re a sight-seeing queen or more of a beach bum, we’ve got holiday ideas for you. Find out which types of holidays you should choose below:

Types of holidays - which are best for you?

Best holiday for relaxing: a beach break

There may be no more relaxing sound than that of the ocean crashing on the shore, and so spending some time at the beach is the best holiday to choose if you really want to wind down. Pick a beachfront hotel and you’ll likely get the best of both worlds – use of a swimming pool, plus easy access to the beach itself.

Where to try it: We love Martinhal’s Sagres property in Portugal, where luxurious villas, apartments and hotel rooms overlook the deep-blue Atlantic ocean.

Best holiday for hitting multiple destinations: an ocean cruise

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If you’re the kind of person that likes to pack in as much as possible to your trips, you should consider an ocean cruise. This form of travel is the best way to see lots of different places all within one trip. Plus, there’s very little stress involved in just getting on and off a ship, so it’s often quite relaxing. There are cruises for all sorts of traveller too. Adventure cruising explores places like the Arctic and Antarctic, while there are more traditional Caribbean cruises, Mediterranean cruises and the Middle East. All include exciting shore excursions you can join to really make the most of your visit to each place.

Where to try it:Northern Europe is one of the most popular destinations for a cruise, and travellers book these itineraries again and again. Travel with MSC Cruises and you could explore Denmark, Finland and even the Norwegian Fjords on one of their luxurious ships, complete with infinity pool and crystal staircase.

Best holiday for independent exploring: a city break

Marrakesh city break

If you want to be in charge of your own travel destiny, a city break is the holiday type for you. Book yourself a flight and hotel package in a new city, get yourself a good guidebook and hit the ground running in search of whatever interests you. Don’t forget to factor in time to be spontaneous though. You might meet other travellers to go out with, or find out about a special event or attraction you’ve not heard of, so make time for following your inner explorer.

Where to try it:Marrakesh is the ultimate city break adventure. Come for the sights and sounds and stay for the shopping – there’s haggling to be done in the souks here. Book into a luxury hotel, like the Royal Mansour, where you can escape the chaos of the city at the end of a busy day.

Best holiday for going slow: a river cruise

Douro, Portugal

Sometimes holidays can feel a bit rushed. They often whizz by quickly and it feels like it’s over before it even began. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Slow travel is the perfect antidote, and river cruising is the answer. Imagine sitting on deck, wine in hand, watching vineyards, farms and homesteads slowly pass you by as you soak up the scenery and sunshine. Stopping off in cities and towns, you’ll see a slower, smoother side to whichever destination you choose.

Where to try it: Take a boat down the Douro with Riviera Travel for a serene way to sample Portugal’s best food, wine and to see its top cities.

READ MORE:Ocean cruises vs river cruises – how to choose

Best holiday for wildlife encounters: a safari

Forget bird watching in your back garden or searching for seals off a rainy Welsh coastline. For the ultimate wild encounter, you need to go on a safari holiday. Take to the African bush somewhere like South Africa or Namibia and you’ll have the opportunity to see elephants, giraffes, lions and leopards in their natural habitat. You’ve got to be an early-riser, though, as game drives take place at dawn for the best spotting opportunities. Dusk and after dark drives are equally exciting, but the best way to really get up close and personal is on a walking safari.

Lion in Africa

Where to try it: Zambia claims to be the ‘home of the walking safari’, and so for unique and thrilling encounters this is the place to come. Stay in luxury tented camps within the South Luangwa National Park, take a walking safari to see the bush from a lion’s-eye view, and enjoy sun downers overlooking the stunning scenery.

Whichever holiday type you choose, just remember to have fun and relax! That all-important annual leave ought to be used wisely.

Lottie Gross

Lottie is an NCTJ-trained journalist, an experienced travel writer and an expert in creating compelling digital content. 

Lottie has been in the travel writing business for nearly a decade and has writing and photography bylines at The Telegraph, The Times, The Independent, the i and National Geographic Traveller. She's done broadcast work for BBC Radio 4 and have contributed to a number of guidebooks and coffee table titles during her career.