The appetite for travel has remained high throughout 2023 and looks set to stay that way for some time to come.
After being deprived of being able to travel for some time, Americans have got the bug back in some style as they seek new adventures to new places.
This demand has led to many major airlines expanding their offerings and giving travelers better choices of destinations and easier ways to get there.
A great example is the recent announcement of service expansion by leading airline United.
As part of a significant winter announcement, United has launched the first and only transpacific service to Manila in the Philippines, and from December 8 it will begin the first and only non-stop flight between the U.S. and Christchurch in New Zealand.
These two amazing destinations have always been well worth visiting, but thanks to these new routes that both fly out of San Francisco, it just got that little bit easier to tick them off your bucket list.
Why should you make the effort? Allow us to explain…
Christchurch, New Zealand
The leafy city of Christchurch is located in Pegasus Bay on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island and is the country’s second-largest settlement by population (about 380,000).
Around the city center, you will see gleaming modern architecture alongside some of the oldest buildings in New Zealand – it’s an intriguing and eclectic mix.
The city is easily walkable and features wide open public parks such as the famous Hagley Park, which also hosts a modest cricket stadium where many international matches are played.
Christchurch also has a great culinary scene with a host of restaurants and cafés serving food from all around the world – some of my favorites include Indian restaurant Arjee Bhajee and Unknown Chapter Coffee Roasters.
The city suffered a catastrophic earthquake in 2011, and a lot of time, money, and effort has been spent on restorations. Besides the natural disasters, New Zealand is generally a very safe location to visit.
One of the best things about Christchurch is that it’s a terrific launchpad to explore some of New Zealand’s most amazing and iconic scenery.
You are just a few hours’ drive away from magnificent destinations such as Lake Tekapo, a stunning, bright blue glacial lake that’s home to the famous Church of the Good Shepherd.
A little further afield and you can take in the breathtaking vistas of Mount Cook (Aoraki) National Park, where you can witness New Zealand’s highest peak and see a kind of raw nature that you might not have expected from such a small country.
Don’t think twice about hiring a car or campervan and exploring the Canterbury region that Christchurch is part of, or even further afield on the South Island.
Hot, humid, noisy, and chaotic – it might sound unappealing, but cities with these characteristics are often some of the most memorable you will ever travel to.
Manila is one such city. Covering an area of about 16 square miles, the capital of the Philippines is a sprawling metropolis where the heavy influences of Spain, China, and the United States are merged in a cultural melting pot like no other.
Many of the unmissable sights of Manilla are located within its walled old town, Intramuros, the fortified center that was the heartbeat of the city during colonial times.
You can get around the city relatively easily via its LRT metro system, meaning you should be able to make time for other iconic attractions such as the National Gallery and the National Museum of the Filipino People.
As you’d expect from such a bustling metropolis, there is no shortage of great places to eat.
TripAdvisor’s latest ratings score Sky Deck at The Bayleaf Hotel, Le Bar, and Market Café as three of the best places to sample local and international cuisine.
The city was also recently named as one of the top 10 fastest-growing destinations for digital nomads – so maybe that would be the best way to really get to know it deeply?
Like Christchurch above, Manila serves as a great entry point to explore the rest of what the Philippines has to offer, including the pristine beaches of tropical islands such as Siquijor and Palawan.
↓ Join Our Community ↓
The Travel Off Path Community FB group has all the latest reopening news, conversations, and Q&A’s happening daily!
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR LATEST POSTS
Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path’s latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox.
This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com