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The 50 Best Places to Travel in 2022

From far-flung destinations to hometown favorites, 2022 is the year to get back out there and turn your dream trips into reality.

Since 1971, Travel + Leisure editors have followed one mission: to inform, inspire, and guide travelers to have deeper, more meaningful experiences. T+L's editors have traveled to countries all over the world, having flown, sailed, road tripped, and taken the train countless miles. They've visited small towns and big cities, hidden gems and popular destinations, beaches and mountains, and everything in between. With a breadth of knowledge about destinations around the globe, air travel, cruises, hotels, food and drinks, outdoor adventure, and more, they are able to take their real-world experience and provide readers with tried-and-tested trip ideas, in-depth intel, and inspiration at every point of a journey.

Planning new adventures as a new year approaches is always a thrill, but finding the best places to visit in 2022 is unique. After two years of border closures, cruise cancellations, and travel restrictions galore , 2022 is the year we hope to get back out there, uninhibited (albeit vaccinated and COVID tested ), return to our favorite destinations, and cross new ones off our lists.

Though the hospitality industry was hit hard by the pandemic, many properties used the forced downtime to renovate rooms, add new amenities, and expand outdoor spaces to offer even more once guests return. 2022 is when many travelers will venture further from home, and even overseas, for the first time since the start of the pandemic, finally reaping the benefits of these valiant efforts.

Although COVID variants remain, regulations are still evolving, and precautions must still be taken, many of the destinations we chose for 2022 offer what we believe travelers are looking for in a post-pandemic world, from hotels with private accommodations to destinations teeming with fresh-air activities . Others, like Las Vegas, are for those who are ready and raring to make up for all the social time they missed — with a few splashy headliners, including Adele and the Raiders, thrown in for good measure.

As cruising makes its comeback , we included unforgettable places to see by water, from Antarctica to the Nile, and as hard-hit destinations like Italy and Asia recover, we found the buzziest reasons to return. Of course we didn't forget about all the stateside gems we got to know while domestic travel was surging, from Alaska and California to Florida and Michigan.

Our 2022 list, organized alphabetically, doesn't hold back, with aspirational trips as far away as India, Mozambique, Qatar, and even space — but we're also including hometown favorites, like Walt Disney World and its new Star Wars hotel ; the wellness retreats of beautiful Sedona; and the simple pleasures of small-town, farm-to-table living in Franklin, Tennessee. Because no matter what type of trip you've been dreaming of, we want to help you turn 2022 into the year you get back out there and make it a reality.

— Edited by Nina Ruggiero and Scott Bay

1. Abruzzo, Italy

Stretching from the heart of the Apennines to the Adriatic Sea on the peninsula's southeastern side, Abruzzo, Italy has long been one of the country's most overlooked destinations despite its unspoiled villages, picturesque Trabocchi Coast, and stunning natural escapes. Over the past few years, however, it has gone from a sleepy underdog to an ambitious harbinger of slow travel, sustainable gastronomy, and conscious hospitality. Villa Corallo , a 19th-century mansion near Civitella del Tronto was transformed into a five-star hotel in 2019. Dimore Montane , an eco-lodge opened in 2020 in Majella National Park, marries glamping with environmentally-friendly facilities with a zero waste policy. Meanwhile, restaurants like Bottega Culinaria in San Vito Chietino and Materia Prima in Castel di Sangro are redefining the region as one of Italy's most exciting food hotspots for their innovative and sustainable takes on local produce and traditional dishes (in case Niko Romito's three-Michelin-starred Reale wasn't enough). And completing construction this Spring is Via Verde dei Trabocchi: a cycling and pedestrian path along the Adriatic sea that's being built on a disused railway route. — Marianna Cerini

With many international borders closed over the last two years, many eager U.S. travelers' eyes turned to Alaska. The vast state, famous for its towering, snow-capped peaks, pristine wilderness, massive national parks, and colorful locals, made for a dynamic destination with no passport required. But as borders reopen, interest in the 49th state is showing no signs of slowing down. Alaska's tourism board said early forecasts are projecting that more than 1.57 million cruise ship passengers could visit southeast Alaska in summer 2022. That's an 18% jump from 2019, the previous record year. Many perennial favorite cruise lines , like Holland America, will be returning to full strength after a non-existent 2020 and abbreviated 2021. Others, like Windstar Cruises, UnCruise, and Hurtigruten are rolling out fresh itineraries or are launching new ships. On dry land, Alaska is set to see myriad new offerings and events. In Juneau, the Sealaska Heritage Institute will open their Arts Campus (where visitors will be able to learn about Alaska Native art and culture) and will host Celebration , one of the largest gatherings of Indigenous peoples. In Anchorage, Fur Rendezvous , Alaska's oldest and largest winter festival, will be back from Feb. 25 to March 6 (which also happens to be peak aurora season ). The event hosts activities like the Running of the Reindeer and the Outhouse Races, before culminating with the 50th running of the iconic Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race . — Bailey Berg

3. Anguilla

This easy-going Caribbean gem is simpler than ever to get to with American Airlines launching the first-ever nonstop, direct flight from Miami on Dec. 11. Private charter flights by Tradewind Aviation have also resumed service to the island. And the just-opened Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club has a fleet of jets to ferry guests from key U.S. cities. The sprawling luxury resort will include a few restaurants overseen by chef Abram Bissell, formerly of Eleven Madison Park, The NoMad, and The Modern. Quintessence , a boutique luxury resort with perks like butler service and a 4:1 staff-to-guest ratio, is opening a more affordable annex of suites called Quinn that will debut in 2022 (along with a Champagne cellar tasting room and Art Bar). New Restaurant Uchu at Belmond Cap Juluca is taking inspiration from Belmond's collection of properties in Peru. Named after the Quechuan word for spice, the menu will feature contemporary Peruvian cuisine inspired by three of the country's regions: the coast, the jungle, and the highlands. — Scott Bay

4. Antarctica

The pandemic shutdown created a compelling reason to visit Antarctica in 2022: See how the whales, seals, and penguins react after nearly two years without seeing humans. New polar-class expedition ships and new ways to get to the White Continent are reasons to pack your boots too. Viking Expeditions will be in Antarctica for the first time in 2022 with new, twin 378-passenger expedition ships. Ponant's new 270-passenger Le Commandant Charcot introduces eco-friendlier sailing, as the first hybrid-electric ship fueled by liquified natural gas (rather than heavy fuel). Quark Expeditions' long-awaited 199-passenger Ultramarine delivers exciting heli-hiking adventures via two eight-seat twin-engine helicopters. Hit a craps table in between icy exploration on the luxurious new all-suite 200-passenger Crystal Endeavor . Silversea Cruises' posh, 144-passenger, all-suite Silver Explorer returns with a debut travel option: Skip the notorious (for rough water) Drake Passage and catch a private flight directly from Chile to Antarctica to board the ship. — Fran Golden

American travelers have long loved the Bahamas for its crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, and sunshine just about 50 miles off the coast of Florida, but there are even more reasons to visit the island nation in 2022. Baha Mar on the Island of New Providence has a brand new water park equipped with everything from a lazy river to a surf simulator, and day passes are available for purchase to those who aren't resort guests. For more rest and relaxation, journey to the outer islands of the Bahamas. While charter flights will get you exactly where you need to go, Crystal Cruises is offering a Bahamas-centric cruise that brings guests to some of the quieter and more remote islands. On its mid-July cruise, guests will embark and disembark from Nassau and then be whisked away via "6-star" service to the islands of Bimini, Great Exuma, San Salvador, and Long Island. Beyond the beach, don't forget to indulge in some local food and culture. The Island archipelago is famous for its conch, stew fish, and rock lobster. From late April through early May, Carnival is celebrated in Nassau and back after a pandemic hiatus. Keep an eye out for the famous sound and dance of the junkanoo. — Jamie Aranoff

6. Barbados

Whether you want a relaxing all-inclusive stay or a vibrant vacation filled with dining and nightlife, Barbados has you covered. Nowhere is that more evident than the pedestrian-friendly South Coast, which is teeming with new resorts and restaurants. The O2 Beach Club & Spa is an all-inclusive resort set on the white sands of Dover Beach, with three pools, six dining options, seven bars, and the Acqua spa, featuring the only hammam treatment room on the island. It joins other luxurious South Coast hotels, including Sandals and Sea Breeze Beach House . If you can pull yourself away from the resort pools, head along the coast to Worthing Square Food Garden, an outdoor food hall with 20 vendors serving dishes from around the Caribbean. Or stroll down the mile-long boardwalk for easy access to ocean-front food and drinks at local favorites like Champers, Salt Café, Tiki Bar, and Chill Café & Bar. — Kevin Gray

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

A favorite of adventure travelers for its rainforests and divers who explore the Great Blue Hole and expansive barrier reef, Belize offers an abundance of casual spots and a handful of luxe resorts. The latest arrival is Alaia Belize, an Autograph Collection Hotel , in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, opened mid-2021 with plans to add to its already extensive guest room, suite, and oceanfront villa accommodations. Major airlines are also recognizing the destination's potential with nonstop flights and convenient connections from most U.S. cities. In addition to United and Delta's nonstop flights from Houston and Atlanta, respectively, Alaska Airlines added nonstop service from Los Angeles and Seattle to Belize City in November, and Frontier Airlines will start weekly nonstop flights from Denver and Orlando. — Patricia Doherty

8. Budapest, Hungary

Very few places in the world capture both old-world charm and elegant modernity like Hungary's capital city, and Budapest's latest 130-room luxury hotel, Matild Palace , is a shining example. The neo-baroque palace-turned-hotel, which opened last summer in the city's District V, is a UNESCO-protected site that once housed the city's royalty. The hotel is now home to Wolfgang Punk's famed restaurant, Spago , the first of its kind in central Europe. It also hosts the Duchess bar — a rooftop "liquor library" that mixes craft cocktails using local wines and pálinka, Hungarian fruit brandy, which can be enjoyed alongside panoramic views of the Danube river. Surrounded by 22 wine regions, Budapest is a city for oenophiles. Enjoy a glass of Kékfrankos or Kadarka in the Castle District's newly opened wine bar, Takler Borbár Buda , founded by one of the country's renowned winemaking families. Don't leave the city without visiting Marlou , a biodynamic wine bar near the Hungarian State Opera, and Portobello , an unassuming coffee and natural wine bar around the corner from Matild Palace. — Stephanie Andrews

9. Burgundy, France

The region of Burgundy is known for — you guessed it — its Burgundy wine, but French wine isn't the only reason Burgundy is a must-visit in 2022. In the spring, the region's capital city of Dijon will welcome the Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin (International City of Gastronomy and Wine), an expansive complex with a cooking school, a new hotel, a handful of restaurants, and a wine cellar with over 250 by-the-glass offerings. The new project is perfectly situated at the starting point of Burgundy's famed wine route — Route des Grands Crus — which runs from Dijon to Santenay and produces some of the country's most well-regarded wines, including pinot noir, chardonnay, and sauvignon blanc. — Evie Carrick

10. British Virgin Islands

Within the Caribbean, the 60 islands that comprise the British Virgin Islands have long held the reputation of luxury draped in relaxation. And now it's doubling down on that brand of island spirit with Richard Branson's second private island, the 125-acre Moskito Island that opened in October and sits right across from his first BVI paradise, Necker Island (which received a serious upgrade when it reopened last year after a two-year closure). The new destination will eventually have 10 private estates that can be rented through Virgin Limited Edition , but among the ones already available are Point Estate, starting at $17,500 a night, and Oasis Estate for $19,000. But Moskito isn't the only shiny new reason to visit BVI. Proving the area's resilience following the devastation after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Saba Rock , the private island long known for its diving, went through a complete reconstruction before reopening in October; the Bitter End Yacht Club reopened in December with BVI's first over-the-water bungalows; and Oil Nut Bay will expand in early 2022 with new villas, a watersports center, and spa. Also on tap for 2022, the solar-powered White Bay Villas and new hilltop suites at Long Bay Beach Resort . And with the Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival returning in the spring of 2022 after being canceled for two years, BVI is proving it's truly back and stronger than ever. — Rachel Chang

11. Costa Smeralda, Sardinia

You're likely to glimpse Europe's pro athlete and yachting crowds at Marriott's four hotels on the Costa Smeralda, the glitzy Italian destination known for its Caribbean-like beaches and luxury resorts. Its glamorous Hotel Cala di Volpe has gradually been unveiling room renovations alongside new dining options, including its Harrods Suite, with a roof terrace and sea-facing plunge pool, and BeefBar 's first Italian outpost. The entire area is one big " Billionaire Experience ," but Formula One and entertainment mogul Flavio Briatore snagged the term for his new dining and nightlife venue in designer shopping destination Porto Cervo. For more of a low-key, family-friendly escape, the Baglioni Resort Sardinia opened an hour south in San Teodoro in June, overlooking the stunning Tavolara Marine Reserve . — Nina Ruggiero

12. Crete, Greece

The Greek Islands have long been a perennial favorite vacation destination for discerning travelers, and Crete, the largest of the 227 islands in the archipelago, deserves a spot atop your must-see list. Yes, it's a place where you can find the white-washed buildings and blue roofs you've lusted after on Instagram for years, and a spot where you can dive into the cerulean blue waters of the Mediterranean at every turn. And of course you can dig deep into both history and mythology as humans have lived on the island since the 7th millennium B.C ., not to mention the fact that Crete is the birthplace of Zeus . It's little surprise then, with all this beauty and history, that Crete continues to harbor a rich creative community, mostly centered in the neighborhood of Chania. There, visitors can peruse works in museums like the Mediterranean Architecture Center , or seek out unique pieces in galleries like the Municipal Art Gallery or the Redd Gallery . To visit Crete, hop aboard a sailing with Silversea , which takes guests to Crete and several other stellar islands, or book a stay at the Blue Palace Elounda, a Luxury Collection Resort , named one of the Top 10 Greece Resort Hotels in Travel + Leisure 's World's Best Awards, 2021. — Stacey Leasca

13. Walt Disney World

The " World's Most Magical Celebration " — Walt Disney World's 18-month-long 50th anniversary event that kicked off on Oct. 1 — continues through 2022 with enchanting touches and highly anticipated ride and hotel openings. Star Wars : Galactic Starcruiser will begin offering its immersive, two-night adventures in a galaxy far, far away on March 1. The interactive, choose-your-own-adventure experience will have guests wielding lightsabers, sleeping on the ship, brushing shoulders with Star Wars characters, eating intergalactic cuisine, and maybe even going on a secret mission, making this a truly unique experience that you can't find anywhere else in the world. Other 2022 openings include the Guardians of the Galaxy : Cosmic Rewind indoor coaster at Epcot, slated for summer. — Elizabeth Rhodes

14. Doha, Qatar

As we ask ourselves what cities of the future should look like, we naturally look around for examples. Places like Shanghai, Tokyo, and New York City seem to fit the description on paper, but I'd argue that no city better encapsulates that definition than Doha, the capital of Qatar. There is so much to discover — from East-West/West-East , a series of four steel monoliths created by sculptor Richard Serra to the Museum of Islamic Art , the massive 560,000-square-foot gallery. Eat at Syrian comfort food spot Damasca One, Em Sherif a rooftop spot that serves up authentic regional dishes, and the lively corner restaurant Nourlaya Contemporary for Sri Lankan cuisine. Stay at the Mandarin Oriental Doha or Banyan Tree Doha . (Read Robinson's full dispatch on Doha in the July 2021 edition of Travel + Leisure) — Whitney Robinson

15. Edinburgh, Scotland

The Auld Reekie is buzzing with new energy. The highly anticipated Hotel W , designed by Jestico and Whiles in conjunction with Allan Murray Architects, is opening next winter. And several other hotels have recently opened in and around the city — Marine North Berwick , the Market Street hotel , Rusacks St. Andrews , and ship-turned-luxury-hotel Fingal . Gleneagles Townhouse , a first-ever city outpost from the famed Gleneagles estate, is opening in the spring. St James Quarter, a developing area of the city, and where Hotel W is being built, is opening next year with 85 shops, 30 restaurants, and a cinema. New in whisky is the September christening of Johnnie Walker Princes Street . And promising to shake up the scotch scene in the capital city is Leith Distillery , opening in the summer. — Scott Bay

16. Finger Lakes, New York

The Finger Lakes have bolstered their wellness and culinary offerings in recent years, carving out a name for themselves in the luxury travel realm. Inns of Aurora , comprising five historic mansions, debuted a holistic wellness facility in 2021 — set on 350 acres overlooking Cayuga Lake, complete with hydrotherapy pools, meditation areas, and a farm fresh cafe. Forty miles west of Cayuga, The Lakehouse on Canandaigua — situated on, yes, Canandaigua Lake — recently unveiled the Willowbrook Spa, which boasts lakeside barrel sauna sessions among other innovative treatments. Sandwiched between Cayuga and Canandaigua lakes is Seneca Lake, home to the largest of the Finger Lakes wine trails (this might be riesling country, but don't knock the lighter-bodied reds till you try 'em) and foodie draws like the 14-seat F.L.X. Table . Travelers visiting in the coming year will also see the Finger Lakes festival roster return in full force, including Rochester's Lilac Festival in May and International Jazz Festival in July, as well as attractions for the historically inclined road tripper, like Cayuga County's celebration of Harriet Tubman's birth through a number of walking tours and activations rolled out through 2022. — Maya Kachroo-Levine

17. Franklin, Tennessee

Despite its count of more than 80,000 year-round residents, the very walkable Franklin firmly grasps onto its small-town charms , starting with a quintessentially quaint downtown chock-full of shops and restaurants finding shelter in brick storefronts lining the sidewalks. The uninitiated might know this place for its past — Civil War museums, battleground sites, and historical markers telling the stories of a slave market, race riots, and Black soldiers in the U.S. Colored Troop division of the army all offer points of education and reflection. But the southern city has many modern-day draws as well — for starters, an exciting food and drink scene that includes the Tennessee Whiskey Trail and Arrington Vineyards , the largest winery in the region. Musical events and venues abound, too: The Pilgrimage Music Festival is one of the biggest in the state, and the 7,500-seat FirstBank Amphitheater , newly opened inside a former rock quarry, has welcomed the likes of the Jonas Brothers and Santana to its stage. There's also Leiper's Fork , a quirky-cool enclave filled with antique shops and art galleries. Even more brand-new to the scene is Southall , a 325-acre farm and inn with 62 rooms and suites and 16 cottages opening this June. The lush setting amid rolling hills makes active adventures (hiking, biking, kayaking), wellness pursuits (a spa, meditation, yoga, and two outdoor pools), and nourishing food (the restaurant uses ingredients grown, raised, and foraged on the property) easy to find. All of this and more lie just a short, 30-minute drive from bustling Nashville, making it tempting to tack onto a visit to the capital city. — Alisha Prakash

18. Galápagos Islands

The world's largest marine biosphere reserve will expand more than 20,000 square miles next year thanks to a recent presidential decree . The conservation measure seeks to combat illegal fishing by offering increased protection to the thousands of species that populate the archipelago's waters as well as a migration corridor stretching up to Costa Rica used by sharks, whales and other sea life. Come January, travelers can cruise this UNESCO-protected region on new nine-day adventures from Hurtigruten Expeditions and outfitter Metropolitan Touring aboard the 90-guest carbon-neutral MS Santa Cruz II. For a more intimate experience, passengers can book Aqua Expeditions ' seven-suite 164-foot superyacht, Aqua Mare, when it debuts in May. At the end of the year, eco-enthusiasts can sail to lesser-explored islands to spot giant tortoises, sea lions, flightless cormorants, Galápagos penguins, and marine iguanas on Quasar Expeditions ' new sustainable yacht — the 18-passenger M/Y Conservation featuring biodegradable amenities, renewable energy and a carbon-neutral footprint. Those with timid sea legs should check into the locally owned and run Montemar in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. — Nora Walsh

19. Greater Palm Springs, California

Greater Palm Springs is kicking its signature self-care into high gear in the coming year. Taking a cue from its sister property, Sensei Lanai , the new Sensei Porcupine Creek is converting a 230-acre private estate into a luxury wellness experience in Rancho Mirage in 2022. In Palm Springs proper, Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza will celebrate Indigenous art and history alongside the new Spa at Séc-he , where visitors will soak in approximately 12,000-year-old hot springs. Nearby, Fleur Noire Hotel just opened its adults-only casitas and bungalows, with a speakeasy Champagne bar to follow. Unexpectedly, the desert has a budding surf scene — the former Wet 'n Wild waterpark is becoming Palm Springs Surf Club , with a state-of-the-art wave pool, spa, restaurant, and bar; DSRT Surf is set to open a 5.5-acre wave lagoon in Palm Desert; and Kelly Slater himself is bringing a green energy–powered wave basin to Coral Mountain , a proposed new wellness resort with a hotel and residences, set to open in La Quinta by 2023 pending city approvals. And for entertainment outside the splash zone, the $250-million Coachella Valley Arena will host hockey, concerts, and more live events by the end of the year. — Nina Ruggiero

20. Greenville, South Carolina

Once in the shadow of Charleston and Asheville, Greenville has emerged in recent years as a go-to destination in its own right — and it keeps giving travelers more reasons to visit. In 2022, the city of just over 70,000 people will welcome a luxury boutique hotel, unveil a new public gathering place, and build on its well-earned reputation as a culinary and craft beer hotspot. The long-awaited, 187-room Grand Bohemian hotel is expected to open its doors this spring, complete with a two-story restaurant and bar, art gallery, and spa. The 60-acre Unity Park will feature plenty of greenspace, an observation tower, baseball fields, playgrounds, and walking and biking trails. And recently opened restaurants, including French Laundry alum Drew Erickson's Camp , Urban Wren, Coral, and an outpost of Nashville's famous Prince's Hot Chicken located inside Yee-Haw Brewing will ensure you're well-fed while in town. — Kevin Gray

21. Ilha Caldeira, Mozambique

While South Africa and Uganda grab headlines for African wildlife, Mozambique has been quietly making strides protecting 17 percent of its land — including beaches, coral reefs, and islands — showcasing its dedication to its natural beauty both on land and underwater. Ever since the country's 16-year civil war ended in 1992, the southeastern African nation has been aiming to build back in the right ways. Case in point: the private island of Ilha Caldeira, less than seven miles off the coast as part of the Primeiras and Segundas Archipelago, located within the marine-protected area with 20 percent of the country's intact living coral. It's here that the eco-luxury Banyan Tree resort chain has developed one of its most ambitious projects yet, a five-star property — accessible by jetty or helicopter — with 40 private pool villas that will be completely solar powered. Add to that a fish market restaurant with a 270-degree ocean view, the brand's trademark Banyan Tree Spa, and world-class diving, all in a too-pristine-to-believe beach setting, and this island escape is sure to draw attention away from its Indian Ocean neighbors when it opens at the end of 2022. — Rachel Chang

22. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Those wary of traveling internationally in 2022 will find solace in Jackson Hole, a mountain town with endless open space (Wyoming is the least populated state in the U.S.) and plenty to do. In the winter, life revolves around Jackson Hole Mountain Resort , home to some of the nation's best skiing and snowboarding. In the summer, plan your trip around the Jackson Hole Food & Wine Summer Festival (June 23-25) or head to the nearby Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. For easy access to the mountain town, travelers can hop on one of Aero's high-end, seasonal flights and stay at The Cloudveil off the Town Square or the Caldera House at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. — Evie Carrick

23. Kafue National Park, Zambia

Straddling three regions of Zambia, Kafue National Park is the largest (and oldest) in the country, measuring 8,648 miles. In the wildlife-rich Busanga plains — located in the secluded northern side of the park — spend the night at newly opened Chisa Busanga Camp in their bird's nest shaped rooms. Enjoy a silent safari, thanks to e-cruisers or an e-bike safari provided by the property. See wildlife from above with a hot air balloon safari from Shumba Camp or Busanga Bush Camp . Other accommodation offerings in the park include riverfront Ila Safari Lodge and Mukambi Safari Lodge . Both properties offer fishing, walking safaris, boat cruises, and have Instagram worthy pools (perfect for a soak and the traditional safari sundowner: a gin and tonic). — Mazuba Kapambwe

24. Kaunas, Lithuania

Kaunas, Lithuania has a lofty New Year's resolution. After a century of wars, Soviet rule, and, since the 1990s, independence, this UNESCO Creative City of Design is ready to cultivate a new identity — and it's doing so as one of two European Capitals of Culture for 2022 (alongside Novi Sad, Serbia). The festivities commence in January, with thousands of concerts, festivals, exhibitions, and events throughout the year to celebrate Kaunas' history while cementing its path forward . Also this year, Kaunas will welcome the highly anticipated $30 million Science Island, Lithuania's first national science and innovation center designed by UK firm Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC). By May, the city's former Magnus Hotel will reopen with sparkly new digs and a posh rooftop under the ibis Styles umbrella . This lively city is also a main stop on the recently unveiled 1,330-mile Forest Trail across the Baltics. And, a host of just-announced Ryanair flight routes, including Madrid to Kaunas, will make visiting this capital of culture a breeze. — Stephanie Vermillion

25. Kyushu, Japan

Kyushu may be less than two hours from Tokyo by plane, but it feels far from Honshū's well-beaten tourist circuit. The southwesternmost Japanese main island is still largely unexplored, providing those willing to venture off the beaten path with a much different Japan than the one they'll find in its cities. As a warm, subtropical island, Kyushu is home to long, golden beaches and some of Japan's best snorkeling and scuba diving. Inland, the country's most active volcano, Mt. Aso, feeds the island's myriad natural hot springs — many of which offer sea views. And while the island has accommodations that include both hot spring resorts and luxury beachfront villas , nothing tops a stay at Hirado Castle , which was recently restored and renovated to welcome visitors overnight . — Evie Carrick

26. Lanai, Hawaii

Wellness opportunities and cultural awareness are showcased along with luxury at Lanai's two Four Seasons resorts. At Sensei Lāna'i, A Four Seasons Resort , guests can now choose the Discover Sensei Experience , offering the ability to enjoy the retreat's amenities without joining the more comprehensive programs. New "Optimal Wellbeing" programs focus on improving performance in tennis and golf along with overall wellness. Four Seasons Resort Lanai is adding an observatory as part of "Love Lanai," featuring cultural experiences designed to share the island's rich heritage. The observatory program will center around the history of Pacific voyaging, native traditions, and astronomy. — Patricia Doherty

27. Las Vegas, Nevada

Never bet against the house: The pandemic may have put a damper on Las Vegas, but the ever-on-the-move city is back in a big way for 2022. A massive new development on the Strip, Resorts World Las Vegas, opened in June, has three distinct Hilton properties under one enormous roof, not to mention more than 40 restaurants and bars, plus pools (plural), and a handful of $15,000-a-night villas . Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, the Cromwell , and downtown's Circa Resort & Casino are also giving visitors fresh options on where to stay. The city's pro sports teams — also now plural — are drawing in fans. And off-Strip "immersive experiences," like the Omega Mart by Meow Wolf and the Illuminarium, both at Area15 , are lending an additional layer of things to do beyond the expected. Not that there's anything wrong with splashing out on dinner and a show after the past two years. Live acts — like Adele's just-announced residency at The Colosseum — are once again hot tickets, as is a table at chic new supper club Delilah , at the Wynn Las Vegas. Some things, thankfully, never change. — Paul Brady

28. Louisville, Kentucky

Your cowboy boots were made for walking the streets of Louisville. Nicknamed "The Bourbon City," an official gateway to Kentucky's bourbon trail, the city is expanding its bourbon footprint in 2022. In October, the Urban Bourbon Trail welcomed the first and only African American–owned distillery in the state, Brough Brothers . Meanwhile, its trailmate, Angel's Envy , will wrap its $8.2-million expansion project complete with a new event space and five tasting rooms in the spring. The city is most well known for hosting the annual Kentucky Derby every spring at the historic Churchill Downs racetrack, and the Downs will open the first installment of its multi-year expansion plan, the Homestretch Club , just in time for the 2022 Derby. There, attendees will be able to enjoy the race with an all-new trackside lounge experience. — Hannah Streck

29. Malaysia

Malaysia is home to a beautiful medley of cultures (Chinese, Indian, and Malay) and a diverse smattering of terrain: bustling cities with towering buildings, verdant rain forests with incredible wildlife, and idyllic islands with dreamy beaches. But all of this and more has been closed to the world for much of the pandemic. Now that the island of Langkawi is open via a travel bubble, with the rest of the country expected to follow suit in 2022, travelers can once again experience Malaysia's many gifts. Langkawi, a beach lover's paradise, blends unspoiled nature (UNESCO-listed Kilim Karst Geoforest Park ) and unparalleled luxury ( Four Seasons Resort , Datai Langkawi ), while cosmopolitan capital Kuala Lumpur draws visitors with its gleaming Petronas Towers, delicious hawker food stalls, and shopping. Then there's Borneo, complete with wildlife-packed jungles and a rich Indigenous culture, as well as Desaru Coast, a 3,900-acre area that's home to coveted resorts like the One&Only Desaru Coast , a tropical oasis that opened in early September 2020 (the brand's first in Asia). — Alisha Prakash

30. Maldives

The Maldives' 1,000+ islands sit in the Indian Ocean like a string of turquoise pearls. The tropical nirvana has 166 accommodation options, including the new Joali Being nature retreat, which leads guests on a transformative wellness journey. Alila Kothaifaru Maldives debuts in February with 80 beach and overwater villas on the Raa Atoll. Coming to the same atoll in May, also with 80 luxury villas, is Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa on a massive lagoon primed for snorkeling. The ever-innovative Soneva Fushi has a new experience that includes zip-lining to a six-course meal 30 feet about the sand. Along with Soneva Jani, they've debuted Soneva Soul , a new spa complex melding ancient and modern techniques. Other vacation favorites are unveiling new digs like the sleek, contemporary renovation of Naladhu Private Island and the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island , debuting in February. — Katie Lockhart

31. Newport, Rhode Island

Newport is considered one of the sailing capitals of the world. It is home to the largest fleet of America's Cup 12 Meter yachts , most of which are available for charter. In May, the coastal town is welcoming a Sailing Museum that is sure to solidify that title. Over the past few years, a slew of hotel openings have closed a much-needed gap for luxury accommodations, including Hammett's Hotel , Brenton Hotel , and The Wayfinder Hotel . The Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection is debuting the property's highly anticipated transformation conceived by Dallas-based design collective Swoon — the lobby, dining room, and shared areas are now complete with guest rooms finishing early next year. Renowned beverage executive Maxwell Britten has joined the team as chief cocktail curator alongside an amazing chef who cooks up a selection of elevated pub-inspired dishes. And don't miss Giusto , at Hammett's Hotel, which serves up excellent Italian with a Rhode Island twist. — Scott Bay

32. Nile Cruise, Egypt

There is no trip that will convert you to a life of river cruising quite like a sail down (well, technically, up) the Nile. In fact, the world's first river cruises sailed in Egypt, a country designed around the central waterway, where it makes sense that the Nile would act as your home base. A typical Egyptian river cruise sets sail from Cairo to Luxor and then Aswan, with the occasional stop to visit an island temple along the way — complete with sights like the Pyramids, Valley of Kings and Queens, Nefertari's tomb, and the Temple of Kom Ombo. In 2022, there's more than one new river cruise to choose from, between Uniworld's newly launched S.S. Sphinx and AmaWaterways' Amadahlia , both of which sailed their inaugural voyages in fall 2021. — Maya Kachroo-Levine

In late 2021, Panama launched a tourism platform along with the coolest tagline in travel: " Live for More ." With a booming coffee scene and a renewed focus on its culture, history, and biodiversity , the Central American nation is ready for its moment in the spotlight. It's an attractive place for those looking to get out of resort mode and into a world open for exploration and adventure. Immersive environmental experiences abound here, including trekking through the rainforest on its suspended hanging bridges and walking to the top of the Volcán Barú, an active volcano with both Pacific and Atlantic Ocean views from the top. There is also abundant opportunity to learn from Panama's seven Indigenous communities, each of whom offer their own personalized experiences and are happy to share their craftsmanship and traditions. Panama offers plenty of luxury, too. In its capital city, check into the American Trade Hotel , centrally located in Panama's Casco Viejo district, a historic neighborhood which happens to also be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. — Stacey Leasca

34. Phuket, Thailand

Before the pandemic, Phuket was beautiful but crowded, full of beach bars and tourists chasing all-nighters. It's still full of energy and surrounded by the same pristine sea glass–colored water, but its luxurious side is finally getting the attention it deserves, from its high-end coffee shops to its cocktail bars. Hide from the world in paradise with a stay in one of the private pool residences at Trisara , featuring kitchens, a private chef, butler service, and breathtaking views over the sea, as well as access to the resort's PRU restaurant , which has earned both a Michelin star and a Michelin green star. Or book a stay at the brand-new V Villas Phuket , which offers a curated selection of 19 private-pool, 1-, 3-, and 4-bedroom villas. Later, party the night away in Phuket Old Town with inventive cocktails at Club No. 43 (think: rum with grilled pineapple juice and espuma), or settle in for a great dinner and a night of daring performances at the Junkyard Theatre , which just launched a weekly Saturday night show. — Alison Fox

35. Pico, Portugal

The islands of the Azores — a Portuguese archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean some 900 miles west of Lisbon — are more popular than ever, and for 2022, travelers will want to fix their eyes firmly on the second-largest isle: Pico, an alluring, otherworldly locale covered with black, volcanic rocks. Conquering Portugal's highest peak, the cloud-shrouded, 7,713-foot-high Mount Pico, used to be the island's main draw, but a recent uptick in hospitality infrastructure has allowed for more opportunity to partake of Pico's most important agricultural output: wine. Renowned Portuguese winemaker Antonio Maçanita just opened a new winery that comes with bookable design-forward apartments adjacent to the island's unique vineyards. On Pico, grapes are planted on volcanic terroir that are then protected from Atlantic winds with rock walls. Maçanita's ​​ Azores Wine Company 's mineral, sometimes slightly salty wines could be the perfect celebratory drink after a grueling hike.The crashing waves around Pico are beginning to seduce surfers, too. And there are also ample opportunities to watch for marine life thanks to 20 species of dolphins and whales (including humpbacks and orcas) that can be spotted in these waters. But if you'd rather eat what's in the water: Try lapas, a local shellfish delicacy best served grilled with butter and garlic and finished with a squeeze of lemon. Thankfully, getting to experience all of this has never been easier: Starting July 1, United Airlines will for the first time connect Newark to the island of São Miguel (the Azores' largest island), and from there, it's a quick hop over to Pico. Or you could always get there via direct flights from Lisbon or Porto with Tap Air Portugal's stopover program. — Chadner Navarro

36. Quebec, Canada

After over a year of tight pandemic restrictions, Canada reopened to American tourists in 2021, so now might finally be time to plan that trip to the Great White North, starting with the province of Quebec. From the charming, French-influenced cities of Montreal and Quebec City to the region's snow-capped mountains, there's something new to explore every season. In December 2021, the first Club Med mountain resort in Canada, Club Med Quebec Charlevoix , opened, offering all-inclusive ski vacations just a short flight from several major U.S. cities. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is offering a foliage-packed autumn cruise from New York to Montreal in October. No matter what time of year you visit, Le Capitole Hotel in Quebec City and Humaniti Hotel Montreal are top picks for places to stay in the major cities. — Elizabeth Rhodes

37. Queensland, Australia

Australia's highly anticipated international border reopening will be well worth the wait, especially as more travelers seek nuanced cultural experiences and sustainable stays. The northeastern state has long been the gateway for visits to the rightly beloved Great Barrier Reef, and beginning in 2022, visitors can learn about conservation efforts and the ecosystem directly from the area's Traditional Land Owners and Indigenous guides during day trips from Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel . Aboriginal elders and Traditional Land Owners are also working with local operator Gudjuda Tours on a daylong excursion to tag and rescue one of the reef's most beloved creatures: sea turtles. Those who want to take a more extended trip to the Whitsunday Islands can look to Elysian Retreat , recently certified as the area's first fully solar-powered resort, or its carbon-negative sister property Pumpkin Island . Back on the mainland, within the verdant Daintree Rainforest UNESCO World Heritage Site, eco-luxury hideaway Silky Oaks Lodge will finally welcome guests back after its $15-million overhaul. — Sarah Bruning

38. Santa Ynez Valley, California

Two hours from L.A., the Santa Ynez Valley is rural, unassuming, and coming into its own. The region has grown grapes for decades and has even made a Hollywood cameo in the movie Sideways. The arrival of newer tasting rooms, restaurants, and hotels in recent years has firmly put the area on oenophiles' and travelers' radars. Start with a private olive oil tasting at Global Gardens and hard cider at Tin City Cider in Los Olivos. Follow with pizza pies at Full of Life Flatbread and vino at nearby female-owned A Tribute to Grace and Casa Dumetz . Detour to Firestone Walker 's outpost in Buellton for a few limited edition craft brews and finish with dishes such as roasted tomato and fennel risotto at the Ballard Inn's Gathering Table . Though it's technically just beyond the boundaries of the valley in Lompoc, The Hilt Estate , is too good to miss. And once it opens this year as an Auberge property, The Inn at Mattei's Tavern will make for the perfect base from which to explore it all. — Tanvi Chheda

39. São Paulo, Brazil

Known for its dynamic combination of luxury, design, and fashion influence, São Paulo is an international metropolitan hub of arts and culture. It's the largest city in South America, hosting an array of entertainment opportunities such as fabulous hotels, decadent restaurants, high-class museums, and iconic mid-century architecture. With airlines including American adding flights throughout Brazil in 2022 and a flourishing hospitality renaissance throughout the city, São Paulo is well prepared for its anticipated influx of new travelers. A must-visit destination for 2022 is the Rosewood São Paulo , located in the heart of São Paulo's Cidade Matarazzo and housed in a historic landmark building. Here, visitors will encounter 200-plus luxurious guest rooms, suites, and residences, plus six restaurants and bars and two pools. — Molly O'Brien

40. Savannah, Georgia

This coastal Georgia city is rightly famous for its atmospheric, moss-draped streets and squares, not to mention its hundreds of years of history. But lately Savannah has been boosted by creativity and innovation outside the sometimes frozen-in-amber Old Town, which means now is a particularly compelling time to visit. Make home base the brand-new Thompson Savannah , a slick 13-story tower with interiors by Studio 11 Design that anchors the still-developing Eastern Wharf neighborhood. Phase one of the 54-acre development, which aims to turn a once-industrial waterfront into a contemporary mixed-use destination, includes hundreds of apartments, fitness trails, access to the Savannah River, and multiple bars and restaurants, including Fleeting , a seasonally driven spot inside the Thompson. At the same time, Savannah's other major waterfront destination has also come into its own. The Plant Riverside District, a stone's throw from Old Town, marked its official grand opening in November 2021, putting a bow on a bustling JW Marriott hotel , countless restaurants and bars, and multiple live performance venues all along a rebuilt waterfront. Not that all the action is along the river: The ever-evolving Starland District, a short drive from Johnson Square, has its share of hangouts including Starland Yard , a food truck park that's also home to the excellent Pizzeria Vittoria Napoletana ; Two Tides Brewing Company , which pours hazy ales and delicious sours in a super-cool taproom; and Troupial , a Venezuelan cafe. You'll also want to pack Wildsam Savannah , a newly released field guide that helps visitors understand the layers of history (and the contemporary politics) that are fueling the latest renaissance in Savannah. — Paul Brady

41. Seattle, Washington

Few places offer both an urban and a natural escape in one destination — and the Emerald City might be one of the best. The city center is world-class with top hotel accommodations ( Four Seasons Hotel Seattle and Thompson Seattle ), locally focused fine dining, and countless cultural sites. Then, just minutes away from all of that is some of the most stunning outdoor recreation out there. Adding to the city's luster is the newly opened Lotte Hotel Seattle . The 189-room tower is bringing high design and refined service to the area. Charlotte , the hotel's restaurant on the 18th floor, serves up an inventive menu that is sure to become an all-time favorite dining experience. The landmark Fairmont Olympic Hotel recently completed a $25-million historic restoration of its public spaces, quickly becoming one of the most Instagrammable spots in town. Plus, its buzzy new culinary showpiece will debut in the months to come. Before leaving Seattle, don't miss a meal at celebrated pasta specialist Brian Clevenger's new restaurant, Autumn . — Scott Bay

42. Sedona, Arizona

Makito Umekita/Travel + Leisure

With tourism already surging thanks to the Instagram fame of attractions like Devil's Bridge, Sedona garnered even more of a following during the pandemic among cooped-up city dwellers enthralled by the destination's red rocks and energy vortexes. In 2022, set your sights on North America's first landscape hotel, Ambiente , home to 40 standalone accommodations (called "atriums"), most with private rooftop decks perfect for stargazing. Opening in May, the sustainability-focused retreat will offer on-site trailhead access — further immersing guests in the Sedona landscape while combating traffic along the city's main highway — and reactivate an ancient waterway to populate a stream running throughout the hotel. Experience Sedona's culinary clout right on property at Ambiente's restaurant, Forty1, housed in a refurbished airstream, or venture next door to Mariposa , the city's must-visit restaurant by chef Lisa Dahl, who pioneered fine dining in this town. — Maya Kachroo-Levine

43. Singapore

Singapore reopened to vaccinated American travelers in October 2021 with the introduction of the country's Vaccinated Travel Lane . Travelers can fly from the U.S. on Singapore Airlines' vaccine-mandatory flights ; the World's Best airline 26 years running launched Vaccinated Travel Lane flights this fall, and United Airlines plans to follow suit by January 2022. Even in the early stages of reopening to foreign travelers, the city-state is already unveiling new culinary ventures. Recently, chef Julien Royer, behind three-Michelin-star Odette, opened Claudine , and Raffles Singapore unveiled Osteria BBR by Alain Ducasse, while Marina Bay Sands plans to debut chef Tetsuya Wakuda's second restaurant within the hotel in the new year. Of course, there's just as much flavor to be found at Singapore's famed hawker centers, now on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage. As tourists return to Singapore, new cultural attractions follow — from the return of Singapore Art Week, beginning Jan. 14, to the recent unveiling of SkyHelix Sentosa , an open-air ride towering 300 feet above sea level, for anyone still in need of thrills after a 17-hour flight over the Pacific. — Maya Kachroo-Levine

44. Southwest Michigan

Beaches with ocean-like views were once the main draw to Michigan's southwest coast, but new high-style accommodations and hyper-local experiences are giving us more reasons to go. Where to stay with so many options? Consider the cool new motel-turned-boutique Lake Shore Resort in Saugatuck; The Fields glamping retreat with new spa tents in South Haven; the revamped, modern Harbor Grand Hotel in New Buffalo; or anywhere along the coast with high-touch Bluefish Vacation Rentals , which has killer lakefront homes now stocked with handmade local goods. Hop on the new pedestrian/bike trail in Union Pier, and definitely shop two new woman-owned standouts: the beautifully curated Haven and Ariane Prewitt's AP Cottage, scheduled to open this spring. Women are showing off the culinary scene, too, with everything from a special saison ale — winner of the 2021 Great American Beer Festival — at woman-owned Waypost Brewing Co. , to new herb-inspired cocktails at James Beard-winning chef Melissa Corey's Penny Royal Café & Provisions , to James Beard nominee Abra Beherns' Granor Farm , where dinners return this year in a new glass-enclosed barn. — Nina Kokotas Hahn

45. St. Moritz, Switzerland

If you're on the hunt for glitz, glamour, and powder for days, look no further than St. Moritz, Switzerland. The Alpine ski town has long been considered the birthplace of winter vacationing. Tourists first flocked to the mountain town in 1864 , when hotelier Johannes Badrutt took a few British travelers to the community, promising them bluebird days all winter. It wasn't long until others learned about this hidden winter oasis. Skiers and winter sports enthusiasts flocked to the mountain, which has now hosted the Winter Olympic Games not once, but twice. It's an ideal place for ski bunnies too, thanks to its luxury shopping, and its numerous Michelin-starred restaurants . This winter, head to St. Moritz for its fantastic events like White Surf (Feb. 6, 13, and 20, 2022), an international horse race that takes place across the frozen Lake St. Moritz, and the Snow Polo World Cup (Jan. 28-30, 2022), which happens to be the world's only high-goal tournament on snow. Book a stay at the Badrutt's Palace Hotel , which officially reopened on Dec. 3 for the 2021/2022 season and offers guests the chance to try their hand at high-octane winter sports like skijöring, snowkiting, tobogganing, and even private helicopter tours to the peaks of Piz Bernina and Piz Palü. — Stacey Leasca

46. St. Pete/Clearwater, Florida

The beaches of St. Petersburg and nearby Clearwater are consistently ranked among the best in the U.S. and even the world , but there's more to this destination than white sand, pristine waters, and 361 days of sunshine per year. St. Pete/Clearwater offers more than 30 museums and galleries featuring world-renowned artists like Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso, as well as the largest collection of Salvador Dalí's work outside of Spain. One could say brewing the perfect beer is also an artform that St. Pete/Clearwater has mastered, with its trail of 35+ locally owned craft breweries. Playfully nicknamed the " Gulp Coast ," complete your experience with a digital passport that tracks your beer-sampling progress. These year-round offerings mean you can visit any time, but head over in June 2022 to revel in the 20th anniversary of St. Pete Pride , the largest Pride event in Florida, hosting events for everyone from friends and families to couples and solo travelers. — Jessica Poitevien

47. Todos Santos, Mexico

Todos Santos is one of Mexico's pueblo mágicos, or "magic towns," and locals are working to retain its history and culture while embracing the steady stream of travelers who have begun venturing an hour north of Cabo San Lucas to discover its charm. The area saw a handful of new boutique resorts pop up in 2021 that provide luxury amenities while keeping the rugged land and local flora the centerpiece. Wellness-focused Paradero describes itself as a "landscaping project" that just so happens to have luxurious suites, and El Perdido , an all-villa resort less than five miles south, provides all-terrain vehicles so visitors can get to Los Cerritos beach, the local surf break of choice. Oceanfront Rancho Pescadero 's multimillion-dollar transformation will be complete in the spring. Bookings for its oceanfront villas and penthouse rooms — some with private rooftops and plunge pools — open in January. Todos Santos has fully embraced farm-to-table dining, with Javier Plascencia's orchard-adjacent Jazamango leading the way, and Santa Terra , a cosmopolitan oyster bar meets arts and entertainment venue concept, is in the process of adding multiple bars and restaurants, plus a glamping site and amphitheater, according to its developer, "without chopping down a single tree." — Nina Ruggiero

48. Udaipur, India

After an extremely challenging 20-month closure, India reopened to vaccinated travelers on Nov. 15, 2021. Those looking toward South Asia in the new year, perhaps to see the Taj Mahal in Agra or hit the Goan beaches, should make sure Udaipur is on the itinerary. The city of lakes in southern Rajasthan is thought of as the most romantic Indian destination (even called the "Venice of the East") — but it's not just for honeymooners. From the vibrance of Hathi Pol bazaar and Shilpgram , an artisanal compound on the outskirts of the city with a festival set to return on Jan. 22, to the serenity of Lake Pichola, the artificial lake made in the 14th century, Udaipur is a city where you can fully immerse in Rajasthani culture. A hub of Indian luxury, Udaipur is now home to the country's first Raffles hotel, which opened in October. This private island hotel on Udai Sagar Lake is accessible only by boat — something of a trademark for the over-the-top hotels of Udaipur. Meant to be a flagship hotel in the Raffles portfolio, complete with brand staples (think: bars, both Long and Writers), 101 lavish suites, Rasoi cooking school, and lakeside open-air restaurant Belvedere Point. — Maya Kachroo-Levine

49. Wales, United Kingdom

The only path in the world to follow the whole of a country's coastline, the Wales Coastal Path celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2022. Walking its 870 miles would take three months, but its most spectacular stretches can be seen in one visit — and in style. St David's in Pembrokeshire, west Wales, is Britain's smallest city with a mere population of 1,600 and is home to a Medieval cathedral , a luxury hotel inside Roch Castle , some excellent pubs, and the upscale St David's Gin & Kitchen . Hiking paths with unbeatable coastal vistas are within easy reach (try the St David's Head loop ) and pass neolithic tombs and hillforts. — Jamie Carter

50. Yucatán, Mexico

Mérida, the capital of the state of Yucatán, has emerged as one of Mexico's most popular cities thanks to its lively restaurant scene, a busy calendar of cultural events, and a relaxed tropical atmosphere. Increasingly, however, travelers are venturing beyond the city to explore the state's unspoiled nature reserves, ancient Maya sites, and sprawling haciendas — a number now converted into hotels. Among the destinations that are drawing travelers to Yucatán are El Cuyo, a quiet beach town that was long a closely guarded secret of windsurfers. Now visitors can also enjoy gourmet Mexican fare at the El Chile Gordo restaurant and boho-chic lodgings at the new Casa Mate . In Espita, a charming colonial town near Valladolid, is the Casona los Cedros hotel which opened in summer 2021. Sisal, a historic port in the western part of the state, has attracted new interest since being named a Pueblo Mágico at the end of 2020. A new highway completed in April now connects Sisal to Hunucmá (and then beyond to Mérida) making it easier for beachcombers to visit, and perhaps spend the night at the cool Club de Patos . — John Newton

51. Bonus: Space

This was a monumental year for human spaceflight — not only did NASA and SpaceX achieve a regular cadence of astronaut launches for the first time since the Space Shuttle was retired in 2011, but space tourism has also lifted off in a major way, making space a top destination to visit in 2022. And it's a realistic trip, too, so long as you have the budget for it. Both Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic succeeded in taking passengers to space on short suborbital hops this year, and each company plans to ramp up those flights in 2022 — Virgin Galactic already has more than 600 bookings. The price for a quick jaunt to space? A few hundred thousand dollars . If you have an even bigger budget (say, a couple hundred million dollars), you could charter your own orbital flight in a SpaceX Dragon Capsule, as did entrepreneur Jared Issacman with his Inspiration4 mission in September. There are also tourism trips to the International Space Station in the works; Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa launches on his multi-day journey in December, courtesy of space travel agency Space Adventures and Russia's Roscosmos space agency, which plans to take even more " citizen space explorers " to the orbiting laboratory in the near future. Of course, not everyone has pockets deep enough to cover space travel, but more affordable journeys are on the horizon. Startup Space Perspective plans to launch high-altitude balloon rides to the edge of space in 2024 , for the relatively low price of $125,000. Potential dealbreaker, though — the balloons don't actually reach space, maxing out at 100,000 feet in altitude, while space is considered to begin somewhere between 264,000 feet (50 miles) and 327,360 feet ​​(62 miles). But hey, at least there's a bar on board. — Stefanie Waldek

World’s 30 Best Travel Destinations, Ranked

Best places to visit in the world.

Bali, one of the best travel destinations

The ultimate ranking of travel destinations aims to solve a serious problem: so many places to visit, so little time.

But even in a world with a trillion destinations, some manage to stand out and rise to the top. From the sleek skyscrapers of Dubai to the emerald-green waters of the Bora Bora lagoon, you’re sure to find at least one vacation that piques your interest (and likely several!).

These are the 30 best places to visit in the world. Which ones have you already been to? And which ones stoke your wanderlust most?

30. Argentine Patagonia

Traveler in Argentine Patagonia

In this region of the Andes, you’ll find glaciers, evergreen trees, deep blue lakes and clear skies everywhere you look. For a trip full of adventure and discovery, there are few better destinations on the planet.

No trip is complete without a visit to the craggy Mount Fitz Roy, the historic (and mysterious) Cave of the Hands, the Punta Tombo wildlife preserve, the Peninsula Valdes marine wildlife refuge and the impressive Perito Moreno Glacier. Be sure to bring your camera and your sense of wonder.

* Rankings are based on U.S. News & World Report's " World's Best Places to Visit ," traveler ratings as well as our own editorial input.

What to Know Before You Go to Argentine Patagonia

Argentine Patagonia Glacier National Park

Where to stay: Cyan Soho Neuquen Hotel

Hot tip: Since springtime occurs in the southern hemisphere in October and November, those months are your best bet when planning a trip.

Fun fact: The largest dinosaur fossils ever unearthed were found in Argentine Patagonia. They belong to the largest-known titanosaur, believed to have weighed about 83 tons. 

Note: We may earn money from affiliate partners if you buy through links on our site.

29. Amalfi Coast, Italy

Campania, Amalfi Coast

Set in the Sorrentina Peninsula, the Amalfi Coast has long been renowned for its natural beauty and idyllic coastal towns. During the golden age of Hollywood, it was a preferred vacation spot for glamorous movie stars.

Days here are spent eating Italian food, drinking wine and walking around colorful cobblestone streets. You can also expect to drink copious amounts of wine as you look out into the Mediterranean Sea.

The best way to see the coast is to rent a car and then drive to different towns each day.

What to Know Before You Go to the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast road

Where to stay: Hotel Marina Riviera

Hot tip:  If you're planning on using a beach chair to work on your tan, make sure you wake up early, as they are usually first come, first served.

Fun fact:  The Amalfi Coast is featured in Sofia Loren's 1995 Film, "Scandal in Sorrento."

28. Cancun, Mexico

Beach sunset in Cancun

For years, Cancun has been the preferred getaway for East Coast Americans (particularly Floridians) who want an international getaway that's still close to home. But despite the droves of tourists, the area has managed to keep the charm that attracted people in the first place.

The city is known mostly for its luxury hotels, wild nightlife and warm beaches. Definitely indulge in all of these — as well as the Mexican food! — but also consider other activities like visiting Mayan ruins, swimming in cenotes and snorkeling. One thing is certain: You won't run out of things to do in Cancun .

What to Know Before You Go to Cancun

Cenote Zaci, Mexico

Where to stay: Hyatt Zilara Cancun

Hot tip:  While you're in Cancun, make a plan to visit one of Grupo Xcaret's six eco-tourism parks, with the best ones being Xcaret and Xelha. The Mexican-owned company is credited with starting the eco-tourism trend in the Yucatan Peninsula, and the parks offer incredible and varied local experiences.

Fun fact:  The Yucatan Peninsula, where Cancun is located, was the cultural, political and economic center of the Mayan civilization. Many locals have Mayan ancestry and Mayan continues to be widely spoken in the area.

27. San Francisco, California

Close up of Golden Gate Bridge

Everyone should visit San Francisco at least once in their lives. Though tech companies grab all the headlines these days, it remains down-to-earth, diverse and packed with things to do.

Where to start? No matter your style, you’ll want to check out the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge, see the sunbathing sea lions at Fisherman’s Wharf, take a tour of the historic prison Alcatraz and relax in one of the city’s many parks, especially Dolores Park for its epic people-watching on the weekends. 

For dinner, treat your tastebuds and make a reservation at one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants in the Bay Area .

What to Know Before You Go to San Francisco

San Francisco houses

Where to stay: The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square

Hot tip: Want similarly beautiful landscapes and rich cultural attractions, but at lower prices and with (slightly) fewer crowds? Head to Oakland just across the Bay Bridge, named one of the most exciting places on earth to travel by National Geographic. 

Fun fact: The fortune cookie was invented in San Francisco by a Japanese resident. Random!

26. Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls in autumn Canadian side

Niagara Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in the world . The power with which water storms down cliffs on the border between the United States and Canada has captivated the imagination of humans for centuries. 

This natural wonder is comprised of three awe-inspiring falls. One of the best ways to experience them is on a boat tour.

What to Know Before You Go to Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls boat tour

Where to stay: Sheraton Niagara Falls

Hot tip: There is some debate about which side of the falls is better, but the general verdict is that the Canadian side offers better views. This is because you can (ironically) get a better view of the American Falls as well as get up close to Horseshoe Falls. 

Fun fact:  Established in 1885, Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the U.S.

25. Yellowstone National Park

Bison at the Great Prismatic Spring

Located mostly in Wyoming as well as Montana and Idaho, Yellowstone is America’s first national park and remains one of the most popular in the country, welcoming more than around 3.3 million people in 2022. With unpredictable geysers, rainbow-colored hot springs, craggy peaks, shimmering lakes and tons of wildlife — from elk to boars to bison — it’s easy to see why so many people flock here. 

The park makes for an awesome family trip and is well-suited to budget travelers since it offers so many campsites ( over 2,000! ). 

What to Know Before You Go to Yellowstone

Old Faithful Geiser erupting, Yellowstone

Where to stay: Stage Coach Inn

Hot tip: You’ll never fully beat the crowds at this wildly popular park, but April, May, September and November are your best bets for finding some solitude.  

Fun fact: Yellowstone is larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined.  

24. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

snorkle Destinations: Great Barrier Reef, Australia

As the largest reef in the world, the Great Barrier Reef is home to thousands of marine species. This makes it a paradise for scuba diving or snorkeling. 

The reef system is truly gigantic, with over 600 islands and about 2,900 individual reefs. This is one of Australia's greatest prides, but it's also a planetary national treasure. Seeing it with your own two eyes is an experience that is incredible beyond words.

What to Know Before You Go to the Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef from above

Where to stay: Crystalbrook Flynn

Hot tip: Though going underwater to see the reef is a must, we also recommend booking a helicopter tour to experience the magic of it from above.

Fun fact:  Made of corals, which are animals that live in collectives, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on the planet.

23. Santorini, Greece

White washed houses in Santorini

With its picturesque blue-domed churches, whitewashed buildings and colorful beaches, the island of Santorini is a photographer’s paradise. If you want to snap photos to post to Instagram and make everyone back home jealous, this is the place to go. 

Also make sure to experience some of Santorini’s archaeologically significant sites, like Ancient Akrotiri (an ancient city preserved by volcanic ash) and Ancient Thera (where humans lived as early as the 9th century BC). And don’t forget to visit the smaller islands that surround it, including Thirassia, Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni. 

What to Know Before You Go to Santorini

Santorini houses

Where to stay: Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Santorini

Hot tip: To optimize your vacation, visit in September and October or April and May — when the weather is still warm, but there aren’t as many other tourists milling around.

Fun fact: While it’s difficult to prove, locals like to say there’s more wine than water on this island where it hardly rains (and vino abounds).

22. Florence, Italy

Florience center, Italy

For art and history buffs (and anyone who appreciates delicious Italian food), Florence is a must-visit city. 

As the birthplace of the Renaissance, it’s home to some of the most iconic artworks by the world’s premier artists throughout history — Michaelangelo, Brunelleschi and Donatello, just to name a few. In addition to art museums and architectural wonders, Florence is also home to chic shops, quaint cafes and spectacular gardens. 

What to Know Before You Go to Florence

Il Duomo, Florence

Where to stay:  NH Collection Firenze Porta Rossa

Hot tip: Keep Florence in mind if you want to spend your honeymoon in Europe without spending a fortune, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Fun fact: The city’s famed “El Duomo” cathedral took over 140 years to build .

21. Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite, one of the most-visited national parks in America with more than 4 million annual guests, encompasses 750,000 acres of wilderness just waiting to be explored.

It’s home to scenic waterfalls, like the 317-foot Vernal Fall and the 617-foot Bridalveil Fall, as well as iconic rock formations like El Capitan and Half Dome, two popular spots for the world’s best rock climbers to test their mettle.

Not surprisingly, the wildlife here also impresses. Dozens of species of butterflies, marmots, bobcats and mule deer are just some of the animals that call Yosemite home. And keep your eyes peeled for black bears; some 300 to 500 roam the park . 

What to Know Before You Go to Yosemite

Yosemite National Park

Where to stay:  The Ahwahnee

Hot tip: Summer can get really busy here, so if you want to camp, be sure to book a spot early. Want to beat Yosemite’s notoriously bad traffic? Ditch the car and take advantage of the park’s extensive free bus system.

Fun fact: This is one of the only places in the country where you can catch a moonbow — like a rainbow, but created by the light of the moon instead of the sun. 

20. St. Lucia

St. Lucia Les Pitons

Whether you’re visiting on a cruise ship or just relaxing at an all-inclusive resort or boutique hotel, stunning St. Lucia is a clear winner. This Caribbean island offers diverse terrain for vacationers, from its pristine beaches to its lush rainforests to its volcanic peaks, the Pitons, that loom over the landscape. 

Adrenaline-junkies love hiking, climbing and zip-lining, while newlyweds (and soon-to-be-married couples) enjoy the romantic mix of fine dining, adults-only resorts and exotic activities. 

What to Know Before You Go to St. Lucia

St. Lucia boats

Where to stay: Rabot Hotel From Hotel Chocolat

Hot tip: Visit when temperatures are moderate, which is typically in May and June.

Fun fact: St. Lucia is the only country named after a woman: Christian martyr Saint Lucia of Syracuse.

19. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai skyscrappers

Everything is bigger and better in Dubai, home to one of the world’s largest shopping malls, tallest towers, largest man-made marinas — and the list goes on. 

This Las Vegas-like urban center in the United Arab Emirates has an eclectic mix of activities for visitors to enjoy, including beaches, waterparks, tons of shopping and even an indoor ski resort. Outside the skyscraper-filled city, the vast desert awaits, best enjoyed via quad-biking or sandboarding.

What to Know Before You Go to Dubai

Dubai beach

Where to stay:  Five Palm Jumeirah Dubai

Hot tip: Though you’re likely to pay a pretty penny for a trip to Dubai no matter when you visit, you can save a little cash by visiting during the scalding-hot summer months and by booking your hotel room two to three months in advance.

Fun fact: Dubai’s man-made Palm Islands were constructed using enough imported sand to fill up 2.5 Empire State Buildings . 

18. Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

Many travelers describe their visit to Machu Picchu as life-changing. Why? It’s an archaeological wonder, the remains of an ancient Incan city dating back more than 600 years. No wonder this is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most-visited attraction in all of Peru. 

Be sure to visit significant sites like Funerary Rock, where it’s believed Incan nobility were mummified, and Temple of the Condor, a rock temple sculpted to look like the impressive bird in its name.  

What to Know Before You Go to Machu Picchu

Llamas in Machu Picchu

Where to stay: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Hot tip: If you’re planning a trip, be sure to get your ticket in advance, as only 2,500 people can visit Machu Picchu each day. (And a lot of people have this destination on their bucket list.)

Fun fact: The site contains more than 100 separate flights of stairs . 

17. Sydney, Australia

Sydney Harbor with boats

With its iconic Opera House and lively Bondi Beach, Sydney is the perfect spot to vacation if you’re looking for a blend of culture, arts, nightlife and relaxation. 

Spend the day on the water at Darling Harbour, then head to the Royal Botanic garden for even more fresh air. Want to travel like a local? Get a ticket to a rugby match and order a Tim Tam, a popular chocolate-covered cookie that pairs well with coffee. 

What to Know Before You Go to Sydney

Sydney Opera House in the evening

Where to stay: Four Seasons Hotel Sydney

Hot tip: You can make your trip more affordable by visiting during Sydney’s shoulder seasons, which are typically September through November and March through May.

Fun fact: In 2007, Bondi Beach was the site of the largest ever swimsuit photoshoot ; 1,010 bikini-clad women participated, enough to earn it a spot in the Guinness World Records book.

16. Grand Canyon, Arizona

Grand Canyon from observation point

The Grand Canyon is truly massive (277 river miles long and up to 18 miles wide!), which helps explain why so many people feel the urge to see it in person. 

In 2022, 4.7 million people visited, making the Grand Canyon the second-most popular national park in the country (behind Great Smoky Mountain Nationals Park). Established in 1919, the park offers activities for all ability levels, whether you want to do an intense hike down into the canyon and sleep under the stars (with a backcountry permit, of course) or simply want to saunter along the South Rim Trail, an easy walking path with views that wow.

What to Know Before You Go to the Grand Canyon

Family in the Grand Canyon

Where to stay:  The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon

Hot tip: If you’ve wanted to visit the Grand Canyon for a while now, this is the year to do it. The park is celebrating its 100th birthday with musical performances, lectures, screenings and other special events.

Fun fact: The most remote community in the continental U.S. can be found in the Grand Canyon. At the base of the canyon, Supai Village — part of the Havasupi Indian Reservation — has a population of 208. It’s inaccessible by road, and mail is delivered by pack mule. Want to see it for yourself? The village houses a collection of campsites , accessible via a hiking trail.

15. Bali, Indonesia

Landmark Temple Gates in Bali

In recent years, Bali has become a popular expat destination, where groups of "digital nomads" work and play. 

But the island hasn't lost its original charm to this added tourism and continues to be an incredible destination. Divide your time between swimming in the beach, hiking active volcanoes, visiting temples and enjoying views of tiered rice terraces.

What to Know Before You Go to Bali

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan temple in Bali

Where to stay: Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach

Hot tip:  Though shoulder season (January to April and October to November) means fewer crowds and cheaper prices, it also means rain. Tons of it. We'd recommend avoiding the rainy season if possible.

Fun fact: On the Saka New Year, Balinese people celebrate Nyepi. This Hindu celebration is a day of silence when everything on the island shuts down and no noise is allowed.

14. New York, New York

New York City Manhattan

As the saying goes, New York City is “the city that never sleeps” — and you won’t want to either when you visit, lest you run out of time to take it all in. 

Be sure to check out newer attractions, like the High Line (an elevated park) and Hudson Yards (a mega-mall along the Hudson River), but also make time for some New York City classics, like catching a Broadway show or standing under the lights of Times Square. 

Foodies will have a hard time choosing where to eat (the city is home to almost 100 Michelin stars !), which is why an extended trip is always a good idea.

What to Know Before You Go to New York City

New York City Broadway

Where to stay: The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel

Hot tip: Yes, January and February get cold here, but this is also the best time to lock in relatively reasonable hotel rates. You can spend your time eating in the city’s restaurants, exploring its fabulous museums and catching its world-class theater shows without needing to spend much time in the chilly outdoors. 

Fun fact: There’s a birth in New York City about every 4.4 minutes — and a death every 9.1 minutes. 

13. Banff National Park, Canada

Banff Lake Louise

Some of the world’s most stunning mountain scenery and vistas are located in Banff, the tiny Canadian town located at 4,537 feet above sea level inside the national park by the same name. Banff is the highest town in Canada, and Banff National Park was Canada’s first, established in 1885.

Shred some powder at Banff’s three ski resorts in the winter, then come back in the summer for activities like hiking, biking, fishing and scrambling (scaling steep terrain using nothing but your hands).

What to Know Before You Go to Banff

Kayaking in Banff National Park

Where to stay: Fairmont Banff Springs

Hot tip: June to August and December to March are the best times to visit if you want to take advantage of summer and winter activities. 

Fun fact: Banff National Park has more than 1,000 glaciers.

12. Maldives

Sunset in the Maldives

You can look at picture after picture, but you still really need to visit the Maldives to believe its beauty. If rich sunsets, flour-like beaches and vibrant blue waters are your style, this is the destination for you. 

Though it’s somewhat difficult to get to this small island nation southwest of Sri Lanka, that also means it’s incredibly private and secluded, which makes it the perfect spot for a honeymoon or romantic beach getaway. 

And don’t worry about getting bored, either — explore the water by snorkeling or scuba diving, relax in the spa or wander around the bustling Male’ Fish Market.

What to Know Before You Go to Maldives

Maldives overwater bungalows

Where to stay: Velassaru Maldives

Hot tip: May to October is the island-nation’s rainy season — but that also means it’s the best time to go for fewer crowds and better rates.

Fun fact: In 1153 AD, the nation’s people converted to Islam. Today, the Maldives remains the most heavily Muslim country on earth.

11. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Sagrada Familia

Soccer, architecture, shopping, nightlife, world-class food and wine, arts and culture — is there anything Barcelona doesn’t have? If there is, we honestly can't think what it would be. 

This cosmopolitan Spanish city is home to some awe-inspiring architecture, including several buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi, so be sure to book tours of his whimsical creations like Park Guell and the yet-to-be-finished Church of the Sacred Family (La Sagrada Familia). 

For nightlife and shopping, Las Ramblas is always bustling; for an enriching arts experience, follow the progression of famed artist Pablo Picasso at Museo Picasso.

What to Know Before You Go to Barcelona

Barcelona Park Guell

Where to stay:  Hotel Bagues

Hot tip: It can get really humid here, so it's best to plan your trip in May and June before things really heat up.

Fun fact: In preparation for its 1992 hosting of the Olympics, the city flew in sand from as far away as Egypt to make Barceloneta Beach a place where people would want to go. Though largely man-made, the beach remains a wonderful spot for seaside R&R. 

10. Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park in the winter

The crown jewel of beautiful Montana, Glacier National Park is every outdoors traveler's dream.

Of course, the most defining natural feature of the park are its glaciers, which provide spectacular views as well as a number of pristine lakes. There are hundreds of trails that will take you up peaks, down through valleys and across some of the most beautiful landscapes you'll ever see.

What to Know Before You Go to Glacier National Park

Mountain goats at Glacier National Park

Where to stay: Firebrand Hotel

Hot tip:  Plan to spend a day or two in the nearby town of Whitefish. This gateway to Glacier National Park is one of the best small towns in America and a destination in its own right. 

Fun fact: During your visit, you're very likely to run into mountain goats, which are the official symbols of the park.

9. Tokyo, Japan

Akihabara Tokyo

The Japanese capital is one of the most exciting cities on the entire planet. It is notoriously fast-paced, with neon lights illuminating the multitudes that are constantly rushing to their next destination. 

But Tokyo is also a city of temples, of taking time to picnic under the cherry blossoms and of making sure you enjoy the abundance of delicious food that can be found on basically every corner.

What to Know Before You Go to Tokyo

Sensoji temple , Tokyo

Where to stay: The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Hot tip: Visit between the months of March and April or September and November for more comfortable temperatures. Of course, spring is when the city's cherry blossoms are famously in full bloom.

Fun fact: Tokyo happens to be the largest metropolitan area in the world, with more than 40 million people calling the greater metro area home.

8. Phuket, Thailand

Phuket boats

If you’re looking for a vacation destination that feels luxurious but won’t break the bank, start searching for flights to Phuket now. 

This island in southern Thailand, which is just an hour flight from Bangkok, is surrounded by the Andaman Sea, so white sandy beaches abound. If a stunning sunset is what you’re after, head to Promthep Cape, the southernmost point on the island and a popular spot for photo-ops. For views of the island and beyond, climb to the top of the massive alabaster statue called Big Buddha.

You can even learn something during your vacation by visiting the Soi Dog Foundation, an innovative animal shelter that’s fighting the meat trade and taking care of the thousands of stray cats and dogs in the area.

What to Know Before You Go to Phuket

Phuket temple

Where to stay: InterContinental Phuket Resort

Hot tip: Visit between November and April for the best weather — and ideal conditions for beach activities like swimming and boating. 

Fun fact: The island is not pronounced in the rather colorful way it appears to be. The correct way to say it is “poo-ket” or “poo-get.”

7. Rome, Italy

Rome, Colosseum

Though Rome’s historic significance cannot be overstated, don’t assume that this Italian city is stuck in the past. On the contrary, you’ll find posh storefronts and luxurious hotels not far from iconic structures like the Pantheon (built in 120 AD) and the Colosseum (built in 80 AD).

And then, of course, there’s the city’s art. Stroll through Rome, and you’ll stumble upon some of the greatest treasures the world has ever seen — an astonishing collection of frescoes, paintings, ceilings and fountains created by icons like Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Raphael and Bernini.

After all that exploration, take advantage of ample opportunities to eat and drink, including at several Michelin-starred restaurants. City staples include suppli (deep-fried balls of risotto, mozzarella and ragu meat sauce) and cacio e pepe (a deceptively simple mix of al-dente pasta, pecorino romano and fresh black pepper). 

What to Know Before You Go to Rome

Rome Spanish Plaza at dawn

Where to stay: Radisson Blu Ghr Hotel

Hot tip: Tourists congregate here in the summer when temperatures are also sweltering. Go instead between October and April, when there are thinner crowds, better rates and cooler temps. Just make sure to bring a light jacket.

Fun fact: Each year, travelers throw about $1.7 million worth of coins into the Trevi Fountain. The money is donated to Caritas, a Catholic nonprofit that supports charities focused on health, disaster relief, poverty and migration.

6. London, England

Modern bridge London

English writer Samual Johnson once said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” 

From live performances of Shakespeare to truly world-class (and free!) museums like the National Gallery, London will enrich your mind and enliven your senses. Of course, no visit would be complete without a stop at Buckingham Palace to see the famous stone-faced guards outside and the 19 lavish State Rooms inside (though, unfortunately, you can’t see the queen’s private quarters). Another must-see landmark is the Tower of London, the historic castle on the north side of the River Thames.

What to Know Before You Go to London

London in the spring

Where to stay: Vintry & Mercer

Hot tip: Many U.S. cities now offer direct flights to London, so set a price alert and act fast when you see fares drop.

Fun fact: London’s pubs are worth a visit for their names alone; fanciful monikers include The Case is Altered, The Pyrotechnists Arms, John the Unicorn and The Job Centre. 

5. Tahiti, French Polynesia

Tahiti, French Polynesia

Flavorful French cuisine, top-notch resorts, warm waters — need we say more? Though Tahiti can be pricey, travelers say it’s so worth it. 

The largest of the 118 French Polynesian islands, Tahiti is split into two main regions (connected by a land bridge). Tahiti Nui, the larger region, is home to the island’s capital Papeete and surfing hotspot Papenoo Beach, while Tahiti Iti, the smaller region, offers more seclusion and the bright white sands of La Plage de Maui.

What to Know Before You Go to Tahiti

Tahiti bungalows during sunset

Where to stay: Hilton Hotel Tahiti

Hot tip: Visit between May and October, Tahiti’s winter, when there are less humidity and rain. 

Fun fact: Overcrowding is not a concern here; Hawaii gets more visitors in 10 days than all of French Polynesia does in a year.

4. Maui, Hawaii

Rocky beach in Maui

If you’re short on time or you just can’t decide which Hawaiian island to visit, Maui is right in the sweet spot: not too big, not too small, but just right.

There are five regions to explore on Maui, including the popular West Maui and South Maui, home to some of the island’s best-known attractions and beaches (Wailea Beach is in South Maui, for example). But don’t overlook East Maui, where you can travel along the Road to Hana, or the Upcountry, where you can explore the world’s largest dormant volcano, Haleakala. 

What to Know Before You Go to Maui

Maui cave

Where to stay:  Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea

Hot tip: This is Hawaii we’re talking about, so your trip will be on the pricey side. Be sure to budget for add-ons if you need them (think gym access and WiFi at your hotel), and do some research on insurance before you head to the car-rental counter.

Fun fact: How’s this for a selling point? Maui has more beach than any other Hawaiian island — 60 miles of it, with red, white and black sand.

3. Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Bora Bora overwater bungalows

Don’t write off the French Polynesian island of Bora Bora just because of its size. Though it’s a little more than 2 miles wide and just 6 miles long, Bora Bora packs in an abundance of natural beauty. To start, you won’t be able to take your eyes off the island’s turquoise lagoon surrounded by lush jungle.

If you’re looking for more than relaxation on your trip, consider hiking or booking a 4X4 tour of Mount Otemanu, part of an extinct volcano that rises 2,400 feet above the lagoon. You can also snorkel among the coral reef of Coral Gardens, where you might catch a glimpse of reef sharks, eels and stingrays.

Because of its remoteness, flying into Bora Bora Airport will be quite a journey, no matter where you're departing from. But you'll forget everything as soon as you see this Polynesian paradise that is beautiful beyond words.

What to Know Before You Go to Bora Bora

Bora Bora Island

Where to stay: Conrad Bora Bora Nui

Hot tip: Though Bora Bora can be wildly expensive to visit, you can cut costs by visiting between December and March (though you should avoid the Christmas holiday) and by bringing your own alcohol and sunscreen with you.

Fun fact: Bora Bora is one of the countries that no longer exists . The Kingdom of Bora Bora was an independent state until it was forcefully overtaken and annexed by France in 1888.

2. Paris, France

Paris from the Arc de Triumph

Paris has it all — incredible cuisine, legendary landmarks and centuries of history. Those are just some of the reasons it’s the second-best place to visit in the world.

Though you’ll want to spend your time hitting up popular tourist spots like the Eiffel Tower and the Musee d’Orsay, you should also carve out time to explore other parts of Paris — the city’s 20 diverse neighborhoods, called arrondissements, for instance. Standouts include the 2nd arrondissement, which touts covered passages and some of the city’s hippest restaurants, and the romantic 18th arrondissement, with charming squares, cafes and bars, set apart from the city’s more tourist-packed areas.

What to Know Before You Go to Paris

Paris Montmartre at dawn

Where to stay: Grand Hotel Du Palais Royal

Hot tip: Yes, summer in Paris is busy, but the weather is also ideal — average highs are in the 70s.

Fun fact: Built for the 1889 World Fair, the Eiffel Tower was originally meant to be temporary , and was almost torn down in 1909. Luckily, local officials saw its value as a radiotelegraph station, preserving the future tourist icon for generations to come. 

1. South Island, New Zealand

Milford Sound

South Island, the larger but less populated of the two islands that make up New Zealand, earn this top-spot honor for its gorgeous scenery, adrenelin-pumping experiences and affordability.

The 33.5-mile hike on Milford Sound, which is limited to 90 people at a time, is considered one of the world’s best treks, with stops at Lake Te Anau, suspension bridges, a mountain pass and the tallest waterfall in the country, Sutherland Falls.

For a heart-pumping experience, you can jump out of a helicopter while flying over the Harris Mountains with skis on your feet. Still not satisfied? Roam Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage area, and explore the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, two of the most accessible glaciers in the world.

What to Know Before You Go to New Zealand

South Island, New Zealand

Where to stay: QT Queenstown

Hot tip: Book your trip for the fall, when South Island is temperate, not overcrowded and offers great rates. Bonus: This is also when the island is at its most stunning.

Fun fact: New Zealand natives, called Kiwis, are among the most hospitable you’ll ever meet. The local saying “He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata” translates , appropriately, to “What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people.”

50 Best Vacation Spots & Places To Visit In The World

By: Author Jerric Chong

Posted on Published: June 24, 2019  - Last updated: October 17, 2023

Best Vacation Spots

There’s no shortage of amazing, awe-inspiring, fascinating locations to visit in this world that we live in.

With 195 countries to choose from, each with their own rich cultures and special attractions, it can be tricky to decide which one to take a trip to.

The secret lies in simply picking one, then working your way through them all!

Table of Contents

1. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH / Shutterstock

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the undisputed best vacation spots for anyone who wants the opportunity to glimpse one of the most incredible marvels of nature.

The reef spans across 2,300 kilometers and is so huge that it can actually be spotted from outer space!

Tourists will be able to enjoy the amazing sights of unique marine animals and plants, interacting with each other in perfect harmony.

You can dive or snorkel in the area to really get up close and personal with the local flora and fauna.

2. Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Creative Travel Projects / Shutterstock

The Plitvice Lakes can be found on Croatia’s Adriatic Sea coast, just lingering on the border between Zadar and the nation’s capital, Zagreb.

These lakes consist of 16 bodies of water that are all joined together by a variety of cascading waterfalls and fascinating bridges, flanked by age-old emerald forests that hold wildlife aplenty: birds, wolves, bears, and more!

Enjoy walks in one of the top travel destinations in the country across a variety of paths, both natural and man-made, and explore the wide expanse between the lowest altitude lakes of 280 meters and the highest 1,000 meters above it.

You can even take a ferry to travel between them!

3. Taj Mahal, India

Taj Mahal, India

YURY TARANIK / Shutterstock

The Taj Mahal is one of the most famous vacation spots in the world, and with good reason!

It’s one of the world’s Seven Wonders and it serves as a symbol of true, never-ending love.

This mausoleum is, contrary to popular belief, not a palace – but the final resting place of Mumtaz Mahal, built by her husband for her.

This architectural success is a prime example of the finest in Mughal architecture, with four completely identical sides over its 240-foot height.

Its appearance shifts ever so slightly throughout the day with the sunlight, and you can see its reflection ripple in its huge pool beneath.

Plus, stroll through the large garden outside for even more beautiful magnificence!

4. Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls

Lukas Bischoff Photograph / Shutterstock

Few people consider these African nations as among the best countries to visit, but those people are missing out!

Victoria Falls is one of the earth’s largest waterfalls, reaching a majestic 355 feet in height and spanning across an entire mile.

Its rush of falling water is the biggest of its kind, with the shocking speed of 550,000 cubic meters per minute.

On top of that, Victoria Falls is among the world’s Seven Natural Wonders, and its mist that shrouds the area can be seen from 50 kilometers away, creating a rainbow!

It is also responsible for the constant, non-stop rainfall experienced by the rainforest around River Zambezi.

5. Grand Canyon National Park, USA

Grand Canyon National Park

Wisanu Boonrawd / Shutterstock

If you like traveling at all, the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is one of the best places to visit.

It is rich in history thanks to its layered red rock bands that are a testament to millions upon millions of years of change and development in its geology.

There are countless spots that offer breathtaking views of the park.

Lipan Point is arguably the most popular, with its stunning vista of the Colorado River and the canyon all in one, but the Yavapai Observation Station and Mather Point, among others, are just as worthy of a visit.

6. Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Martin Valigursky / Shutterstock

Bora Bora is an island paradise isolated from much of the world, in the middle of the South Pacific ocean.

It is one of the world’s most famous go-to honeymoon locations. It hosts a dormant volcano, which is encircled by thick, gorgeous green.

This is the perfect spot to just kick it back and relax. It’s romantic and close to nature, yet is extravagant in its elegance.

You’ll want for nothing in this heaven-like spot.

7. Petra, Jordan

Petra, Jordan

tenkl / Shutterstock

Petra is an awe-inspiring archaeological site that holds so much history and breathtaking majesty that it is easily one of the best vacation spots in the world.

This ancient city hails from the 5th century BC and is a world heritage site that boasts countless amazing structures made from cut rock.

Petra houses temples, altars, tombs, and all manners of buildings, and its location between the Red and Dead Seas makes it all the more mysterious.

Beautifully decorated sights wait to be seen!

8. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Japan

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove of Kyoto, Japan

Joshua Davenport / Shutterstock

The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is among the best places to travel in the already attraction-packed nation of Japan.

Located along Kyoto’s outskirts, this grove is packed with countless bamboo trees, all growing to amazing heights that have to be seen to be believed.

Plus, this grove is a treat for all your senses.

Not only is it a gorgeous sight to see, but it has also been named among the top 100 Soundscapes of Japan by the country’s Ministry of Environment.

This means you can bask in the melancholic rustling of leaves and creaking of wood, alongside just seeing the endless mass of bamboo.

9. Stonehenge, England

Stonehenge, England

Abdoabdalla / Shutterstock

Stonehenge is such a mysterious location, which is why it is one of the best places to visit in the world.

Heavy rocks sit in a semi-organized pile in the middle of a valley, balanced on each other.

It’s unknown who exactly put them there, what they were for, or even how they all were brought to that spot and arranged.

A guided tour will show you around the area, and you’ll be impressed with how much beauty such a simple-looking landmark can hold.

If you’re there at the right time, you can even watch as the sunset casts a bittersweet glow over the pillars.

10. Amalfi Coast, Italy

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Oleg Voronische / Shutterstock

Amalfi Coast is a fantastic getaway for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for some calm relaxation, you’re itching for some fresh seafood, or you desire something more adventurous, Amalfi Coast is one of the best vacation spots you can hope for.

13 towns along the cliffside provide hiking trails and a sense of warm civilization, while beaches provide the white expanses of sand perfect for a picturesque lounge.

Look over from a luxury hotel and marvel at the view – wide cliffs, green trees, and the deep blue sea.

11. Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock

Machu Picchu may have been famous for a long time, but it’s one of the more recently discovered old archaeological ruins, and it’s definitely one of the top best places to travel in the world.

These Incan ruins are full of mystery and intrigue, making them a stunner for historians and those who study them.

The ruins contain plenty of interesting spots, including the famed Temple of the Sun, and the view from the peak of these ruins is more than worth the trip all on its own.

You can also take a hike along the trails left behind to witness even more of the stunning Incan heritage on display.

12. Niagara Falls, Canada/USA

Beautiful Niagara Falls

TRphotos / Shutterstock

The Niagara Falls , positioned on the border between America and Canada, is a once-in-a-lifetime type of trip that you won’t regret.

There are two ranges, each located on either side of the border, and both are equally cool places to check out.

The Falls have a natural whirlpool along the base, and a boat ride is available for those who want to even more fully explore the waterways.

If you go in the evening, you’ll be treated to a spectacle of the rushing water illuminated in vibrant hues.

Planning a visit to Toronto? Be sure to check out our list of things to do in Toronto !

13. Cappadocia, Turkey

Hot air balloon flying over Cappadocia

Ozerov Alexander / Shutterstock

Cappadocia is likely one of the most intriguing vacation spots in the world.

This is because of its fascinating, unique, and borderline bizarre natural structures known as fairy chimneys.

These are geological formations made from rock, shaped in cones, that form in a variety of sizes as volcanic ash solidifies.

On top of this interesting phenomenon, Cappadocia also hosts underground structures of all kinds that served as homes, stores, and cities all the way in the 4th century.

You can even spot some Byzantine art in monasteries.

14. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Yevhenii Chulovskyi / Shutterstock

You may feel like Neuschwanstein Castle looks familiar.

That’s because the famed Cinderella’s Castle building, located in Disney World, is heavily inspired by and modeled after this incredible, opulent palace.

This magnificent structure is built on top of a mountain, and its Bavarian construction is a wonder to behold.

It’s no wonder that it’s one of the top vacation spots in the country.

15. Marble Caves, Argentina/Chile

Marble Caves of Patagonia, Chile

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The Marble Caves are among the best places to visit if you are a fan of unreal sights that you can barely believe exist.

These caves are found on the border of Chile and Argentina, on the General Carrera Lake, and they are formed through tunnels and caverns that hold some of the most important and beautiful marble depositions the world has to offer.

You’ll be able to see the marble reflected in the vivid water beneath, changing in appearance with the tide and as the seasons turn.

There’s nothing quite like being there in person to witness the superb caves in motion.

16. Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland

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The Cliffs of Moher span 14 kilometers across County Clare, Ireland, and it’s a prime location for untamed, natural beauty.

They’re such an iconic location thanks to their roles in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets and The Princess Bride, where they served as a fantastical location for the perfect scenes.

Whether you’re going for the novelty of visiting a famous movie set or to see the raw allure of the west coast of Ireland, you’re sure to find the Cliffs Moher to be one of the best places to vacation.

17. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

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The Salar de Uyuni makes for an unusual trip, but it’s still one of the best vacations you might ever go on.

High up in the Andes mountains, this salt flat boasts a range of 4,086 square miles, which makes it the largest on the planet.

Standing on top of the sparkling salt that shines white in the sun, often providing a bright reflection that makes the expanse of land look like a giant mirror.

Plus, you can see all the strange and unique formations of rock there, and the islands around that sprout lots of cacti.

18. Blue Lagoon, Iceland

 Blue Lagoon geothermal spa

Puripat Lertpunyaroj / Shutterstock

If you’re a sucker for a good soak in a hot spring, the Blue Lagoon is one of the best places to travel.

It’s a one-of-a-kind geothermal spa that sits right in the middle of a rather intimidating lava field.

It might sound frightening, but when you see it, you’ll know why it’s such a great place to take a trip to.

It may be a man-made lagoon, but it is home to silent, still white waters, and a lava flow nearby leads to nice, warm water that makes for a wonderful treat for your body.

It’s full of minerals, silica, and other components that will enrich your body and even help some skin conditions.

19. Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile

Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile

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The Torres Del Paine National Park is located in the southernmost region of the Andes, and it is full of diverse natural sights to enjoy.

These sights range from wide rivers to emerald forests, from deep lakes to tall mountains, and from cobalt icebergs to golden pampas.

You can explore on foot with a good hike, or head to specific landmarks, such as the French Valley, the granite towers, or Los Cuernos, among others.

There’s so much to see and do, making this park one of the most fun places to go on vacation.

20. Socotra, Yemen

Socotra Island, Yemen

Michail_Vorobyev / Shutterstock

Socotra is one of those unusual places that is more bizarre than normal, but that just makes it one of the best vacation spots for nature-lovers.

It is an archipelago that hosts countless towering dragon’s blood trees, which fan upwards like an umbrella or a giant, branch-filled mushroom.

There is a grand total of 825 rare species of flora on the island of Socotra, and a good third of them can only be seen in this small locale.

Once you’ve had your fill of oddities, you can head to the Shouab beach for some relaxation, too!

21. Okavango Delta, Botswana

Okavango Delta, Botswana

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The Okavango Delta is one of those travel destinations that have to be experienced at least once in a lifetime.

The river delta winds in and out of gorgeous greenery and spans a whopping 49 million acres.

On either side, you’ll be able to spot incredibly diverse wildlife, ranging from predators like cheetahs to herd mammals like elephants, zebras, rhinos, and buffalos.

The best time to visit is likely during Botswana’s winter, which is when the delta floods and leads to lower grasses and much more teeming wildlife.

22. The Colosseum, Rome

Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Viacheslav Lopatin / Shutterstock

The Colosseum is easily one of the world’s top travel destinations.

Known originally as the Flavian Amphitheatre, it originally served as an arena for entertainment through gladiator fights and other similar events.

Now, in modern times, actors continue to roam around the large structure, dressed in gladiator attire and ready for pictures.

Though some areas have become damaged over time, much of this glorious success in architecture remains standing strong, and there’s plenty of nooks and crannies to explore within.

23. Moraine Lake, Canada

Sunrise over Moraine Lake

Rowan Sims Photography / Shutterstock

Moraine Lake is often referred to as the earth’s most stunning and picturesque lake.

It sits within the Banff National Park , where it is nestled in a valley between ten hill and mountain peaks.

The deep, bright turquoise waves gently lap across the rippling lake, and a mineral-rich content allows for a truly brilliant and vibrant hue.

Is that all you can do here? Of course not!

Head here to enjoy one of the best vacation spots in the world – over a hundred scenic hiking trails, countless lodges, and great canoeing opportunities await.

24. Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar

avenue of the baobabs in Madagascar

The Avenue of the Baobabs, like the name suggests, is home to incredible baobabs that reach up into the sky at 100-foot heights.

Each of these ancient trees appears surreal and almost alien-like in aesthetic as if they leaped right out of the pages of The Little Prince, where they are so whimsically featured.

The Avenue of the Baobabs sits on a rural island in Madagascar, which also hosts unique wildlife, including lemurs that stare at you with wide, big eyes, and some of the largest moth species on the planet.

You wouldn’t think Madagascar is one of the best countries to visit, but with unique traits like that, how can you resist?

25. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro and clouds line at sunset

PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek / Shutterstock

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in all of Africa, and, amazingly, it isn’t connected to a mountain range of any kind.

It hits 19,000 feet in height and is surrounded by flat expanses, so it truly stands out and serves as a noticeable and breathtaking landmark.

This stratovolcano is among the best places to visit for mountain-climbing enthusiasts and nature-lovers alike.

Even if you’re new to mountain climbing and have never done so before, you can still scale this beauty – no technical skill is needed!

26. Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia

Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia

Vaclav Sebek / Shutterstock

The Raja Ampat Islands aren’t just a few specific places – they span 1,500 different small islands that take up 29,000 square miles of ocean, and each one is biodiverse and highly unique.

If you’re up for resplendent nature to feast your eyes on, these islands will be among the best vacations you’ll ever take.

Much of the land’s aesthetic is almost prehistoric, with palm trees growing out of cliffs, lava peaks surrounded and enrobed by delightful jungles, and misty canyons all ready to be explored.

27. Northern Lake Baikal, Russia

Northern Lake Baikal, Russia

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Northern Lake Baikal is an extremely large freshwater lake – the biggest on the planet!

If you visit when temperatures are at great lows, you’ll be in for an aesthetically pleasing treat.

Ice sheets form over the top of the water, glowing turquoise and seafoam in the light.

This lake is truly splendid in all its beauty, and it’s really not a surprise that it’s among the best vacation spots in the world.

If you like lakes and can’t resist some ethereal beauty, this is the place for you!

28. Reed Flute Caves, China

Reed Flute Caves in Guilin ,China

TDway / Shutterstock

China’s Reed Flute Caves are among the nation’s best places to travel.

The cave system runs for about 240 meters and it has been open for public viewing for more than a thousand years!

As such, it’s rich in history, intrigue, and fascination.

In modern times, pillars and other cave formations are highlighted by the installation and use of bright colorful lights, which fill the caves with exquisite beauty.

It’s the perfect meshing of worlds between the old and the new, and it’s sure to be a trip you won’t forget!

29. Geiranger Fjord, Norway

Geiranger Fjord, Norway

Sergey_Bogomyako / Shutterstock

We already know that Norway is easily in the top best places to visit in the world if you want to see grand, dazzling fjords of all kinds.

But of all those hundreds of fjords to visit, Geiranger Fjord is probably the most incredible.

It spans 15 kilometers in length and its coasts are completely inhabitable.

The fjord can be visited by ferry, through kayaking, or by passing through Trollstigen road.

Each option will reward you with a fantastic view of waterfalls and verticals mountains on all sides, leading up to steep cliffs that beg to be climbed on and ziplined off of.

30. Sossusvlei, Namibia

Sossusvlei, Namibia

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Sossusvlei is undeniably one of the best vacation spots in Nambia.

It is a clay and salt pan located within the Namib-Naukluft National Park.

It is characterized by red dunes that roll, rising and falling, across a wide expanse of land.

They form as a result of the rare rain that reaches the usually dry desert land.

Some flora and fauna linger around this area, having adapted to the rough conditions, but it’s when moisture seeps its way into the environment that it truly flourishes.

A lake forms in Sossusvlei, coaxing thousands of birds to the location in an impressive spectacle.

31. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat in Cambodia

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If you love history and archaeology, Angkor Wat is one of the best places to travel in the world.

Across 400 square kilometers, this temple of the Hindu faith was built in the 12th century under the Khmer Empire and took a whopping 35 years to complete.

Today, Angkor Wat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it doesn’t just host the staggering ancient wonders of the temple, but also other attractions for tourists, and plenty of jungle-trekking to get there.

Make sure you’re all geared up early and you just may catch the sunrise!

32. Darvaza gas crater, Turkmenistan

Darvaza (Derweze) gas crater

Matyas Rehak / Shutterstock

The Darvaza gas crater, popularly also termed as the Door to Hell, is one of those cool places that you just can’t miss.

Located in the Karakum Desert, it is thusly named because it is a giant pool of crimson lava that gives off huge waves of steamy heat.

Essentially, this crater was formed by the collapse of natural gas field into some caverns below, where it was then, remarkably, deliberately put on fire in order to keep its methane gas content from escaping to the outside.

33. Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil

Iguazu falls

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The Iguazu Falls isn’t just one single waterfall – it’s a collection of multiple small ones spanning across 3 kilometers, each one cascading down onto the next with raw power and energy that is spectacular to behold.

This shocking spectacle alone easily makes this location rank among the top vacation spots in the world.

This marvelous modern natural wonder sits on the border between Argentina and Brazil, within a larger national park that holds plenty of majesty and whimsy on its own in its rainforests.

Enjoy the sensational magic of the Iguazu Falls and take a trip through the forest beneath after to spot some interesting wildlife!

34. Tikal, Guatemala

Tikal, Guatemala

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Tikal can be found within the thick rainforest of Tikal National Park , and it is a UNESCO world heritage site.

The ruins are archaeological wonders that speak of ancient Mayan culture, and it was once a teeming city occupied between the 6th century BC and the 10th century AD.

Within Tikal, you can find temples and shrines, residences, palaces, and fancy courts and plazas, making this site among the top vacation spots for history lovers.

It also contains six pyramids and numerous stone monuments numbering close to 200.

35. The Great Blue Hole, Belize

The Great Blue Hole in Belize

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The Great Blue Hole may be an odd name to find among the best places to visit, but this sinkhole isn’t just any old lake!

It measures 407 feet in depth and spans across 980 feet in width, and it’s so large that you can spot it beautifully from above.

Divers love to take a dip in this old submarine haunt, and its dark indigo and navy depths just beg to be explored.

If you love water getaways and have an adventurous streak, you’ll love checking out what lies beneath!

36. Zhangye Danxia, China

Zhangye Danxia, China

M. Scheja / Shutterstock

At first glance, Zhangye Danxia looks like it may be photoshopped.

But it’s all natural, and that’s why these Rainbow Mountains are one of the best places to vacation for unique and breathtaking sights.

These mountains make up a geopark and have multicolored stripes, showing off vibrant shades of yellow, red, green, and more.

Trace minerals, erosion, and years of weathering have led to this astonishing phenomenon, made up of mineral deposits and red sandstone that have sat here for over 20 million years.

The place looks like it came right out of a storybook!

37. Vatnajokull Ice Caves, Iceland

By Albert Russ

Albert Russ / Shutterstock

The Vatnajokull Ice Caves are deadly when the ice melts in the spring and summer, but come winter, it’s a tourist’s paradise.

A huge network of caverns, tunnels, and caves appear surreal and breathtaking, reflected in bright teal and cerulean thanks to air bubbles, icebergs, and other factors.

Plus, let’s not forget about the Vatnajokull glacier, which spans 5,500 square miles and is the biggest glacier that the country has to offer.

All in all, this spot is perfect for a wonderful, fantastic vacation full of truly glorious photo opportunities.

Unfortunately, global warming has caused many of these caves to become threatened, so a trip here would be one of the best vacations to plan quickly before it’s too late!

38. Antelope Canyon, USA

Antelope Canyon on a sunny day

canadastock / Shutterstock

This geological phenomenon is located on Navajo territory and it is a slot canyon that boasts the privilege of being the most photographed of its kind universally.

The upper canyon area is more popular and offers a fantastic view of the curving, wavy walls of sandstone, while the lower canyon area boasts a more up-close-and-personal interaction with the magnolias colors it boasts.

Antelope Canyon is easily one of the most beautiful places in the US thanks to the amazing appearance it offers.

It’s amazing to think that all these fascinating shades of sandstone, in orange, yellow, pink, and red, occurred naturally!

39. Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled, Slovenia

ZM_Photo / Shutterstock

Lake Bled looks like it came out of a medieval movie featuring brave knights and feisty dragons.

That’s what makes it so compelling among places to go on vacation.

The lake is a deep forest green with a small island nestled in its center, holding a tall ancient castle and an equally rustic church.

You can row around the peaceful, calm waters of the lake or explore its central island.

It’s a truly romantic and gorgeous place that seems to be lost in time.

40. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Nomad on camel near pyramids

givaga / Shutterstock

Most people would consider the world-famous Pyramids of Giza to be among the best vacation spots that the world has to offer.

Among them are the gigantic Pyramid of Cheops, the intriguing Pyramid of Chephren, and, of course, the towering Sphinx that gazes over the land with watchful eyes.

Experience the wonders of ancient Egypt within these pyramids, where you will see sarcophagi, passages, statues, and structures all worthy of exploration.

It’s no wonder that these iconic structures are so renowned!

41. Mount Fuji, Japan

Mount Fuji with cherry blossom

Aeypix / Shutterstock

For the mountaineers, Mount Fuji is one of the best places to travel in the world.

It scales 12,388 feet in height and its beauty is worthy of any storybook cover.

Hike at the right time, and you’ll be able to get the summit without the hassle of the overwhelming snow.

Better yet, the area also hosts Lake Kawaguchiko, which is flanked by cherry blossoms that send soft pink petals drifting to the ground magically.

It is also backed by the view of the incredible mountain in all its glory.

42. Kuang Si Falls, Laos

Kuang Si Falls, Laos

WeStudio / Shutterstock

The Kuang Si Falls is known to be among the top travel destinations for backpackers.

Located very close to bustling city Luang Prabang, these waterfalls rush downwards in amazingly clear azure streams, falling through three tiers.

You can jump right into the water beneath the falls or, if you prefer, hike around the area to uncover more serene nature-filled spots that are perfect for a little exploring.

43. The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

zhu difeng / Shutterstock

We can’t talk about the greatest vacation spots in the world without mentioning The Great Wall of China .

It covers thousands of miles and sits on top of a mountain, allowing tourists who walk along it to glimpse breathtaking views as far as the eye can see.

This man-made marvel is so extensively huge that it’s difficult to imagine how it could have been built.

Its rich history and incredible structure make it well worth the visit, even though it’s impossible to walk all the way across it in one trip!

44. Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

Greg Brave / Shutterstock

If you like nature and culture all in one, New Zealand is one of the best countries to visit.

Case in point: the Fiordland National Park .

This park holds 14 fjords that, according to Maori legends, were all carved by a giant stonemason with an adze.

It’s not too difficult to believe that myth when you take a look at the deep, dipping valleys, though most experts believe it’s more likely that the fjords were created by glaciers over a hundred thousand years.

Waterfalls cascade over fjords and down from giant mountains of granite, and some fauna species in this park are found only there and nowhere else.

45. Boracay, Philippines

Boracay, Philippines

R.M. Nunes / Shutterstock

Boracay is among the best places to visit for a relaxing beach trip and some fun in the sun.

It’s one of the world’s favorite vacation islands, and its beauty is stunning in its simplicity.

Plus, there’s lots of good food to enjoy, and the people are lovely and friendly.

It’s a little difficult to get to these islands today, as only a limited number of tourists are allowed inside on a daily basis due to overcrowding from how popular the island has gotten.

However, if you plan in advance , you’ll be able to enjoy a relaxing bask in the sun on sandy beaches and wet shores.

46. Ik Kil Cenote, Mexico

Ik Kil Cenote, Mexico

Fotos593 / Shutterstock

Ik Kil Cenote is a natural pit that formed when a cave collapsed back in ancient times.

Back then, it was used by Mayans for ritual practices and also for relaxation.

Today, it’s among the greatest places to travel thanks to its gorgeous sapphire water that is crystal clear down to its depths, making it one of the greatest natural pools that earth has to offer.

Across the limestone wall, a ladder allows for easy pool access, and it’s a fantastic spot for divers and swimmers alike.

When you’re done, you can continue looking around the area for even more great spots to visit.

Planning a vacation to Cancun, Mexico? Be sure to check out our list of things to do in Cancun !

47. The Pitons, St. Lucia

The Pitons, St. Lucia

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The Pitons are a pair of volcanic plugs that go by the names Petit Piton (the smaller one) and Gros Piton (the larger one).

Their peaks are striking in appearance and make for incredible landmarks.

You can hike up the mountains or simply enjoy the view by resting and relaxing in Sugar Beach, which offers prime viewing of one of the best vacation spots in the world.

Either way, the dramatic and distinguished mountain spires simply cannot be denied!

48. Neelum Valley, Pakistan

Neelum Valley, Pakistan

Nadeem Mushtaq Jass / Shutterstock

Neelum Valley is one of the best places to travel for a more peaceful, calming experience.

Its valley, shaped somewhat like a bow, can be found at a 2000-foot altitude in the country’s Azad Kashmir.

Within the gorgeous valley flows the sublime Neelum river, and above it, the dignified mountain peaks capped by snow.

Surrounding this valley are rolling, tumbling hills rich in greenery and waterfalls for even more exploration.

49. Batu Caves, Malaysia

Batu Caves, Malaysia

Photography by KO / Shutterstock

Malaysia isn’t always thought of when you consider the best places to visit in the world, but this old temple cave (alongside other attractions) makes it worth the journey.

In 1859, Batu Caves was first discovered on the top of a limestone hill.

Within its depths are a large number of smaller caves joined with three big ones.

Today, this cave serves as a Hindu temple and houses many shrines, and it can only be accessed by climbing 272 steps.

At its front, a giant, elegant golden statue of Lord Murugan stands, overseeing the area with a calm gaze.

50. Pamukkale Thermal Pools, Turkey

Pamukkale Thermal Pools

THANAN / Shutterstock

The Pamukkale Thermal Pools are undoubtedly one of the best vacation spots in the nation.

Completely natural in structure, these pools are layered over one another thanks to mineral formations and travertines.

True to its name, which translates to “cotton castle”, these pools look like regally floating clouds.

The waters of these 17 hot springs in the area are rich in minerals, allowing for relaxation and skin-healing properties.

It’s basically a large natural spa that looks like an ethereal masterpiece.

Start Planning Your Dream Vacation

The world is full of rich natural and man-made wonders, whether they are resplendent in history and culture, packed with dazzling nature, or mind-blowing in their uniqueness and splendor.

These 50 places all around the planet are just begging to be explored, so what are you waiting for?

27 Best Vacation Spots for Every Type of Couple

By Siobhan Reid

Image may contain Garden Arbour Outdoors Building Hotel and Plant

All products featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The best vacation spots for couples are steeped in timeless romance. Whether it’s a cruise down the Nile or a saunter through sultry Buenos Aires, some places have simply mastered the art of seduction.   

Still, no vacation is one size fits all, and while some couples want to escape to the golden sands of the Caribbean, other people’s idea of romance might look like a getaway to South Africa’s wine country, or seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland.

So, how to  plan a romantic getaway tailor-made for two? “My favorite piece of advice is to leave room for spontaneity,” says luxury travel advisor Amina Dearmon, the founder and owner of  Perspectives Travel . “Our lives are already so over-scheduled, it’s important to have the freedom to do absolutely nothing and enjoy each other’s company, no matter which destination you choose.”  

For  domestic trips , she loves the wellness-focused resorts in Arizona like  Canyon Ranch Tucson  and the soon-to-reopen  Mii Amo . As for international destinations, she recommends the Caribbean islands of Anguilla, Dominica, and St. Lucia, as well as Venice, Italy. And if you’re going to splurge, Dearmon suggests balling out on your  accommodations (“It’s your home away from home”) and opting for extras like VIP meet and greets at the airport (“It’s a service that makes up a small percentage of your total trip cost, but it can make the biggest difference in your travel day.”).

To get a jumpstart on your planning, here are the 27 best vacation spots for couples, whether you crave a blissed-out spa getaway, a culinary vacation, or an adventure-packed itinerary. 

All listings featured in this story are independently selected by our editors. However, when you book something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Belmond Cap Juluca

Poolside at Cap Juluca, a Belmond Hotel, Anguilla

Ballotine de côte de veau au foie gras mousseline de carotte des sables at La Coorniche PylaSurMer

Ballotine de côte de veau au foie gras, mousseline de carotte des sables at La Co(o)orniche, Pyla-Sur-Mer

For stretching out on the sand

Cap Juluca, a Belmond Hotel, Anguilla

For beach bliss, cookbook author and “Top Chef” judge Gail Simmons recommends a romantic getaway to  Cap Juluca, a Belmond Hotel on Anguilla. “Cap Juluca’s beach is as pristine as it gets, with its long strip of powder-white sand, crystal clear water, and views of St. Maarten in the distance,” she says. “Plus, you never have to fight for a beach chair or show up super early, since there’s plenty of room and the staff always has an umbrella set up before you’ve even arrived.” When Simmons and her husband weren’t lounging on golden sands, they went paddleboarding, hit the tennis court, enjoyed massages at the spa, and even went on a snorkeling excursion. The highlight was all the quality time the pair spent together: “I loved how private and remote Cap Juluca felt,” says Simmons. “At times it felt like we were on our very own island.” 

La Co(o)orniche, Pyla-Sur-Mer

What could be more romantic than waking up to views of Europe’s biggest sand dune? At this Philippe Starck-designed  hotel in the seaside resort of Pyla-sur-Mer, couples enjoy panoramic views of Arcachon Bay and the mesmerizing Dune du Pilat from their beachy-chic guestrooms. Most visitors flock to the area to climb the magnificent dune, which rises 374 feet above sea level, but we won’t blame you for lazing on the sandy beach, breathing in the head-clearing scent of the pine forest.

Fernando De Noronha, Brazil

Brazil is spoiled for choice when it comes to beautiful beaches. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a place more blessed with natural beauty than Fernando de Noronho, a volcanic archipelago about 220 miles off the northeast coast of Brazil. Perhaps the dreamiest spot to spend the day with your significant other is Baia do Sancho, on the archipelago’s main island. The protected cove is the picture of earthly paradise, with forest-covered cliffs and azure waters home to colorful fish, dolphins, and sea turtles.  

Con Dao Archipelago, Vietnam

Looking for beachside seclusion? Skip Vietnam’s over-trammeled Phu Quoc and head to the isolated Con Dao archipelago instead. The remote islands are perfect for privacy-seekers: 83 percent of the archipelago is protected by the Con Dao National Park.  The most luxurious place to lay your head is the  Six Senses Con Dao , an eco-resort backed by the Lo Voi Mountains and located on a mile-long private beach. It’s worth peeling yourself away from your seaside villa for a guided hike along the coast to Dam Tre Bay, arguably the archipelago’s most photogenic beach, with forested hills and dramatic granite cliffs.

Tofino, Canada

For couples seeking rugged natural beauty and mist-shrouded coastal landscapes, it’s hard to top Tofino on Vancouver Island. The windswept town has no shortage of beaches primed for romance: Stroll hand in hand along the 10-mile Long Beach, enjoy a picnic with views of Clayoquot Sound at Tonquin Beach, or take a couple’s surf lesson at Cox Bay Beach. And while there are plenty of  beautiful Airbnbs available to rent, the oceanfront  Wickaninnish Inn —one of Canada’s most legendary hotels—epitomizes bucket-list romance. 

  Anse Source d’Argent Seychelles

There’s a reason Prince William and Kate Middleton honeymooned in the Seychelles. The Indian Ocean archipelago offers island romance par excellence, with luxurious resorts, off-the-grid adventures, and, of course, stunning beaches, the most famous being the Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue. It really doesn’t get more photogenic than this iconic stretch of sand, known for its shallow waters, imposing granite boulders, and swaying coconut palms. For a less-crowded—but no less picturesque option—hike three hours to Anse Marron, a remote beach on the southern tip of La Digue.  

The Retreat at Blue Lagoon

The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, Iceland  

For spa treatments and meditative moments

The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, Iceland   

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There are few destination spas as singular as this 62-suite  hotel , built into an 800-year-old lava field on the southwest side of Iceland’s famous lagoon. It’s an otherworldly place to spend a few days, kicking back in the Scandi-chic guestrooms, soaking in the thermal hot springs, and indulging in a seven-course chef’s tasting menu at the lagoon-level restaurant. You and your partner will feel weightless as you float in the mineral-rich waters, looking out at the surreal moss-fringed landscape. If you’re lucky, the Northern Lights may even dance across the sky.

One&Only Mandarina, Mexico

Author and interior designer  Athena Calderone fell head over heels for  One&Only Mandarina , a destination resort on Riviera Nayarit’s wild Pacific Coast. “The spa was an absolute dream—the entire experience was luxurious and elegant,” she says, referencing an all-natural Tata Harper facial that left her glowing. She also loved the treehouse accommodations and the resort’s intimate dining options, like the open-air Alma restaurant helmed by French-Mexican chef Olivier Deboise. “The property is the perfect respite for couples,” she says.

Six Senses Fort Barwara, Rajasthan  

Give your loved one the royal treatment at this 14 th -century fort turned 48-suite  hotel . Commanding a hilltop perch above Barwara Lake, the thoughtfully restored complex channels the glamor of a bygone era. Splurge on the Raja Man Singh Pool Suite, which features a pool and garden enclosed within a turret and views of the Chauth ka Barwara Mandir Temple and the Aravali hills. There are daily wellness activities like sunrise yoga and traditional  puja  ceremonies at sunset. But for the ultimate indulgence, retreat to the 30,000-square-foot spa for stress-relieving shirodhara treatments and cutting-edge biohacking therapies.

Troutbeck, New York

At this sophisticated  country manor in New York’s Hudson Valley, it’s all about communing with nature while enjoying luxe amenities (deep-soaking tubs, fireplaces, and Frette linens). Robust wellness programming rounds out the itinerary, with activities like pilates classes in a high-ceilinged barn, private tennis lessons at the food of Oblong Mountain, and cycling adventures along the Harlem Valley Rail Trail. It’s the perfect weekend getaway for active couples—but the 38-room hotel is just as suited for relaxation. Stroll through the formal gardens, sign up for acupuncture treatments or massage, and if the weather’s nice, hang out by the swimming pool under the shade of sycamore trees. 

Capella Ubud, Bali  

This riverside  jungle camp in Bali’s lush Keliki Valley is a favorite destination among  honeymooners , but trust us, it’s far too special to only visit once in your lifetime. The setting is truly sublime, with 23 tented rooms spread over a terraced hillside flanked by paddy fields and dense rainforest. At the Auriga Spa , treatments draw on ancient Balinese and Hindu healing traditions and are accompanied by the sounds of the rainforest. More adventurous couples can go trekking through the Keliki rice paddies or sign up for a G.I Jungle outdoor training session.


A cruise down the Nile River 

For more than one adrenaline rush

Glacier treks and hair-raising hikes in Patagonia, Argentina

End-of-the-world landscapes and out-of-this-world adventures are all part of the experience in Argentinian Patagonia. Thrill-chasers should strap on their ice shoes and trek along the majestic Perito Moreno Glacier, a vast shield of ice whose surface is slightly larger than Buenos Aires, while wildlife lovers can glimpse giant Humpback whales, penguins, and sea lions in Ushuaia, South America’s southernmost city. For the ultimate bonding experience, attempt the 13-mile Laguna de Los Trek hike in El Chalten, which will bring you to the foot of the mighty Mount Fitz Roy. 

Wildlife sightings and outdoor adventures in Arenal Volcano National Park Costa Rica

The beauty of Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano National Park is that you can do as much—or as little—as you want and still have a great time. This is especially true of couples who choose to bed down at the adults-only  Nayara Springs , a collection of luxurious private villas with plunge pools, gardens, outdoor showers, and show-stopping views of the Arenal Volcano. Off-property adventures include white-water rafting expeditions down the Sarapiqui River, visits to the 195-foot waterfall in the Arenal Hanging Bridges Park, and a photo tour of the lava fields.

A luxury train ‘safari’ through Namibia  

The best way to explore the vast, sun-baked desert of Namibia? By train, of course! On a nine-night safari journey with the ultra-glamorous  Rovos Rail , you and your partner will traverse some of the country’s most dramatic landscapes, including the Succulent Karoo desert, the red dunes of the Sossusvlei dry lake, and the Walvis Bay tidal lagoon. You’ll make plenty of stops along the way, so you can fully appreciate the wide-open views and snap photos of the wildlife. To travel in style, splurge on the wood-paneled Royal Suite sleeper coach.

Dude ranch adventures in Utah

Studies show that couples who actively try new things together are less likely to fall into a rut. Well, we don’t know about you, but we can’t think of a better relationship-building exercise than learning the “art of cowboying” at Utah’s  Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection . Set on a 3,500-acre private working ranch a half-hour from Salt Lake City, the hotel offers a range of equine adventures suited for amateurs and experienced riders alike—instruction in English riding, rides through the flower-covered meadows of the Wasatch Mountains, and even a breathwork session in the stable. 

A road trip along Australia’s Great Ocean Road  

The open road offers complete spontaneity and freedom of choice—the perfect option for couples who like to leave extra room for scenic detours. For the ultimate road trip itinerary, set your sights on Australia’s Great Ocean Road, a 150-mile stretch that winds around the country’s scenic southern coast. Says Stuart Rigg, owner of  Southern Crossings Australia : “The Great Ocean Road offers captivating landscapes, charming seaside towns, fabulous food and wine experiences, and great opportunities to get outdoors with the one you love.” While he notes that the route is best known for its iconic limestone rock formations like the iconic 12 Apostles, he notes that there are plenty of other photo ops and attractions along the way. Among them: towering Californian Redwoods in Otway National Park, the Kennett River Koala Walk, and the highly-award Wickens restaurant at the Royal Mail Hotel. 

A cruise down the Nile River  

Egypt’s Nile River is so mythical, even Cole Porter crooned about it in his love songs. To cruise it in style, opt for a six-day itinerary with  Nour el Nil on a traditional flat-bottomed  dahabiya  sailboat. As you journey from Esna to Aswan, you and your sweetheart will float past reed-covered banks, the dunes of the Sahara, and ancient monuments like the Gebel El Silsila Temple that other large ships can’t reach. 

Odette Restaurant Singapore Beets

A heirloom and beetroot variation at Odette 

For unforgettable meals (and wine lists)

Napa Valley, California   

Wine tastings, hot-air balloon rides, pilgrimage-worthy dining, chic boutique hotels. No place does romance quite like Napa Valley. And while you could easily spend weeks discovering the region’s wineries and restaurants, there are a few spots that couples shouldn’t miss. At Sullivan Rutherford Estate, enjoy a private Cab Sauv tasting and tour of the sculpted gardens before settling in for a nine-course tasting menu at Thomas Keller’s lauded  French Laundry. Or swing by Gott’s Roadside to pick up a milkshake and old-fashioned burger before catching the sunset at Skyline Wilderness Park. The recently reborn  Poetry Inn is probably the region’s most swoon-worthy stay, with just five rooms boasting vineyard views, sweeping private terraces, and soaking tubs.

The Lake District, England

The English Lake District has long attracted outdoor enthusiasts who come to scale the U.K.’s highest peaks But in recent decades, the verdant region in northwest England has emerged as a gastronomic hotspot. It all started in 2002 when British chef Simon Rogan—one of the pioneers of the farm-to-table movement—opened his now-famous  L’Enclume in the quaint village of Cartmel. The three-starred Michelin restaurant is known for putting inventive spins on classic dishes using organic produce from Rogan’s 12-acre farm. Since then, plenty of other high-end restaurants have set up shop, like the acclaimed British-Asian  Blackbull  in Sedbergh and the  Old Stamp House in Ambleside. Now the region has become somewhat of a food pilgrimage, popular among couples craving haute cuisine and gastronomic-centered hotels like  Linthwaite House and  Our Rooms by L’Enclume . 

Emilia Romagna, Italy

Every corner of Italy has something to offer from a culinary perspective. But only the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna can lay claim to 44 DOP food products including Parmigiano Reggiano, tortellini, and ragù bolognese. Begin your eatathon in the region’s capital, Bologna. With only one Michelin-starred restaurant in the entire city (yes, really), couples will have to do their own research, strolling the city’s grand porticos in search of the best osteria and trattorias. From Bologna, the options are limitless: visit family-run vinegar producers in Modena; try Culatello, the most prestigious of all cured meats, in Parma; and develop a taste for Lambrusco in Reggio Emilia. And for a no-expenses-spared date night out, there’s only one place to know about: Massimo Bottura’s renowned  Osteria Francescana in Modena. 

As a melting pot of Chinese, Malay, and Indian cultures, Singapore is one of the world’s great food cities—and a real feast for travelers hungry for food  and  culture. And sure, there are temples of fine dining galore (we’re looking at you,  Odette ), but some of the city’s best bites come from unassuming local vendors at the city’s legendary hawker centers. At the Chinatown Complex Food Centre, sample everything from fragrant laksa soup and Chinese steamed buns to piping-hot clay pot rice. For date night, make reservations at the renowned  Atlas Bar , a vaulted space with Art Deco flair and the world’s largest gin collection. Even the city’s Jewel Changi Airport is a culinary wonderland with 100+ eateries, allowing couples to make the most of their every meal in the food-obsessed city. 

South Africa’s Wine Country  

From stunning Cape Dutch-style architecture and world-class restaurants to luxurious wine country hotels, South Africa’s wine country is truly suited to all tastes. After checking in at  Delaire Graff Estates , a boutique hotel and winery near Stellenbosch, toast to your romantic getaway with a bottle of méthode cap classique (South Africa’s version of Champagne). You’ll want to set aside a few days to go wine tasting in Stellenbosch and the neighboring regions Franschhoek, Paarl, and Constantia, where the grape to seek out is Pinotage, South Africa’s flagship variety. For a vacation memory that’ll age like fine wine, splurge on the tasting menu at  Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia .  

Aman Kyoto Japan Hotel

For art and culture around every corner

It’s no secret that the French capital is a cultural powerhouse. But it’s not always easy to escape the crowds and enjoy the cultural treasures for yourself—or is it? According to the uber-stylish Parisian hoteliers Anouk and Louis Solanet of  Orso hotel group, there are plenty of lesser-known gems even in popular neighborhoods like Montmartre (you just need to know where to look). One of the couple’s favorite spots is the Musée de la vie Romantique , a literary museum situated at the base of Montmartre and set within the former house of Dutch painter Ary Scheffer. “We love to sit in silence in the hidden garden, which smells of roses and lilacs,” says Anouk. Afterwards, they recommend grabbing a drink at  Hotel Rochechouart ’s rooftop, which offers dead-on views of the Sacré Coeur. On the Left Bank, the couple loves strolling through the Jardin du Luxembourg and on to Rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs, one of the streets that inspired Woody Allen’s  Midnight in Paris,  and finally to the Giacometti Foundation—“A jewel of Parisian museum,” says Louis—which is dedicated to the life and work of the famous Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti. 

Lausanne, Switzerland

Switzerland’s fourth-largest city is straight out of a fairytale, with a medieval Old Town and vertiginous streets that rise above the shimmering waters of Lake Geneva. It’s also one of the country’s most underrated arts hubs, thanks to the recent opening of  Platforme 10 , a striking new art district home to three of the city’s major art museums. For couples who prefer to see art en plein air, go on a cultural scavenger hunt to locate 82 works scattered throughout the hillside city (don’t miss Clelia Bettua’s sculptural weather vane at the Port of Ouchy). To cap off a perfect day, catch a show at the newly modernized Théâre de Vidy before retiring at the  Hôtel Royal Savoy Lausanne , a grand castle-like property that wouldn’t be out of place in a Wes Anderson flick. The hotel has a sublime spa, a rooftop terrace overlooking the lake, and an unbeatable location near all the top cultural spots. 

Buenos Aires

Is there a city sexier than Buenos Aires? There’s something sultry about Argentina’s capital, from its dimly-lit tango bars and balmy weather to its heady mix of South American and European influences. After catching a tango performance at the city’s best-known milonga, La Catedral , continue your cultural immersion at the Teatro Colon —one of the world’s most beautiful opera houses—where Igor Stravinsky has performed, Rudolph Nureyev has danced, and Maria Callas has sung. From there, it’s a short walk to  El Ateneo Grand Splendid , a bookstore occupying a former theater and featuring century-old ceiling frescos. But to really feel the spirit of the city, couples should spend an afternoon in the colorful La Boca neighborhood, where there are vibrant murals, live music, and views of the Riachuelo River.

Venice, Italy  

“Venice is pure magic,” says Amina Dearmon of Perspectives Travel. “I love being able to wander the streets, stop at an osteria for an Aperol Spritz, and watch the sunset from the Accademia Bridge.” Like so many Italian cities, Venice is like an open-air museum, brimming with art and culture at every turn. Its narrow streets and atmospheric squares are packed with heavy-hitting institutions, too, like the  Peggy Guggenheim Collection , the  Doge’s Palace , and the  Palazzo Ca’ Pesaro . First-time visitors shouldn’t miss a side trip to Murano, the second-largest island in the Venetian lagoon, to learn about its long tradition of glassmaking at the  Venice Glass Museum . 

The former imperial capital of Japan is home to more than a dozen UNESCO World Heritage Sites and some 2,000 Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. In any other city, the sheer volume of culture would be head-spinning. But in Kyoto, it’s a pleasure to stroll around the peaceful temple gardens, traditional teahouses, and ancient storefronts, feeling transported to an earlier time. Top landmarks include the famous orange torii gates at the Fushimi Inari shrine, the celebrated Kiyomizu Temple, and the impressive Nijo Castle. If the budget allows, spend the night at the new  Aman Kyoto , a sanctuary-like retreat set on 80 acres of hilly woodland in the north of the city, a stone’s throw from the golden Kinkaku-ji Temple.  

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The Vacationer • Travel Guides • Travel Tips

49 Best Travel Tips to Save Time, Money, & Stress in 2024

Best Travel Tips

Traveling locally, across the country, or to another continent is an exciting way to form memories and experience other cultures. But an awry trip can usher in unnecessary stress, expenses, and potential regrets.

These travel tips can help you have a successful trip from the initial planning stages, as you pack your bags, and once you reach your destination. 

Table of Contents

Best Travel Tips While Preparing for a Trip

This collection of tips covers just about everything you should consider when traveling and before you go. You are most likely practicing some of them, making them a good reminder, and others can help prevent uncommon travel surprises.

1. Book At Least Six Weeks in Advance

Instead of carving time out of your schedule to book your trip at a specific date or time (such as Tuesdays at 3 a.m. using a private browsing session to find discounted fares), a more effective strategy is researching travel options at least four to six weeks in advance.

You can still find cheap flights and ideal flight times at least six weeks before departure. Getting on the hunt two or three months before major holidays is also good.  

Last-minute travel savings are possible but you may be unable to get a desired departure time, layover window, or destination. Waiting until the final days can be worth it if you have a flexible schedule and are open-minded about where you travel to.

Learn More: Best Days and Times to Book Flights

2. Travel in the Off-Season or Shoulder Season

Avoiding the peak travel season is one of the easiest ways to pay less for flights and lodging. You also will enjoy smaller crowds and the weather can still be decent for your intended activities.

For example, visiting Spain is delightful in March and April but travel prices are elevated during Semana Santa (Holy Week) when most cities have processions that virtually shut down the city.

Another example is visiting a beach town during the shoulder season. The shoulder season is the time between the peak and the offseason. So you could take a trip to Cape May, NJ from the middle of May to the end of June instead of during the July/August peak. The weather is still good enough during the shoulder season to enjoy most peak-season activities.

3. Compare Multiple Booking Sites

Comparing prices from several travel booking sites can help you find the best rate within minutes. Airlines, hotels, and rental cars offer several slots to third-party booking sites and you can pay less than booking directly from the carrier.

It’s worth your time to check prices directly from the carrier website but also from one or more third-party booking sites (online travel agencies or OTAs) like Hotels.com , Kayak , or Google Flights .

The Vacationer Tip

Along with looking for the best flight schedule and prices, you can use our guide to help find the best seats on the plane and book them for cheap or for free.

4. Book Directly from the Travel Provider

While you can find discounted prices through online travel agencies and third-party booking sites, booking directly from the airline, hotel, or rental car agency provides more protection if you must cancel or reschedule. This is especially important for flights and the 24-hour cancellation rule .

With third-party reservations, you may be locked into a particular itinerary that could be non-refundable or non-changeable. You will need to call the booking site to determine what your alternatives are. If you’re eligible for a refund, it can take longer to receive your funds.

5. Stay at a Hostel to Save Money

Hostels are a common and safe way to secure affordable lodging in Europe and Asia. If you’re traveling solo or in a group and okay with not having as much privacy, a hostel helps keep your travel costs down. 

Despite many misconceptions, most establishments are well-run with clean bathrooms and bedding. You may also be able to get a basic breakfast at some. With that said, be sure to research your options and consider paying a little more to get more luxurious accommodations.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Staying in a Hostel

6. Consider Vacation Rentals for Extended Stays

Vacation rental websites like Airbnb and VRBO have become immensely more popular since the pandemic as people yearned for privacy. While hotels are usually better for shorter stays as you avoid expensive cleaning fees and service fees, a vacation home or villa can be more cost-effective for extended stays.

At a minimum, a rental or an extended-stay hotel is more likely to offer a full kitchen suite that allows you to cook full meals instead of relying on packaged snacks or what fits inside the hotel mini-fridge. 

Vacation rentals can also be cheaper per square foot if traveling as a family. Instead of squeezing into a hotel suite or booking multiple rooms, you have spacious accommodations. If you have small children, the extra space can keep you from losing your mind on rainy days.

The Vacationer’s Tip: While many people focus on spending less for flights, hotels and vacation rentals can have variable pricing. Here is how to find and book cheap hotels to enjoy clean and spacious lodging on a budget.

7. Buy Travel Insurance for Expensive or International Trips

Travel insurance is inexpensive on most itineraries and can save you thousands of dollars if your non-refundable travel is canceled or delayed for qualifying reasons. 

Obtaining coverage is a good option for expensive trips. Picking up a policy can also be worth it when traveling outside the United States as you can have medical coverage and emergency evacuation benefits that your ordinary health insurance may not provide outside the country.

You should also consider booking your trips using credit cards with travel insurance coverage . These benefits are sufficient for low-cost excursions and can activate before your standalone travel insurance policy can. They can also provide complimentary rental car coverage .

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers the best credit card travel insurance benefits. Namely, you can be eligible for trip interruption and cancellation coverage of up to $10,000 per person ($20,000 per trip), primary auto rental collision damage waiver, up to $500 per ticket in trip delay reimbursement, and up to $100,000 in emergency evacuation  Learn How to Apply Here

8. Consider Annual Travel Insurance Plans

If you travel regularly, an annual travel insurance policy covers multiple trips at a lower premium than buying a new policy for each trip. This is an excellent option for frequent leisure travelers and business travelers.

9. Review Airline and Hotel Cancellation Policies

Your travel plans may change unexpectedly for personal or work reasons. Before you book, take the time to review the cancellation and modification policies just to make sure they are reasonable.

You want to make sure you have a strong possibility of getting a refund or a travel credit to redeem later. Being locked into a non-refundable itinerary may not be worth the savings unless you’re booking right before you go or your travel insurance may issue a refund.

In addition to researching the cancellation policy, be sure to review an airline’s seating and carry-on policy to avoid add-on fees and restrictions. 

10. Choose Early Flights

Early morning flights are the best time to fly for several reasons. First, these departures are less likely to be delayed as it’s a new travel day with rested crews and minimal weather-related interruptions. 

Additionally, these flights can be cheaper as you need to arrive at the airport a little earlier. Routes popular with business travel can be an exception to this rule, but you can anticipate paying less than for a mid-day sortie.

Learn More: How to Avoid Flight Delays and Cancellations

11. Arrive at the Airport Early

Best Travel Tips - Arrive at the Airport Early

Photo: Pixabay

Getting to the airport at least an hour before departure for domestic flights at small airports or when you’re not checking luggage. Plan on arriving at least two hours for domestic flights at busy airports, if you’re checking a bag, or traveling with small children.

What about international flights? Plan on arriving at least three hours before departure to allow additional time for a potentially longer check-in time.

Learn More: How Early Should I Get to the Airport?

12. Qualify for Expedited Airport Security 

If you fly several times a year, obtaining expedited airport security credentials can help you avoid long airport security lines. 

The first step is applying for a federally-administered Trusted Traveler Program, such as:

  • TSA PreCheck : Enjoy expedited security at domestic airports only.  
  • Global Entry : Get expedited processing at customs lines on international flights plus TSA PreCheck benefits. 
  • NEXUS : Ideal for travel between the U.S. and Canada. It also includes Global Entry and TSA PreCheck benefits. 

Several rewards credit cards are offering free Global Entry and TSA PreCheck application fee credits to save a few dollars.

In addition to Trusted Traveler programs, you can also shave a few minutes off security wait times with CLEAR at select major airports and stadiums. Where available, this pre-security program can help you reach the expedited TSA security lines sooner. 

Getting a Redress Number can help those who frequently have boarding pass issues, are subject to additional security screenings (including having SSSS on their boarding pass ), and those who experience delayed or denied boardings.

Learn More: How to Get Through TSA Airport Security Faster

13. Relax at an Airport Lounge

If you have a long layover or arrive at the airport several hours later, visiting an airport lounge (like a Centurion Lounge ) can help you grab a complimentary meal and drink, and recharge your devices. You can also have a comfortable place to sit and the luxury lounges offer spa treatment, sleeping rooms, and shower suites to clean up.

Single-day passes are pricey but there are several credit cards with lounge access . Most lounges allow entry for the primary cardholder and up to two guests complimentary up to three hours before your next flight’s departure.

Airport lounge access is just one way to reduce air travel stress . Check out our article for additional suggestions. 

14. Check Your Passport Expiration Date

Some countries and airlines won’t let you travel if your passport expires within six months. If you’re planning a trip, see if your passport is expiring soon to prevent delaying your trip.

Consider renewing your passport early if you’re approaching the six-month expiration window as the passport processing times can take up to 13 weeks to receive your new document. You can pay extra for expedited processing but the process can still take several weeks.

After submitting your renewal request, you can check your passport application status online .

Finally, use our How to Take Your Own Passport Photo guide to simplify things when applying or renewing.

15. Don’t Go Into Debt for Vacation

As much as you’re earning to get away on a dream trip, it’s probably not worth going into debt for. Whether your bank is offering a vacation loan or you intend on carrying a credit card balance (even with a 0% APR), borrowing money to travel can backfire.

Instead, look for the best options within your spending power. Consider setting aside money each month and delaying your trip if necessary.

In addition to saving up for travel in a dedicated savings account, you can use travel rewards credit cards to redeem points to defray purchases. Some cards offer annual statement credits that reimburse eligible travel bookings. 

Additionally, airline credit cards and hotel credit cards also offer complimentary benefits to spend less.  

Making a travel budget can help you plan for travel expenses so you’re not nervous about running out of cash while you travel or having regrets once you return home.

16. Exercise and Stretch

Once you depart for your trip, be sure to stretch and perform basic exercises as time and space permit. It can be as basic as stationary stretches while sitting in your seat to walking the airport terminal. If driving, stay outside for a few extra minutes at the gas station or rest area.

Stretching and being active once you arrive is also beneficial and can help you sleep better.

Best Travel Tips for Packing

17. only bring a carry-on.

When possible, only bring a carry-on to avoid lost or missing checked luggage. You can also avoid checked baggage fees and excessive weight charges if you overpack. Using the best carry-on can help you find the perfect soft or hard-sided luggage to fit your travel gear.

If you need to check a bag, it most likely won’t get lost but could get delayed. Here’s our helpful guide on what to do during baggage delays .

18. Pack as Light as Possible

Packing is stressful; Many people overpack to ease their anxiety, which sometimes means bringing extra suitcases or paying to check a bag. Write down everything you think you need on your packing list. After it’s complete, cut it down to the bare minimum.

Pack underwear and socks for the number of showers you expect to take; Add an emergency pair for every five or so days of your trip. Shirts and pants can usually be worn multiple days in a row. If your accommodation has a washing machine, you can pack even less.

19. Carry-On Overnight Travel Essentials

You never know when a flight delay will turn into spending the night in the terminal or at a nearby hotel. While the airline may provide meal vouchers, you should pack these travel essentials to freshen up:

  • A change of clothes, especially extra underwear and socks
  • Powerbank (they cost about $20 and have several phone/tablet recharges)
  • Travel charger

Even if you’re not stuck somewhere overnight, these small and compact items can also help you rest while on the road:

  • Earplugs (great for plane rides and noisy hotels)
  • Noise-canceling earbuds or headphones
  • Travel blanket
  • Travel pillow (see the best travel neck pillows )

Adding these carry-on essentials to your packing list can prepare you for nearly any change of plans and to weather a long layover or flight. 

20. Don’t Forget a Power Adapter

A power adapter is essential in most foreign destinations to charge your devices. Traveling to Canada or Mexico is an exception as the standard voltage is 120v and these countries have the same outlet design as the United States. Check to see the adapter requirements for the country you are visiting before leaving.

The Vacationer’s Phil Dengler recently visited South Africa and needed a Type M adapter. He purchased this Ceptics International Power Plug Adapter Travel Set , which includes 13 adapters for just about every foreign country.

21. Use Packing Cubes

There are a couple of ways to organize your travel luggage to squeeze everything in. Your bag may include built-in storage compartments or you might roll up clothing and put them in packing cubes or vacuum storage bags. If you’re on a budget, rubber bands or plastic bags can also do the job. I recommend the following packing cubes: Veken 6 Set of Various Colored Packing Cubes .

Packing for a vacation can feel like a fine art at times, even as a seasoned traveler. Our travel packing list can cover everything you need to bring so you don’t forget and have to buy something along the way.

22. Bring an Empty Water Bottle

For over 20 years, it’s become ingrained for air travelers to pack liquids in containers containing no more than three ounces. This security rule means you can’t bring a filled water bottle through airport security, but you can bring an empty one.

Most airports have filtered water dispensers in the post-security terminal that you can fill up your bottle with and avoid paying big bucks for bottled water. You also won’t struggle to stay hydrated during your journey.

If you’re driving, consider bringing a travel water filter or a portable filter that you can use in your hotel room to pay pennies for filtered water.

23. Dress Comfortably for the Flight

You should dress comfortably for the plane ride. Dressing in layers with a light jacket or a travel blanket can help you stay warm if the cabin is cool. Bringing travel slippers or slip-on shoes on long-haul flights is another overlooked comfort hack. Wear sweatpants instead of jeans.

24. Bring Duplicate Travel Documents

Take a few minutes to photocopy your critical travel documents such as your government-issued IDs and passport. Be sure to keep these papers separate from your originals in case one set gets lost.

Once you arrive at your destination, you may decide to go out in public with your duplicates and keep your originals plus at least one payment card in the room safe. That way, a pickpocket doesn’t run off with the more valuable set and you still have a way to make purchases. 

Taking it a step further, write down your credit card numbers and the emergency contact number if you need to call and cancel if your plastic goes missing. If you don’t have a phone number, you can also look for a pay phone that should have a toll-free number to contact Visa or Mastercard to cancel your card.

25. Keep Valuables at Home and Bring a Lock

Unless it’s necessary to bring them along for a business function or a personal event, leave your valuables at home. The hassle of keeping them secure and the risk of losing them may not be worth the replacement cost. 

This includes your fine jewelry, watches, and high-end electronics that are nice to use but optional for this trip. Additionally, these items can make you a target for thieves.

The Vacationer’s Phil Dengler also recommends bringing a luggage lock or a standard combination lock.

Best Travel Tips Luggage Lock & Tracker

26. Install a Luggage Tracking Device

Bluetooth tracking devices like the Apple AirTag are a small and easy way to see where your carry-on and checked luggage are at all times. A single piece is about the size of a coin and costs $30 or less.

27. Bring Comfy Walking Shoes

Most of the world walks more steps than we do daily. Therefore, it’s essential to pack at least one pair of comfortable shoes or sandals to stroll the streets of your destination. Comfortable footwear is also a must-have if you’re staying stateside.

28. Keep a Travel Journal

Consider packing a notebook or diary into your carry-on. Handwriting your favorite travel memories in a journal is an easy way to remember the intricacies that you may struggle to remember years later when you reflect. 

For example, you can write down what you did each day along with exciting facts. Having everybody share their favorite activity for the day is another way to use this journal.

Best Travel Tips for Once You Arrive

29. learn the local customs.

Words and expressions can have different meanings where you’re traveling to. It’s also a good idea to know some of the common phrases and customs the locals practice so you can have a basic conversation.

You can research these details online or in a guidebook.

Best Travel Tips Local Customs

30. Dress As a Local

Blending in with the crowd can help prevent unwanted attention from panhandlers and pickpockets. For example, don’t wear revealing clothing when the culture favors pants or long dresses. Researching fashion advice for your destination is your best option.

31. Be Wary of Local Scams

Brushing up on the latest tourist scams can help you avoid bad situations. A recent travel guidebook is a reliable way to find the most common tactics for your destination. Two to look out for are unofficial taxis and fake wifi hotspots. 

32. Consider Wearing a Money Belt

Long-time travelers have a love-hate relationship with money belts as they point you out as a tourist if you’re constantly reaching for it in public. Additionally, wearing the belt all day can be a nuisance as it’s an extra layer of fabric you’re not used to.

At the same time, it’s harder to steal a money belt than to grab something from your pockets or purse. They are also inexpensive to buy on Amazon and don’t take up a lot of suitcase space if you decide not to use it.

33. Download Travel Apps

Smartphones make international travel substantially easier as you can download various apps before leaving home so you can hit the ground running.

Some types of apps you may consider downloading for these purposes:

  • Offline Maps: Many consider Maps.me to be the best offline maps app and more user-friendly than Apple Maps or Google Maps. You may still try getting paper maps from a local tourism office or bookstore once you arrive though.
  • Translation: A translator app for traveling can be pre-loaded with basic phrases with offline access. It may also be able to interpret voice recordings and photographs.
  • Jet Lag: Flying to the other side of the world takes a toll on your body and sleep cycle. Timeshifter can help you conquer jet lag quicker while traveling and upon returning home.   

Downloading apps for your airline, hotel, and travel booking sites will help you access your digital reservation information and receive itinerary updates. Some travelers also enjoy downloading tourism apps like Tripadvisor or Yelp to quickly access ratings for attractions.

34. Get an International Sim Card or Phone Plan

Your stateside phone carrier may offer an international plan that you can upgrade to while you’re out of the country. Contract carriers and prepaid providers offer this overseas coverage.

Alternatively, an international sim card can be a budget-friendly and reliable option if you visit multiple countries. Just make sure your device is unlocked and GSM-compatible.  

35. Avoid Eating in Touristy Areas  

You’re likely to pay more and potentially get lower-quality food when eating in touristy areas. This isn’t always the case. For example, dining within sight of Rome’s Pantheon is an exception as there are well-rated restaurants for a memorable ambiance.

However, going a few streets over or to an adjacent community can be the ticket to finding authentic food. Asking your hotel or trustworthy locals can help you find a good spot in addition to researching places to eat online.

36. Lunch Can Be Cheaper than Supper

If you’re only planning on eating out one meal per day, your mid-day meal can be more affordable than in the evening. 

Depending on the restaurant, there can be separate menus for the bar and dining room. Staying in the bar can be more affordable and your meal options can be similar.

37. Use American Chains for Public Restrooms and Wifi

Finding a public bathroom can be challenging in foreign destinations. American restaurants like McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Taco Bell are more likely to offer public access to restrooms and wifi, although you may need to make a small purchase.

38. Look for Free Walking Tours

Free walking tours are common in popular tourist destinations both stateside and internationally. These tours can last a couple of hours and hit the cultural and historical points of interest. They can provide an idea of what you want to spend more time exploring later.  

While these tours don’t have an entry fee, nothing in life is genuinely 100% free ,and leaving a tip is expected in most situations. You may decide to tip more if the guide is knowledgeable and engaging.

39. A Paid Tour Can Be Better Than a Free Tour

Best Travel Tips for Tours

You should also compare the free tours to private, guided tours. A paid tour can provide more hands-on support and access to more landmarks. 

In addition to researching the traditional tour providers, the experiences section in Airbnb can also provide curated opportunities to see the sights, enjoy culinary delights, or do physical activities like paddleboarding or folk dancing. 

Further Reading: Best Websites for Booking Cheap Tickets, Tours, & Activities

40. Look for Discounted Sightseeing Passes

Museums and entertainment attractions offer discounted and priority admission with sightseeing pass companies. So, instead of buying tickets directly from the tourist attractions you wish to visit, purchasing a city attraction card in advance can save money and means you won’t need to wait for hours (potentially) to buy a ticket at the door.

For domestic trips, CityPASS® offers discounted packages in approximately 15 major U.S. cities. Entertainment.com can also help you save on experiences in the United States and Canada.

If you’re flying to the “Eternal City” of Rome, Italy, the Roma Tourist Card is worth the upfront cost as you can enjoy these benefits:   

  • Skip-the-line access at the Roman Colosseum
  • Guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Access to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel
  • Audio guides for the Pantheon and Rome
  • Free return transfer to or from Rome’s international airports (Ciampino and Fiumicino)
  • 10% discount on other attractions, museums, and tours

Depending on the program, you may need to book your pass weeks in advance.

41. Get an Interrail Pass for a Eurotrip

If you’re backpacking Europe or touring several countries, an Interrail Pass from Eurail can make it easier to finalize your transportation plan using an interactive map. This platform lets you visit up to 33 countries by rail with a single pass. 

42. Have a Flexible Travel Schedule

Mapping out an initial plan for each day can help you seize the day and optimize your time of playing tourist. Meanwhile, remaining flexible is pivotal as several variables can alter your itinerary such as:

  • A change in the weather
  • Accomplishing more than you originally scheduled 
  • Making friends with other travelers and having dinner with them
  • Realizing a planned activity isn’t as appealing once you arrive 

Another related suggestion is to get out and explore the city and the immediate area on your arrival date (time permitting) so you have a better idea of what to do the next day.

43. Wear Sunscreen Early and Often For Beach & Outdoor Trips

There is nothing worse than getting a bad sunburn at the beginning of a trip. Find a good facial sunscreen and buy a travel-sized container. Apply it to your face and neck a few times per day. For beach trips, either cover up with a hat and clothing or apply strong sunscreen to your body multiple times per day. While it may be annoying, it is much better than dealing with painful and peeling sunburn.

Sunscreen is usually marked up at typical tourist spots. If you check a bag, consider buying what you need before leaving and packing it.

44. Use an ATM Instead of a Currency Exchange Booth

Instead of heading directly to the currency exchange booth at the airport or train terminal, look for an ATM instead. Several should be in the public terminals or you can look for a local bank branch to find a secure location.

Why? ATMs provide better currency exchange ratios than the money exchange booth. Even if you pay foreign transaction fees and non-network ATM fees, you will most likely come out ahead financially speaking.

45. Use a Credit Card With No Foreign Transaction Fees

Many travel-focused credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred , the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card , and The Platinum Card from American Express do not have foreign transaction fees. Use cards like those when traveling internationally to avoid potentially expensive fees.

46. Bring at Least One Backup Credit Card

Getting stuck on vacation with no access to money (besides cash) is not something you want to experience; Your main credit card could get lost or stolen. Carry at least one backup credit card (ideally with no foreign transaction fees if overseas) on all trips.

Phil Dengler’s Favorite Travel Tips

Here are a few of Phil’s favorite travel tips.

47. Be Very Flexible – Pick Your Travel Dates Based on the Cheapest Days to Fly

Flights are usually the most costly part of a vacation. I recommend using Google Flights calendar view to find the cheapest days to fly to and from your destination. After identifying those days, book your airfare. You must be flexible, but it can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars planning a vacation this way.

Further Reading: How to Find Cheap Flights and How to Use Google Flights

48. Book the Aisle and Window Seats When Traveling in Pairs

I always book the aisle and window seats when flying with my girlfriend or a friend. No one wants to sit in the middle seat, so people rarely select it. Doing this usually gives us the entire row to ourselves.

It does not work on full flights, however. The good news is people are usually willing to trade their middle seat. Simply offer them your aisle or window seat and you still get to sit next to your significant other or friend.

Further Reading: Can You (and Should You) Change Airplane Seats With Someone Else on a Flight?

49. Follow Proper Airline Etiquette

Knowing how to properly act on a plane can better your flying experience. See our following guides for more information.

  • Airplane Seat Reclining Etiquette
  • Overhead Bin Space Etiquette – Who Does it Belong To and How to Avoid Fights

The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts

Taking the time to plan for a vacation, whether it’s the annual beach trip or you’re trying some new place, lets you practice these travel tips and not stress before or during your expedition. 

The best part is that you don’t need to be a travel pro to successfully implement these suggestions. If you’re a beginner, try adopting several more each time you leave home.

Josh Patoka The Vacationer Bio

By Josh Patoka

Josh Patoka writes about maximizing travel rewards for The Vacationer. As well, he contributes to several personal finance sites specializing in making money, paying off debt, and investing.

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Nomadic Matt's Travel Site

Travel Better, Cheaper, Longer

My Best 61 Travel Tips to Make You the World’s Savviest Traveler

61 Travel Tips to Make You the World's Savviest Traveler

Most people aren’t born savvy travelers. It’s something that only comes with on-the-road experience. Travel savviness is a process born of missed buses, foolish behavior, cultural unawareness, and countless tiny errors. Then, one day, you begin to seamlessly move through airports and integrate yourself into new cultures like a fish to water.

In the beginning, you just make a lot of travel mistakes.

But I want to help speed up the process and help you avoid my mistakes ( and I often make a lot of them ), so I put together this giant list of my best travel tips that cover everything under the sun to help you reach your full travel ninja potential.

I’ve learned these tips over the last sixteen years being a nomad.

These tips for traveling will have you saving money, sleeping better, getting off the beaten path more, meeting locals, and just being a better traveler.

So, without further ado, here are the best 61 travel tips in the world:

1. Always pack a towel. It’s the key to successful galactic hitchhiking – and plain common sense. You never know when you will need it, whether it’s at the beach, on a picnic, or just to dry off after a shower. While many hostels offer towels, you never know if they will or not, and carrying a small towel won’t add that much weight to your bag.

Make sure it’s a lightweight, quick-drying towel since regular towels are too bulky and heavy (and they take a long time to dry). Dry Fox travel towels are my favorite (use the code “nomadicmatt” for 15% off your purchase)!

Nomadic Matt posing for a photo in Hawaii while traveling

My favorite bag is the Flash Pack from REI . Other companies offering high-quality bags are Osprey, Nomatic, and MEC (for Canadians).

This article has more tips on finding the best travel backpack for your needs.

The same rule applies to suitcases. Don’t take a huge suitcase because they are a pain in the butt to lug around, especially if you’re traveling long term (short term, not so much). I like Level 8 suitcases. They are durable, quite spacious, nicely designed, and well-priced (luggage can be pretty damn expensive). Plus, they have a TSA lock built into the zipper. You can click here to learn more and buy one .

I also recommend packing cubes , which are essential if you’re going to be living out of a backpack for a few weeks (or months), or you just want to keep your suitcase better organized. They come in a variety of sizes, allowing you to store items big and small. They’re great for making it easy to find everything in your backpack or suitcase.

3. Pack light. Write down a list of essentials, cut it in half, and then only pack that! Plus, since you bought a small backpack like I said above, you won’t have much room for extra stuff anyways! Take half the clothes you think you will need…you won’t need as much as you think. It’s OK to wear the same t-shirt a few days in a row.

I love Unbound Merino , as their travel clothing can be worn daily for weeks without getting smelly. They are super light and they look sylish too. I really love the material, they’re comfortable, they hardly ever need a wash, and they last forever!

Click here for more packing tips .

4. But take extra socks. You’ll lose a bunch to laundry gremlins, wear and tear, and hiking so packing extra will come in handy. Take a few more than you need. Trust me on this. Nothing beats a fresh pair of socks!

A room of empty bunk beds in a hostel in Spain

Here’s a list of all my best hostels around the world . If you’re planning on backpacking Europe , it’s worth getting HostelPass , a card that gives you up to 20% off hostels throughout Europe. It’s a great way to save money, and they’re constantly adding new hostels too. I’ve always wanted something like this and so I’m glad it finally exists. Use code NOMADICMATT for 25% off.

6. Take an extra bank card and credit card with you Disasters happen and things get stolen or compromised. I once had a card duplicated and a freeze put on it. I couldn’t use it for the rest of my trip. I was very happy I had a backup. You don’t want to be stuck somewhere new without access to your funds. This happened to a friend once and they had to borrow money for me for weeks while they waited for their new card to arrive.

Here are some helpful articles on banking:

  • How to Avoid Banking Fees While Traveling
  • 22 Ways to Cut Your Expenses and Have Money for Travel
  • How to Pick the Best Travel Credit Card

7. Make sure to use no-fee bank cards. Don’t give banks your hard-earned money. Keep that for yourself and spend it on your travels. Get a credit card and debit card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee or an ATM fee. Over the course of a long trip, the few dollars they take every time will really add up!

Here’s an article that will tell you how to do that.

8. Don’t fly direct. When booking flights, sometimes it is cheaper to fly in to airports close to your final destination, and then take a train, bus, or budget airline to where you need to go.

To use this method, find out how much it is to go directly to your destination. Then, look at prices to nearby airports. If the difference is more than $150 USD, I look to see how much it is to get from the second airport to my primary destination.

My favorite flight search engine is Skyscanner . This is my go-to website for finding cheap flights. It searches a lot of different airlines, including many of the budget carriers that larger sites miss.

Here are some more tips on finding cheap flights!

Nomadic Matt posing at the Villandry chateau in France during the summer

Here are some helpful articles on solo travel:

  • Why I Travel Alone
  • The Joy of Solo Travel
  • Travel: The Ultimate Personal Development Tool
  • How to Overcome Being Alone
  • Reading People: One Skill Travel Has Taught Me

10. Always visit the local tourism information center. This is probably one of the most underused travel tips in the world. Tourism information centers know about everything going on in town. They can point you to free activities, special events happening during your stay, and everything in between. They even offer discounts on attractions and transportation. It is their job to help you experience the destination better. It’s amazing how many travelers skip this when they are visiting somewhere but, as a savvy traveler, you know to use this resource!

11. Take free walking tours. Besides being free, these tours will give you a good orientation and background of the city you are visiting. I love, love, love taking walking tours when I travel. You pass the time, you get to pepper the guide with questions, and you get to learn so much about where you are. Here are some of my favorite walking tour companies around the world:

  • The Best Walking Tours in New York City
  • The Best Walking Tours in London
  • The Best Walking Tours in Paris
  • The Best Walking Tours in Berlin
  • The Best Walking Tours in Amsterdam

And while free walking tours are great, sometimes it’s worth it to take a paid walking tour if you’d like to dig deeper into a particular aspect of the destination. Walks is one of my favorite paid walking tour companies, offering in-depth history and cultural tours in cities around the world (especially Europe). Its small-group tours also tend to offer exclusive behind-the-scenes access you can’t get elsewhere.

For fellow foodies, Devour Food Tours has all kinds of amazing food tours around Europe.

12. Don’t be afraid to use a map. Looking like a tourist isn’t as bad as getting really lost and ending up in the wrong neighborhood. Don’t be afraid to use a map or ask for directions and look like a tourist. After all, you are one!

13. But don’t be afraid to get purposefully lost. Wandering aimlessly through a new city is a good way to get to know it, get off the beaten path, and away from the tourists. You might be surprised by the hidden gems you find. I like to wander around and try to find my way without using Google Maps. Travel is the art of discovery and you never know what cool little spot you’ll come across.

14. Ask hostel staff for information — even when you aren’t staying there. Hostel staff deal with budget travelers all day, every day. They know exactly where to go for cheap meals and attractions. They also tend to be locals so they know the city very well. Ask them for all sorts of information. Even if you aren’t staying in one, just pop in and ask for help. They’ll usually give it.

15. Sign up for flight deals. When it comes to travel, your flight(s) will likely be your biggest expense. Save money by signing up for flight deal websites. You’ll get epic flight deals straight to your inbox, saving you time and money. Also be sure to sign up for airline newsletters, since that is where they will announce their sales first. The best websites for finding travel deals are:

  • Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) – The BEST for upcoming US flight deals.
  • The Flight Deal – Great for global flight deals.
  • Holiday Pirates – The best for European flight deals.
  • Secret Flying – A great site for flight deals from around the world.

16. Don’t buy a money belt — they’re stupid. Thieves know they exist and being seen with one basically shouts, “Look at me, I’m a tourist with money! Rip me off!” The more you can blend in and act like a local, the easier it will be to get deals and avoid touts. If you’re worried about pickpockets, keep a better eye on your stuff!

17. When you go out, take only what you need. Limit the amount of cash and bank cards you carry with you when you go out, so if something does happen, you can easily recover. Never take more than one credit card or ATM card with you. My rule for cash is to limit what I carry to $50 USD.

18. Always carry a lock. Carry a small combination lock with you when you travel. They come in handy, especially when you stay in dorms. Most hostels use lockers, so budget travelers need to provide their own travel lock to keep stuff secured. While you can usually rent or buy them at hostels, it’s much cheaper just to buy one before you go. (Just don’t use one with keys because if you lose the keys, you’re screwed!)

19. Make extra copies of your passport and important documents. Don’t forget to e-mail a copy to yourself too. You never know when you might need to have some sort of documentation with you and might not want to carry your original. Additionally, if your passport gets stolen having a copy will come in handy for your police report.

20. Learn basic phrases in the native language of your destination. The locals will appreciate it and it will make your interactions easier. You don’t need to master the language but learning a few things like “Hello,” “Goodbye,” “Thank you!”, “Where’s the bathroom?” will go a long way to endearing yourself with the locals. They’ll like that you tried.

Here are some tips on how to learn a language .

Nomadic Matt reading a travel book at a desk

Here are some posts that highlight my favorite reads:

  • 13 Travel Books That Will Give You Serious Wanderlust
  • The Best Travel Books
  • 12 Books to Take You Around the World

22. Don’t be ashamed to walk into a Starbucks or McDonald’s. Sometimes familiarity is comforting and both places have free wifi and public restrooms you can use. (Just don’t eat the food at McDonald’s! That shit is gross and unhealthy for you! You can get it back home!). Libraries and most modern coffee shops also have free Wi-Fi too.

23. Always get behind business travelers when in security lines. They move fast since they are usually in a rush and travel light. They know the drill. Line up behind them as much as possible. You’ll speed through the line!

24. Never get behind families in airport security. They take forever. It’s not their fault. They just have a lot of stuff because of the kids. Try to avoid getting in lines with lots of kids. It’s going to take a while.

25. When you check in to the hotel, don’t be afraid to ask for an upgrade. They have a lot of flexibility when it comes to assigning upgrades at check-in. It never hurts to ask. Often times they can accommodate you if the hotel isn’t full. Just be super nice!

Note: If you stay in hotels frequently (or want to), it might be worth it to get a hotel credit card . You can earn points on your everyday spending at home and convert those points into free stays. The best cards come with status, making upgrades more likely too!

26. Write down your experiences. Even in this hyper-technological age, I think everyone needs to write more during their travels so they have something to look back on. I never leave home without a journal. Not only do I use them for work (I’m constantly taking notes and writing down ideas) but I also use them to keep track of my travels.

Simple travel journals work great for journaling during your trip as well as for writing down logistical information like directions, contact information, and language tips.

If you want a travel journal that isn’t just blank pages but rather has space for itinerary planning, places to jot notes in the local language, inspirational quotes, and more, grab our new travel journal. It was designed specifically with travelers in mind, so you can take notes as well as write down stories and reflections during your travels.

27. Lunchtime is the best time to visit historical sites. Be a contrarian. You’ll have fewer crowds getting in your way as big tour buses, groups, and most travelers head to lunch. It’s always best to visit an attraction super early, late, or when people eat. You’ll have even the most popular places to yourself!

28. Never eat in a touristy area or near a tourist attraction. As a general rule, I walk five blocks in either direction before I find a place to eat. The closer you are to tourist attractions the more you are going to pay and the worse the food (and service). Use websites like Yelp , Google Maps , or Open Rice to find some delicious and popular restaurants around you.

Additionally, never eat anywhere the menu is in like 6 languages! That means the restaurant is just for tourists!

29. Locals don’t eat out every night and neither should you. Go grocery shopping. You can learn a lot about locals’ diets by seeing the type of food they buy. Plus, it will save you a lot of money. You won’t regret it. Cook your food, save money, and surprise yourself!

30. Eat at expensive restaurants during lunch. Most expensive restaurants offer lunch specials featuring the same food they would serve for dinner but for a fraction of the cost! That’s the best time to eat out when you travel.

I share more tips on how to eat cheaply around the world here.

31. Pack a headlamp. This is a handy tool for both backpackers and anyone looking to do any hiking or camping. If you’re going to be staying in a hostel, having a headlamp is helpful when you need to check in or out but don’t want to disturb your fellow travelers by turning on the lights. They’re also helpful in emergencies.

32. Carry a basic first-aid kit. Accidents happen, so be prepared. I always take band-aids, antibacterial cream, and ointments for minor cuts and scrapes. You never know when you’re going to need it and you can’t always get it when you travel.

You can either assemble a first aid kit yourself ( here are some tips for doing so ), or purchase a pre-made kit online .

33. Don’t believe the cheap flight myths. Don’t drive yourself too crazy trying to get the absolute cheapest fare. There are a lot of myths online about how to find cheap flights, but there is no magic bullet or one secret ninja trick. It’s not cheaper to book on a particular day of the week, or if you search in an incognito window.

Spending five hours to try to save $10 will cause you a lot of stress. Once you find a flight deal that you’re happy with, book right away, as airfares change by the minute. Remember, you usually have a 24-hour window to cancel in case you need to.

Here are some article on how to save money on flights:

  • 5 Steps to Booking a Cheap Flight Online
  • How to Always Find a Cheap Flight
  • Where I Find the Best Travel Deals

34. Use Meetup, the sharing economy, and hospitality websites to meet locals. These websites will help you get an insider’s perspective on your destination by connecting you with locals in the places you visit. The sharing economy has changed the way people travel allowing you to meet locals, get off the tourist travel, and save mega money! It’s a triple win – and I use these resources all the time when I travel.

Here’s an article on how to use the sharing economy (and what websites to use) when you travel.

35. Be open to strangers. Not everyone bites. Say hi to people on the road. Turn strangers into friends. Remember they are just like you! They want to live a happy, full life and have hopes and dreams too! You never know. You just might make some lifelong friends.

36. But keep your guard up. Some people do bite, so keep a healthy level of suspicion. You don’t want to fall for any travel scams or get yourself into uncomfortable situations. Be open but cautious. Here is a list of travel scams to avoid.

A delicious, fresh Greek meal while looking out over the ocean in the Greek Islands

  • My Favorite Restaurants in Europe
  • The Best Places to Eat in NYC
  • How to Eat Cheap Around the World
  • 30+ Places to Eat in Tokyo
  • How to Eat Around the World on a Vegan Diet

38. Avoid taxis. They are always a budget buster. Never, ever take a taxi unless you absolutely have too!

39. Take a reusable water bottle through airport security and fill it up at your gate. Single-use plastics are common in a lot of countries around the world. They’re also polluting our oceans and destroying the environment. Drink from the tap when you can — you’ll save money and help the environment. If you’re going somewhere where you can’t drink the water, be sure to get a water bottle with a filter. I love Lifestraw .

40. Get city attraction cards. If you are going to visit a lot of museums and other attractions in a short period of time, a city pass is going to save you money on admission (plus most provide free public transportation too!).

41. Take pictures of your luggage and clothes. If your bag gets lost, this will help identify it more easily and speed up the process of having your travel insurance reimburse you.

42. Carry emergency cash. Because emergencies happen, like that time in Romania when I couldn’t find an ATM and needed money for the bus to the hostel. I usually try to keep around $200 USD in emergency cash in case something happens!

43. Get good shoes. You walk a lot when you travel. Don’t beat up your feet. Love them as much as they love you, and they’ll take you to amazing places.

My favorite shoes for traveling are Suavs shoes , which are versatile and durable. They’re comfortable and great for exploring a new city all day, but also look nice enough that you can dress them up if you want to at night.

44. Get vaccinated. Because falling prey to an illness in a foreign country is not fun — and many countries require you to get vaccinated in order to visit them. So regardless of your opinion on the subject, you just might have to.

Here is an article on how to stay healthy on the road.

45. Learn to haggle. Haggling is a fun, playful way of not getting charged the foreigner price. It’s the art of negotiating and one that will help you throughout all of life, not just at the market.

A TSA Pre-Check sign at a US airport

Here are some articles to help you get started with using points and miles:

  • Points and Miles 101: A Beginner’s Guide
  • How I Earn 1 Million Frequent Flier Miles Every Year
  • The Best Travel Credit Cards
  • The Ultimate Guide to Picking the Best Travel Credit Card

47. Take a jacket. Nights get chilly.

48. Eat street food! If you skip the street food, you miss out on culture . Don’t be scared. If you’re nervous, look for places where kids are eating. If it’s safe for them, it’s safe for you.

49. Get travel insurance. Travel insurance is the most important thing to get that you never want to use. If something goes wrong, you don’t want to be out thousands of dollars in bills. Travel insurance will be there if you get robbed, flights get canceled, you get sick or injured, or have to be sent home. It’s comprehensive and, for just a few dollars a day, one of the best investments you can get for a trip.

You may think you’re superman/woman but so did my friend who broke her arm, didn’t have insurance, and had to pay thousands out of pocket. Insurance was there when I had to replace my camera and when I popped an eardrum scuba diving! Get it! Here are some tips on how to find the best travel insurance.

My favorite companies are:

  • SafetyWing – A budget-friendly choice for travelers who need basic coverage. They are affordable, have great customer service, and make it easy to make a claim. If you’re on a tight budget, go with SafetyWing!
  • Insure My Trip – The best insurance for those over 70 years old.
  • Medjet – This is a membership program that provides emergency evacuation coverage should you get into a dire situation while traveling and be hospitalized. Medjet is meant to supplement your regular travel insurance.

50. Be patient. Things will work out in the end. No need to rush. You’ll get to where you are going in due time. Travel is about the journey, not the destination.

51. Be respectful. Locals are willing to help you out, but there’s probably a language barrier, so keep your cool when something doesn’t go your way. If you don’t, you’ll end up just looking like an asshole tourist.

52. Don’t over plan your trip. Let your days unfold naturally. Schedule two or three things and let the day fill in the rest on its own. It’s less stressful, and letting the day just take you is one of the best ways to travel. Here’s my advice on how not to over plan your travels!

53. Relax. See Be patient .

54. Be frugal — but not cheap. Don’t be pennywise but pound-foolish. Look for deals and don’t waste money, but don’t miss out on great experiences or walk 10 miles to save a couple of dollars. Time is money. Spend them both wisely.

55. Take earplugs. Anyone who has ever stayed in a hostel knows that earplugs are a necessity. Snorers are everywhere and you need your sleep.

But even if you’re not going to be in a hostel, they’re still helpful for sleeping well if your accommodation is located on a busy street, or for sleeping in buses, overnight trains, and other types of transportation. A good night’s sleep is priceless — be prepared!

These earplugs are reusable and work much better than the cheap foam ones, blocking out any distracting noises.

56. Always carry a power bank. Batteries die. Your good mood shouldn’t.

We all travel with numerous electronic devices like phones and tablets, but it can be hard to keep them all charged. An external battery solves that problem.

57. Remember that you’re not alone even if you’re traveling solo. Traveling alone never means you’re really alone. Wherever you go, there is a network of travelers who will be your friends, give you advice or tips, and help you out. They will guide you, point you in the right direction, and be your mentors. You aren’t out there on your own. You’ll make lots of friends and tons of memories.

If you’re not sure about traveling on your own for the first time, you can always join a group tour, such as those we offer at The Nomadic Network . I’ve designed all the itineraries myself to ensure they cover the highlights, get you off the tourist trail, and connect you with friends and locals.

Christmas dinner in Ko Lipe with new friends

59. Pre-book your tickets to attractions, activities, and excursions online. If you’re planning to do any activities or excursions on your trip, book them online. Companies usually offer a discounted price when compared to buying in person. Not only that but you’ll be able to pay with a credit card, giving you some extra protection as well as more travel points!

Many major attractions also allow you to reserve your spot and skip the line. Always look online to see if this is an option. This will you to avoid wasting time in multi-hour lines and go right in. I’ve seen people wait hours for the Paris Catacombs, Louvre, London Churchill War Rooms, churches, temples, historic fortresses, and more. Pre-book the day before, skip the line, get to see more during your day!

Get Your Guide is my favorite place to book activities in advance. It’s a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions, with tons of options in cities all around the world, including skip-the-line attraction tickets, cooking classes, walking tours, and more!

60. Avoid TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor is fine when you need opening hours or an address, but when it comes to reviews I ignore it completely. People always leave a negative review when something bad happens but rarely leave a positive review when something good happens so the reviews tend to be skewed.

On top of that, it’s very easy to create fake reviews and make a place seem better than it is. Many hotels and restaurants hire firms to artificially inflate their reviews on the platform. Additionally, TripAdvisor has been known to take down reviews that are overly negative as well as reviews on sexual assault. Use TripAdvisor with caution. Or better yet, don’t use it at all.

61. Finally, wear sunscreen. For as the Baz Luhrmann song “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” goes:

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists Whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable Than my own meandering experience.

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner . It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld . If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • SafetyWing (best for everyone)
  • Insure My Trip (for those 70 and over)
  • Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)

Want to Travel for Free? Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to picking the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.

Need Help Finding Activities for Your Trip? Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace where you can find cool walking tours, fun excursions, skip-the-line tickets, private guides, and more.

Ready to Book Your Trip? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.

Got a comment on this article? Join the conversation on Facebook , Instagram , or Twitter and share your thoughts!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I use and the income goes to keeping the site community supported and ad free.

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Where to go in 2024: The 16 best places to travel


This past year has been a time of regeneration, renewal and reckoning for travelers and the travel industry alike.

Travel has certainly resurged since pandemic-related restrictions were lifted ... but it is different from before.

Travelers faced new frustrations, whether it was higher prices, longer wait times or more crowds. Destinations eager to welcome back waves of visitors were confronted with obstacles like unprepared infrastructure, the impact of inflation on local populations and unforeseen environmental calamities. Hotels and airlines continued to struggle with staffing shortages, operational challenges and supply chain issues.

And yet, despite those hurdles, the desire to travel has never shone brighter. Intrepid adventurers journeyed to new (to them) corners of the globe in search of unique experiences. Folks who had perhaps put off a trip or two found reasons to take them. And all of us discovered the joy of reconnecting with loved ones near and far.

As we look ahead to next year, we are excited to share our list of the best places to go in 2024, drawing from our own editorial team's expertise and also that of our outstanding group of contributors from around the world.

We thought long and hard about things like new airline routes , fabulous hotel openings and events set to take the world stage by storm. But at The Points Guy, we also think why we travel is as important as where we travel.

Maybe you want to use your hard-earned points for an over-the-top flight in Singapore Airlines' Suites or just to get the family together at Grandma's house for an overdue visit. Perhaps you want a carefree all-inclusive beach vacation , or to get firsthand insights into a destination at the forefront of sustainability .

From the thrill of Olympic competition in France to the otherworldly landscapes of Bolivia, the wildlife-rich Bissagos Islands of Guinea-Bissau and the exciting design developments taking place in both San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico — whatever your travel goals or preferences, we've got an incredible roster of places just waiting to be explored next year.

Get ready for a few surprises, a dash of inspiration and a healthy helping of wanderlust as we share our most exciting places to travel to in 2024.

— Eric Rosen

ideal travel vacation

Best for experiencing once-in-a-lifetime events on the world stage

Whether it's high fashion or haute cuisine, France is known for creating creme-de-la-creme experiences. But the sheer number of special events and exciting new developments expected to take place there in 2024 will have even the French exclaiming, "Sacré bleu!"

The marquee happening, of course, will be the 2024 Summer Olympics from July 26-Aug. 11. The opening ceremony will take place along the Seine in the heart of Paris , but showstopping venues will include the magnificent grounds of Versailles for the equestrian events, various stadiums throughout the country, and even French Polynesia for the surfing competition. The stage is set for a truly spectacular set of games.

The Olympics have even displaced the Tour de France from its normal final stage along the Champs-Elysees in Paris. The alternate is, thankfully, a sun-splashed finish line along the Cote d'Azur in Nice . That's within easy driving distance of the relatively new Carlton Cannes , a luxurious reimagining of one of France's most iconic hotels courtesy of IHG. Hilton is also planning a vast French expansion with various branded properties in cities including Cannes, Dijon, Bordeaux and Marseille.

On a more somber note, June 6 will mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, and the region is planning over 100 special events to commemorate this historic event, including a June 1 sound-and-light show using 2,500 drones over the five landing beaches. From March 22-Sept. 22, the region will also host the Normandy Impressionist Festival, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the first Impressionist exhibition. Events will include a major show of James Abbott McNeill Whistler at Rouen's Fine Arts Museum, while the Musee d'Orsay in Paris will host the "Paris 1874: The Impressionist Moment" showcase of 130 masterpieces of painting, sculpture, photographs and more.

In the east, Strasbourg will be UNESCO's 2024 World Book Capital, with events organized around various themes like poetry, refuge, debate and more. The Alsatian capital is also home to one of Europe's most charming Christmas markets in the month leading up to the holiday , which is well worth a visit.

Wine lovers should head to Bordeaux for its famous Fete le Vin from June 27-30 to enjoy the region's famous vintages and gourmet delicacies, along with live music and other performances. They can even put their Accor points to use with a stay at a new Philippe Starck-designed, 97-room Mondrian constructed around a historic 19th-century building right in the city center, complete with an expansive open-air terrace. Now that's something worth toasting to.

TPG tip: Hotel reservations around the Olympics can be notoriously hard to confirm and Paris is cracking down on short-term rentals, so if you plan to attend the Games, prepare to pay high prices for an official package ... or take your chances trying to book something at the last minute.

San Diego, California & Tijuana, Mexico

ideal travel vacation

Best for art and design lovers who appreciate cross-cultural collaborations

In a first, two neighboring cities in two different countries have been designated the World Design Capital for 2024: San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico. The World Design Organization accolade recognizes cities that effectively utilize design to enhance their residents' economic, social, cultural and environmental quality of life. San Diego and Tijuana will celebrate the designation through unique experiences, from events and festivals to exhibitions and summits.

Community events scheduled throughout 2024 include Tijuana's World Design Street Festival (April 28), where travelers can attend concerts, public design workshops, exhibitions and design studio open houses. The Mingei International Museum in San Diego and the Centro Cultural Tijuana will simultaneously host an exhibition called "Frontera," focused on jewelry design. In September, both cities will host an interactive World Design Experience.

Aside from its WDO duties, San Diego has a lot going on. One of the West Coast's largest adaptive reuse projects, the 10-acre, sustainably designed Horton Campus , set for completion at the end of 2023, has transformed a former downtown shopping mall into a chic development with white-and-glass structures, parks, shops and lab space, each with either a green roof or solar panels.

San Diego's white-hot culinary scene continues to heat up, with Valle winning Oceanside's first Michelin star earlier this year. Restaurant openings to look forward to in 2024 include all-day cafe Wildflour from award-winning chef Phillip Esteban, the farm-and-vine-to-table Cellar Hand , and chef Brian Malarkey's highly anticipated French-inspired steakhouse, Le Coq, in the tony coastal enclave of La Jolla.

San Diego's hotel roster is also growing. The new owners of the historic Lafayette Hotel in North Park, which had fallen into disrepair, unveiled a stylish $31 million renovation this summer, and the bucolic Inn at Rancho Santa Fe will celebrate its 100th anniversary following the completion of multimillion-dollar renovations in 2024. The iconic Hotel del Coronado is in the throes of a wholesale revamp. The Beach Village at The Del will unveil a full makeover at the end of 2023, while its Victorian section will be renovated in 2025. A new 39-room boutique hotel in Coronado called The Bower is also slated to debut in fall 2024.

Tijuana got its own new hotel in 2023: Hotel Brecha , a boutique hotel with art-filled walls and nine sleek rooms. Recent bar and restaurant openings across the city's diverse culinary scene include the speakeasy-style Border Saloon and seafood spots Don Vergas Mariscos Tijuana and Don Timon .

TPG tip: Tijuana, which has been sorely lacking in green space, will have a new eco-park by the end of 2024, Parque Esperanto . The 320-acre plot will involve the reforestation of 15,000 trees and feature amenities like an open-air gym, sports fields, zip lines, children's play areas and a bicycle path.

— Devorah Lev-Tov

Assam, India

ideal travel vacation

Best for lovers of tea and tigers keen to explore one of India's hidden corners

Home to a fascinating blend of Indigenous tribes, awe-inspiring landscapes, traditional mountain villages and UNESCO-inscribed national parks, the eastern Indian region of Assam has cultural and natural wonders just waiting for travelers to explore — without the crowds you might find in better-known South Asian destinations.

The region's main artery, the mighty 1,800-mile-long Brahmaputra River, runs from the Himalayan highlands of Tibet to Assam's wildlife-rich floodplains, bordered by lush, terraced tea plantations, ornate temples and riverside villages.

Even with just a week or 10 days for your journey, you can learn about tea cultivation in Jorhat (Assam produces over 50% of India's famed tea), marvel at imposing Ahom temples in bustling Sivasagar — the sacred former capital of Assam's Ahom kings — and learn about the socially inclusive religion of neo-Vaishnavism on Majuli, one of the world's largest river islands and a haven for birdlife.

Straddling the border with Bhutan, UNESCO-listed Manas National Park is a biodiversity hot spot known for its sightings of buffaloes and rhinoceroses that graze in forests that surround the Manas River. The highlight of any visit, though, is a Jeep safari to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Kaziranga, which provides sanctuary to endangered one-horned rhinoceroses, Asian elephants, Bengal tigers, panthers, bears, gaurs (Indian bison) and myriad other species.

Next year, several new cruise itineraries will make the region more accessible to travelers keen to get off the beaten path without sacrificing creature comforts. Banyan Tours will operate four-, seven- and 10-night Assam cruises from Kolkata aboard the luxurious ABN Charaidew II and the more intimate 12-cabin ABN Sukhapa . Both ships feature spacious, beautifully appointed cabins, large sun decks, small spas, a library, gourmet cuisine and onboard naturalists. Guests can spend time in between excursions scouring the waters for species such as the endangered Ganges river dolphin and the smooth-coated otter.

TPG tip : For travelers looking for rare tiger and mammal encounters across several Indian regions, in January, andBeyond will offer a 16-day limited-edition Project Tiger Expedition that will celebrate the 50th anniversary of India's renowned tiger conservation initiative. The itinerary begins in Delhi before visiting three of India's most iconic national parks: Kanha, Kaziranga and Ranthambhore.

— Caroline Lascom

ideal travel vacation

Best for an affordable Mediterranean beach getaway

Turquoise Mediterranean waters lapping beautiful beaches? Check. Picturesque hilltop villages? Check. Forest-covered mountains and mouthwatering food and wine? Check and check. Albania has all the attributes of more popular Southeastern Europe destinations like the Greek islands but without the crowds and the high price tag.

Begin your adventure in Tirana, the capital city, where Brutalist architecture blends with charming, tree-filled neighborhoods. Take a cable car ride up Mount Dajti for panoramic views of the city and stay at the sophisticated Tirana Marriott , though IHG loyalists might want to hold out for the opening of the InterContinental in 2025.

Just an hour southwest from Tirana International Airport (TIA), check in to the newly opened Melia Durres Albania, a luxurious beachfront retreat in a dreamy beach town offering stunning Adriatic Sea views and an opportunity to unwind.

Heading south along the coast, enjoy picturesque beaches while exploring charming towns like Dhermi and Jale, and savor the local cuisine, renowned for its fresh seafood and Mediterranean spices.

Then, immerse yourself in the country's vibrant summer music scene . The weeklong Kala Festival in early June features house, disco, soul and funk music across five intimate stages along the pristine shores of the Ionian Sea.

Back in the hinterlands, you can delight in mouthwatering delicacies at the AgriTourism Huqi farm located a short drive from the capital, like slow-cooked lamb (mish ne pus), and sample a variety of flavorful cow and goat cheeses. Don't forget to try local wines like the tangy white ceruja and full-bodied red kallmet at the family-run Nurellari Winery, less than a half-hour from the 13th-century fort city of Berat.

For an even deeper glimpse of the country's rich heritage and archaeological sites, wander its many ancient settlements, like Butrint, which played host to the Greek, Roman and Byzantine civilizations. Even with all that history, Albania feels exciting and new once again, and you won't have it to yourself for much longer.

TPG tip : Fly into a major European gateway like Frankfurt or Paris and then connect to Tirana via air. From there, book a one-way car rental to the port city of Sarande so that when your time in Albania is over, you can catch a 30-minute ferry to Corfu, Greece, where you have even more history and beaches to explore, and many low-cost flight options to major European airports.

— Matt Moffitt

ideal travel vacation

Best for epic wildlife and sustainable travel

One of the most biodiverse places on Earth, framed by rugged Pacific and Caribbean coastlines and home to magical cloud forests, picture-perfect volcanoes and extraordinary marine reserves, Costa Rica has long captivated wild-at-heart travelers.

An eco-tourism pioneer in the 1990s, and dubbed the "Switzerland of South America" due to its mountainous green landscapes and political stability in a sometimes volatile region, Costa Rica continues to raise the bar with its commitment to environmental protections; over 25% of its land is national parks and reserves.

For travelers looking to combine sustainable outdoor adventures with sumptuous accommodations, 2024 is when it all comes together. A flurry of exciting new hotels are set to debut, including Nekajui, just the sixth of Marriott's ultraexclusive Ritz-Carlton Reserves . Designed with a light environmental footprint on a pristine swath of the Papagayo Peninsula, the 107-key resort takes inspiration from a traditional stone Costa Rican hacienda surrounded by treehouse-style buildings tucked discreetly into steep hillsides.

Nearby, the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Residences Guanacaste will be the brand's first Costa Rican outpost, embodying the "pura vida" lifestyle with a holistic wellness center and cenote-inspired spa. Elsewhere, the Four Seasons Resort Peninsula Papagayo comes back online following a multimillion-dollar renovation with a new beach club and expanded wellness offerings.

For travelers looking for a low-key retreat with easy airport access, as well as proximity to San Jose's cultural attractions, the new Hyatt Centric in Escazu — another brand first for Costa Rica — will offer World of Hyatt loyalists an ideal bookend to a Costa Rica road trip.

The wildlife-rich Osa Peninsula is more accessible (and especially alluring to points enthusiasts) these days thanks to the recent opening of Botanika, part of Hilton's Curio Collection. The eco-chic property places travelers within striking distance of Corcovado National Park, one of the best places on the planet to view sloths, toucans, giant anteaters, howler monkeys and ocelots.

Visit the region from August through December to witness one of the world's greatest natural attractions: humpback whales migrating to Golfo Dulce, one of just four tropical fjords on the planet. The habitat, critical for the survival of the whale species, was awarded Whale Heritage Site status in 2023, one of only eight such sites worldwide.

TPG tip : U.S. airlines are adding new flights to Costa Rica, including Delta Air Lines, which will boost its service from Atlanta with three additional flights per week to both San Jose and Liberia (for Papagayo) from Jan. 13. Flights on the Liberia route are currently available this winter starting at 26,000 Delta SkyMiles or $421 round-trip.

South Korea

ideal travel vacation

Best for glimpsing the future while exploring the past

The "Korean Wave" — a tide of global popularity the country's cultural economy has created thanks to K-pop music, K-dramas on television and movies — has swept the world in recent years. In fact, youth tour company Contiki has announced the first K-Wave trip to South Korea to showcase local pop culture.

However, South Korea's entertainment culture is just one of a long list of reasons this Asian sensation should be on your 2024 travel list.

Four distinct seasons provide stunning backdrops year-round, so there's no wrong time to visit. Spring brings the magic of Jinhae's cotton candy-pink cherry blossoms while crimson and cadmium foliage frames the historic temples of Naejangsa and Taeansa during fall.

The past and the future intersect in the capital, Seoul, where heritage sites like the 14th-century Jongmyo Shrine coexist with futuristic architecture, including the Zaha Hadid-designed Dongdaemun Design Plaza and the striking Seoul City Hall, with its seven-story vertical garden and prismatic glass facade.

Set to open in late 2024, the Seoul Robot and Artificial Intelligence Museum will showcase science and technology through interactive exhibits featuring AI and virtual reality. Robots aided in the museum's construction and will participate in its day-to-day operations, including welcoming guests and leading tours.

New spaces and exhibitions await visitors at the Busan Museum of Art, which showcases modern Korean artwork. Renovations begin in 2024 and will add high-tech features like evolving 3D projections.

A luxury clifftop island retreat overlooking the East China Sea, the stunning JW Marriott Jeju Resort & Spa, designed by Bill Bensley, debuted in 2023. And though it will be a while, in 2025, the luxury chain Capella Hotels and Resorts is set to open its first Korean property, Capella Yang Yang, near Songjeong Beach in Yangyang, Gangwon Province, where travelers can explore the region's famous pine forests and enjoy its ultrafresh seafood.

TPG tip: Travelers eager to explore South Korea's assorted allures can take advantage of increased airlift from the U.S. United Airlines has upped its frequencies between Incheon International Airport (ICN) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to 12 flights weekly. By the end of 2023, Air Premia will add flights between Seoul and Honolulu, too.

— Kristy Tolley

Eclipse path, United States

ideal travel vacation

Best for travelers who want to see a rare total solar eclipse in their own backyard

On April 8, some 31.5 million Americans will be able to witness a total solar eclipse from their doorstep when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, completely blocking the sun's face. The heavenly event will cut its way across North America, passing through Texas, the Midwest and some Eastern states. It's a sight you won't want to miss — the next total solar eclipse won't be visible from the contiguous United States for another 20 years.

Parts of San Antonio will experience about two minutes of midday darkness, making it the largest U.S. city along the path of totality. The 15-mile-long San Antonio River Walk is just south of the path, so visitors there will only see a 99% partial eclipse. Nevertheless, many hotels and restaurants are hosting viewing events, including a Solar Brunch at The Moon's Daughters , where guests and locals can see the eclipse unfold from the indoor-outdoor perch on the 20th floor.

An hour northwest of San Antonio, the town of Kerrville, Texas, one of NASA's Primary Eclipse Partners, will have over four minutes of darkness. The Texas Hill Country community's Schreiner University will host a weekendlong festival with celestial yoga, trail walks and observatory tours.

With renowned institutions known for cutting-edge research in space science and technology — and expecting four minutes of totality — Dallas will be one of the best eclipse destinations. At the Perot Museum of Nature and Science , 20 astronomers will answer questions. The city's many hotels, meanwhile, plan to offer stylish viewing, like Virgin Hotels Dallas, which will host a lively rooftop pool party.

This will be Indianapolis' first total solar eclipse in more than 800 years, and the town is going all-out with a citywide party to celebrate its 3 1/2 minutes of totality, including events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (NASA will broadcast live from the venue) and the Indianapolis Zoo.

In Cleveland, another NASA partner city, a natural phenomenon known as a lake effect (where cool air blows away clouds from the shoreline of Lake Erie) will allow visitors to view the eclipse for nearly four minutes. Downtown, The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland is offering a solar eclipse package with club-level accommodations for two and celestial-themed cocktails. The Great Lakes Science Center and NASA's Glenn Research Center are hosting Total Eclipse Fest from April 6-8, with science activities for kids and a classical music concert.

Buffalo will experience just under four minutes of totality, with the best vantage points found inside Niagara Falls State Park, while the Sheraton Niagara Falls is offering a two-night package , including eclipse viewing glasses and breakfast.

In Vermont, Stowe Mountain Resort will whisk skiers and snowboarders via gondola to the top of Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak, for high-altitude views during the nearly three minutes of totality the town is set to experience.

TPG tip: Holland America has put together a 22-day Solar Eclipse cruise , where guests will depart from San Diego and experience the eclipse off the coast of Mexico.

— Casey Hatfield-Chiotti

Bissagos Islands, Guinea-Bissau

ideal travel vacation

Best for intrepid naturalists seeking an under-the-radar destination

Sandwiched between Guinea and Senegal, Guinea-Bissau is one of West Africa's lesser-visited destinations, but that's what has helped keep the 88-island Bissagos archipelago 31 miles off its coast so untouched.

This astonishingly wildlife-rich island chain — often dubbed the Galapagos of Africa — is an idyll of empty white-sand beaches, thick mangroves, teeming lagoons and dense palm and cashew forests. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, the Bijagos (as they're also known) are home to thriving populations of saltwater hippopotamuses, manatees, dolphins, green sea turtles, flamingos, rays, sharks and around 175 fish and 500-plus bird species.

And you won't be vying for sightings with other safari vehicles or Zodiac boats. These paradisiacal islets are home to just 33,000 or so residents who hew to their traditional matriarchal society, and there are no formal resorts or ecolodges.

The archipelago has also been quite difficult to reach. However, a handful of luxury and small-ship cruises have begun to call at the islands. Ponant Cruises has just opened sales for its first dedicated nine-day "Adventure in the Bissagos Islands" itinerary (April 7-15, 2025) on Le Lyrial, which starts and ends in Dakar, Senegal. During the journey, guests can expect to spy towering baobabs and flocks of migratory birds, playful vervet monkeys and vividly colored lizards, and take part in ancient ceremonies alongside the Bijago people.

On board MS Spitsbergen, Hurtigruten now offers a 14-day "West Africa Archipelago" cruise (paired with Cape Verde), which includes four days of deploying small rigid inflatable boats and sea kayaks to navigate the islands and channels for awe-inspiring wildlife sightings. The line also arranges encounters with the islanders, who have acted as custodians of this wonderfully biodiverse and pristine part of Africa, and who dedicate some 100 days per year to sacred rites and ceremonies such as fanado and difuntu .

Swan Hellenic's Ghana-to-Senegal "Crucibles of West Africa" trip, on the new 152-guest SH Vega, has two days scheduled in this off-the-grid sanctuary, where shore excursions include explorations of Orango National Park's mangrove thickets and savannah as well as trekking through traditional villages on Canhabaque.

As with many of the world's island paradises, the clock is likely ticking down on the Bissagos remaining immaculate and undeveloped, so if you hope to see them as they are, 2024 is the year to go.

TPG tip: Non-cruisers can visit the islands by first flying into the capital, Bissau, from Lisbon with TAP Air Portugal. Alternatively, Delta Air Lines has daily direct flights from New York to Dakar, from which there are daily connections on Air Senegal to Bissau. From Bissau, hire a speedboat for the hourlong journey to Bubaque, where the affordable Saldomar guesthouse and Hotel Kasa Afrikana make great home bases for daytrips to islands like Rubane, Orango and Canhabaque.

— Kathryn Romeyn

Quebec, Canada

ideal travel vacation

Best for pristine landscapes and rich Indigenous cultures

Quebec has long attracted travelers with its cosmopolitan towns , distinctly French flair and untouched wilderness. Thanks to a bold commitment to supporting Indigenous tourism, in 2024, the Canadian province will also provide new and meaningful ways to experience its natural beauty, its people and its culture.

Travelers can take in the aurora borealis while learning about Inuit traditions in Quebec's Arctic region of Nunavik, scan for beluga and blue whales with an Innu guide in Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, or forage for mushrooms and berries in the Laurentian mountain range. Across Quebec, there are now abundant opportunities to delve deeper into the ancestral traditions of the area's First Nations, Innuit and Metis people.

The recent addition of Anticosti Island to Canada's cache of UNESCO-protected heritage sites will draw wilderness seekers to its otherworldly canyons, primordial forests and cascading waterfalls. The island's 1,440 known fossil species offer the most "complete and best preserved paleontological record of the first mass extinction of animal life, 447-437 million years ago," according to UNESCO, providing a unique window into our planet's past.

For urbanites, Quebec City's lamplit, cobblestone streets have never been a hard sell for a weekend getaway, but now there are even more reasons to linger. Join one of Cicerone 's locally led walking tours, shop for regional artworks along Rue du Tresor, see Inuit art at the Musee National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec (a new exhibit starts in February) and then dine on inventive boreal cuisine at Indigenous-owned restaurant Sagamite, whose owners have added two boutique hotels to their portfolio and will open a new microbrewery in 2024.

Head just outside the city's 400-year-old walls to Canada's only recognized Huron-Wendat community. Here, the superb First Nations-owned Hotel-Musee Premieres Nations was recently revamped with luxe suites and rooms appointed with Indigenous artworks and textiles with First Nations motifs. The hotel's restaurant, La Traite, helmed by much-lauded chef Marc de Passorio, provides a magical initiation into ancestral flavors with standout dishes like local tomatoes with sage and Quebec buffalo mozzarella and hearty bison medallions with beet puree and thyme juice.

TPG tip : Bookend your trip with a stay in Montreal , where the hotel scene is buzzing. There's the new art deco-inspired Honeyrose Hotel, Montreal, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, where Marriott points will come in handy, and the iconic Vogue Hotel Montreal Downtown, an elegant retreat on Montreal's Golden Square Mile which has been revamped and is now part of Hilton's Curio Collection.

Queensland, Australia

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Best for travelers Down Under looking for the right mix of urban and wildlife adventures

Best known for one of Earth's natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef , there's a lot more to this northeastern Australian state (though a visit to the reef is still top of the list while you still can — climate change and other factors are having increasingly adverse effects on much of the aquatic ecosystem).

In the capital, Brisbane , once-gritty environs like Howard Smith Wharves have been revitalized with trendy bars and restaurants. However, one of the biggest redevelopments is still on the horizon. The $2.6 billion Queen's Wharf precinct is nearing completion on 30 acres of prime riverfront land with not one but three hotels planned, plus over 50 dining and drinking venues, a huge footprint for retail and tons of outdoor spaces like a 100-meter-high sky deck with 360-degree views. In October, the city will also host the first annual Melt Open festival celebrating queer art and culture.

Down south in the blingy surfer haven of Gold Coast, travelers will be able to check in to a sleek new twin-towered Mondrian hotel and residences, while north along the Sunshine Coast, the tourism industry is taking the lead in regenerating bush once used for cattle grazing with native subtropical rainforest, which visitors can enjoy by staying at the avant-garde new Kurui Cabin at the base of the Cooroy Mountains.

In an effort to cultivate Indigenous-owned and -operated tourism businesses, the state has already invested 7 million Australian dollars in the Growing Indigenous Tourism in Queensland Fund. What's more, UNESCO World Heritage-listed Fraser Island — the world's largest sand island and a habitat for diverse wildlife where you can also swim with migrating humpback whales — has officially reverted to its traditional Butchulla name, K'gari.

Speaking of islands, luxury travelers can have an entire one to themselves along the Great Barrier Reef thanks to the November opening of Pelorus Private Island in the Great Palm archipelago off the Townsville coast. The nearly 1,000-acre paradise has just a single four-suite residence designed in a traditional, breezy Queenslander style, where guests can customize their entire experience from days out yachting between islands or exploring the island's teeming fringe reefs to enjoying leisurely meals prepared by a private chef.

TPG tip: It's getting even easier to travel from the U.S. directly to Queensland since United increased its frequencies between San Francisco and Brisbane from three times per week to daily in October and will launch three weekly nonstops between Los Angeles and Brisbane in December.

Train travel

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Best for high-velocity thrills or romantics looking to slow things down

Trains revolutionized travel in the 19th century, but 2024 might just be a rail renaissance thanks to new, thrilling high-speed routes, plush overnight sleepers and lavish itineraries on par with the world's best hotels.

Global developments in high-speed rail are coming to a pitch, with various highly anticipated routes finally entering operation. In Florida, the long-awaited Brightline has opened up an efficient new corridor between two major U.S. cities that are favorites with tourists. The service, which tops out at 125 miles per hour, connects Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Miami in just three hours (with 15 daily departures) and also courses between Miami and West Palm Beach via Aventura and Fort Lauderdale.

In Europe from late 2024, the ultraquiet Frecciarossa train will zip from Paris to Barcelona in just seven hours, shaving two hours from current travel times. In time for the Summer Olympics , Spanish rail company Renfe also plans to extend its daily Madrid-Marseille service through to Paris.

If you're craving tropical surroundings, Belmond's Eastern & Oriental Express returns to Southeast Asia in February after a pandemic hiatus. The restyled trains feature eight sleeper cars, two restaurant cars, a piano bar and an open-air observation car. The three-night "Essence of Malaysia" itinerary will operate from November to February from Singapore to Penang, with stops in Kuala Lumpur and the island of Langkawi (via private boat). Operating from March to May and August to October, the "Wild Malaysia" experience steams from Singapore along the eastern side of the Malay Peninsula, with stops to spot wildlife at Taman Negara National Park and Penang before returning to Singapore.

Later in 2024, Orient Express will debut its opulent La Dolce Vita trains with lavish art deco cabins, haute cuisine and world-class bartending. The eight itineraries span one to two nights and include a Sicilian service starting and ending in Palermo via Agrigento and Taormina with a whiz-by of Mount Etna. Other standout itineraries include from Rome to Sicily (via a ferry) and a romantic circular route from Rome to Venice with a stop at Siena.

Finally, Europe continues its relative boom in new sleeper train services . Leading the way is Nightjet, which already connects major cities like Paris, Amsterdam and Zurich. In 2024, the Austrian train operator will expand its Belgian routes from Brussels to Dresden and Prague. Additionally, Deutsche Bahn and SNCF will introduce a high-speed seven-hour service between Paris and Berlin, including stops in Strasbourg on the night route.

TPG tip: Use a Eurail pass (from $208) to explore multiple European countries using rail operators like Deutsche Bahn, SNCF and Trenitalia. Note that high-speed or sleeper options like Nightjet and Eurostar have extra reservation fees (typically $10-$20), but it's still much cheaper than buying individual tickets.

— Jordan Waller

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Best for beach and nature lovers who want to avoid crowds

Many travelers make the trek to South Africa for its spectacular wildlife and vibrant cities, but few hop across the border to Mozambique. Though the country has experienced ongoing conflicts in the far north, the central and southern parts remain relatively insulated from internal struggles.

Getting there is easier than you might think, too — Airlink offers direct flights to Vilankulos along the coast from Johannesburg , and more recently, the airline launched a nonstop flight between Cape Town and the capital, Maputo. While some travelers tend to skip the city, if you do make use of that route, consider a layover for a night or two. Maputo is a hub of activity with oceanside restaurants serving ultrafresh seafood with icy 2M beers and bakeries proffering crispy, creamy pasteis de nata, a holdover from Portuguese rule. The city's music scene is also buzzing, with bars and clubs playing everything from reggaeton to marrabenta (a hybrid of Mozambican dance with Portuguese folk music).

The main reason people come to the country is for the untouched Indian Ocean beaches along its 1,700-mile coast, which are lapped by aquamarine waters that rival the Caribbean. Over the past few years, a cluster of hotels have opened along the coast, including Kisawa, a design-focused property with 11 villas on a 740-acre sanctuary on Benguerra Island in the ecodiverse Bazaruto Archipelago.

Around two hours from Vilankulos on the mainland and set on a peninsula along a sheltered saltwater lagoon, Sussurro is an intimate pared-back lodge whose sandy-hued rooms are filled with artisan-made baskets and wooden furniture. Next year, Banyan Tree is expected to open Banyan Tree Ilha Caldeira, which promises to be an uberluxury spot, on a private island north of Beira.

For safarigoers, Gorongosa, a national park that has been undergoing a two-decade-long rehabilitation, has become a beacon of regeneration and economic activity in an area where tourism was entirely decimated by civil war. This year, Muzimu Lodge, a tent camp, opened on the banks of the Mussicadzi River. Wildlife is not as abundant as in nearby Kruger National Park (though you can expect to see huge packs of wild dogs and teeming herds of antelope), but the biodiversity is some of the richest in the world, with nearly 500 species of birds. Indelible landscapes like chalky limestone gorges dotted with vegetation and inky caves, woodland savannah and giant "Jurassic Park"-like forests with sausage trees and native Borassus palms will leave you awestruck.

TPG tip : Ensure you allow ample time for your visa application. The process has moved online, which makes it infinitely swifter than previously, but the application time can still take up to a month and costs $160 or more depending on the type you apply for.

— Mary Holland

Note from TPG editors : Due to an ongoing terrorist insurgency in the far north of Mozambique, the U.S. Department of State has issued a Level 2 warning advising travelers to exercise increased caution when traveling in the Cabo Delgado province. The country also recently experienced some unrest following local elections, so be sure to investigate the current situation before booking a trip.

ideal travel vacation

Best for food lovers and thrillseekers looking for something out of this world

Arriving in Bolivia can feel like you've landed on the moon. Have you seen the magnificent Salar de Uyuni? It's a vast salt pan with 3,900 square miles of desertlike cracked earth punctuated by cactus-covered rock piles. Though this parched corner of the earth draws visitors from around the globe, high-end accommodations have been lacking, but that's been changing quickly. In 2022, the Chilean hospitality brand Explora unveiled an intimate six-room mountain lodge set in a slick, glass-fronted building with snug, wood-lined rooms overlooking the flats.

Guests can partake in excursions, but the property also forms part of a greater six-night odyssey: a nomadic expedition where guests journey from Chile's Atacama Desert to Salar de Uyuni, stopping off at Explora's other "Mountain Lodges" along the way. Loads of thrilling activities are on offer, such as biking explorations across the Salar, through quinoa fields and beyond, as well as hikes across the largest islands and up into a village to see ancient Andean burial sites.

Whether you decide to begin your journey in the Atacama or Uyuni, don't miss Bolivia's capital La Paz, which sits in a bowl at a (literally) dizzyingly high elevation of 11,975 feet. The city's restaurant scene is arguably one of the most exciting in South America. Make a reservation at Gustu and enjoy a multicourse extravaganza of local delights including alligator and creamy aged corn. Hailed as one of Latin America's best restaurants, it was founded by Noma's Claus Meyer and is now helmed by chef Marsia Taha Mohamed. Also snag a table at Ancestral, where chef Mauricio Lopez (former head chef of Gustu) roasts vegetables and osso buco over an open flame, served alongside Bolivian wines.

The same team that opened the design-driven Atix Hotel (long a favorite among international visitors) unveiled the new Met Hotel last year in a soaring charcoal building with traditional Bolivian arts and crafts highlighted throughout its interior spaces. If you're traveling after July 2024, be sure to check out Altu Qala, a hotel set in a restored neoclassical building with wood-paneled walls and handmade cabinets in upcycled wood. The owner is also behind The Writer's Coffee, a cafe serving artisanal brews in the city, perfect for combating altitude fatigue.

Finally, for the best views of La Paz, take a trip on Mi Teleferico, the cable car transit system that's been expanding its network with various routes and now has 30 stations and 10 lines. Climb into the plastic bubbles, filled with locals whizzing across the city, and head up to El Alto, which sits at a staggering 13,325 feet.

TPG tip: If you really want to soak up the food and wine scene in La Paz, add in an extra few days to acclimatize. It's the highest capital in the world (11,975 feet) and altitude sickness is a high probability, so whizzing in and out is not recommended.

Bali, Indonesia

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Best for sustainability searchers who also crave cultural connection

Bali is an island of contradictions. It's home to a majority Hindu population but part of predominantly Muslim Indonesia. Visitors in the millions come both to sunbathe and party on its beaches while also seeking spiritual awakenings through wellness retreats. After decades of overtourism, Bali is also pioneering responsible, lower-impact ways for visitors to enjoy its natural wonders and renowned hospitality.

In 2024, the government will levy a $10-per-person fee on international tourists that will directly fund cultural and environmental protection, such as waste management. It's an incremental but important step toward becoming a more sustainable destination.

Luxury resorts are also leaning into the trend. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay recently debuted Telu, a bar constructed entirely of upcycled materials that serves cocktails made with sustainable ingredients. In early 2024, Ayana Estate will open Museum Saka, a breathtaking 50,000-square-foot gallery showcasing the work of Balinese artists, historians and scholars, all of which is meant to bestow guests with a deeper understanding of the community's vibrant heritage.

At Buahan, a Banyan Tree Escape , about an hour from Ubud, chef Eka Sunarya began experimenting with hypercreative and ultralocally sourced menus. He has since decamped to nearby Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve , where he continues to highlight seasonal Balinese cuisine with a no-waste philosophy.

Seminyak's Desa Potato Head — with its beach club and pair of striking, sustainably designed hotels that all together send just 3% of their waste to landfill — continues to be a regenerative tourism pioneer. In 2024, the resort is opening an ambitious Collective Waste Centre that will radically reduce landfill waste from eight nearby resorts, beach clubs and restaurants through high-efficiency sorting, processing and reuse practices.

A slew of exciting all-new hotels beckons design lovers and wellness seekers to Bali, too. Part of Hilton's LXR Resorts & Hotels, Umana Bali is expected to open in November 2023, a brand first in Southeast Asia. Guests will enjoy not only epic vistas from its 72 clifftop pool villas but also next-level cultural programming emphasizing legacy crafts and spa treatments utilizing ancient healing techniques.

Expected to debut in spring 2024, IHG's Regent Canggu will feature 150 suites and villas in one of Bali's hottest beach locales. Architecture by WATG and interior design by HBA will blend contemporary Indonesian fashion and cultural influences with traditional design motifs. Slated for late 2024, Kimpton Naranta Bali will bring boutique vibes to the Nusa Dua resort scene in the reimagined former Amanusa resort, designed by Kerry Hill.

TPG tip: Some of Bali's best points hotels offer deep cultural dives into Balinese village life. At Alila Manggis (from 3,500 World of Hyatt points per night), guests can take part in water purification rituals, visit the Indigenous Bali Aga tribe and trek to the "Gateway to Heaven" temple. At The Laguna, part of Marriott's Luxury Collection (from 33,000 Bonvoy points per night), exclusive experiences include lunch with the seventh generation of Kerambitan's royal family.

Cairo, Egypt

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Best for ancient treasures in a modern metropolis

Few destinations offer the same look at the mysteries of the past quite like Cairo. While this desert city has long been a magnet for those intrigued by the wonders of ancient Egypt and its former rulers, new attractions and highly anticipated hotel openings will draw even more travelers to this bucket list destination in 2024.

With that in mind, Cairo's most exciting addition will be the long-awaited reopening of the Grand Egyptian Museum, which, after years of delays , is on track to welcome visitors by early 2024. A colossal project that began more than 20 years ago, this massive repository — the largest archaeological museum ever built — will house over 100,000 Egyptian artifacts, including 5,000 relics found in famous pharaoh Tutankhamun's tomb.

Recently discovered artifacts from the Saqqara — an expansive necropolis located within Egypt's UNESCO World Heritage-listed ancient capital of Memphis — are also expected to be added to the museum's collection in due course. The treasures include multiple tombs, ancient workshops and burial shafts full of priceless antiquities, such as a mummy believed to be the most complete one ever found in Egypt.

To accommodate the influx of tourists expected in 2024, Cairo's hotel scene is rapidly expanding, too. Among the new properties currently in the pipeline are points-friendly accommodations like a Hyatt Centric, a Hilton and a Waldorf Astoria, plus the luxurious rebranding of the historic Shepheard Hotel into the Mandarin Oriental Shepheard, Cairo.

Unsurprisingly, Cairo's prime position on the Nile and proximity to other historic destinations also make it an excellent place to embark on a river cruise , especially in 2024. Several top river cruise lines offer itineraries that start or end in the city, making it possible to tack on visits to other ancient sites like Luxor and Aswan, Egypt. New standout ships to consider include Viking Aton (the fourth of six ships Viking expects to be sailing the Nile by late 2025) and AmaLilia (AmaWaterways' second ship devoted to Nile River cruises).

TPG tip: It should become easier than ever to reach this historic metropolis thanks to more nonstop routes from the U.S. to Cairo in the works. In addition to adding new nonstop flights from Newark to Cairo this past summer, Egyptair has filed a request with the Department of Transportation to launch service between Los Angeles and Cairo in the coming months. If approved, service on the Star Alliance carrier would give visitors yet another convenient way to reach the ancient city.

— Christine Gallipeau

Note from TPG editors : We want to acknowledge that all eyes will be on the widening conflict in the region as we end 2023 and look ahead to next year. Before planning your own trip to Egypt, stay up to date on State Department advisories , current events and the unfolding situation in neighboring Israel and beyond .

The Bahamas

ideal travel vacation

Best for rediscovering paradise right on our doorstep

Dazzling white- and pink-sand beaches; calm, clear seas shaded in myriad hues of blue; and easy access from various U.S. hubs have long made the Bahamas a top tourist destination. Expect 2024 to be an extra-buzzy year for this Caribbean nation, though, thanks to new hotels, exciting cruises and more flights from major airlines.

Goldwynn Resort & Residences on Nassau's famous Cable Beach was 2023's big hotel debut, offering 81 studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom suites just a short drive from the airport so visitors could be on the beach within an hour of landing. Set to open mid 2025, the ultraluxurious Montage Cay will occupy a 48-acre private island in the Abacos. The $352 million project will feature 50 oceanfront suites with private plunge pools and outdoor showers. The property will also comprise villa residences and a 47-slip marina for private yachts.

The Bahamas are drawing even more interest from major cruise lines, too. Norwegian Cruise Line christened its exciting Norwegian Viva megaship with a short cruise to its Bahamian private island, Great Stirrup Cay, in November 2023. The line's second Prima Class vessel, Viva, boasts the "fastest slides at sea," a three-level go-kart racetrack and millions of dollars of art on board. Royal Caribbean's new Oasis Class ship, Utopia of the Seas , is also set to start sailing short new cruises focusing on the Bahamas in 2024.

Cruise lines are adding new private-island experiences, too. Slated to open in summer 2024, Disney's Lighthouse Point in Eleuthera will offer amenities ranging from an adults-only beach to a family water play area and food hall-style dining. The destination is being designed with the environment in mind, too — about 90% of its electricity will be provided via solar panels.

TPG tip : Getting from the U.S. to the Bahamas will be easier than ever in 2024, especially from the West Coast. Alaska Airlines is adding seasonal nonstop flights from both Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) four times weekly and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) three times weekly to Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS). The services will run from Dec. 15, 2023, to April 9, 2024. JetBlue is launching its own new flight between Nassau and Los Angeles beginning in November 2023 that will fly once per week on Saturdays. Delta debuted a new nonstop from Miami International Airport (MIA) to Nassau this fall as well.

— Becca Blond

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Are vacation packages worth it.

Vacation packages can save a lot on your 2024 vacation, as discounts may be available when booking multiple aspects of your vacation at once, such as the hotel and the flight. Flights and hotel packages can include a car rental at your destination. Check our package deal today on Expedia!

How much do vacation packages cost?

The exact cost of a vacation package varies based on various factors such as destination, accommodation quality, flight class, and even the time of year you visit. The type of vacation you embark on can also affect cost with options like family packages and all-inclusive packages . You can search for your specific price range, too, with plenty of vacations under $1,000 , for example. 

How to choose your vacation package?

To find the best vacation package, you'll need to consider the type of vacation you're looking to enjoy and the destination. Using the site's search function, you can find a wide variety of packages available for your chosen vacation location, while search filters can narrow down options based on vacation type. Browse our deals now.

How to find cheap vacation packages?

If you're looking to save, be sure to set filters for any budget limitations you may have in your search. Additionally, you can sort by price to automatically put the cheapest options first in your search results. Weekend getaway packages can be relatively inexpensive as well if you are looking for cheap getaways. 

How to vacation on a budget?

Budget-friendly travel is easy when you book with Expedia, as we can help you keep prices low via search filters, but that's not all. There are general trends to keep in mind regarding prices, such as travel packages generally being cheaper during the off-season of your vacation destination. Additionally, the higher the quality amenities you opt for, the higher the price typically is.

How to get great vacation deals?

Vacation deals are common with Expedia, as we offer plenty of discounts on great packages, with packages already being a deal compared to booking hotels and flights separately.

How to find last-minute vacation deals?

To book last-minute vacation trips, simply input your travel dates into the search and see what's available at that time for your destination. You can still filter based on virtually anything you can imagine, including amenities, price, star rating, and more.

Where should I go on vacation?

Booking a Hawaii vacation package is especially popular with all sorts of travelers, whether it's families or couples, and Disney World packages have much to offer for families. Consider the kind of vacation you're looking for to determine the perfect destination. 

What are some of the best vacation spots?

Top vacation spots include cheap Caribbean vacations and European vacation packages . With rich culture, history, and stunning natural beauty, a vacation package to these destinations can provide an unforgettable adventure. 

Where to go on a vacation in the US?

Staying in the US still offers easy access to great vacation places with Vegas packages and a Grand Canyon vacation being popular choices among other options. Whether you’re seeking the thrills of the Vegas Strip or the majestic views of the Grand Canyon, browse your options today.  

Where to go on vacation on a budget?

Cheap vacation ideas can still take you to a variety of great cheap vacation destinations, including Yellowstone vacations and Glacier National Park vacations . Parks and outdoor experiences tend to be free, so national park vacations are excellent for a budget-friendly trip. 

What are some great all-inclusive vacation packages?

All-inclusive vacations to the Bahamas and all-inclusive vacations to Cancun are some of the best options available, putting you in a Caribbean paradise. However, all-inclusive vacations are more varied than you might think, with worldwide options. 

What are the best destinations for a family vacation?

Traveling with kids means you'll need to find fun for the whole family, and Orlando vacation packages can put you and your little ones in the world's theme park capital. Of course, a vacation package to Anaheim offers a similar experience on the West coast. 

Where should I go on vacation this summer?

If you're looking to embrace the season, head to the beach with a summer vacation package to Destin . Of course, you may be more interested in escaping the heat with something like a vacation package to Vancouver . 

How to find cheap beach vacations?

In your search, you can apply search filters for beach trip packages and sort your results by price to see the cheap vacation options first. With those standards, you can find amazing cheap trips with beach vacation packages like vacation packages to Panama City and vacation packages to Myrtle Beach . 

What are some great couples' vacations?

Traveling with your partner means a more romantic adventure, which is easy when you book vacation packages to Honolulu . However, you can always opt for the classics and get a vacation package to Paris . Even a simple 3-day cheap getaway can be suitable. 

What are the best destinations for a luxury vacation?

One of the best destinations for luxury is a Las Vegas vacation package , as the city was essentially designed to make visitors feel luxurious. Of course, a Lake Tahoe vacation package can be just as fulfilling as a more outdoor-oriented experience. Golf vacations also tend to be quite elegant. 

How to find great Christmas vacation packages?

To find an excellent package for a Christmas vacation, simply put your travel dates into the search and discover what's available. Vacation packages to New York and vacation packages to Chicago are trendy around Christmas. 

Where to get ski vacation packages?

Ski vacation packages are readily available on Expedia, including vacation packages to Aspen , vacation packages to Vail , and packages to other notable ski resorts. Check out the deals now and book your next ski vacation today.  

Can I cancel my vacation package with Expedia?

Yes, you can cancel your vacation package via your itinerary page on Expedia or by contacting customer service. Remember that some packages are fully refundable, but the details vary based on each unique booking. A fully refundable package may depend on how far out from the travel dates you're canceling and what airline you are travelling with.

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'Expensive in every way': What travelers should expect this summer

Summer travel in 2024 will be "expensive in every way," said Katharine Nohr. And she should know.

She's planning a two-week adventure to Europe in June, which starts with a marathon flight from Honolulu to Zurich, where she'll speak at a conference. Then she's hopscotching across Europe – to Vienna, then on to the Olympics. Nohr made plans to be in Nantes, France, to watch a soccer game, in Lille for basketball, and in Paris for gymnastics, boxing and swimming.

Check out   Elliott Confidential , the newsletter the travel industry doesn't want you to read. Each issue is filled with breaking news, deep insights, and exclusive strategies for becoming a better traveler. But don't tell anyone!

All told, it'll set her back five figures despite her best efforts, which include flying economy class and staying in the lowest-priced hotels. 

"The trip is pricey, even with my efforts to economize," said Nohr, an attorney from Honolulu. "But it's a once-in-my-life adventure." 

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Summer travelers are pursuing exciting, expensive vacations

Nohr is part of a wave of travelers who are making big plans for this summer. The itineraries are exciting – and expensive. 

Pretty much every barometer of travel intent is up for the summer travel season. Inflation and unemployment are low, and consumer sentiment and curiosity are high, fueling an unprecedented interest in travel. 

"Bookings are rising," said Susan Sherren, who runs Couture Trips , a travel agency. "Unfortunately, hotel, tour and air prices are not falling. So if you plan on hitting the road this summer, make sure you are willing to splash some cash."

Travel companies say they're overwhelmed with summer reservations.

"The travel economy is booming," said Joe Ialacci, owner of Yacht Hampton Boating Club , a company that rents yachts in Sag Harbor, New York. He's seeing a 40% increase in rentals this summer compared with last year as Americans shift some of their vacation dollars to domestic destinations.

Prices aren't the only thing trending higher. People's expectations for their summer vacation are also higher than at any time since the pandemic, said Sangeeta Sadarangani, CEO of Crossing , a multinational travel agency headquartered in London. 

"They're embracing the unknown," she said.

And one of the great unknowns is travel prices. How much higher will they be?

What will prices be like this summer?

It depends on where you're going. There's good news if you're traveling within the U.S.: Flights and hotels are a little less expensive than last summer . But they're rising elsewhere. Here's the breakdown:

  • Airfares are mixed. Domestic round-trip airfares for summer will peak at $315 a ticket, according to the travel platform Hopper . Flights to Europe are cheaper, too. They've fallen 10% from last year to $882. But flights to South America are up 2% and flights to Canada have risen 7%. You'll pay an average of $708 to fly south of the border and $419 to head north.
  • U.S. hotel rates are down. Domestically, they're about the same as last year at an average of $206 a night.
  • Car rental prices are rising. Average domestic car rental rates are up only 3% this summer to $42 a day on a four-day rental, according to Hopper. 

But you can avoid the high prices with a little strategic planning, experts say.

What to avoid this summer

American travelers are becoming more predictable in their summer vacation choices, said John Lovell, president of Travel Leaders Group . Immediately after the pandemic, they embarked on "revenge" vacations to far-flung locations. Now they're returning to more conventional vacations.

"We continue to see U.S. travelers heading back to the more traditional locations across Europe this year, like London, Rome, Athens and Munich," he said.

There are places that will be exceptionally busy – and exceptionally pricey – this summer.

  • Paris during the Olympics. The Olympic Games are in Paris this summer. Rooms are more than double the normal rates , which is typical of the Olympics. Paris is already crowded with tourists during the summer, so you can probably imagine what it will be like with the Olympics. Zut, alors!
  • Taylor Swift is touring Europe this summer. Prices will be higher and the crowds will be denser. "If you aren't planning to attend one of her concerts, I recommend planning around those European cities when she's there," said Betsy Ball, co-founder of Euro Travel Coach . (Want to know if your schedules overlap? Here's Taylor Swift's concert schedule .)
  • Other big summer events. Even if you steer clear of Taylor and the Olympics, you're still not out of the woods. There's the UEFA Euro 2024 football tournament in Germany in June. There's the Tour de France in July, which begins in Florence and finishes in Nice. France is also hosting the Paralympic Games in August and September in Paris, Nice, Marseille and Bordeaux.

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When is the best time to book a 2024 summer vacation?

Because this is going to be a busy season, the sooner you book, the better. Hopper recommends buying your plane tickets two to three months before your departure for domestic flights, and for international – well, it's probably too late to get that rock-bottom fare. If you're reading this in April, you can still find something for late August or early September, according to its airfare experts.

As always, you can save money by booking a flight for midweek instead of on the weekend – and, of course, by keeping far, far away from the big travel holidays like Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. 

Also, if you're going overseas, remember the holiday calendar is different there. For example, half of Europe shuts down in August for summer vacation. It's worth a look-up, otherwise, you could face some real disappointments.

Strategies for traveling better during the summer

One tactic that consistently works is splitting your getaway into two sections. Take that required summer vacation with your family somewhere less expensive during the high season. Then, wait until shoulder season for the big trip. 

That's what Ross Copas, a retired electrician from Tweed, Canada, is doing during the summer of 2024. It's a road trip across the northern U.S. by motorcycle – New York to Washington state, and then back east through Canada. 

Then he's heading to Amsterdam in September for a 23-day European river cruise. He said the late-summer getaway will be costly, but he doubts fares will fall anytime soon. "So price be damned," he said.

Actually, that's pretty smart. I took the same cruise on Viking River Cruises many years ago, and it was worth every penny.

With hotel rates rising in some places this summer, this is the right time to consider alternatives. Monica Fish, a writer from Glen Rock, New Jersey, is headed to Ireland to catch one of Taylor Swift's performances. She said hotel rooms in Dublin are overpriced, if they're even available. But Fish found an affordable vacation rental. 

"We just had to book it farther in advance than we normally would," she said. 

Go ahead, follow the crowds this summer

I think it's fine to follow the crowds this summer. I'll be doing it. I'm planning to rent an apartment for a month in Switzerland with Blueground, a long-term apartment rental company. Then I'm crashing on a friend's sofa in Spain, then heading to Sweden to see other friends and visiting my brother in Finland. Yes, travel writers know people everywhere . 

But don't follow the crowds off a cliff. There are places even I won't go. I might take the four-hour train trip from Zurich to Paris in June to check out my favorite patisseries, but I wouldn't go anywhere near the City of Lights during the Summer Games in July unless I made a reservation a long time ago.

And Taylor Swift? Puh-leeze. I'm more of a jazz guy.

Christopher Elliott  is an author, consumer advocate, and journalist. He founded  Elliott Advocacy , a nonprofit organization that helps solve consumer problems. He publishes  Elliott Confidential , a travel newsletter, and the  Elliott Report , a news site about customer service. If you need help with a consumer problem, you can  reach him here  or email him at  [email protected] .

More From Forbes

15 affordable places to travel in 2024, ranked in a new report.

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Want to take an affordable vacation in 2024? You’ve come to the right place. Although travel costs are on the rise this year ( up 3.1% ), it’s still possible to save money in 2024—if you know where to go.

A new travel report from the U.K.’s Post Office —a British-based mail and financial services company — has just unveiled some of the most budget-friendly destinations for 2024. And although the annual report is aimed at U.K. travelers, it’s a helpful list for Americans, too.

By analyzing currency strengths, local prices and essential tourist expenses in 40 popular vacation destinations around the globe, the Holiday Money Report 2024 highlights some of the cheapest places to travel. The report ranks the destinations based on a barometer that takes the local price of eight tourist essentials into consideration—including coffee, beer, cola, wine, water, sunscreen, insect repellent and a three-course meal. And while the report doesn’t include factors like hotels and airfare, it helps give a good sense of where your dollars will stretch the furthest.

This is the 18th year that the Post Office has done this report. And the good news: Prices have fallen since last year in 25 spots on the list. (A note that the original report included prices in pounds sterling, which have been converted into dollars here, using the exchange rate on the date of publication of 1.26.)

An aerial view of Hoi An, Vietnam, the most affordable destination to travel in 2024, according to a ... [+] new report.

Leading the list as the cheapest place to travel right now is Hoi An, Vietnam. According to the Post Office report, a total estimated cost of just $64.51 a day for the travel essentials makes this charming gem the ultimate bang-for-your-buck destination that won’t break the bank. Located on the central coast of Vietnam, Hoi An entices visitors with its UNESCO -recognized Ancient Town, a picturesque spot where lantern-lit streets lead to quaint shops and street food stalls. It is also convenient to stunning white-sand beaches—some of the most beautiful in Asia .

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Following closely behind in the second spot is Cape Town, South Africa, where an outlay of $68.48 a day for the essentials promises an unforgettable experience against the backdrop of Table Mountain and pristine coastlines. Here, you can dive into the vibrant culture and indulge in world-class dining (a three-course meal for two people averages less than $44.140) without denting your travel fund.

The coastline of Mombasa, Kenya, with a pair of camels on Diani Beach.

Mombasa, Kenya takes the third spot on the list. This beachfront destination on the east coast of Africa beckons with its white-sand shores, vibrant markets and rich Swahili heritage, offering an immersive experience for travelers seeking both relaxation and cultural exploration.

In a surprising twist, Tokyo, Japan—a bustling metropolis where tradition meets modernity—secures the fourth spot on the list. According to the Post Office, just $74.43 a day is needed for essential tourist purchases. Helping drive this ranking was the cost of a glass of wine (an average of only $4.56) and a bottle of water (averaging 77¢).

The cliffs of the Algarve overlooking the Atlantic Ocean above the Benagil cave in Lagoa, Portug.a

Rounding out the top five is the Algarve in Portugal, which combines culture, history and natural beauty at a fraction of the cost compared to previous years. With its sun-drenched beaches, charming villages and delectable seafood, the Algarve offers an idyllic escape for travelers seeking an affordable yet enriching getaway.

Here are top 15 best-value spots from the 2024 report. You can also download the full Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer for more locations and more details.

Overlooking a pristine beach in Hoi An, Vietnam.

  • Hoi An, Vietnam - $64.51
  • Cape Town, South Africa - $68.48
  • Mombasa, Kenya - $69.96
  • Tokyo, Japan - $74.43
  • Algarve, Portugal - $75.33
  • Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt - $77.36
  • Sunny Beach, Bulgaria - $79.73
  • Kuta, Bali, Indonesia - $79.79
  • Marmaris, Turkey - $83.27
  • Paphos, Cyprus - $92.49
  • Penang, Malaysia - $93.98
  • Phuket, Thailand - $97.97
  • Delhi, India - $98.05
  • Costa del Sol, Spain - $102.67
  • Montego Bay, Jamaica - $109.76


Laura Begley Bloom

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Ohio town among 15 Best U.S. Small Towns for a Summer Vacation

  • Updated: Apr. 10, 2024, 12:26 p.m. |
  • Published: Apr. 10, 2024, 12:21 p.m.

Buckeye Lake, Ohio 15 Best U.S. Small Towns for a Summer Vacation Travel + Leisure

Buckeye Lake, Ohio, a village of less than 3,000 located about 35 minutes east of Columbus, is among the 15 best U.S. small towns for a summer vacation, according to Travel + Leisure. (Photo courtesy of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources) Ohio Department of Natural Resources

  • Zach Mentz, cleveland.com

It’s just about time to start thinking ahead and planning your summer vacations.

Whether you’re seeking a bustling city, laid-back beach or open countryside, there are plenty of destinations to choose from across the U.S. But if you’re seeking a small town hidden gem, one city in Ohio is worth considering.

Buckeye Lake, Ohio, is one of the 15 Best U.S. Small Towns for a Summer Vacation, according to a report from Travel + Leisure. Located about 35 minutes east of Columbus, Buckeye Lake is a small village with a population of less than 3,000 that is named after Buckeye Lake. The village runs through both Fairfield and Licking counties while the lake runs through both of those counties as well as Perry County.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find a village that embodies classic Americana more than Buckeye Lake,” Travel + Leisure writes in its report . “With a population of about 2,800, it’s beloved for its serene lakefront atmosphere and seemingly endless water activities. For a home away from home, book a few nights in one of its beautiful lakefront cottages . Then, wake up refreshed and start the day with a jog or power walk along the four-mile-long Buckeye Lake Dam Walking & Biking Trail , preferably with a beverage from Millersport Coffee .

“Next, it’s into the pristine water you go. Try 3XP Tours ’ kayak-biking-brewery expedition that guides you on the lake, trails, and into some of the best breweries (and wineries and restaurants) around town. Or, skip the formal tour and rent a kayak or pontoon for the day and embrace lake life on your own. Wind down with a glass of wine at Buckeye Lake Winery or head to Weldon’s for ice cream.”

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Buckeye Lake, Ohio, is one of two midwestern U.S. towns to make Travel + Leisure’s Best Small Towns for a Vacation list, along with Hermann, Missouri.

Travel + Leisure’s full list of the 15 Best U.S. Small Towns for a Summer Vacation can be found online .

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The best travel duffel bags to buy in 2024, according to reviews

  • Published: Apr. 15, 2024, 9:00 p.m.

Best Travel Duffel Bags 2024

Here are some of the top travel duffel bags you can buy today, including this Patagonia Black Hole style. REI

  • Dawn Magyar | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

If you have a getaway planned for the summer, you’ll need a durable bag to stand up to all the adventures you have planned during your trip.

A travel duffel bag is the perfect companion for those summer vacations as it allows you to pack what you need with ample roominess and easy portability. These bags also offer compartments to keep your personal belongings organized with adjustable straps to sling over the shoulder or carry as a backpack.

But with so many different duffel bag styles to choose from, it can be a challenge to decide which one to buy.

To help, here are some of the most recommended travel duffel bags available, including styles from Patagonia and Beis .

  • Patagonia Black Hole Duffel: “This bag is the most versatile gear duffle we’ve found. It’s tough, water-resistant, and great for toting clothes and equipment in almost any travel or outdoor scenario,” Wirecutter says.
  • Beis Commuter Duffel: “The bag is bursting with compartments and pockets for organizing small, medium, and large items so you can pack efficiently before a weekend getaway. After we packed the bag full of clothing, shoes, and a toiletry bag, it was fairly heavy, but the shoulder and tote straps were shockingly comfortable and helped balance out the weight,” Travel + Leisure says.
  • REI Co-op Roadtripper: “The REI Roadtripper offers excellent storage and utility at over half the price of other bags, making it an exceptional value for a duffel bag on a budget,” GearLab says.
  • Away The Everywhere Bag: “It’s made of nylon with leather details on the handles and straps and it features two large outer pockets. Inside, it’s just as well-organized, with a 15-inch laptop sleeve and a host of zippered and slip pockets to hold everything from a paperback to your mobile phone,” Popular Mechanics says.
  • Osprey Transporter Duffel Bag: “After testing a series of duffels, the Osprey Transporter 40L stands out as the go-to hauler for a long weekend. It features a zippered end pocket about the exterior for smaller items like keys or headphones, and a large, easy-to-access main body with a lockable U-zipper carries everything from shirts and shorts to technical equipment,” Forbes says.

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8 Affordable US Trip Ideas So You Can Finally Plan That 2024 Getaway

Posted: November 9, 2023 | Last updated: November 9, 2023

<p>When you plan your <a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/category/saving-money/travel/?utm_term=incontent_link_1&utm_campaign=1197723&utm_source=msn.com&utm_content=1&utm_medium=rss" rel="">budget for traveling</a>, you have to decide whether you're going to allow for eating out every meal, every day, or whether you're going to try and make some of your food yourself. Sometimes eating out is part of the joy of travel, but tourist destinations always pump up prices, making the same meals you might find in a different part of town significantly pricier. Not everyone wants to cook on vacation, either. </p> <p><strong><em>Find Out: <a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/saving-money/shopping/costco-brand-items-not-worth-the-money/?utm_term=related_link_1&utm_campaign=1197723&utm_source=msn.com&utm_content=2&utm_medium=rss" rel="">9 Costco Brand Items That Aren't Worth the Money</a></em></strong><br><strong><em>More: <a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/credit-building-steps-you-cant-afford-not-to-take-during-inflation-1466021/?utm_source=msn.com&utm_term=related_link_2&utm_campaign=1197723&utm_content=3&utm_medium=rss" rel="">3 Easy Tips To Turn Your Credit Woes Into Wows</a></em></strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/saving-money/food/10-easy-ways-to-save-on-food-while-traveling/?utm_term=incontent_link_2&utm_campaign=1197723&utm_source=msn.com&utm_content=4&utm_medium=rss">To save money on food while you travel, these experts weigh in with their tips.</a></p>

If you have been aching to get away , now is the time to start planning your 2024 vacation. While international travel may still cost an arm and a leg, flights within the U.S. are pretty affordable. If you plan now, you may be able to sneak away for a long weekend for less than ever.

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At GOBankingRates, we asked travel experts from around the country where the best and most cost-efficient destinations will be next year. Here are 8 affordable trip ideas so you can finally plan that 2024 getaway.

ideal travel vacation

Miami or Sarasota, Florida

Molly Egan, a travel and hospitality expert and founder of themollyegan , recommended Florida as an inexpensive destination.

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She stated, "For a beach getaway in Florida, such as Miami or Sarasota, plan a visit in October or early May to avoid peak times. You will avoid the snowbird crowds, spring breakers and heat, and best of all, snag a great lodging and flight deal!"

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<p>Egan noted that for western adventures, she would suggest, "Bozeman, Montana, in June and October, which are slow times for the city, so that you can snag an affordable deal! The same timing goes for Western Colorado towns such as Vail, Colorado."</p> <p>She continued, "The beginning of October is a great time to see the leaves changing, go hiking, feel like you have the whole mountain town to yourself and find the best lodging deals. If you are interested in skiing, the best time is late November or early December and early to mid-April (the skiing conditions vary, but the deals are the best)."</p> <p><strong>See: <a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/saving-money/travel/expensive-destinations-that-will-be-cheaper-in-2024/?utm_term=related_link_5&utm_campaign=1251033&utm_source=msn.com&utm_content=7&utm_medium=rss" rel="">11 Expensive Vacation Destinations That Will Be Cheaper in 2024</a></strong></p>

Bozeman, Montana

Egan noted that for western adventures, she would suggest, "Bozeman, Montana, in June and October, which are slow times for the city, so that you can snag an affordable deal! The same timing goes for Western Colorado towns such as Vail, Colorado."

She continued, "The beginning of October is a great time to see the leaves changing, go hiking, feel like you have the whole mountain town to yourself and find the best lodging deals. If you are interested in skiing, the best time is late November or early December and early to mid-April (the skiing conditions vary, but the deals are the best)."

See: 11 Expensive Vacation Destinations That Will Be Cheaper in 2024

ideal travel vacation

Savannah, Georgia

Tracy Kennedy, an experienced travel advisor at Tasmania , noted, "If you're eyeing an affordable yet enriching U.S. trip for 2024, Savannah, Georgia, should be high on your list. The city is a perfect blend of traditional Southern charm and modern allure, and it's an ideal destination for a 2-3 day weekend getaway. Flights to Savannah are usually economical, with multiple carriers offering competitive rates."

She added, "Once there, you can enjoy quintessential forms of tourism such as exploring the historic district, strolling through Forsyth Park, and taking a riverboat cruise. The culinary scene is exceptional but won't break the bank, offering classic Southern dishes that are rich in flavor but easy on the wallet."

She also stated, "However, what sets Savannah apart is its unique offerings like the Sorrel Weed House Museum. This historic haunted house provides an unforgettable experience, especially if you're planning a trip around Halloween. Not only does it offer a glimpse into 19th-century life in the South, but it also has its share of ghost stories and paranormal activities, adding a thrilling element to your visit."

<ul> <li><strong>Average monthly rent: </strong>$1,873.33.</li> <li><strong>Monthly total cost of living:</strong> $3,660.97.</li> <li><strong>Livability index:</strong> 84.</li> </ul> <p>Black Mountain, located 15 miles from Asheville in the Blue Ridge mountains, is well known to the arts crowd. The town was once home to Black Mountain College, one of the most innovative experimental art colleges in the United States. Today it remains a popular destination for artists and art lovers while also offering scenic views and small-town charm.</p>

Asheville, North Carolina

Adrian Todd, an outdoor and travel expert, hiking coach and owner of Great Minds Think Hike , said, "One of my favorite places to go to is Asheville. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is a great destination with various things to do."

He continued, "Asheville has some of the most breweries in and around than most places East of the Mississippi. You can hike in the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visit the Biltmore Estate, or explore the artsy downtown area."

<p><strong>Worst place to retire:</strong> South Valley</p> <ul> <li><strong>Percentage of population over 65:</strong> 16.1</li> <li><strong>Average home value:</strong> $165,010</li> <li><strong>Annual expenditures:</strong> $43,409</li> <li><strong>Livability score:</strong> 56</li> </ul> <p><strong>Where to retire instead:</strong> Alamogordo</p> <ul> <li><strong>Percentage of population over 65:</strong> 17.4 </li> <li><strong>Average home value:</strong> $135,883</li> <li><strong>Annual expenditures:</strong> $38,288</li> <li><strong>Livability score:</strong> 72</li> </ul>

Santa Fe, New Mexico

"Santa Fe is a really neat place," Todd also noted. He explained it is "full of neat adobe style houses and architecture. I recommend going to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, but to make sure to book way ahead in advance."

He also suggested, "Check out the oldest house and church in the US near the downtown area. Be sure to visit the Loretto Chapel to see the mysterious staircase and head to the downtown area during the market when all the natives come by to sell handcrafted items."

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<p>For fishing and outdoor activities, Todd recommended Stanley, Idaho. He said it is "a small town located to the East in Idaho. It is a beautiful mountain time hugged by the Sawtooth Mountains. I highly recommend checking this place out during the summer months when it is a lot warmer."</p> <p>He continued, "Go fishing along the Salmon River, hiking to Sawtooth Lake, and camping near Redfish Lake. There is so much to do for all outdoor lovers in this destination."</p>

Stanley, Idaho

For fishing and outdoor activities, Todd recommended Stanley, Idaho. He said it is "a small town located to the East in Idaho. It is a beautiful mountain time hugged by the Sawtooth Mountains. I highly recommend checking this place out during the summer months when it is a lot warmer."

He continued, "Go fishing along the Salmon River, hiking to Sawtooth Lake, and camping near Redfish Lake. There is so much to do for all outdoor lovers in this destination."

Nashville skyline with river and sunset

Nashville, Tennessee

"Nashville is historically known for its live music scene and offers a vibrant atmosphere and many free or affordable activities," stated Todd. "You can explore the city's music history, visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, and enjoy live music in honky-tonks," he said.

The hiking enthusiast added, "There are also a lot of things to do out in nature in Tennessee if the city life isn't your cup of tea. Check out the Great Smoky Mountains to visit the most popular and visited national park in the US."

ideal travel vacation

Loveland, Ohio

"Loveland, Ohio, is known as the 'Sweetheart of Ohio,'" explained Krista Rose, marketing and communications coordinator for the City of Loveland. "We are the perfect destination for a Midwest trip on a budget! We are often told Loveland feels like a 'resort town' and 'time slows down here.'"

She continued, "Loveland is located about 15 miles north of Cincinnati and close to major highways including I-75 and I-71. We are known for our river and trails, making us a favorite trip for outdoor enthusiasts."

For outdoor adventure seekers she recommended, "the Little Miami Scenic Trail is an 80-mile bike/pedestrian trail across Ohio. This trail runs through the center of Loveland. Visit for a day of canoeing, kayaking, and outdoor adventure! After you explore the trail, explore Historic Downtown Loveland's unique shopping and dining. There are quaint AirBNBs and a boutique hotel in town."

You can learn more about the city by visiting LovinLifeLoveland .

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