After several years of global hibernation, people are now traveling again to destinations far and wide. Now is the time to pull out that bucket list and sharpie and decide where you want to take your next trip. Whether you plan on making it a business trip, a romantic weekend getaway, or a family vacation, read on to discover some of the best — and most unexpected — places to explore this year. All you need is a little imagination, a sense of adventure, and possibly some sunblock.
1. Umbria, Italy
Forget Rome and Venice. This magical region in central Italy has remained rather isolated from outside influences, which has helped to keep many of its old-world traditions alive and well. Umbria is best known for hilltop towns with classic medieval architecture. The area is heavily influenced by the Roman, Etruscan, and Renaissance eras. Go in the late spring or summer to see wildflowers paint the hillsides. Plus if you’re a foodie, you’re in the perfect place to try famous black truffles, robust local wines, cured meats, and pasta to write home about.
2. Honolulu, Hawaii
There are seemingly endless things to do on any trip to Hawaii. Whether you’re spending your days on the beach surfing some of the best waves in the world, or cruising along the coast in a luxury car rental, Honolulu provides memorable experiences to couples, families, and business executives alike. The stunning beaches, vibrant marine life, one-of-a-kind sunsets, fresh seafood, and unique cultural experiences should be on everyone’s bucket list.
While you’re in Honolulu, don’t miss the famous Diamond Head Crater. It’s a relatively moderate hike with breathtaking views of the whole island. Further, the temperate climate makes it a perfect travel destination year-round.
3. Edinburgh, Scotland
Scotland’s capital city is famous for its remarkable architecture, famous arts festivals, and numerous cultural landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle. This legendary castle was built on the aptly named Castle Rock and has been around since the Iron Age. And if it’s arts and entertainment you’re interested in, then be sure to check out the Edinburgh International Festival. This festival brings together talent from all over the globe to celebrate theater, music, dance, and opera which is performed for several weeks across the entire city.
Plus, no sweet tooth would be complete without trying some of their famous Scottish shortbread cookies!
This spectacular East African country is well known for being the go-to spot for the best safari experiences in the world. Visitors can witness a multitude of animals grazing in the wild at the famous Serengeti National Park. If you’re a fan of birdwatching, then be sure to check out Lake Manyara National Park to find over 300 bird species. And if your childhood dream has been to spot a zebra in the wild, be sure to head to The Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This protected area is home to plains zebras, gazelles, gnus, lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, and the nearly extinct black rhinoceros.
5. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
This city is the capital of the Dominican Republic and hosts a vibrant cultural history. Whether you’re excited to explore the beaches, the nightlife, local culinary delights, or wholly unique adventures, a trip to Santo Domingo will keep you busy day and night. After an early morning swim at Juan Dolio beach, you can explore the colorful and robust street art in the Colonial Zone. Then end your evening dancing the night away to bachata and merengue at one of the local nightclubs.
For those who have a daring adventurer side, take a trip to the Pomier Caves, or Las Cuevas Del Pomier. They are located in San Cristobal, which is only a 30-minute drive outside the city. Here you’ll discover hidden caves with steep rappels, narrow paths, and darkened passages.
6. Western Australia
A total solar eclipse happens on April 20, 2023, and it will be visible from this little corner of the planet. This rare occurrence only occurs a few times a century, and the unobstructed views from the Ningaloo Peninsula will most certainly be one-of-a-kind. In celebration of this solar phenomenon, Western Australia is hosting The Dark Sky Festival which will include musical performances and educational exhibits on astronomy. After witnessing this epic event, you can take a trip to the Margaret River to witness the dramatic cliffs of Rottnest Island while enjoying wine from the famous local wineries of the region. Of course, no trip to Australia would be complete without taking a dip in Turquoise Bay off the Coral Coast.
7. Charleston, South Carolina
This classic Southern city is known for its signature food, entertainment, and historical relevance. The International African American Museum opens in 2023 and is built on the shoreline of the Cooper River. This is the exact spot where many African Americans first set foot in North America. This important museum will explore the lives of slaves and their descendants, following their journey of resistance and ingenuity which helped shape every facet of modern America.
Charleston also celebrates other aspects of the cultural arts and history including numerous spring and summer festivals such as the Spoleto Festival and the Charleston Wine and Food Festival, which feature theater, dance, opera, musical acts, and wine and food tastings. Before you leave, make sure to check out some of the favorite local dishes including shrimp and grits and the legendary coconut cake from the Peninsula Grill.
8. Vientiane, Laos
Laos shares its borders with Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Thailand, and Myanmar, making it completely landlocked. While it has been a best-kept secret for many years, the word is getting out about this gorgeous, hard-to-reach destination. Now that the country has a high-speed railway it makes it easier than ever to see many of its out-of-the-way sites.
The famous megalithic archaeological site, Plain of Jars, is not to be missed. But also be sure to check out the world’s tallest treehouses, which are only accessible by zipline. While nestled in the trees communing with nature, you’ll also be part of the worthwhile national conservation project, The Gibbon Experience.
9. Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo is home to some of the largest companies in the world and is a common spot for many business travelers. So it would be wise to consider Tokyo as the perfect location for company travel. Whether you’re heading there for a short business meeting or a longer stay, there are many benefits to experiencing this beautiful and energetic city. Doing business in Japan can be lucrative, plus you only need a regular tourist visa to do business there for up to ninety days. Also, accommodations for business travelers tend to be rather affordable in Japan compared to countries in Western Europe or North America.
Lastly, if you’re there on business, taking day trips is especially easy with their high-speed rail system. You can enjoy the serenity of art and nature at the Meiji Shrine or shop until you drop in the famous Ginza District. While there you can watch a unique performance at the Kabuki-za Theater. These shows are based on highly skilled, and often burlesqued theatrical spectacles. They include songs and dance and are rooted in medieval historical references.
10. Gruyeres, Switzerland
Foodies know it for giving us the world’s best cheese. In addition to this scrumptious delicacy, the city is also known for idyllic rolling hillsides, unique medieval architecture, and a world-renowned chocolate factory. Picture-perfect views are around every corner. There’s a thirteenth-century castle to explore and hiking trails so inspiring you may find yourself yodeling at the top of your lungs. Plus, in the winter those same hills are blanketed in some of the best skiing snow in the world. It may be the closest thing to a fairytale country you’ll ever find.
Whether you decide to snorkel in crystalline waters, hike to the farthest mountain top, or take a selfie on the roof of a skyscraper, new travel destinations are only a plane ticket away. So pack lightly, grab your comfiest walking shoes, and have your Google translator in hand as adventure awaits you!