The saying goes it’s the journey, not the destination. For the millions of travelers that had to postpone or cancel their 2020 excursions, the journey has been fraught with uncertainty, frustration and disappointment. It’s time to start looking forward to traveling again. There are certainly a few essential milestones that need to be met before it’s deemed safe to travel again. But that doesn’t mean we can’t imagine our future selves enjoying freshwater swimming, gazing at the northern lights or dining with a view of vast mountain ranges.
Our team of nomads has compiled a list of 7 destinations that will get you excited about traveling again. Plant the seeds of desire in your mind now and start getting ready to manifest your vision soon. We’ve got something for beachgoers, nature enthusiasts and those that want to feel like they’ve stumbled into a fantasyland. We hope our list gets you in the mood to start planning even if it’s just a vision board or buying binoculars, walking shoes, luggage or an Instagram worthy ensemble.
1. Waitomo Cave Tour in New Zealand
You won’t need to wait for the release of the Avatar movie sequel to experience nature’s illuminating wonders. A tour of New Zealand’s Waitomo Caves will leave you breathless and thinking you’ve stepped into somewhere make-believe. As you canoe through the underground taverns, look up to see the cascade of magical glowworms that illuminate like the stars above. The geological habitat that provides the necessary conditions for these creatures to survive is just as fascinating to both learn about and witness. Book a tour that will give you the history of the caves and some fun facts you’ll want to share when you get back. It is truly one of the most incredible sightseeing attractions that will leave you appreciating what lies beneath the surface.
2. Olympic National Park – Port Angeles, Washington
If you’ve spent the better part of 2020 indoors, it’s time to get out! Create a memorable adventure that includes lush forests, a quaint town and snow-capped mountains. Olympic National Park has a menu of outdoor activities that will give you a chance to walk, swim, climb and appreciate nature’s wonders. Enjoy one of the many trails leading to captivating rainforests and relaxing waterfalls. Experience the view of the starry night sky that includes clear glimpses of galaxies, constellations, and the solar system. When you’re done appreciating the night sky programs, enjoy hiking one of the many trails throughout the park. You can customize your hike based on your abilities and time allotment. Take a break from your land excursions for a canoe ride through the many lakes and rivers. Motorboats available if you’re looking to just take in the surrounding mountain range or try to spot some of the beautiful wildlife perusing the property.
3. Tulum, Mexico
If you see your next trip as more a spectator sport than an athletic adventure, consider heading to the sky-blue beaches of Tulum, Mexico. Rest next to majestic waters surrounded by ancient Mayan ruins that tower from above. When you’re ready to explore, plan a trip to the taverns for some snorkeling or be mesmerized by the Temple of the Frescoes and the Temple of the Descending God. It’s the perfect blend of beach, light sightseeing and effortless excursions.
Some travelers are looking for an intergalactic experience. A chance to feel like you’ve left Earth and discovered a fantastical land. For those travelers, Iceland should be at the top of your list. The incredible landscapes house majestic creatures that roam freely across the land. Don’t let the name fool you. It’s not just sparkling glaciers and snowy mountains. The geography and climate are varied so you can enjoy hot geysers, lavender fields and quaint towns with fantastic cuisine. If you’re looking for Narnia to come to life, this is the closest you’ll get. A little piece of heaven on earth for sure.
5. Kefalonia, Greece
There are so many dreamlike islands off the mainland of Greece, but Kefalonia is the perfect place for the traveler who wants a milder nightlife than Mykonos and the beauty of Santorini without wall to wall tourists. Local taverns attract the local musical talents that can offer a live show that provides the perfect ambiance while dining on cuisine that is as authentic as it comes. The beaches feel is as beautiful as the mountain range that surrounds them. When you’re ready to leave the village life, find your way to the island’s capital for great shopping and a coffee by the promenade overlooking colorful houses and a crystal clear rich blue sea.
6. Lapland, Finland
The subarctic wilderness of Lapland, Finland is known for is a gateway to the most spectacular sites on Earth, including mines of amethyst, a clear view of the northern lights and seeing exotic wildlife that rely on the country’s winter terrain. Located in the northern most region of Finland, Lapland gives you a winter wonderland or 24-hour sunlight during the summer months. Surrounded by parks you can enjoy year-round for hiking, trailing or skiing. Make the excursion a true adventure by renting a glass igloo that will let you gaze up at the Aurora Borealis from the comfort of your own bed. Make sure you book for the right season. Unlike most of the world, Finland claims 8 different seasons.
7. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Welcome to the jungle of Tanzania where the unique scenery and array of wild animals look like they’re something out of a storybook. Take a tour to see lions, zebras and wildebeests in their natural habitat. Whether you’re looking to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or just enjoy it from afar, Tanzania is a place that has it all. If you’re ready for some rest and relaxation, head to the island of Zanzibar to enjoy the cleanest beaches surrounded by Arabian style homes.
8. Rome, Italy
When in Rome, do as the Romans do! If Rome, Italy is still on your bucket list, time to make some moves. Arguably one of the most enchanting cities in the world, Rome offers a great deal to explore. From St. Peter’s Basilica to the Sistine Chapel, you will be amazed at the artistry and architecture that encompasses the ancient city. Savor on the culinary delights Italy is known for like fresh meats, cheeses and pastas paired with the finest wines the world has to offer. Experience a night at the opera right in the country of its birthplace. Check out the line up at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma for a memorable night out. Don’t forget to get a tour of the Colosseum for a trip to the ancient world.