Top Ten Travel Destinations in 2020
# 10 – Bariloche, Argentina
At the base of the Andes mountains in the Southern region of Argentina, sits the beautiful town of Bariloche. For those who are longing for an alpine climate, shimmering lake views, and the taste of fine Argentinian wine this place is for you. The city is rich in culture, cuisine, and history. The area is famous for its gourmet chocolate and high-quality wines. Become immersed in the romantic South American way of life with panoramic views of endless mountain ranges. The trail system that winds throughout the mountain valley cannot be beat. Partake in activities like world-class skiing, fishing, and canyoning or simply enjoy the beauty of the lakes district.
#9 – Wadi Rum & Petra, Jordan
For lack of a better word, “other-worldly” best describes the landscape of southern Jordan. Be amazed by the endless canyons and rockscapes that protrude out of the ground. The ancient city of Petra is a must-see where a lost civilization once made their mark during the Silk Road era. The Dead Sea is another unique landmark to visit when in Jordan. The Dead Sea is known for its intense blue water and salt content. Wadi Rum desert has a Mars-like appearance. The bright orange and red hues of the rock contrast with the clear blue sky, a place that will surely leave you bewildered by nature. Take a jeep tour or ride a camel through the canyons. See petroglyphs of the ancients and camp out, Bedouin-style under the stars. Jordan is a safe country and the locals are incredibly hospitable and kind. Consider a journey into the exotic Arabian peninsula.
# 8 – Slovenia
We cannot recommend just one city in this incredible region so for the next destination on our list, we suggest the lovely country of Slovenia. Little do most people know, Slovenia has some of the best cuisine, some of the richest history, and the most scenic natural beauty in the entire Mediterranean. There is something for everyone in Slovenia. Wine enthusiasts, outdoor recreation junkies, backpackers, history buffs, and foodies alike will fall in love with this country. Medieval castles are scattered throughout the mountains and traces of the Roman empire influence the architecture. Italian and Greek heritage have a played a huge role in shaping the cuisine and culture. The coastline is just as impressive as the mountain ranges. While everyone is flocking to Croatia in a post-Game of Thrones era, visit Slovenia and avoid the crowds.
# 7 – Laos
Though Laos is no longer Southeast Asia’s best kept secret, it is still a place less traveled to than other countries in the region. Mountainous views, sweeping meadows, and peaceful rivers make up most of the country. The primary religion is Buddhism so there are monasteries and shrines scattered throughout each city. For the average traveler, it is very affordable to stay here for an extended period of time. There are caves, monasteries, waterfalls, and bustling street markets to be discovered during your stay. The country is very outdoor-oriented so you will never run out of things to do while you’re there. Watch the sun set in beautiful Vang Vieng or take a boat ride down the river. Rent a scooter and get lost on a lush jungle road. Find inner peace, nourish the soul, and gain a deeper connection to nature while on your trip to Laos.
#6 – Apulia Region, Italy
Millions of people visit Italy every year, most commonly on the west coast. On the east coast, there is a region that is less visited by tourists but offers incredible fresh cuisine, unforgettable beaches, rich history, unique architecture unlike any other in the world, and friendly locals. Looking for the authentic Italian experience? You may have found it! The Apulia (or Puglia) region has made our 2020 top destination list because it offers a little something for every kind of traveler. It is uniquely special with cliff-side terraces, extraordinary natural beauty, and very pleasant weather in the spring and summer. Eat lunch at a local cafe overlooking the Adriatic Sea among local Italians and enjoy the fresh bread, local wine, and artisan cheeses. Grab a good book and a towel and lounge sea-side in Gargano which offers rocky sea cliffs and 150 kilometers of white sand beaches. Get lost in the alleys and feel the romance of Italy in the air.
#5 – Bay of Islands, New Zealand
Hoping to see a humpback whale? Curious about Maori culture? Want to be the first in the world to see the sunrise? Come to New Zealand’s North Island! This is an action-packed adventure-based trip that also offers plenty of time to relax and sip a glass of locally curated wine perhaps aboard a small charter boat that takes you around all the little uninhabited isles. Small islands surrounded by pristine waters and endless opportunities to see marine mammals awaits you! Bay of Islands offers hiking trails, waterfall viewing, vineyard tours, cultural museums, glowworm caves, and Maori heritage sites. The essence of New Zealand’s North Island stands out here, and if you’ve been curious about their way of life, this is the place to visit.
#4 – Samana, Dominican Republic
Travelers are most commonly familiar with Punta Cana on the far east region of the island, a heavily touristed area of the Dominican Republic known for the world-class beaches and excellent hospitality. If your travel style is to get away from the crowds and get into the authenticity of a place, then the northern region of DR is for you. Not many are aware of the sheer beauty that exists throughout the island, with dramatic sea cliffs and thick jungles. On the north side of the Dominican Republic, tucked away in a small cove surrounded by national parks and wilderness areas, is the city of Samaná. Visiting this place will give you a whole new impression of DR. The beauty of the island is divine and the crystal blue waters will leave a lasting sense of peace, even after you’ve returned home. The locals are friendly, hospitable, and eager to show you their heritage. It is extremely affordable to travel here and the fresh local food is unlike any other in the Caribbean island…it’s all grown right there! Discover the hidden gem of the islands.
#3 – Montenegro
Perhaps its the sea-side cities, where the passage of time shows through in the architecture. Maybe it is because of the Dinaric Alps to the north, that tower impossibly towards the the sky which caters to adventurers, skiers, and mountain bikers alike. Quite possibly we are so drawn to Montenegro because the hospitality is as warm as the Mediterranean sun. Seemingly more affordable than visiting Italy, if you are interested in experiencing the Adriatic coastline, this is the destination for you. An hour drive from Croatia, Montenegro is at the heart of it all. It is easy to travel here. There are parts of Montenegro that still go undiscovered by the average backpacker and when on a hike, you may not see anyone for miles.
#2 Queenstown, New Zealand
One word. Epic. Acting as the perfect home base to see all of the beauty of the South Island, Queenstown is the perfect hub to begin your adventure. There are direct flights from the US so traveling here is easy. Even if you’re not a Lord of the Rings fan, the entire area is truly stunning and will leave an impression on you for the rest of your life. Unspeakable beauty is everywhere: towering jagged mountain peaks, waterfalls, fiords, and lakes galore! Spend your days hiking the world-famous Milford Track, bungy-jump from 400 meters above the city center, eat dinner atop Bob’s Peak, explore canyons and rivers, take a scenic flight over Milford Sounds and local glaciers, go on a scenic wine tour by bicycle, ride horses on the set of the Lord of the Rings, take a jet boat ride through canyons that were carved away by a raging river. The possibilities are endless. If you’re looking to have the thrill of your life and experience a one-in-a-lifetime trip to the Southern Hemisphere, without question, New Zealand is the place for you.
#1 – Western Australia
There are so many reasons to visit the country of Australia. Most people spend their time on the east coast, but very few get the chance to experience the unique wildlife, rich aboriginal culture, rare geological features, and biodiversity of Australia’s Coral Coast. Whether you are in it for the adventure, the wineries, or for a laid-back beach vacation that isn’t your typical tourist trap, this is the place you want to go. Western Australia was rated as the #1 best Asian Pacific destination by Lonely Planet in 2019. Take one look at Meelup Beach and you’ll wonder where it’s been all your life. The West Australian bush parts to reveal the clear blue ocean, which is typical of the coastline stretching from Margaret River to the state’s south. Beyond the sand, some of the country’s most renowned wineries, breweries and restaurants lie between trails of tall-tree forest and kangaroo-dotted farmland. Visit Nigaloo Reef and snorkel above vibrant corals and diverse marine life. You may even encounter a sea turtle or a whale shark. Western Oz is easily accessible by plane or by the Indian Pacific Railway, a unique three day experience of its own where you really get to see the heart of Australia. We hope to see you there!