With so many places in the world to travel to it can be difficult to decide just where to go. You might find yourself visiting some old favorites in 2020 or travel somewhere completely off the beaten track to destinations less known. Below is a compilation from some of the experts on the best places to travel in 2020. Remember wherever you decide to go, travel well and travel often as travel is good for the soul!
If you’re in Tokyo: Visit busy sidewalk Shibuya Crossing (approximately 3,000 people cross at once); nearby Mount Fuji (Japan’s tallest mountain); and world-renowned animal cafes.
Outside of Tokyo, there’s Kyoto, which has nearly 2,000 temples and shrines and shopping district Kamakura. Expedia named Tokyo a trending city in the country, though Naha/Okinawa, Sapporo and Osaka have also gained in popularity according to flight demand data. Speaking of flights: Scott’s Cheap Flights lists the country as one of the cheapest places to travel to next year, so get to booking.
The “destination of your Instagram dreams,” Portugal has consistently been ranked a hot place to go. Three of the country’s beaches snagged slots on Vrbo‘s list of hottest international beaches for American travelers. Additionally, the country is cheap and quickly growing its tourist offerings.
One of the top things to do in Lisbon is to peruse the miradouros – or lookout points. The city rests on hills and is made up of endless small, winding streets that lead to staircases and force you to hike up to see the area from various views.
The brightly painted buildings and nearby Tagus River make for picture-perfect Instagram photos, which makes the best miradouros crowded spots at sunset with hordes of people trying to get the best shot.
Machu Picchu is spectacular: the mountaintop Incan citadel was named one of the seven wonders of the modern world for good reason. But demand is so high that stricter ticket rules were introduced this year. Now, another day trip from Cusco has got travellers talking: towards the end of 2015, centuries-old layers of snow and ice melted off the slope of Vinicunca, revealing vivid green, yellow, red and purple mineral-deposit stripes. Montaña de Siete Colores is accessible by a guided, high-altitude trek – but, according to Expedia, visits have already spiked by 200 per cent in the past year, so go before the crowds catch on.
Utah’s Mighty Five national parks are nothing short of stupendous, with sprawling expanses of canyons, rock cathedrals and sandstone arches. But a surge in popularity in recent years has seen them become busier than ever (officials at Zion have even considered a reservations-only policy). Instead, head to Utah’s state parks, which are often just as jaw-dropping and far less crowded. Visit Goblin Valley, where thousands of rock pillars, weathered into fantastical shapes such as goblins and mushrooms, fan out across a deserted, Mars-like wilderness.
The Kardashian-Jenner fam wields a lot of influence when it comes to beauty, fashion, food and now travel, too. Case in point: Interest in the former Soviet Republic of Armenia grew after the Kardashian sisters visited in 2015 to raise awareness of the Armenian genocide and again just last month when Kim baptized her children there. The beaches at Lake Sevan, jaw-droppingly beautiful cathedrals, Eastern European charm and ample Brandy-tasting opportunities are reason enough to go, and tour operator Trafalgar is now offering a new trip there, coupled with one of Europe’s other hot destinations, Georgia.
With travel to New Zealand up 7.8 percent in 2019 even before the announcements about new direct flights from the U.S. starting next year, the home to certain filming locations for Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings will continue to thrive in the new year. Those new nonstops will launch October 2020 on the East Coast from Newark to Auckland and on the West Coast from LAX to Christchurch—the first direct to New Zealand’s South Island. But the big story in NZ is that of wine tourism. With an explosion of new wineries opening in the last 30 years, tourists are coming in to try one of New Zealand’s favorite exports at over 670 wineries. They’re staying longer too—the average international wine tourist stays 3.5 days longer than other guests so they can sip and savor their way through the regions.
This magical haven is the world’s largest island, located between the Arctic and the Atlantic oceans, just east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, and part of the continent of North America. Visitors can still sense the pioneering spirit of the great adventurers who sailed there long ago, and the powerful Vikings who settled Greenland in the 10th century. Nature, once again, reigns supreme. Massive icebergs calve amidst a background of green mountain landscapes, long fjords, and abundant plant and animal life. The town of Ilulissat, on the Icefjord, is an UNESCO World Heritage site; and Disko Bay – with its charming settlements, whale watching and icebergs – is a must-see. In this polar destination, man and nature have made peace; there is a rich culture to explore, the lifestyle of the traditional Inuit hunters in isolated villages. Peak season is June through October.
Another authentic Artic expedition destination is the much-smaller Iceland. Known as the “land of ice and fire,” here nature captivates with its active volcanoes, lava fields, glacier-carved fjords, hot springs, roaring rivers, bright-green valleys, and black sand beaches. There are long, dark winters, and summers lit by the Midnight Sun. In early summer, the whales are abundant; on the edge of autumn, the Northern Lights unleash their awe-inspiring spectacle. The pristine landscapes in Iceland edge right up against urban communities, such as the enchanting and pulsating capital of Reykjavik (which consistently has made its way on to top-places-to-visit lists in recent years). Keep in mind that this Norse island nation has a temperate climate (because of the Gulf Stream), offering refreshing summers and surprisingly mild temperatures in winter.
A dozen nations vie for the title of real-life Shangri-La, but Bhutan’s claim has more clout than most. This tiny piece of Himalayan paradise operates a strict ‘high-value, low-impact’ tourism policy, compelling travellers to pay a high daily fee just to set foot in its pine-scented, monastery-crowned hills. The pay-off for visitors is a chance to walk along mountain trails unsullied by litter, in the company of people whose Buddhist beliefs put them uniquely in tune with their environment. Bhutan punches well above its weight when it comes to sustainability. It is already the world’s only carbon-negative country, and the kingdom is set to become the first fully organic nation by 2020, so it’s only going to get more beautiful. And with the daily fee, it won’t be getting any more crowded.
Costa Rica flies the flag for sustainable tourism. This small country’s vast biodiversity attracts visitors keen to spot sleepy sloths in trees, red-eyed frogs paralysing their predators, and whales in the Pacific. Costa Ricans understand the importance of preserving their slice of tropical paradise and have found a way to invite others in while living in harmony with their neighbours – from leafcutter ants to jaguars. Ninety percent of the country’s energy is created by renewable sources, and it could become one of the first carbon-neutral countries in 2020. Adventure lovers can hike volcanoes or ride a zip line, while those craving ‘me time’ can enjoy yoga retreats and spa experiences. The catchphrase pura vida (pure life) is more than a saying, it’s a way of life.
Kelly Miller – Blogger at Travel Placement Service