Beat the Wanderlust Rush and Visit These Worldwide Destinations Before They Become Total Hot Spots

Photo: Getty Images/Emilija Manevska

The best places to visit and add to your travel bucket list nowEven for seasoned travelers, the planning prerequisite to getting away can be a serious undertaking. Recommendations are often as hard to come by for less-trodden locales as they are for bespoke experiences in more visited spots. That's where Travel Anywhere (and avoid being a tourist), can provide the exact actionable and helpful inspo wanderlusters need. Available April 16, the book by Pavia Rosati and Jeralyn Gerba, co-founders of travel website Fathom, provides of-the-moment travel tips and spotlights trends—like getting off the grid for an unplugged vacation, enjoying a wellness-focused trip, and taking advantage of volunteering opportunities around the world.

But before you plan your itinerary, you have to pick a destination. Below, find an exclusive excerpt from Travel Anywhere that outlines the places around the world everyone will be talking about. No matter what you're looking for—warm or cold, relaxed or fast-paced, near or far—there's a spot worthy of adding to your travel bucket list. 

Using the following exclusive excerpt from Travel Anywhere, plan your next trip to the places everyone will be talking about.

We don’t play favorites when it comes to travel destinations. We want to go everywhere. But making a list of the top timely destinations helps us determine where to go now. Places, like trends or people, can have their moments, fueled by forces that are obvious—big cultural openings, national anniversaries, global sporting events—or intangible. (Ever notice how all the trendsetters seem to suddenly flock to a certain island in the same season, as if by magnetic force?)

As we set our travel agenda now, we find ourselves especially drawn to destinations that feel like sanctuaries and that inspire goodwill. If you travel to recharge the senses and want to return home energized and engaged, these places will do all that—and more.

The best places to visit and add to your travel bucket list now
Jökulsárlón, Iceland; Photo: Rolf Gelpke/Unsplash

1. Arctic

According to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), ‘long-term losses in the extent and thickness of the sea ice cover’ are the new normal in the ever-warming Arctic. This will take an inevitable toll on the environment and wildlife, which means we need to see it while we still can—and to do so responsibly, with travel companies that are careful about their impact.

For travelers, the rewards will be great when sights include the northern lights and the midnight sun, icebergs and glaciers, and majestic wildlife like polar bears, whales, and sea lions. The North Pole (the location of which is always shifting) is shared by Alaska, Greenland, Norway, Russia, and Canada, but Nunavut, Canada’s northernmost territory, is the closest land mass.

Options for staying there include the Arctic Haven Wilderness Lodge, a 12-room inn on Ennadai Lake powered almost entirely by green energy and run by a family of pioneering Arctic explorers. Arctic Kingdom offers an excellent lineup of small group safaris year-round, with activities like hot air ballooning and scuba diving and accommodations in lodges and tents. If you’d rather travel by sea, Ponant’s Expedition luxury cruises explore Norway, Greenland, Sweden, and Canada. By rail, Golden Eagle Luxury Trains’ Arctic Explorer charts a New Year’s tour of the northern lights on the path from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

The best places to visit and add to your travel bucket list now
Azores, Portuga; Photo: Nicola Brasetti/Unsplash

2. Azores, Portugal

Portugal has been flooding our Instagram feeds, and the next place to follow will be the Azores, an autonomous archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic. The chain of nine islands connected by ferries is an off-the-grid dream of land and sea adventures at every level of activity—from whale-watching to paragliding—and altitude—from scuba diving to mountain climbing. It's little wonder that four of the islands (Corvo, Graciosa, Flores, and, most recently, São Jorge) have been designated UNESCO biospheres. The Azores have year-round appeal, but mark the calendar for the Tremor Music Festival in April on São Miguel, June’s Sanjoaninas cultural festival, which dates back to the 16th century, and the massive fireworks show on New Year’s Eve. Getting here is fast from the U.S. (four hours from Boston, five from New York) is increasingly easy, with direct flights from the east and west coasts of the U.S., as well as several European gateways.

The best places to visit and add to your travel bucket list now
Las Ventanas pool, Los Cabos; Photo: Larkin Clark

3. Baja Peninsula, Mexico

The Baja California peninsula in northwest Mexico has become unexpectedly cool, thanks in no small part to a handful of high-design boutique hotels, both big and small, and charming, farm-driven restaurants. At the same time, northern Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe has emerged as the new It wine region in the Americas, with wineries and restaurants ready to serve the savvy gastronomes who find their way here. At the southern tip of the peninsula, sleepy Todos Santos is a haven for travelers, surfers, artists, and bohemians, who can now take a new tolled highway from the airport, trading Cabo’s traffic and stop lights for a winding road along the foothills of the austere Sierra de la Laguna mountains and through a desert dotted with massive saguaro cacti.

The best places to visit and add to your travel bucket list now
Cairo Giza Necropolis; Photo: Martin Widenka/Unsplash

4. Cairo, Egypt

After the Arab Spring and the ousting of two presidents, the political situation stabilized, transforming Cairo into one of the world’s fastest growing cities. The new Grand Egyptian Museum—the largest archaeological museum in the world—is a billion-dollar undertaking poised to collect the country’s most precious ancient artifacts, many of which were looted and scattered in museums around the world and have now been returned to their original home.

In anticipation of tourist numbers set to rival those of Paris, Nile river boats and hotels are getting refreshed, refurbished, or rebuilt from the ground up. Fueled by picture-snapping food obsessives, Cairo’s homegrown eateries are doing modern takes on traditional Egyptian food, doubling down on the cadre of locavore travelers.

The best places to visit and add to your travel bucket list now
Dylan Lewis Sculpture studio in Stellenbosch, South Africa; Photo: Berit Baugher

5. Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa’s second-most populous city is usually one stop on a packed itinerary that includes the country’s famous safari parks, winelands, and garden route, but reconsider your journey: Cape Town is a destination in its own right, a thriving town on par with Buenos Aires and Seoul. The rapidly evolving Victoria & Albert Waterfront district is home to the new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), the first and only museum of its kind on the continent, where Thomas Heatherwick, the architect behind headline-grabbing structures around the globe, adapted an old, abandoned grain silo (once the tallest building in sub-Saharan Africa) into a striking and unpredictable series of 80 galleries celebrating African art. Excellent shopping, food, design, weather, and access to wine country—not to mention favorable exchange rates—make a compelling case for visiting this capital city soon.

The best places to visit and add to your travel bucket list now
Havana, Cuba; Photo: Berit Baugher

6. Cuba

As Cuba transitions away from 60 years of rule by the Castros, the country has been adapting to an influx of travelers inspired to explore the country as a whole and go beyond daiquiri-fueled Havana nights. Which isn’t to say that we don’t have great memories of the capital city’s well-documented charms, from rooftop restaurants to brightly colored vintage Chevrolet taxis. The next level of travel around Cuba would include Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos, and magical Trinidad. To get truly off the beaten path, the stops would include Camagüey, the lovely colonial town in central Cuba, and isolated and dreamy Baracoa. Rustic island farm stays, bike-packing treks through the countryside, and kayaking adventures in Ciénaga de Zapata National Park (one of the largest intact wetlands in the Caribbean) offer new perspectives on an iconic place. This, you’ll hear yourself tell your friends when you return home, is the real Cuba.

The best places to visit and add to your travel bucket list now
Faroe Islands; Photo: Mark Gray

7. Faroe Islands, Denmark

If it’s wild, unspoiled nature you’re after, look no further than this remote, self-governing archipelago comprised of 18 volcanic islands located between Iceland and Norway. The rocky cliffs, postcard-worthy red cabins, and rugged natural beauty can be reached with a short flight from a number of countries, including Denmark, England, Iceland, and Norway. But you have to work a little harder to get where you’re going than you would in, say, Iceland. You might have to hike for hours at a time to reach your destination. And even then, many islands will remain hard to access.

Since opening in 2011, Koks, the islands’ first Michelin-star restaurant, has been drawing curious food lovers from all over Europe. The place to stay is Havgrím Seaside Hotel, a 14-room boutique hotel overlooking the island of Nólsoy.

The best places to visit and add to your travel bucket list now
Rooms Hotel in Tbilisi, Georgia; Photo: Ross Belfer

8. Georgia

The Republic of Georgia and its thriving capital are on a hot streak. The Eurasian country and former Soviet republic sees almost as many international visitors as its own population, thanks to new flight routes from various cities in Europe and interest from trendsetting travelers flying through Moscow, Istanbul, and Munich. There are so many reasons to visit. The impeccable dining scene showcases distinct east-meets-west cuisine and impressive local wines. Fun fact: Georgia lays claim to being the birthplace of wine 8,000 years ago, and studies verify this.

The country is blazing into the future with a collection of boutique hotels spearheaded by Adjara Group Hospitality: Rooms Hotels (with outposts in Tbilisi and Kazbegi), and Stamba Hotel are artsy, innovative, and cool. Add to that enigmatic fashion, forward-looking design, a serious nightclub and dance music scene, super-friendly locals, and access to the wild alpine beauty of the Caucasus Mountains, and you have a recipe for travel magic.

The best places to visit and add to your travel bucket list now
Slap Savica waterfall in Triglav National Park, Slovenia; Photo: Larkin Clark

9. Slovenia

Slovenia is the only nation on the continent that can claim four major geographic regions: the Alps, the Mediterranean Sea, the Pannonian Plains, and the Karst limestone plateau. This rich natural bounty means seasoned skiers, climbers, and outdoor adventurers have plenty to sink their teeth into everywhere. Kolpa Resort, a hip glampsite in the south, is a lovely place to stay during cherry season. Chef Ana Roš has spent nearly two decades revolutionizing the food of her country, and it’s paying off: her restaurant, Hiša Franko, nestled in the Slovenian countryside, has a Michelin star. At the same time, the cool capital of Ljubljana, with its burgeoning art, dining, nightlife, and LGBTQ scenes, makes Slovenia particularly relevant to those with their finger on the pulse.

To keep the journey to your awesome vacation seamless, follow these tips to never miss a flight. Also, if you want to stay healthy for your whole trip, consider keeping your overhead fan on during the plane ride.

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