If you’re making 2019 the year you finally cross a few destinations off your bucket list, you’re not alone. For me, the first 3 months of the year tend to be the busiest with clients reaching out ready to plan Spring Break trips, summer vacations, anniversary trips, family trips, and the list goest on, especially after the holidays. This list of 19 Places to Travel To in 2019 is comprised of some of the hottest destinations on the planet, destinations that are becoming more and more popular, and some that are considered more “off the beaten path.” No matter the destination, I hope this list of 19 places to travel to in 2019 inspires a little bit of wanderlust in you and moves you to start planning your next getaway.
Travel to Colombia is increasing at an exponential pace, and it’s no wonder given the country is full of colonial and historic gems like the stunning colonial coastal town of Cartagena and the metropolitan town of Bogota.The infamy (and danger) attributed to Pablo Escobar’s drug empire out of Medelln in the 80’s is a thing of the past. What’s left is a country with incredibly rich culture and heritage, with additional highlights that include their world renown coffee growing axis (happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the incredibly stunning Caño Cristales river system that is also known as the “River of Five Colors” or the “Liquid Rainbow.”
Travel to Egypt s increasing again, after a few iffy years (and despite the most recent attack on a tourist bus in Giza). The opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum will attract even more travelers to this region, where everyone will be able to see King Tutankhamun’s entire burial collection—more than 5,000 pieces— displayed to the public in an exact replica of the tomb itself, so you can view it just as Howard Carter did when he discovered the tomb. No trip to Egypt is complete without a Nile river cruise, a visit to the pyramids, a hot air balloon ride and camel ride as well.
New Zealand is pure magic. It’s an incredibly beautiful (and friendly) country, and is an outdoor lover’s paradise. It has everything to offer from stunning coastlines, breathtaking national parks, geothermal activity, spectacular food, fantastic winelands, and so much more. A visit to New Zealand must include both islands, they’re so different and each has its own charm. If a trip to New Zealand is on your horizon, make sure to check out this post on what to consider when planning a trip to New Zealand, and as a New Zealand specialist, I am more than happy to help with logistics, advice, activities, and more.
Merida is often looked over when people consider a trip to the Yucatan Peninsula (ahem, Tulum), and in a way that’s kind of a good thing because it isn’t overrun with tourists as are some of the other areas of this magical region of Mexico. Just like some of the more popular cities or towns in the vicinity, Merida has cenotes that can be visited, as well as some other gems like a pink lagoon, fantastic food, a historic colonial town, and day trips to places that will fill you with wonder.
Holbox, also located in the Yucatan Peninsula, is essentially what Tulum was 25+ years ago. It has all the eco-chic without the inflated prices and pretentiousness. It’s a sleepy island that is part of the Yum Balam Nature Reserve and separated from the mainland by the Yalahau Lagoon, which is home to flamingos and pelicans. This car-less island is where you come to while away the day and swim with sea turtles and whale sharks
Valle de Guadalupe
Yet another destination in Mexico to consider (can you tell I have a love affair with my birth country), this is the perfect destination for foodies and oenophiles that can say “been there, done that” to Napa and Sonoma. Located just 90 minutes south of the Mexican border, on the Baja peninsula you have incredible wines (we served Mariatinto and Jardin Secreto at our wedding), a budding foodie scene, distilleries, horseback riding, bubble hotels, and more.
Ahhh Turkey. This place is for sure top 5 places on my global bucket list (numbers 1-5 change but it’s definitely up there), and has so many destinations worth visiting. After 3 years, several cruise lines have announced that they will return to Turkey, and Istanbul’s new airport (which is rumored to be the world’s largest when it’s finished) has opened its first phase and can receive 90 million passengers annually (woah). Some can’t-miss destinations in this stunning country include Istanbul (to see the Bosphorus and Hagia Sophia), Cappadocia to witness and partake in the amazing hot air balloon rides over the fairy chimneys, Pamukkale to soak in the mineral-rich thermal waters flowing down white travertine terraces, and the snazzy resort town of Bodrum, a favorite for vacationing Europeans.
When I think of exotic trips, Morocco is one of the first ones that comes to mind. There are so many places in Morocco worth visiting: Casablanca, Fez, Marrakech, the blue city of Chefchaouen. Each has its medinas where you can wander through the labyrinth of shops while you search for spices, Moroccan slippers, rugs, leather made bags, and more. While you’re there, why not slip away to the desert on a camel for a couple of nights to get away from the hustle and bustle and sleep amongst the stars?
Greece continues to be one of the most popular European destinations, and it’s no surprise given the astounding beauty of the islands, the incredible food, the friendly people, and how affordable it is once you get there. Mykonos and Santorini tend to be the go-tos for first timers (and for good reason), but don’t overlook some of the not-as-popular islands like Milos (and it’s beautiful lunar landscape) and Ios (where Homer is buried).
The more and more I learn about Australia, the more and more I want to travel there. The country has amazing coastal cities, the Great Barrier Reef, the vast Outback, and many places in Western Australia that I’d love to visit like The Kimberly and pink Spencer Lake. Seeing Kangaroos and Koalas would be pretty awesome as well!
The Basque Country has a very special place in my heart. It has some of the most beautiful coastlines I’ve ever seen, is home to one of the most interesting (and proud) cultures and languages in the world (I’m totally biased because I’m half Basque), has mind-blowing cuisine as evidenced by the plethora of michelin starred restaurants in such a small radius, and is full of beauty and stunning mountain ranges. A trip to the Basque country is not complete without stops in St Jean de Luz, Biarritz, San Sebastian, and Bilbao. For more info on the Basque Country, check out the trip that I did this past November.
Iceland has been a hotspot destination for a few years now, and it is showing no signs of slowing down. It’s pretty easy to explore this Nordic country, and has stunning scenery, waterfalls, black sand beaches, volcanoes, friendly wild ponies, and fantastic thermal waters to soak in. Icelandair offers cheap flights to Iceland & Europe from New York, Boston, Seattle
Scotland is quickly becoming a popular destination to visit, with tons of history and a beautiful countryside. It’s full of castles, fantastic golf courses, historic cities and fairytale landscapes. A trip to Scotland can include a few days exploring Edinburgh, a visit to the Kelpies, Scotch whiskey distillery visits, a ride on the famed Jacobite Steam Train (better known as the Harry Potter train), a few days on the magical Isle of Skye, a visit to try to spot the Loch Ness monster, and more.
Foodies are setting their eyes on many Scandinavian cities, namely Copenhagen and Oslo. Copenhagen has been put on the food map thanks to Chef Rene Redzepi’s gastronomic mecca Noma, which has been voted the best restaurant in the world many times. In Oslo, there’s a “New Nordic” food movement happening, based on the country’s spectacular seafood and produce, and enhanced by the brevity of its growing season. For a relatively expensive country, there’s been an influx of friendly, casual and relatively affordable gastro pubs and modern bistro-style tables serving food inspired by an edgier contemporary idiom of French cooking, la bistronomie.
Montenegro is often overlooked thanks to the popularity of its popular neighbor Croatia. The country is made up of medieval villages, rugged mountains, and beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters along the Adriatic coast. In the 1970s, celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren vacationed at Sveti Stefan, a stunning peninsula which was once a village, and now has been turned into a luxury resort run by Aman hotels (and still favored by the glitterati).
Slovenia is another destination that you will soon start to see splashed all over Instagram and travel bloggers’ feeds. It’s located between Italy and Croatia, and is known for its mountains, ski resorts and beautiful glacial lakes. A few cities that you’ll want to add to your list include Ljubljana, the capital with baroque facades and 20th-century architecture, Lake Bled (a glacial lake fed by hot springs with a church-topped islet and a cliffside medieval castle), and the Istria, the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea.
South Africa is becoming an increasingly popular destination amongst honeymooners and couples celebrating milestone anniversaries, and who can blame them? Although it is a bit a hike to get there (especially for those traveling from the western hemisphere), once you’re there prices are relatively less expensive than in the US, and the country offers a multitude of activities and sights to enjoy. Cape Town is a stunning jewel of a destination, you have the winelands like Stellenbosch and Franschhoek nearby, and you can even enjoy a safari for a few days at Kruger National Park.
A trip to Patagonia is a trip to the ends of the earth. You can visit Patagonia in Chile or in Argentina (with the Andes mountains dividing the two), and if you plan it right you can even make a quick trip to Antarctica while you’re here. The side you choose to stay on will depend on if you want arid steppes, grasslands and deserts (he Argentine side), or glacial fjords and temperate rainforest (the Chilean side). Let me know if you want to plan a trip here, as some of my travel partners based here offer some of the most extraordinary experiences, such as muli-day jeep safaris and horseback riding expeditions on a private ranch.
Bolivia’s landscape varies between mountains, to desert in the Atacama area to rainforest in the Amazon Basin. The country’s capital, La Paz, sits atop the Andes’ Altiplano plateau with nearby Lake Titicaca, the continent’s largest lake, straddling the border with Peru. As of late, more and more interest has been focuses on the Uyuni salt flats, the world’s largest salt flat. The region that encompasses this plateau includes fresh and saltwater lakes, and although wildlife is rare around here, there are pink flamingos!
Have you thought about your list of 19 places to travel to in 2019? No matter where you go, I’m always happy to help you plan out your trip. I can help you determine when is the best time to go to your destination, where to stay, how to get around, and the best guides to hire to show you around. Feel free to reach out to me at [email protected], or fill out the Travel Contact Form at the bottom of the page. Last but not least, sign up below to be notified of special travel offers and incentives from my travel partners from around the globe.