Don’t let 2018 pass by without checking off at least one bucket list destination. Click the link below to see my top destinations for 2018. Bonus: I’ve included my favorite honeymoon destination for travelers planning their nuptials in 2018.
Canada was recently chosen as Travel & Leisure’s Destination of 2017 and I can see why. From world-class ski slopes like Whistler and Mont-Tremblant to beautiful and dynamic cities like Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto, there is something for everyone. Additionally, there are some very special resorts like the Fogo Island Inn that are consistently rated among the top in the world. Whether you’re seeking an artic adventure or a cultural city escape, Canada should be your next stop.
Namibia welcomes over one million tourists a year. With all that Namibia has to offer, these high figures are no surprise. Namibia is famous for its towering sand dunes in Sossusvlei with the tallest reaching over 1,000 feet as well as the Namib Sand Sea which is the only coastal desert in the world. The sand dunes flow right into the Atlantic Ocean. If you’re interested in a Safari head down to Namibia from June to August for the best chance to see animals in Etosha National Park, the greatest wildlife sanctuary in Namibia, which boasts elephants, black rhino, leopards and lions. If you love Cheetahs, then head to the Cheetah Conservation Fund is the world’s leading organization dedicated to saving wild Cheetahs. Visitors to the center can feed Cheetahs and see them run up close.
After the opening of Song Saa in 2012, Cambodia started gaining attention as a new luxury destination, and the openings have not stopped. Six Senses Krabey Island is due to open in early 2018 as well as the Alila Villas in Koh Russey which has been coined the “New Thailand”. But the beaches are not the only part of Thailand getting attention, a new Rosewood hotel is slated to open in Phnom Penh in early 2018. Already open in Siem Reap is the new Phum Baitang which consists of 45 traditional villas of which 20 have private pools. If you’re looking for a new and exotic place to splurge, Cambodia is your 2018 destination.
Japan is about to get a little more expensive and crowded when it holds the Summer Olympics in 2020 which makes this year the perfect time to see the country. There is no limit to the awesome sights in Japan. From the Biei Blue Pond in the rugged Hokkaido province to Lake Kawaguchiko and its jaw-dropping views of Fuji to the turquoise waters of Kabira Bay in Okinawa, Japan has remarkable natural beauty. Add in the delicious cuisine of Tokyo, the history of Kyoto and an almost unlimited number of picture perfect sacred sites, one could spend weeks discovering everything Japan has to offer.
If you’re looking for a beach vacation partnered with history, adventure and nature that won’t break the bank and doesn’t require flying half-way around the world, then Nicaragua is for you. If you’re looking for luxury, Nicaragua has beautiful beach resorts like Mukul Resort and Morgan’s Rock Hacienda and Ecolodge as well as magnificent jungle lodges like, Hacienda Puerta del Cielo Ecolodge and Spa and Jicaro Island Ecolodge. If you’re looking for a funky surf town with a never-ending beach party, check out San Juan del Sur. For a taste of Central America’s history take a day trip to Granada which was founded in the 1500’s by Spanish conquistadors and visit the city's buttercup yellow cathedral. For adventure, head to Cerro Negro volcano where volcano boarding is an actual sport.
Uruguay is one of the most under-rated and unknown destinations in South America. Montevideo is an up and coming capital city with an eclectic mix of colonial and modern architecture and a rising food scene. Within three hours of the capital, there are chic resort towns and beautiful beaches. Carmelo is a chic upriver town with picturesque vineyards and the newly re-branded Carmelo Resort and Spa which offers relaxing, upscale accommodations. Colonia del Sacramento has an UNESCO-protected neighborhood called Barrio Historico which offers Havana-esque vintage charm. The beautiful beach towns of Punta del Este, Jose Ignacio and Rocha are South American favorites.
With hiking, biking, kayaking and horseback riding, Jordan is an active traveler’s paradise. Mix in the history of Petra, the Dead Sea and Wadi Rum, you truly have something for everyone. Don’t miss the magic of Petra lit by candlelight at night or the opportunity to sleep under the starts at a Bedouin campsite. Interested in getting out of the desert, head to Aqaba for beautiful beaches, scuba diving and snorkeling. Are you a foodie? Head to Amman for world-class cuisine.
Malta has the perfect Mediterranean climate which is probably why it has been inhabited since around 5200 BC. This rich history includes the oldest standing structures in the world, Malta’s Megalithic temples. Delicious seafood, excellent gelato, world-class scuba diving and some of the cleanest beaches in Europe make Malta a tempting off-the-beaten path destination in Europe.
9) Faroe Islands
Thanks to Faroe Island’s SheepView 360 Project and a little help from the Google Maps team, the Faroe Islands are now on the map both literally and figuratively. The self-governing islands have a population of 50,000 people spread across the 17 inhabited islands. This destination is for active travelers who want to experience untouched nature. Even short hikes in this remote destination offer awe-inspiring views. Fishing is the main industry in the Faroe Islands, so expect to see a lot of fish on restaurant menus.
Bhutan is the last remaining Himalayan kingdom and has been historically hard to get to. There are still only two Bhutanese airlines that fly into the country via Kathmandu, New Delhi, Singapore and Bangkok and you must obtain a visa before traveling to Bhutan. However, Six Senses is opening five small lodges in Bhutan offering the first luxury lodges in the country. The five lodges are crafted to provide visitors with a unique tour of the country which allowed the first foreign visitors in 1974. The destination offers striking mountain views, once in a lifetime hikes and sacred sites like Paro Taktsang, the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. Make sure to pack your hiking boots before heading to this destination in March, April or October.
Bonus: My Favorite Honeymoon Destination of 2018
The Azores have historically been one of Europe’s best kept secrets. It has the perfect mix of adventure and beach destination for couples who want to relax, but aren’t interested in sitting around all day. With the easing of airline restrictions to the islands, Delta is launching a new nonstop flight from JFK to Sao Miguel Island. This quick six-hour flight is primed to make the Azores a new hot spot, so get there before the crowds do!
Only 5% of the islands are developed and three of the islands have been designated as UNESCO biospheres. There’s a huge variety of activities for the active couple ranging from hiking to mountain biking. There’s also plenty of hot springs and the world’s longest lava tube due to the volcanic history of the islands. For couples who want to be on the water, there is surfing, whale watching and diving. Head to this up and coming destination during the summer months.