The beginning of every new year is the perfect time to start setting goals and organizing plans for the year ahead. Start ticking off the things you left unfinished from the previous year or maybe create completely new ones.
Not surprisingly, my goals and plans are always travel related. I excitedly begin each new year by researching destinations that I’d like to visit and then adding them to my ever-growing list. There are a number of factors that I use to determine why I’d like to visit a particular destination and I try to encompass all of them into each location. These usually include landscapes, landmarks & monuments, the culture & people and the local cuisine.
I’ve created a small list of some of the destinations I feel should be added to your 2019 bucket list. All of these places I have visited myself and would continue to visit over and over again if I could.
Topping my list for 2019 would have to be Egypt. The land of incredibly rich history, massive pyramids, intricately carved Temples and delicious food. I truly believe that this north eastern African country should be on everybody’s bucket list and soon. Currently, tourism is slow but I imagine there will be an increase again in the near future.
There is so much to see and do so I’d advise at least a week, but preferably more if you’re planning to make a visit to Egypt. On your journey, include stops in Cairo, Luxor and Aswan to ensure you capture some of the best parts of the country. A few of the top highlights include: the Ancient Pyramids of Giza and Sphinx in Cairo, Karnak Temple and Valley of the Kings in Luxor and Abu Simbel in Aswan.
» Use this 8 day guide to traveling around Egypt to plan your trip of a lifetime to this incredible country.
One of my favorite destinations on this planet is easily Sri Lanka. If you guys follow me on instagram or read the blog you know how passionate I am about this tiny teardrop country located in the Indian Ocean. The diverse landscape makes it any travelers dream destination and easily offers something to please everyone.
I recommend spending at least 2 weeks circumnavigating the country to explore all the best sights and really immerse yourself in the culture. Sri Lanka is well known for its surfing beaches, many historical sights and temples, as well as, safaris where you can spot leopards and elephants in the wild!
» Plan your trip with my 17-day guide to adventuring around Sri Lanka!
Still relatively untouched by mass tourism, the Faroe Islands is a small group of islands boasting dramatic landscapes and unique wildlife encounters. Situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, snuggled between Norway and Iceland, the Faroes are surprisingly easy to reach.
These Islands are an outdoor lovers dream with tons of hiking, adventures and impressive scenery to keep you busy for the duration of your visit. Although the weather can be temperamental and unpredictable, visitors can still enjoy the outdoors with the proper attire.
We saw the largest population of puffins on the island of Mykines during our visit, but we also had a little difficulty getting off the island! You can read all about how I ended up on my first helicopter ride due to this little misadventure!
I have a special place in my heart for the Maldives and my love for this country only grows stronger with each visit. Look up any picture of the Maldives and you can easily see why it is any ocean lovers dream vacation. With turquoise waters so clear you can see more than 30 feet deep and an abundance of sea life, you’ll never want to get out of the water.
And don’t just think this group of about 1,200 islands is only for the rich and famous, there are now many options including guesthouses on the local islands or even lesser expensive resorts. The resorts and guesthouses all offer many excursions so that you can combine adventure with relaxation for the duration of your stay.
With global warming and the continual melting of glaciers all over the world, now is the time to visit Svalbard. An archipelago of Norway, Svalbard is a small piece of land located very, very close to the North Pole. In fact, I believe it is the closest you can get if you want to explore that part of the world.
I spent 3 days here, with 2 full days glued to the seat of a snowmobile in search of the illusive polar bear! If you’re lucky enough you will get to see one in the wild just like I did and the experience will change the way you view these animals forever. Of course you will be will a guide, as safety is their main priority in Svalbard, so don’t fear and just enjoy the ride.
Find your inner adventurer and partake in other winter focused excursions like ice caving or dog sledding!
Looking to plan your 2-day snowmobiling trip in Svalbard, I’ve got you covered!
There’s so much to love about Morocco. From the gorgeous riads, delicious food and stunning deserts, a trip to this country in the NW of Africa is an absolute must. Discover the Erg Chebbi desert by camel and fall asleep under the starry night sky in one of the traditional berber tents.
Explore the city of Marrakesh and navigate your way through the old medina and the famous Jemaa el-Fnaa square. Visit the stunning Bahia Palace and Koutoubia Mosque and admire the delicate intricacies of their tile work and architecture.
Spend a couple days in Fez getting lost in the narrow streets and learn how they color their leather goods by visiting one of the local tanneries. Savor the aromatic scents of the Moroccan spices and maybe take a few home with you to create your own tangine dinner!
A visit to Morocco isn’t complete with out spending at least one day in the magical city of Chefchaouen. A photographers dream and easily identified by its cluster of blue washed buildings, the small village is situated in a valley surrounded by mountains. Affectionately named the Blue Pearl of Morocco, Chefchaouen is a spectacular place to get lost amongst the labyrinth of cobblestone streets.
I’ve traveled to Morocco multiple times and have always trusted my friend Said and his family-run tour company Morocco Countryside Tours to guarantee I have an amazing and safe time in this beautiful country.
An island just off the coast of SE Africa, Madagascar is a land of stunning beauty and enchanting mystery. The landscape differs dramatically from one side of the island to the other, resulting in a combination of dry desert mixed with a lush rainforest. Its quite a stark contrast and it allows for the many species of lemurs to thrive in these different enviroments. Madagascar is home to many national parks where you can see view these indigenous species in the wild.
Be sure to travel to the famous Avenue of the Baobabs and take in the massive trunk sizes of these unique trees. These trees are endemic to Madagascar and can reach a whopping height of almost 100 feet!
Read about the top places to visit during your trip to Madagascar and start planning your trip now!
Easily one of the top travel destinations in the world is Bali and there’s no denying its persistent charm. Even during wet season, Bali is a stunning place to visit. Although if I had the choice I would prefer to explore when the earth is dry and sky is not threatened by impending storm clouds.
Arrive in Bali with no set plan and see where the journey takes you. Explore the countless temples and endless beaches while devouring some one of the country’s iconic smoothie bowls. Take a yoga class at The Yoga Barn or have a little adventure on a bike tour through the famous rice fields.
Be sure to stop at the Tegallalang Rice Terrace in Ubud and then make your way over to the Ubud Market to grab some souvenirs to remember your trip. A popular activity in Bali is the Sacred Monkey Forest but if you’re scared of monkeys like me you’ll want to go ahead and skip this one.
If you have a few extra days, take a short boat journey to the nearby island of Nusa Penida and discover the island by scooter (a private driver is always an option-and probably what we should’ve done!) We had a bit of misadventure during our day in Nusa Penida and ended up missing out on all but 2 of the amazing sights on the small island.
I plan on returning to Bali this year to explore more and see some of the other beautiful locations in Indonesia!
Thinking about going on an African Safari and not sure where to start? Tanzania is the perfect location for safari newbies who want to combine their love for wildlife and adventure! The dry, flat lands make it easy to spot the wildlife even if they are quite a distance away. During my visit to Tanzania I was fortunate enough to see the big 5 and tons of babies!
I highly recommend going with a reputable company on a private tour. The guides are incredibly knowledgeable, not just with the wildlife species but also with knowing the trails and staying on the designated paths. I imagine it would be quite easy to get lost in the Serengeti and internet isn’t always an option. Camp out in the wild like I did and have a real African adventure safari experience!
Gain a different perspective and take flight during sunrise in a hot air balloon over the central Serengeti. Floating high above the baobab trees, the smooth journey takes you across the plains where you will pass over many animals grazing in the early morning sun.
This often overlooked country is a true European gem. Many travelers flock to bigger countries and cities across the European continent when they should look here. Slovenia is rich in culture, many outdoor activities and the most magical, fairytale lake.
Lake Bled is located just a 30 minute drive from Slovenia’s hip capital city Ljubljana and is well worth a short visit. From here you can branch off to one of the many hikes or caves in the region.
Be sure to add Triglav National Park, Vintgar Gorge and the Postojna & Skočan Caves to your itinerary.
There are also a few seaside towns along the Istrian Coast that you should be sure to check out! My favorites are Piran and Izola!
I hope that this guide gives you some inspiration for new places to visit this year!
Have you visited any of these places yet? If so, share some of your experiences in the comments below! If not, are any of these destinations already on your 2019 bucket list?