A new year means new adventures, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with the trip of a lifetime. With so many incredible options out there, it’s hard to choose which getaway is the trip for you, but we’ve got your back. We’ve narrowed down the hottest destinations of the year to come, from the shores of Belize to the mountains of China. Keep reading to find out the top trips to take in 2019!
If you’ve dreamed of capturing the perfect photograph of the Taj Mahal, now is the time to go. After a yearlong restoration project, this iconic marble mausoleum is newly polished and no longer hidden by scaffolding. Top destinations in India include Mumbai—the country’s creative capital, the regal cities of Rajasthan, and the palm-lined backwaters of Kerala.
Whether you’re lounging on the coast or exploring the city, Mexico is full of excitement. Baja California has seen a lot of development in recent years, and Valle de Guadalupe has become a hotspot for wine lovers and foodies. The town even hosts its own annual food and wine festival. Other popular sites include Mexico City, where there’s been a renewed focus on preparing food using traditional ingredients and methods, the stunning Tulum, and the beloved town of Tequila.
Crowned one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Petra is a sight to behold. Built between the 4th century B.C. and 2nd century A.D., this famous site rests between the Red Sea and Dead Sea, among the Arabah valley mountains. The city was half-built and half-carved into mountainous rock and is called the “Rose City” after the rock’s pinkish hue. Journey back in time as you explore one of the world’s greatest architectural accomplishments.
Adventure in Australia just can’t be beat. Tourism on the west coast has taken off, specifically in the remote, yet major, city of Perth. Head to nearby Ningaloo Reef to swim with whale sharks, hike the breathtaking coastal cliffs and red rock formations, or sit back and enjoy a glass of renowned Australian wine.
The dazzling city-state of Singapore has become a coveted destination after the success of Crazy Rich Asians. Luxury blends with rich culture, and its futuristic architecture feels like something out of a movie. Tour Marina Bay, indulge in mouthwatering street food, and lounge poolside. Singapore makes it easy to explore other Southeast Asian countries, with Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia just a short trip away. 2019 is the bicentennial of the island’s founding, so join the celebrations!
China is an expansive country full of great diversity and rich history, and it should be on your travel list for the new year. Trekking the Great Wall is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. History buffs should head to Xian, where they can get up close and personal with the famous Terracotta Warriors. The UNESCO World Hertiage Site of Fanjingshan is a sacred Buddhist site that was once home to 48 temples, and the journey to the summit offers another unforgettable hiking experience.
Belize is a nature lover’s dream. Not only is this small Central American country a tropical paradise, but they’re leading the fight for cleaner oceans and a healthier earth. This past June, the Belize Barrier Reef System—one of the most biodiverse reefs on the planet—was removed from the UNESCO danger list thanks to incredible protection and restoration efforts. The government even plans to enforce a ban on single-use plastic-foam cups and plastic products by Earth Day 2019. Snorkel with rare species, such as the loggerhead turtle and West Indian manatee, visit the vibrant town of Placencia, and explore Caracol, the country’s largest Maya site—it’s even bigger than Guatemala’s famous Tikal, but with far less crowds!
Portugal is the place on everyone’s lips right now. This coastal country is known for its delicious cuisine, gorgeous panoramas, and lively atmosphere—but most of all, it’s famous for its incomparable hospitality. Whether you’re down south in Lisbon, up north in Porto, or in the mountains of Sintra, you’ll never want to leave. For a beach adventure, head to the Azores. This archipelago is the place to be for outdoor activities with no end of natural beauty. Explore the hot springs, volcanic crater lakes, and waterfalls, embark on a whale watching expedition, and snorkel in sparkling, turquoise waters.
Gorongosa National Park is a must-see destination in Mozambique. After the country’s decades-long civil war wiped out many of the great animals that once roamed this land, serious conservation efforts have managed to facilitate the return of 80,000 large animals—from elephants to hippos to lions. Gorongosa is also worth the visit for its mesmerizing natural beauty. Located at the southern end of the Great Rift Valley, it encompasses grasslands, rain forests, and savannas, with hidden caves, winding rivers, and secluded waterfalls.
Egypt is a fascinating country that perfectly blends the old and the new. Tourism here is coming back in a big way, with new tours, experiences, and luxury hotels. A lavish Nile River cruise to Luxor was launched last year and has continued to be a highlight for many travelers. Snorkel in the Red Sea, explore the streets of Cairo, and gaze upon the pyramids of Giza. While there, check out the progress of the Grand Egyptian Museum—a 5.2 million square foot museum worth 1 billion dollars. Originally slated for a partial opening in 2019, the date has since been moved back in favor of a grand opening. It’ll be the largest museum dedicated to a single civilization and feature all 5,000 artifacts of King Tut’s burial collection.