News flash: Pandemics suck. So after a year of staring at the same four walls and overindulging in salty snacks, you're fully vaccinated and ready to break out of your isolation and knock those top post-COVID destinations off your bucket list. You've been putting off these once-in-a-lifetime trips your whole life, but no more! It's time to regain your sense of adventure before some other Apocalyptic disaster traps us in our homes again (still to be determined, but it will probably be zombies).
Hey... If it was good enough for Elvis, why not give Hawaii a look? Sure, everyone is flocking to this collection of tropical islands at the moment (good luck finding a car rental). But there's just something about the tranquility and uniqueness that can only be found in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in complete isolation. Sound familiar?
If you want to rediscover nature and get a taste of how animals roamed before humans started building cities, Yosemite may be just the place for you. You can spy everything from cute little marmots to elusive moose and black bears. And you haven't lived until you've stood before the Tunnel View in Yosemite Valley to see the expanse of majestic mountains up close and personal. You'll never be the same.
Few destinations on the planet are as idyllic as the Amalfi Coast, nestled within the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy. Get ready for incredible food, welcoming people and a relaxing (though at times touristy) atmosphere that will take you back to a simpler time before the troubles of the modern world.
Ancient glaciers, vast forests and alpine landscapes. Banff is like a playground for fans of decidedly Northern Exposures, and it's one of the most incredible national parks on the continent, with endless pines and spruce trees living in the shadows of mammoth mountains. Do yourself a favor, and visit the Columbia Icefield, the largest uninterrupted glacial mass in the Rockies.
Ah, Australia. If you can brave the relatively long flight from the Western Hemisphere, this continent housing descendants of British prisoners is something that everyone should see at least once. And if you're scared by those YouTube videos of rat-sized spiders in the outback, then enjoy the food, beer, and fun of big cities like Sydney and Melbourne.
Yes, you've been talking about going on safari ever since you saw Jumanji for the 73rd time. Time to act, especially if you're itching to hit the savannah this summer. Tanzania is home to The Serengeti National Park that gives you a front-row seat to the Great Migration that pushes up the northern Serengeti and the first river crossings. And start at nearby Tarangire National Park if you want to catch the elephants as they start their journey!
Want a little bit of Hollywood without the shady clubs and hustlers on the Walk of Fame? Then check out Vancouver where a good number of your favorite TV shows and movies are made for good reason: It's one of the most beautiful cities on the planet with a diversity of architecture surrounded by nature. Plus, it consistently lands on global destination lists as one of the best places for livability and quality of life.
You may not admit that you want to go to Disneyland. But... you want to go to Disneyland. Now that The Happiest Place on Earth has re-opened, why not trek to this Princess mecca to take in the sights and sounds, ride creepily-themed roller coasters and, of course, spend money. No kids? Who cares! Get your scum-and-villainy on at Star Wars Galaxy's Edge where you can drink with the worst of them at the cantina or even design your own light saber.
The United Kingdom may no longer dominate the planet as it did in the 19th Century, but London remains one of the top cultural and historic centers of the world. It's a place where more than two thousand years of European history meets its apex. You can marvel at famous landmarks like Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London or even Buckingham Palace by day and then enjoy the Times Square-like frivolity of Piccadilly Circus at night. And before you return home, why not rent a car and tour the countryside? (Just remember what side of the road to drive on).
The only Hindu enclave in Indonesia, Bali marches to its own beat with boutique experiences and endless adventures. Get lost in the jungle as you befriend wild monkeys, visit Hindu temples (again, with monkeys) or just enjoy the chaos of the city centers where myriad cars and motor scooters weave around each other daily. Where else can you enjoy breakfast as you watch people make morning offerings of burning incense surrounded by flower petals, known as canang sari, all around you. Eat, pray, love, indeed.
This Dutch capital seems ever destined to work its way into pop culture in myriad ways (Pulp Fiction much?), but this vanguard of legalized prostitution and hash bars may be just the morally relaxed haven you've been craving post-pandemic. Just don't catch something else while you're there...
When it comes to a destination bucket list, few check off all the boxes as much as the Galapagos Islands, whose pristine habitat is under constant threat from a changing climate and ocean pollution. So there's no time to waste in taking in this uniquely situated cluster of volcanic islands more than 500 miles off the coast of Ecuador. Many of the endemic species of reptiles and mammals can't be found anywhere else in the world. Real adventurers only.
This Japanese capital teams with manic energy, infinite visual stimulation, and some pretty incredible sushi. If you've been feeling a little bit isolated, hitting the most populous metropolitan region in the world, more than 37 million people strong, might be just what you needed to shock yourself back into civilization.
The capital and largest city in the Czech Republic is like a time portal, with historically preserved architecture that makes countless streets look as they did hundreds of years ago. Prague is one of the few places in Europe where bombs didn't drop during WWII, and it shows. Stroll the neighborhoods to take in the sights or plan a day trip to the famous Prague Castle.
People often compare Toronto to New York City (except just more Canadian). Sure, whatever works for you. But truth be told, the fourth largest city in North America and capital of the Ontario province has its own vibe as the cultural center of Canada. If you want to be around people who move fast but are more polite in that Canadian sort of way, well... this might be the perfect trip for you.
As the second largest city in Spain and one of the most expansive metro areas on the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona remains one of the coolest and sexiest destinations on the planet. Come for the food, fashion, and relaxed lifestyle. And if you feel like staying, it's also home to one of the largest squatter movements in the world with some 200 buildings estimated to house these rebels who make a living in the shadows on less than one Euro per day. Just putting that out there as an option if you fall in love with the city.
If you live in Southern California, Malibu is kind of like a weekend getaway. But for everyone else, it's a scheme to enjoy the beach life without a lot of L.A. drama because no one here really puts on airs. Rent a beach house and feel like you're on your own private stretch of sandy tranquility, surprisingly devoid of crowds and tourists. If you see Seth Rogen collecting sea shells, just nod a quick hello and be cool... Just be cool!!
The Big Apple has seen its share of troubles in the last couple years, especially as COVID-19 ravaged its normal rhythms and sapped the blissful chaos that normally energizes its streets. But New York City is strong, and it's coming back with a vengeance. Why wait for Broadway to open, the hotel rates to climb, and all the tourists to return? Just go now and get treated like royalty at the fabulous restaurants now welcoming diners back through their doors.
If you're planning a summer vacation and crave miles of walkable streets, beautiful parks and friendly people bearing deep-dish pizza and kielbasa sausages... well, Sweet Home Chicago may be just the travel comfort food you've been looking for. This town spends most of the year in a deep freeze, braving those Great Lakes wind storms, so those short summer months are when everybody comes out and parties like the Blues Brothers on a mission from God.
Dubai might not be for everyone, but the city is a marvel of ingenuity and rapid-fire development that includes some of the most glorious skyscrapers on the planet, not to mention an entire archipelago of man-made islands. This is the land of the wealthy, connected, and globetrotting business mavericks. But it's also something to see and experience at least once. Keep in mind that the strict laws of the United Arab Emirates apply here, but it's also considered one of the most open and tourist-friendly destinations in the Middle East.