New year, new travel plans? In this uncertain time, the desire to experience the world and satiate our long-suppressed wanderlust remains undeterred, and, if anything, enhanced. To that end, we’ve listed our top 22 places to visit in 2022, in the hopes that this coming year will kick-start the travel goals we’ve put on hold for the past two years. The following destinations are either available to visit right this moment or should be added to your bucket list for that magical time when the world opens up. From the glacial valleys of Montana to volcanic islands of Fiji, read on for the 22 places to add to your bucket list for the new year (and years to come.)
1. Fiji, South Pacific
Overwater Bungalows in Fiji (Image provided by Likuliku Fiji)
After nearly two years without tourists, Fiji is officially open for happiness. This paradise in the South Pacific boasts over 95% vaccination rates and a FIJICare contact tracing app to make sure the remote archipelago remains safe and as COVID-free as possible for locals and tourists alike. And what better time is there than now to visit the happiest nation in the world?
2. Big Sky, Montana
Montana landscape (Image provided by Visit Big Sky)
After nearly two years of intermittent lockdowns and sheltering in place, wide-open spaces have never been in higher demand. Enter Big Sky Country — with its rolling hills and the Rocky Mountains, Montana’s idyllic countryside is a salve for urban travelers tired of endless quarantines in their city apartments. Book a stay at Lone Mountain Ranch to discover your inner cowboy and hit the slopes at Big Sky Resort to enjoy endless terrain and equally endless powder days in the largest ski mountain in the US.
3. Banff & Lake Louise, Canada
(Image provided by Banff - Lake Louise)
Canada is officially open to American travelers this winter, and there’s no better place for a Rocky Mountain road trip than the province of Alberta. Set out from Calgary and head west for the most picturesque drive through the mountains to the ski resorts of Banff Sunshine Village, Mount Norquay, and Lake Louise (where you should reward yourself with a stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise to celebrate your victory over the icy highways and vertical ski terrain of the Great White North.)
4. Cappadocia, Turkey
(Image provided by Adobe Stock)
The sky’s the limit in the magical land of Cappadocia, a world of underground caves sprawling beneath the surface and hot-air balloons floating up towards the horizon. This picturesque region in Central Turkey is home to the distinctive rock formations of Göreme National Park and was once at the top of traveler’s bucket lists pre-pandemic when a sunrise balloon ride was the pinnacle of Instagram celebrity for influencers and leisure travelers alike. Well, in this circumstance, the destination is well worth the hype. Add this breathtaking part of the world to your must-visit list for 2022 and many more years to come.
5. Reno, Nevada
(Image provided by Adobe Stock)
The recent emphasis on domestic travel has caused Americans to reconsider lesser-known or underrated cities across the US, and there’s no better time than now to discover the vibrant art scene and fluorescent sunsets of Reno, Nevada. Las Vegas’s overlooked northern sister, Reno is a quick road trip east from Lake Tahoe and boasts such attractions as the Nevada Museum of Art and the Great Reno Balloon Race, which happens every September high above the southwestern desert. You just may be inspired enough to sign up for Burning Man next year (or the next year it’s being held — a timeline that is hopefully sooner rather than later.)
6. Rwanda, East Africa
(Image provided by Adobe Stock)
There are bucket list trips and then there are life-defining adventures — the kinds you can’t wait until your dying days to experience. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is certainly one of the latter — and after you experience the sublime journey into the wilds of the East African rainforest, we doubt you’ll be able to resist returning again and again. If anything, the past few years have taught us how fleeting life can be, and to not take opportunities for granted, so go ahead and book the trip of a lifetime— you deserve it (as do we all).
7. Prince of Wales Island, Alaska
(Image provided by Adobe Stock)
After a year (and counting) when living in the modern world felt a bit unbearable, what better vacation could there be than a journey into the wild of the Alaskan wilderness? Book a fishing trip at Waterfall Resort and spend your days sans WiFi or cell service, adrift on a fishing boat off the coast of Prince of Wales Island. Whether you’re an avid fisherman or more distracted by the spouting of humpback whales, the experience of disconnecting along Alaska’s famed Inside Passage is utterly transporting. Hook, line, and sinker.
8. Dalsland, Sweden
Dalsland Canal, Sweden (Image provided by Adobe Stock)
Why not consider adding a trip to Scandinavia to your 2022 bucket list? Find out why west Sweden is the best Sweden with a trip to the lake region of Dalsland and book a retreat in one of the 72 Hour Cabins that exist to return weary travelers back to the restorative embrace of nature. And after the past two years of man-made chaos, who wouldn’t love to go green?
9. Snowmass, Colorado
Snowmass Balloon Festival (Image provided by Adobe Stock)
Sometimes the most popular places are popular for a reason, and Aspen Snowmass’s dominance as a luxury ski resort in the Mountain West is nothing if not deserved. And, of course, a winter trip to hit the slopes is always a good idea — especially for the traveler who appreciates a lively bit of après. (The mountains may be calling, but the legendarily rowdy Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro is always calling, too, with enticing offers of sprayed champagne.) But did you know that there is much more to do in Snowmass outside of ski season, as well? Try out mountain biking in the springtime, and hike the surrounding Rockies. Or participate in the hot air balloon race in early fall and get a fresh perspective on the towering peaks at the Snowmass Balloon Festival. When it comes to outdoor adventure in Snowmass, Colorado, the sky’s the limit.
10. Tofino, Canada
Kayaks at Tofino, BC, Canada (Image provided by Adobe Stock)
If you’ve never heard of Tofino, the picturesque retreat located just off the northwest coast of Vancouver Island, you’re not alone. But for those in the know, however, Tofino is the stuff of legend. This Pacific isle is not only breathtakingly gorgeous, with old-growth forests, endless beaches, and cozy log cabins overlooking the Canadian coast, but it also boasts the best surf in North America — any time of the year. So whether it’s winter, spring, summer, or fall, be sure to treat yourself to your new favorite hidden gem — and book your trip now, because the secret is bound to get out sooner rather than later.
11. The Florida Keys
Key West, Florida (Image provided by Adobe Stock)
During a time when everyone is feeling trapped within their own country, venture the furthest you can go outside the United States (mentally, at least) while still carrying an American passport, and head south to the Florida Keys. The Conch Republic is known as America’s Caribbean for good reason — time moves differently down there. (Just ask Ernest Hemingway or Jimmy Buffett, avowed American devotees of the island chain.)
12. Los Cabos, Mexico
El Arco (The Arch) in Cabo San Lucas (Image provided by Adobe Stock)
In today’s times of stressful travel restriction and boarding requirements, it’s nothing short of a Christmas miracle to venture overseas without fretting whether your PCR test results will be delivered in time for your departure. Mexico is one of the rare nations in the world with no additional travel requirements for US citizens, and there’s no better time to check out the nation’s breathtaking west coast. From diving with whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez to perusing the art galleries in Todos Santos, there’s more to do in Los Cabos than simply party in Cabo — though that is fun as well, of course, and the newly opened ME Cabo should satiate all of your nightlife needs during your vacation to Baja California Sur. Vamos!
13. Portland, Maine
Portland Head Light (Image provided by Adobe Stock)
Maine’s nickname is “The Way Life Should Be” and there’s no reason for travelers to not frequent Vacationland all year-round. The charming seaside city of Portland is especially appealing as a lively destination for every season — the Maine coastline only becomes more beautiful when the leaves are changing, and the stark monochrome vistas of a New England winter are hauntingly gorgeous, as well. Stroll the boutiques downtown and visit shops such as Seabags and Ember for local goods, and head over to the waterfront bar at Luke’s Lobster on Portland Pier for a sundowner cocktail overlooking the water. Cheers!
14. The Maldives, South Asia
Overwater Bungalow (Image provided by JOALI Maldives)
The Maldives is a destination that routinely tops travelers' bucket lists everywhere, and it’s unsurprising, given the island nation’s reputation for its clear aquamarine waters, serene overwater bungalows, and impossibly white-sand beaches. Though the cost of travel to this South Asian hotspot is usually quite prohibitive, travelers can still score bargains in the coming year as resorts have not yet fully returned to prior levels of guest bookings. Check out travel packages and all-inclusive offers, and start monitoring for those last-minute flight deals now.
15. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Snowmobiling (Image provided by Adobe Stock)
When you can’t travel overseas to ski in the Alps this winter, you may as well consider a trip to Jackson Hole, otherwise known as ‘America’s Matterhorn,’ because the Grand Tetons' jagged peaks loom above the valley in a similar manner to its famed counterpart in Switzerland. But there’s more to do in Jackson during the wintertime than skiing — check out a snowmobile safari in Grand Teton or Yellowstone, snowshoe at Turpin Meadows, or visit the Elk Refuge on a sleigh ride. In short, do whatever your heart desires. It’s the Cowboy State, after all — there are no rules. Giddy-up.
16. New Zealand, Oceania
Mt. Cook in New Zealand (Image provided by Adobe Stock)
As the Rolling Stones famously opined, you can’t always get what you want. And for many of us, it’s been nearly two years since a trip to New Zealand, the land of the Kiwis, was an option for travelers from the United States. But absence makes the heart grow fonder, and this magical nation in the South Pacific Ocean should remain on the top of your bucket list for 2022 and all the years going forward — just make sure to allocate enough time to explore both the North and the South Island properly, as once you arrive, you’ll never want to leave.
17. Rossland, Canada
Mountains near Rossland (Image provided by Adobe Stock)
If you’re a lover of skiing, snowboarding, or winter in general, and have yet to visit British Columbia’s Powder Highway, then 2022 is the year to rectify this grave error. We suggest cat-skiing in the Kootenay Rockies at RED Mountain Ski Resort to experience waist-high champagne powder and pristine (and picturesque) terrain. Afterward, warm up around the fire and enjoy a cocktail (or four) at the Josie Hotel in Rossland — you’ve earned it.
18. Slovenia, Central Europe
Bled Lake, Slovenia (Image provided by Adobe Stock)
Craving a trip to Europe? (Aren’t we all?) This year, why not consider switching up the traditional hotspots — France, Spain, Switzerland — to discover a new destination that’s hidden in plain sight (just east of Italy and south of Austria, to be exact.) With its turquoise lakes and snow-capped mountains — not to mention its enormous crystal caves and a plethora of medieval castles — Slovenia is known as the hidden gem of Europe, and we’re certain that this Alpine paradise isn’t likely to remain this underrated for very long. Book your trip now while it's nothing short of a steal — Slovenia is just as beautiful as Switzerland, only lesser-known, so it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the tourists arrive and the prices inflate. In this instance, booking yourself a trip is actually saving money in the long run. Happy travels!
19. Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee (Image provided by Adobe Stock)
Music City is a salve for all that ails us in the first few years of this decade, as there’s nothing more restorative than country music for travelers who are feeling tired, dejected, and alone. Just head to the honky tonk to sing along with a singer who’s (almost certainly) had it worse — not for nothing is it called the Nashville blues. So go ahead and visit Nashville for an old-fashioned weekend of drinking old-fashioneds and blowing off some steam — it may not be good for the liver, but it’s certainly good for the spirit.
20. The Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
Sealife in Galapagos Islands (Image provided by Adobe Stock)
If it’s life-changing experiences that you’re after, then look no further than Ecuador, home to some of the greatest geographic diversity on earth. (The nation has more birds than the entirety of Europe.) We suggest a visit to the Galapagos Islands, however, to experience peak South American wildlife and adventure — book a stay at Pikaia Lodge and meditate on the theory of your own evolution through the lens of the roller-coaster of the past two years.
21. Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean
(Image provided by Tourism Bonaire)
The Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire is one of the best-kept secrets of the Caribbean, and the perfect escape for travelers in need of laid-back island time, wild tropical beauty, and the most spectacular sunsets east of California. Located north of Venezuela and just east of Curacao and Aruba, Bonaire is the lesser-known member of the trio of ABC islands — and those who are aware of Bonaire are likely to be familiar with the island as a diving destination first and foremost. And although the diving in Bonaire truly is among the best in the world, there’s much more to explore above the water, as well. Book your trip now, while prices are still low, and the island is still uncrowded, as Bonaire’s beauty and charm won’t remain a secret for very long.
22. Nepal, South Asia
The Himalayas, Nepal (Image provided by Adobe Stock)
When it comes to destinations that you must visit once before you die, Nepal would easily top the list. The geographic diversity to be found in this tiny nation is truly something to behold — from the lush green jungles of Bardia and Chitwan bordering India to the South to the magnificent Himalayas towering above the nation’s northern border with China, you could spend weeks in Nepal without fully seeing all of the sights. We recommend booking a stay at Dwarika’s in Dhulikhel and Kathmandu, signing up for an ethical elephant safari with Tiger Tops, and paying a visit to the Happy House in Phaplu. Opt for an Everest breakfast experience with Yeti Mountain Home to witness the beauty of the tallest mountain in the world up close, without having to don an oxygen mask. (There’s always next time for that.) Or book a trek to Everest Base Camp with Crystal Mountain Treks for an epic journey you'll never forget.