As the first few days of January pass by, it’s only natural to start planning for the new year.
If you’re anything like me, travel has once again made it to the top of your new year’s resolution list.
After all, what better way to celebrate a new beginning than planning a trip to a brand-new destination?
For the past several months, the travel blogosphere has been abuzz with recommendations for 2019. Every outlet has a different spin, but across
the board, a few destinations have stood out as favorites. From tropical getaways, to urban escapes, here are the best places to visit in 2019, according to the experts:
Well before Crazy Rich Asians took pop culture by storm, Singapore has been sparking a sense of wonder among its visitors. Notorious for its opulence, but celebrated for its beauty, the island nation appeared in multiple 2019 travel lists:
, Conde Nast Traveller
and Travel and Leisure
, just to name a few.
Singapore stands out as a place where opposites attract.
The island is at once an enormous city and a compact country. Chic urban architecture is framed by lush tropical foliage. Visitors can admire delicate flora at the man-made Supertree Grove, or enjoy a birds-eye view of skyscrapers from the Singapore Flyer
(Asia’s largest Ferris wheel). However, one thing in Singapore is certain: from street vendors to 5-star venues, the cuisine is beyond compare. The late Anthony Bourdain fondly described Singapore this way: "New York may be the city that never sleeps,
but Singapore’s the city that never stops eating."
Berlin is one of my favorite places to visit, and it seems like I’ll be in good company next year. A number of travel outlets, including National Geographic
, listed Berlin among their top travel picks. On November 9, 2019, the city will honor the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. If one anniversary wasn’t enough, Berlin will also be celebrating
the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus — one of the most influential schools of design, art, and architecture of the 20th century. Whether you’re interested in the historical and cultural significance of these celebrations, or you’re simply
hoping to enjoy Berlin’s vibrant community, 2019 is the perfect year to plan your visit.
When you picture Savannah, there’s a good chance that live oaks, Spanish moss, and antebellum architecture come to mind. The city’s southern charm is unmistakable, but Savannah has also become a premiere destination for
design, cuisine, history, and nightlife. This southern gem is a favorite among travel blogs, and when you take a stroll through its picturesque squares, you’ll quickly understand why.
If you’re planning a trip to Savannah, there
are a few must-sees to add to your itinerary. For starters, the city’s sprawling historic district is home to meticulously maintained cobblestone streets, breathtaking churches, and pristine gardens. Enjoy the south’s natural beauty with a
stop at Forsyth Park, then spend a lazy afternoon browsing the shops at River Street. If you’re eager for a trip to the beach, the neighboring Tybee Island is a short drive away — perfect for soaking up the sun or splashing in the waves. When
you’re feeling worn out from a trip well-taken, kick back and relax at one of Savannah’s many historic inns.
I’m not sure what it is about Matera, Italy, but this gorgeous little city graced nearly every 2019 travel list I could find. Maybe it’s Matera’s location: nestled among the hills of southern Italy, the city enjoys
warm, mild weather year round. Perhaps it’s Matera’s famous Sassi — ancient cave dwellings that are thought to be the first human settlements in Italy (these spaces were inhabited until the 1950s and have since been repurposed). Or it
could simply be that Matera offers a rich blend of old and new: from baroque churches to centuries-old frescoes, and art galleries to Michelin-rated restaurants
In 1952, Italy’s then-prime minister referred to Matera as a “national disgrace.” In the 66 years since, the city has come a long way — and it has all the accolades to show for it. Matera was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO
in 1993, and it was honored as a 2019 Capital of Culture
by the European Union.
Namibia was another favorite for 2019, and it’s especially well-suited for travelers who crave a break from the ordinary. Once rumored
to have been Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s honeymoon destination (a rumor that has since been debunked), Namibia offers natural landscapes unlike anywhere else in the world.
To the North, visitors
can admire the diverse wildlife at Etosha National Park. Sossusvlei and Deadvlei lie to the West — beloved landmarks characterized by towering red sand dunes, “tree skeletons,” and spectacular desert views. And just along Namibia’s
border with Angola lie the Epupa Falls, a gorgeous network of waterfalls that’s well-worth a morning hike. With so many action-packed activities, it helps to have a travel medical insurance
plan to stay safe and healthy along the way. But no matter the itinerary, Namibia is a natural pick for travelers interested in reconnecting with the nature.
Next year promises to be an exciting one for New Zealand, with many travel outlets citing it as a top destination for adventure-seekers. The town of Kaikoura made the top of Airbnb’s “Destinations to Book in 2019
” round-up, with a 295% increase in bookings over the past year. Travel and Leisure
cited New Zealand’s South Island as an ideal destination for adrenaline-lovers: with plenty of bungee jumping, skydiving, and trekking to go around. Meanwhile, the city of Auckland was recently named a
“City of Music” by the UNESCO Creative Cities Network
and a new direct flight between Chicago O’Hare and Auckland is about to make New Zealand all the more accessible.
When it comes to travel, J.R.R. Tolkien may have put it best: “not all those who wander are lost.” No matter
what new adventures 2019 brings, make sure to try a little wandering of your own.
About the Author
Grace Lower has a love for all things writing and travel. When she's not exploring new places, Grace enjoys teaching English as a Second Language, making terrible puns, and running incredibly long distances at incredibly slow speeds.