Travelers are more than ready to escape, explore, and dive headfirst into travel in 2021.
With that, we've gathered the 21 top travel destinations to go for all the eager travelers ready to embark on a long-awaited adventure after an entire year of grounded planes and shuttered hotels. When travel goes back to normal, here's a list to consider when it's time to set your travel plans. We've listed down the 21 best places to go this year, or even next year, organized by the type of experience we know you will be excited to relive in a post-pandemic world.
From luxury experiences to make up for all the lost time to heritage travel to get back to our ancestral roots, here are 21 great vacation destinations that must be experienced in the new year or next year. An as an extra bonus, follow our simple tips & tactics for packing and traveling light when you are on the go.
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Top Destinations - Luxury Experiences
After all this time stuck at home, it shouldn't be surprising that families are eager to splurge on their first big trip on the most luxurious travel experience. Fancy hotels, first-class travel, and breakfast buffets—these are the things that complete a trip. The convenience, the comfort, the luxury. It's what many are craving for.
1| Boracay, Philippines
This white sand beach in the Philippines is consistently popping up on the best travel lists around the world. The Conde Nast-approved paradise has been called a picture-perfect family vacation and a postcard comes to life thanks to its white-sand beaches. The stunning sunrises and sunsets, the friendly locals, the endless beach walks, and not to mention countless five-star ultra-luxury new hotels are big magnets for tourists. Some big hotels include Shangri-La and Discovery, both of which are on the beachfront and reserve a slice of the beach exclusively for their guests. Boracay is definitely where your family should go in 2021.
2| The Maldives
Everyone knows that in the Maldives, you don't sleep in a beachside resort—you sleep on top of the ocean. The resort huts of many Maldives hotels rest atop the water, giving guests the priceless luxury of listening to calm ocean waves and seeing the sunrise atop the ocean first thing in the morning. Rooms have an unlimited view of the ocean, and nothing is more luxurious than that. Luxury experiences are a great way to give your kids worthwhile memories, and the ocean can be their biggest playground where they can enjoy snorkeling and swimming until sunset.
3| Bali, Indonesia
Bali might not have the best beach and resorts, but it does lead to one thing—spas. If you want the full exotic spa experience that will leave you feeling like you're cloud nine, Bali is one of the best places to be. It's also a great place for tourists and families to try meditation as the entire atmosphere of the destination encourages peace, quiet, tranquility, and many laid-back memories. This is definitely more of a luxury experience for exhausted parents than the kids, but the kids will still enjoy running around the jungles and beaches that surround Bali. Any resort and hotel in Bali are also certainly kid-friendly with children's playgrounds and playrooms.
4| Dubai, United Arab Emirates
What Dubai lacks in beaches and jungles, it makes up for with the sheer wealth and extravagance of the city. The hotels themselves are sights to behold and limos are practically a common sight in the city of Dubai. It's a place for real-life princes, sheiks, and royalty, where gold is actually affordable and luxury is part of everyday life. If you want to spoil yourself and your kids with this once-in-a-lifetime experience, step into the otherworldly city of Dubai.
5| Rome, Italy
Rome continues to be one of the best luxury travel destinations that also offers plenty of opportunities for kids to have fun. The unlimited museums, sites, and parks of Rome are just enough to keep the kids entertained, and it's also home to hundreds of luxurious hotels, big and boutique. To just be in a city where Western civilization began is a luxury in itself, one that your family will surely appreciate.
Top Destinations - Nature Adventures
The pandemic has definitely brought the whole world closer to nature. It's made us realize our impact on the environment, and just how important it is to take care of the planet we live on. That's why nature adventures will be one of the hottest travel experiences of 2021, as they provide a family-friendly experience, as well as great learnings for all. We're talking about cabins, camping, glamping, treehouses, and trekking. Unlimited national parks, road trips, hikes, and more. It's always great to select travel destinations that will keep everyone happy on vacation, and nature adventures are a great contender.
There's nothing quite like nature destinations, and the African safari is as wild as you can get. Kenya is home to some of the best safaris on the entire continent where families can get face to face with giraffes, elephants, wildebeests, and even cheetahs and lions (but from afar, of course). The safari is a favorite experience for honeymooners, but we definitely recommend this for families as well so the kids can actually see the glorious wild animals of the earth at least once in their lives. This, family-friendly travel spot is one of the best places to visit in your life.
7| Coastal England
The shores of England are rife with great views of cliffs, seas, and coastal wildlife. The gusty winds of coastal England will surely take your breath away (often literally), and the rocky cliffsides are a sight to behold. There's nothing quite like the views presented in coastal England, an underrated natural gem for many discerning traveling families. Your kids can try horseback riding, visit a central park, and marvel at the colors of Coastal English during the springtime.
If you want to get closer to nature, look no further than Iceland, where nature continues to dominate the landscape even after all these years. In recent years, travel has picked up in Iceland as many want to go to the epic ice waterfalls and formations on the island. You won't find big cities in Iceland, where towns are a long way away from each other, and where one great natural event occurs every year: the Aurora Borealis, a stunning cosmic light show that will bring you and your kids closer to nature than ever before. It will leave your kids awestruck the first time they see it.
9| Maine, United States of America
Maine is one of the best road trip places for families looking for a cabin getaway. You could rent a cabin in the woods, a lighthouse by the ocean, or even a houseboat for your kids to truly feel the experience of living in isolation. We might be tired of all the "isolation" in 2020, but the kind that Maine provides is more peaceful and tranquil than it is lonely. The kids will love the snow, the great outdoors, and the scenery of Maine, especially in the spring.
10| Nova Scotia, Canada
Wintery nature adventure destinations never get old, which is why we recommend Nova Scotia, where many families literally live off the grid. The natural beauty of Nova Scotia must be experienced by your whole family at least once in your life. You could rent out a cabin with your kids in the farther parts of the province where you can haul your own wood for the fire, bird watch, roast marshmallows, and create unforgettable camping and cabin memories with the whole family.
Top Destinations - Heritage Travel
A lot of the time spent during quarantine has been spent thinking—ruminating, remembering, and contemplating. Plenty of families have taken to bonding with each other and with unearthing family recipes, stories, and most importantly, roots. In the 21st century, many families are living in countries where their ancestors aren't originally from. Global migration has scattered our generations around the world, and it might be the best time post-pandemic to get to the bottom of your family history.
11| Madrid, Spain
Before the British Empire ruled most of the world, the Spanish got there before they did. Once, the Spanish empire spanned the entire world, with colonies from Asia to South America. Now, Spanish is the second most spoken native language in the world, after Mandarin and beating English. To get to the root of Spanish heritage, Madrid is a great way to start. It's where you'll find great art from around the world, depicting Spain throughout the ages. If you're someone of Spanish heritage, you should also explore the countryside, where orange vineyards and ancient castles will create a great experience for your family.
12| Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
For those of African descent with roots in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa is great, if an underrated city, to explore and unearth. The capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa is one of the top 2021 destinations for Conde Nast, and it's home to a number of historic destinations and a unique, colorful culture that mixes its colonial history with its tribal past.
13| St. Petersburg, Russia
Moscow might be the capital of Russia, but St. Petersburg is the cultural center of Russia. One of the biggest countries in the world, Russian descendants are scattered as far as the eye can reach. If you've got a little Russian in your genes, explore the massive country that spans two continents and hundreds of cultures. Venture into Siberia, the true wilds of Russia, or dive into the cosmopolitan lifestyle of St. Petersburg and Moscow.
14| Kyoto, Japan
Before Tokyo was made the capital of Japan, Kyoto was the imperial capital of the old empire. If you want to explore your Asian roots, there's no better place than Kyoto, where you'll see grannies walk down the street in full kimono attire—wooden sandals and all—as if it's just a regular Sunday. It blends history with modernity, with museums and ancient temples dotting almost every corner. The kids will definitely love all the anime, plus the high-tech public transport and amenities of this historic Japanese city. The best time to visit is definitely in spring or autumn when the city is alive with color.
15| Chengdu, China
Everyone knows Beijing city, Shanghai city, and the like, but we doubt your kids will enjoy an industrial city. Instead, we suggest Chengdu, China, also known as the panda capital of the giant country. There are millions of people with Chinese heritage scattered around the world, and if you want to reconnect with your ancestors, what better way than by starting with the face of China—the panda. For first-time travelers to China, Chengdu is the place to be.
Top Destinations - Wonders of the World
We're sure that the top destinations will get massive turnouts post-pandemic, and with good reason. They represent once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for families who travel. So we encourage you to visit these hotspots and unleash your wanderlust. It's those destinations that when you're older, you can say proudly say you stood under the Taj Mahal or the great pyramids of Giza.
16| Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt
The first thing all kids are introduced to in history is the pyramids of Egypt, a wonder of the world that continues to baffle historians who are still astounded by the genius of their forefathers. Brainy kids will love this destination, which they could surely boast to their friends about. For the parents, a place like Egypt will be a great memorable experience for the family. 17| Petra, Jordan
Another wonder of the world on the list is the historic site of Petra, Jordan. This is best for families with older kids, who'll be awestruck by the deserts and sandstone colors of Jordan. It's like stepping into another world, where ancient columns and timeless buildings will make the kids imagine they're in the movie Aladdin. 18| Machu Picchu, Peru
If you have an energetic family who loves to stay active, they'll love the long hike up Machu Picchu, a remnant of the old civilization of Peru. The stone foundations and temple ruins you see going up Machu Picchu will fascinate the kids, but they'll definitely love the view at the very top once they climb all the steps. There's also an animal wonder to Machu Picchu: the llamas! The younger ones will adore their fluffy coats but don't stray too close to them. They don't bite—but they do spit. 19| Taj Mahal, India
One of the best must-visit destinations is the Taj Mahal, which is actually not a palace, but a mausoleum that tells the story of one of history's most epic love tragedies. It's a great story to recount to teenagers, and the world-class gardens are more than Instagram-worthy. One of the best times to visit is at the break of dawn when no one else is around and you can get that priceless photo of just your family or you with the Taj Mahal in the backdrop. 20| Jerusalem, Israel
Christian (and Jewish) families make up a bulk of the entire global population, so it's no surprise that the old city of Jerusalem in Israel is such a momentous experience for travelers. It's a place that will strengthen your faith, ignite your curiosity, and build your spirituality. It's important to note that Jerusalem is also an important destination in Islam as well, making it a must-visit for families of all faiths. 21| Paris, France
At the end of the day, despite the long lines at the Louvre and the countless selfie sticks under the Eiffel tower, everyone loves Paris. A city of love and laughter, Paris is a city with everything for every member of the family, from the parents to kids of varying ages. There's even a Disneyland in Paris! The food is ready to die for, and will no doubt cry for more French chocolates and pastries. This picturesque city never ceases to astound, so it's no wonder that families want to visit Paris at least once, twice, and maybe even three times.
We hope you have found these travel destinations helpful in planning your next adventure.
Have a wonderful day wherever you are and safe travels.
Stay well, be well and stay social.