What are the top travel destinations for 2021?
Whether you’re looking to use those vacation days, relax during the holidays, or just prevent your airline rewards miles from expiring, traveling to the most interesting and relaxing places is something everyone should do occasionally to recharge your soul. But that all important question inevitably arises – Where do I go in 2021?
We’ve put together this list of some of the best travel destinations of 2021 that will give you some ideas of where to take your next trip. We’ve narrowed it down to the top 10 best travel destinations of 2021.
Table of Contents
|Top Travel Destinations 2021|
|Best Places to Visit in the World|
|Cheap Holiday Destinations 2021|
|Best Summer Holiday Destinations|
|All Inclusive Vacation Packages 2021|
|List of National Holidays 2021|
Top Travel Destinations 2021
Below are the top 10 places to visit in the world for 2021. Each destination was evaluated based on scenic beauty, costs, safety, food and cuisine, as well as many other factors that go into choosing the perfect vacation getaway. Hopefully these vacation excursions will inspire you to take your next holiday trip!
1) Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is the latest traveling fad and rightfully so. It’s a beautiful country that offers just about everything you’d get in similar destinations, but it’s even cheaper. I would rate it on the same budget scale as India or Cambodia if you’re a budget traveler looking to stretch your funds as far as they can go. If you want to get off the major tourist trails, this is a great destination to consider.
Sri Lanka is known for it’s picturesque beaches on the southern end of the island. The best of the Southern beaches include Tangalla, Beruwala, Mirissa, Bentota and Unawatuna with varying options including chic boutique hotels, glowing coral reefs, gentle sandbars and undiscovered corners of paradise.
Sri Lanka runs deep in heritage and cultural sites which timelines can exceed 2550 years old. One such place is ‘Aliwatte’ in Yatiyantota with a spacious cave in a massive rock, covering several perches of land, where King Valagamba had found secret accommodation once, during his exile.
(photo above) Nine Arches Bridge, Ella, Sri Lanka
2) Phu Quoc, Vietnam
Grab your travel backpack, it’s time to head to Vietnam. Situated off the southern coast of Vietnam in the Kiên Giang province, the tiny island of Phu Quoc is the tropical paradise you’ve been seeking and easily qualifies as one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit. With it’s white sand beaches and palm tree shorelines, it’s easy to see why it leads the top travel destinations 2021 list.
Unlike most small islands with limited activities (unless that’s your thing), Phu Quoc has quite a bit to do if you’re up for it. The mountainous inner part of the island is home to the Phú Quốc National Park which features dense tropical jungle habitat and abundant hiking and sightseeing opportunities.
Phu Quoc has been put on the map due to it’s digital nomad scene where the relaxation of the inexpensive quiet island allows people to get their work done while living in a tropical paradise. Duong Dong is the largest city on the island and offers several shopping and night markets to get a bite to eat or grab an adult beverage.
If you’re looking for a place to stay for cheap, check out Phu House. They offer $10 rooms and free beer everyday. I stayed at Phu House for 1 week recently and was really impressed with the place.
Best Time To Visit: April – June, Late October.
3) Bali, Indonesia (Nusa Lembongan)
Bali has always been a top travel destination due to its beauty, but even so, there are still hidden gems away from the main tourists spots that offer seclusion with a peace and quiet atmosphere. One such place is the island of Nusa Lembongan, which is located off the southeast coast of Bali in the Nusa Penida district.
Accessible by boat only, the island has a feel to it like few in South East Asia. Here, you won’t have to worry about crossing busy roads since there isn’t any traffic, and you won’t be harassed while at the beach by people constantly trying to sell you things. Chill with your sunglasses and swimsuit on the beach and relax in peace. What more could you ask for in 2021?
Nusa Lembongan is the perfect small island to relax and enjoy the beach or the many mangrove areas that surround the eastern end of the island, but it’s also a great dive destination. One tourist attraction is the underwater Big Buddha which has been placed by locals as a business attraction. It also makes for a good snorkeling and underwater photography and one of the best vacation spots for couples.
Check out Nyuh Gading Homestay for a great place to stay on Nusa Lembongan. It’s right on the beach and has really good Wi-Fi.
Best Time To Visit: May to September
4) Koh Chang, Thailand
Year after year, Thailand is one of the top travel destinations in the world. With it’s beautiful scenery, tasty cuisine, affordable costs, and the 30-day tourist visa just for arriving at the airport, it doesn’t get any easier to pack your bags and hop on a plane.
Koh Chang is a medium sized island located off the southeast coast of Thailand in the Gulf of Thailand. The majority of the island is Mu Ko Chang National Park, so it maintains that small island feel without much development. The park offers many hiking trails and waterfalls, as well as dense jungle habitat to explore.
Koh Chang is surrounded by palm lined beaches and remote bungalows with great views. There’s a small backpacker scene a Hat Tha Nam if you’re into the nightlife. I’ve stayed at Pajamas’s Koh Chang and it’s only 2 minutes from the beach and was really clean. The staff was friendly and I had an all around great time. Check it out at hostel world.
Best Time to Visit: November – February
5) Isle of Skye, Scotland
The Isle of Skye in Scotland is a hikers paradise and ranks high on the top travel destinations 2021 list. The picturesque and rugged landscape has a beauty that is all its own. From medieval castles to quiet fishing villages, the Isle of Skye is the perfect laid back vacation spot.
The town of Portree is the hub of the island, which is a network of coastlines, peninsulas, mountains, and grassy swales. The island has a rich history that can be seen at the many museums and two medieval castles that you can tour.
If you’re into hiking or walking, camping, bird-watching, or just remote areas, the Isle of Skye is the place to get away and get off the beaten track.
Best Time to Visit: May – June
6) Banff, Canada (Moraine Lake)
Nestled in the northern portion of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada is the small town of Banff. Most people outside of Canada have probably never even heard of it, but that’s what makes it so special. With the mountain range dominating the skyline, the views in Banff are second to none.
Château-style hotels, restaurants, and small boutiques line the downtown area making things extremely convenient and one of the best family vacation spots due to the abundant activities available. Visitors can ski on the slopes of Mount Norquay or ride the Banff Gondola up Sulphur Mountain to swim in the Banff Upper Hot Springs which offers greats views of the countryside.
With 6,500 square kilometers of park land surrounding Banff, the amount of hiking, climbing, bike riding, and walking trails are endless. Several finger lakes, such as Moraine Lake, offer a great view of the surrounding mountain range and postcard views.
Best Time to Visit: June – August, December – March
7) Sa Pa, Vietnam
At number 6 on the top travel destinations 2021 list is Sa Pa, Vietnam. The town of Sa Pa is located in the northwest portion of northern Vietnam in the Hoàng Liên Son Mountains. Popular for it’s terraced riced fields that are built into the sides of the hills, it makes for an awe inspiring view and peaceful holiday destination.
Locals, consisting of a mix of several different hill tribes, let you experience Vietnam in way that visiting Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City just can’t accomplish. If you love hiking, there are many trails leaving Sa Pa which take you to outlooks with spectacular views. The scenic waterfalls, Buddhist temples, and the tallest mountain in Indochina, Fansipan, are waiting to be explored.
For a really cool place to stay in Sapa check out Miku Chill House located in Hau Thao village. The mountain view can’t be beat and it’s such a peaceful place to chill for a few days.
Best Time to Visit: March – May, September – November
8) Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Fiordland National Park is located on the southwestern tip of New Zealand and is the most remote spot on the top travel destinations 2021 list. With almost 5,000 square miles of undeveloped and pristine wildlands, it is larger than some small countries (Jamaica is only 2,300 square miles).
Consisting of mountainous terrain surrounded by glacier cut fiords, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in some of the most beautiful scenery around without the flocks of tourists. Wildlife and bird watching are top activities that include some interesting species like the Kea, a large parrot like bird with scaly feathers.
Activities include hiking, camping, kayaking, mountain climbing, and taking in the awesome views of the mountains and waterfalls. Boat tours take visitors around the fiords for even better sightseeing adventures.
Best Time to Visit: September – November
9) Torres del Paine, Chile
Torres del Paine is a National Park in Chile located in the Patagonian Region. It’s approximately 700 square miles of mountains, glaciers, and grasslands which are referred to as golden pampas. Three unique granite outcroppings called the Cuernos del Paine, tower over the skyline.
With over 250,000 visitors every year, Torres del Paine National Park is one of the most visited sites in all of Chile. The park features rare flora and fauna, such as the Guanaco (a species of lama), and Darwin’s slipper (a rare mountain growing plant that looks like an orange penguin).
The park is a popular hiking destination and offers many walking trails and sightseeing opportunities. The longest trail is an 8-9 day trek around the park.
Best Time to Visit: September – April
10) Athens, Greece
The allure of Athens is something that keeps you coming back for more and more. It deserves to be on every vacation list and especially the top travel destinations 2021. At the center of the city is the ever famous Acropolis, which sheds just a glimmer of light into the historical aspects that surround the city itself. You could spend weeks in Athens and not fully see the city, its history, or all of what Ancient Greece had to offer.
But outside of the historical aspect of Athens, there lies many other enjoyable activities. The booming nightlife, shopping, and world cuisine is unmatched. The city comes alive at night and the narrow city streets and large plazas offer an atmosphere that is electric. For a holiday destination with both an historical aspect and fun city experience, Athens can’t be beat. Use this link to get $40 off your next stay with AirBnB while staying in Athens.
Best Time to Visit: April – June
11) Monteverde, Costa Rica (Cloud Forest)
Monteverde is a small town in the northern part of Costa Rica known for it’s tropical jungles and dense biodiversity of wildlife and plant species. Located just outside of town is the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. The reserve is said to contain up to 2.5% of the entire worlds biodiversity of species. The Reserve operates it’s own hostel on site.
A cloud forest is different than the typical rain forested in that it often has low cloud cover creating moist conditions rather than just rainfall. This combination of mist and low cloud cover produces an experience that is all it’s own. For nature lovers, hikers, or scientists, Monteverde is a destination with endless opportunities to see new and exciting things.
Best Time to Visit: December – May (Dry Season), May- December (Wet Season)
Best Places to Visit in the World
With so many places to go, how do you find the best places to visit in the world? Other than some remote location that no one has ever heard of, you’re sort of at the mercy of everyone else. Here’s a list of the best places to visit in the world based on world tourism arrivals. There has to be something worthwhile driving these tourism numbers, right?
Best Countries to Visit 2021 by Arrivals
|United States||75.6 Million|
|United Kingdom||35.8 Million|
*Numbers courtesy of “UNWTO Tourism Highlights: 2017 Edition | World Tourism Organization”
It’s no surprise that France, the United States, and Spain are the top 3 best places to visit in the world based on 2017 numbers. The list will probably look very similar in 2018 as these are all very popular tourist destinations with beautiful scenery and tons of things to do.
Mexico, China, and Turkey are ranked surprisingly high. Are Mexico’s resort towns the reason for this or has Mexico become a world class destination? The jury is out on that one, but maybe it will make the top travel destinations 2021 list eventually.
Cheap Holiday Destinations 2021
Not everyone can spend thousands of dollars on holiday vacations each year. That leaves the rest of us wondering what are the cheap holiday destinations for 2021?
The simple answer is somewhere close. For those in the U.S., this could mean your nearest campground, State Park, beach, or lake. These are inexpensive options to enjoy the holidays without the expensive travel costs, accommodations, and activities that accompany long distance vacations.
With that said, airfare in the off season has become extremely affordable. Round trip flights to destinations in South East Asia can drop to as low as $600-700. Cheap airfare coupled with holiday destinations where the cost of living is extremely low makes traveling long distance on a budget something to consider.
List of Cheap Holiday Destinations for 2021
|Destination||Average Airfare |
|Average Hotel Cost|
(4 Star Hotel)
As you can see, if you time your trip to avoid the busiest travel times of the year, you can take advantage of off-peak pricing. I’ve listed the average 4 star hotel costs, but it can be even cheaper with AirBnb or staying in hostels. Credit card churning and taking advantage of rewards points through Chase Sapphire and other card programs can help pay for large portions of your trip.
Another way to save money when choosing a cheap destination is making it a point to eat like the locals. You can find a McDonalds or Subway just about anywhere internationally, but it’s usually expensive compared to the west. Eating what the locals eat is a great way to reduced costs and you may even find new items you never thought you would enjoy.
Best Summer Holiday Destinations
Summer is the most popular time for vacations. Not only is the weather usually great, but the water is warm too. It’s no surprise that the best summer holiday destinations involve beaches, lakes, and rivers. This is good news, since most people in the U.S. live relatively close to some sort of water body.
The following are some of the best summer holiday destinations of 2021 and all are located in the U.S.
Best Summer Holiday Destinations 2021
|Destination||Things to Do||Cost|
|Lake Tahoe, CA||Swimming, Hiking, Kayaking||$$$|
|South Padre Island, TX||Lay on the Beach, Swim, ATV's in the Dunes||$$|
|Havasu Falls , AZ||Swimming, Rafting||$$|
|Gulf Shores, AL||Beach Vacation, Swimming||$|
|Destin, FL||Beach Activities, Surfing||$$|
Lake Tahoe almost always leads the list of some of the best summer destinations you can visit. The scenery and crystal clear water is hard to beat by any standard. South Padre Island in Texas has over 30 miles of pristine beach to explore.
The Havasu Falls in Arizona is a gorgeous waterfall with swimming area that is very popular summer destination to get out of the heat. Gulf Shores and Destin offer white sand beaches and clear water for the perfect beach getaway.
All Inclusive Vacation Packages 2021
There’s something about the simplicity of an all inclusive vacation that makes it so enticing. Not having to worry about hotels, food, drinks, and some activities gives you more time to relax and have fun. Another aspect is the ability to bundle certain amenities for a reduced all inclusive cost.
Some of the top all inclusive vacation packages for 2021 are in Mexico and and Caribbean. The short flight from the U.S. mainland and the abundant resorts makes these vacation packages the best deals around.
Below is a list of some of the top all inclusive vacation packages that are available for 2021.
All Inclusive Vacation Packages 2021
|Costco Travel||Cancun, Mexico||Crown Paradise Club||$439 (4 Nights)|
|Southwest Vacations||Cabo San Lucas||Riu Santa Fe||Varies|
|United Travels||Nassau, Bahamas||Sandals Royal Bahamian||Varies|
|Cheap Caribbean||Riviera Maya, Mexico||Barcelo Maya Beach||$689 (4 Nights)|
List of National Holidays 2021
How can you plan your vacation without knowing when to take off work? Below is a list of the U.S. Federal Holidays for 2021 and what days they fall on. Schedule your vacation time around holidays to maximize the time you can spend on your next trip.
|Tuesday, January 1||New Year’s Day|
|Monday, January 21||Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.|
|Monday, February 18||Washington’s Birthday|
|Monday, May 27||Memorial Day|
|Thursday, July 4||Independence Day|
|Monday, September 2||Labor Day|
|Monday, October 14||Columbus Day|
|Monday, November 11||Veterans Day|
|Thursday, November 28||Thanksgiving Day|
|Wednesday, December 25||Christmas Day|
Wrapping it Up
Searching for that perfect destination to take your next trip can be a daunting task. We’ve outlined 10 of the top travel destinations 2021 that highlight some of the most scenic and rewarding experiences you can find around the globe. From Vietnam to Chile, there’s something for everyone. Hopefully you’ve been inspired to get out of your comfort zone and experience something new. If you’ve caught the traveling bug, you know that the planning process is half the fun. So get planning today, you never know where you’ll end up next. Safe travels!
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