Wondering where to go in 2020? We’ve compiled this list of the top destinations you should consider traveling to for your next trip.
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 to go in 2020?
We’ve put together this list of some of the best travel destinations of 2020 that will give you some ideas of where to take your next trip. We’ve narrowed it down to the top 10 best places to go in 2020.
Top Travel Destinations 2020
Below are the top 10 places to visit in the world for 2020. 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) Penang, Malaysia
Grab your travel backpack, it’s time to head to Malaysia. Penang is one of only 13 states that make up Malaysia in Southeast Asia. It’s located on the northwest side of the Malay Peninsula and in close proximity to the Thailand Border.
Penang Island sits just off the mainland and is home to the state capital of George Town. The food culture is like nothing you have ever experienced. It all seems to culminate in Penang’s many markets and restaurants. If you’re a food lover, this is the place to go.
The central location of Penang makes it a hub for spices and cuisine from many different regions including India, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Many of the best food dishes are either steamed in or served on pandan leaves. Nasi lemak is a delicious spicy coconut rice and a national staple.
Other activities in Penang include exploring the cultural museums and architecture in George Town, beach resorts on the island, and hiking the Penang national forest.
Best Time to Visit: November to January
2) 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 2020?
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
3) Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland is a coastal city in New Zealand known for its spectacular views and beautiful beaches and islands. It’s also a great northern hub for exploring other areas of New Zealand.
The nearby Mount Eden (or Maungawhau) is a volcanic mountain you can hike and explore. It offers a fantastic viewpoint of the coastline.
Auckland has many stunning beaches for day trips and surfing just minutes away. They range from white sand beaches to black sand beaches and vary due to past volcanic activity in the area.
With the many hiking trails, viewpoints, beaches, and cultural sites, Auckland has many activities to keep you busy.
Best Time to Visit: March to May, September to November
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4) Island of Skye, Scotland
The Isle of Skye in Scotland is a hikers paradise and ranks high out of all the 2020 Top Travel Destinations. 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
5) Banff, Alberta, Canada
2020 travel doesn’t have to mean hopping on a 13 hour flight. For U.S. travelers, Banff is a quick getaway with some of the most scenic views in the world.
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
6) Sa Pa, Vietnam
At number 6 on the top places to go in 2020 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
If you adhere to the one bag lifestyle for traveling or just want to better organize your gear, these packing cubes could be the answer. I used to throw everything into my backpack and then sift through everything for minutes on end looking for that one thing I needed, but not anymore. Packing cubes like the Shacke Pak organize everything neatly and make finding things so much easier.
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7) Chiang Mai, Thailand
There’s something about Chiang Mia that always leaves me wanting more. Yes, the food is amazing, but the city has a feel unlike any other in Thailand or Southeast Asia for that matter.
The old quarter of Chiang Mai is surrounded by a moat and outer retaining wall that helped bolster the cities defenses in the early days. The wall has since been reconstructed to its former glory and adds a certain cultural appeal that most city centers lack.
Chiang Mai nightlife is relatively quiet compared to Bangkok and other party cities, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The night markets are a great place to eat and shop, while the nearby mountains offer hiking and day trips away from the city.
Chiang Mia is the digital nomad epicenter, with reliable internet and infrastructure for working out of a foreign hub. Just be aware the farmers do burn their fields at certain times of the year and it can create hazy conditions. Regardless, Chiang Mai should be at the top of your 2020 vacation idea list.
Best Time to Visit: November to February
8) Kruger National Park, South Africa
Believe it or not, South Africa is one of the hottest travel destinations for 2020.The most popular spot happens to be Kruger National Park and the safari opportunities it provides.
Kruger National Park is located in the northeast corner of South Africa on the border with Mozambique. The park covers an astonishing 20,000 kilometer expanse of habitat that includes brush plains, mountains, grasslands, and forests.
Kruger National Park is home to hundreds of different species of safari animals that include Elephants, Zebra, Lions, Cheetahs, and Rhinos. The park offers great photography opportunities for both wildlife and scenery.
Guests of the park are usually driven around on open air vehicles to observe wildlife in their natural habitat up close. Day trips into the park start at daybreak and last all day as the opportunities for sightseeing are endless.
Best Time to Visit: May to September
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9) 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 2020. 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
10) Hue, Vietnam
Hue is my favorite city in Vietnam for both cuisine and cultural significance. The Imperial City of Hue played a crucial role in the Vietnam War and was the provincial seat of the Emperor of Vietnam.
The moat and wall surrounding the city helped protect it during uncertain times in Vietnam’s history. The citadel and Kings residence is a sprawling complex that takes days to fully experience.
The Perfume River travels right through the center of Hue and many boat operators offer day trips up river and through the many surrounding canals.
French era architecture can be found throughout the city, though a large portion was destroyed during the Vietnam War. The food scene in Hue is really something special and many food tours are available to sample just about everything.
For more Vietnam Travel Tips, check out my 2020 guide here.
Best Time to Visit: October to December
Top Travel Tips for 2020
- AirBnb is an easy way to book a room for weeks or months at time while traveling. Use this link to get up to $40 off your next booking.
- Credit Cards like the Chase Sapphire Rewards card have no foreign transaction fees, so you can use it for dining or hotels in Bali or Thailand with no hidden fees. Get up to 60,000 points ($600) for signing up through this link.
- Keep your passport safe during your travels. Either lock it in the hotel safe or carry around a laminated copy to avoid losing or damaging the original.
- Consider using a money pouch like this one at Amazon to keep large amounts of cash hidden and out of reach.
- Book you flights 3 to 6 months in advance for the best deals. If you’re flying out of the US to South East Asia, LAX usually has the best prices.
- Keep small currency denominations separate from larger bills to use for tips and small purchases. Locals may have a hard time coming up with change for large bills and you reduce the chance you get short changed as well.
- If possible, take advantage of e-visa applications that can shorten the time spent waiting in arrival halls at the airport.
- Crisp undamaged $100 bills will result in a better currency exchange rate than lower denominations such as $50, $20, $10, or $5. Damaged currency is often not accepted at all.
- A dependable travel backpack is worth it’s weight in gold. Not only can it store your important items, but you can take it just about anywhere due to it’s small size. One of the best travel backpacks for exploring is the Osprey Farpoint 40. It has plenty of room for all the items you need for your travels, and is as durable as they come.
Searching for that perfect destination to take your next trip can be a daunting task. We’ve outlined 10 of the top places to go in 2020 that highlight some of the most scenic and rewarding experiences you can find around the globe. From Vietnam to Greece, 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!