From Buenos Aires and Belfast to Mallorca and Morocco, here are the 11 places you should check off your bucket list for the year ahead.
Why: Breathtaking views, incredible hospitality, year-round beauty.
While You’re There: Spend half of your trip at a remote luxury lodge like Blanket Bay or Matakuri, and the other half in Queenstown proper, a lively ski village with direct mountain access. Be sure to grab a burger at Fergberger (it always has a line around the block), have dinner at the cozy Botswana Butchery, and enjoy a cocktail at No. 5 Church Lane, a hip bar inside The Spire, the area’s best boutique hotel.
Why: Wine, of course. The region is proving its resiliency following the wildfires, but it’ll need a tourism boost to help businesses that have suffered. Book a trip and consider it the easiest “good deed” you’ve ever done.
While You’re There: Take the . The area is home to a slew of incredible five-star hotels, so you’ll be well taken care of after all that wine. Among the best? Carneros Resort and Spa, Solage (an Auberge Resort), and Meadowood Napa Valley.
Carneros Resort and Spa
Solage, an Auberge Resort
Meadowood Napa Valley
Why: Because Europeans have always loved it, and Americans are slowly starting to catch on. “The region has been a hotspot for overtourism protests by frustrated locals, resulting in a new cap on Airbnb and hotel beds,” says Travis Katz, CEO and Co-founder of . “The destination is likely to get more expensive, but also more fun to visit with fewer crowds.”
While You’re There: Visit Joan Miró’s studio in the hilltop village Palma, take a vintage wooden train to the quaint northern city of Soller (just 17 miles away), and spend the day at one of Mallorca’s famed beach clubs.
Gran Hotel San Net
Why: “The experience for tourists in Egypt right now is as welcoming and upbeat as I’ve ever seen it,” says founder Geoffrey Kent. “The ability to see the Pyramids without the crowds won’t last long.”
While You’re There: Pay a visit to The Grand Egyptian Museum, also known as The Giza Museum. When it opens this Fall, it’ll be the largest archaeological museum in the world, housing more than 100,000 ancient artifacts. Book a room at the Four Seasons on the West Bank, or leave all the planning to Abercrombie & Kent. The company's 10-day ‘’ experience includes a river cruise and visits to five cities for rates starting at $5,395.
Why: Because safari tourism is tightly controlled here, meaning you won’t be fighting a parade of jeeps to get a view of the wildlife. Also: it’s where .
While You’re There: Book a week at one of the area’s incredible tented camps (there are a lot of great options to choose from) for a once-in-a-lifetime experience that includes private guides, drivers, butlers, and chefs. The experiential travel company that hops from one spectacular location in the country to the next.
Why: Because…. Plus, it’s a calm, quieter alternative to bustling Fez and Marrakech.
While You’re There: Bring your camera. “The blue pearl of Morocco,” as it’s known, is chock full of blue-hued buildings and stunning photo opps. Don’t leave without scooping up woven blankets and vibrant hand-painted pottery.
Lina Ryad and Spa
Why: It’s still exotic and off-the-beaten path, but you don’t need to be a travel trailblazer to go.
While You’re There: Since visitors are legally required to have a guide in Bhutan, you’ll want to enlist the help of one that knows the country well. The luxury tour operator offers a 14-day trip that focuses on history and culture, or the , which caters to adventurous travelers. The destination has a tendency to be physically demanding (think high altitude trekking) but there are a number of fancy accommodations that provide a lavish respite. has five lodges spread throughout the country, and is set to open five of their own throughout 2018.
Six Senses Bhutan
Why: Because people don’t even know about it yet, so you’ll undoubtedly be the first of your friends to go. It’s remote, but not that remote—Bawah is just a three hour flight from Singapore.
While You’re There: The previously uninhabited tiny chain of islands is now home to an uber-luxurious private island resort, which opened in the fall. While you’re there, you can choose to do nothing—or everything. For the latter set, there’s hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, a holistic wellness center, and more.
Why: Named the World Design Capital of 2018, Mexico City is making a wildly impressive post-earthquake comeback. Plus, it’s well placed between New York City and LA, so direct flights are easy to come by.
While You’re There: Culture connoisseurs should plan a trip to The Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Anthropology, and the contemporary-focused Museo Internacional del Barroco, while foodies should take advantage of the city’s out-of-this-world food scene. Be sure to check out perennial favorite Contramar, as well as Restaurante Nicos (go for lunch), and hire a guide to help you navigate the Mercado de la Merced. For shopping, head to the swanky El Palacio de Hierro, a luxury department store that’s chock full of local and international designers.
St. Regis Mexico City
Why: For Art Basel Cities, a spin-off of the famed art fair, which will take place for the second time ever in 2018.
While You’re There: Snag a reservation at Tegui, named one of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants this year, then grab a drink at Crystal Bar located on the 32nd floor of the recently opened in Puerto Madero. Another can’t miss? Rojo Tango at the posh .
Alvear Icon Hotel
Why: The burgeoning city has a rich cultural heritage—and is a hit with Game of Thrones fans.
While You’re There: “No trip to Belfast would be complete without a drive out to the Giant’s Causeway along the Antrim Coast Road, one of Europe’s most scenic drives,” says Geoffrey Kent, who recommends exploring the cosmopolitan city with a local expert (A&K;’s 12-day itinerary starts at $6,495). Another can't miss: the interactive Titanic Museum.
Culloden Estate & Spa