Half of the fun of taking a trip is dreaming and planning about where you will go next. We’ve rounded up the best vacation destinations for every type of traveler. Be inspired as you browse for places to add to your bucket list!
Jeju Island, South Korea
Jeju Island is often called the ‘Hawaii of South Korea’ and for good reason. The volcanic Hallasan mountain, Korea’s tallest mountain, stands at the center of the island, surrounded by a national park with numerous hiking trails ripe for exploring. The island’s wild coast is dotted with waterfalls and Jeju also boasts the longest lava tube in the world. Many flock here for cherry blossom season which usually falls in the first half of April, although summertime brings sunny days that are great for hiking and the gorgeous fall colors make autumn a nice time to visit as well. The tourist boom has led to many interesting and quirky attractions popping up on Jeju, including the Jeju Glass Castle Theme Park, The World Seashell Museum and Jeju Loveland - South Korea’s only sex-themed park.
However, the natural beauty is the real reason to come here. Highlights including hiking to the to the peak of Seongsan Ilchulbong, a dormant volcano, to watch the sun rise over the ocean, hiking the Olle Trails which cover much of the island, and watching the famous haenyeo which are female free-divers unique to Jeju. You can see them, with their bright orange buoys, diving for the catch of the day regardless of the weather.
The British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands were heavily hit by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, which left massive destruction in their wake. As a result, tourism has declined significantly throughout this stretch of 60+ gorgeous islands in the Caribbean and they are only now starting to recover. In the past two years, attractions and accommodations have begun to re-open, and various organizations have worked to re-plant indigenous trees and help repair the damaged coral reefs. The islands are known for their reef-lined beaches that are perfect for snorkeling and diving. It’s also a popular destination for yachting. The largest island, Tortola is home to the Sage Mountain National Park with its gorgeous rainforest, as well as the capital of the British Virgin Islands, Road Town. Meanwhile, Virgin Gorda has a popular beach with a unique labyrinth of beachside boulders. Some of the not-miss things to do while visiting the British Virgin Islands include water-skiing in Cane Garden Bay, diving at Rhone National Marine Park and snorkeling at Loblolly Bay Beach on Anegada Island.
Bangkok, Thailand’s sprawling and vibrant capital city offers the opportunity to experience centuries-old cultural attractions, party late into the night and sample cuisines from Thailand and around the world. Spend your day exploring the ancient temples around Bangkok, wandering the many markets or window shopping at one of its glassy, multi-floored shopping malls. Bangkok is certainly an attractive foodie destination and there’s something for every budget. So, whether you choose to dig into a plate of delicious street food, or sit down to a high-class hotel buffet, there’s something here for you!
As a major airline hub city, Bangkok is also a jumping off-point for exploring the rest of Thailand and Southeast Asia with numerous daily flights departing for the beachy destinations of Southern Thailand, the hill-tribe inhabited mountain towns of Northern Thailand and countless attractive international destinations. Where you go next is only limited by your imagination!
Kyoto is a place where vestiges of the ancient exist right alongside the shiny developments of the modern world. You’ll find age-old Shinto shrines and relaxing rock gardens set right beside massive modern shopping malls and high-end hotels. One of the top reasons people come to Kyoto is to visit the magical Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. A wander through the soaring bamboo is an experience akin to being transported to another world and is well worth a visit!
Kyoto was Japan’s capital and the residence of the emperor up until 1868 and even though many wars and fires have caused destruction to its historic structures, numerous temples, shrines and other significant historical spots are still intact. Spend your days exploring classical Buddhist temples, gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and old wooden houses. When you’re ready for refreshments, you can experience kaiseki dining which is a traditional multi-course dinner made up of precise, beautifully plated dishes.
Fiji is a chain of more than 300 islands in the South Pacific. Famous for its stunning beaches, clear lagoons, coral reefs and rugged landscapes, Fuji is one of the best vacation destinations in the world. Here, you’ll find something for everyone whether you prefer to have your every need attended to at a high-class resort, are looking for a getaway for the whole family or are budget-minded backpackers, these islands have it all. Fiji offers visitors the perfect island getaway with seemingly endless white sand beaches, turquoise waters and exciting jungle rivers as well as an authentic culture and generally welcoming locals. Highlights of a visit to Fiji include learning to dive, taking multi-day hikes into the inner parts of the island, snorkeling on the coral reefs, white water rafting or simply relaxing on one of the many unspoilt beaches. It’s truly paradise.
Lapland, the northernmost region of Finland is a vast, wilderness area known for its ski resorts and exciting arctic natural wonders such as the Northern Lights and the midnight sun. Rovaniemi is the capital of the area, the official home of Santa, and the jumping-off point for exploring the region. Most popular when it’s snowy, Lapland is a veritable winter wonderland in the cold months. From playing in the snow to every exciting and adventurous cold-weather activity you could dream of, there’s winter fun to be had! Snowmobiling, dog-sledding, snowshoeing, skiing and reindeer safaris are all on the itinerary here. After all that frigid exploring, you’ll certainly want to relax in a hot tub or sauna. There’s even a sauna gondola at the ski resort in Ylläs.
Plus, the accommodation options range from usual to the incredibly unique which make for the perfect Instagrammable vacation. Stay in a hotel made entirely of snow and ice, or a glass igloo where you can hope to see the northern lights. Northern Lights sightings can never be guaranteed, but Finnish Lapland is one of the main places in the world that people visit to try and catch them.
Croatia, a small country in Southeast Europe was long off the tourist radar but has made headlines in recent years as Europe’s fastest growing holiday destination. However, even now it doesn’t feel crowded with tourists. It’s still possible to enjoy untainted Mediterranean islands and have authentic cultural experiences here. Others come for location tours of spots from the Game of Thrones series.
The country has a lot to offer. There’s well-preserved historic cities such as Dubrovnik where you’ll feel as if you are stepping back into Old Europe as well as a modern capital, Zagreb, with it’s art museums and vibrant music scene. However, we really come here for the nature, and Croatia offers experiences in the untamed outdoors in abundance. Explore the karst wilderness of Paklenica and wonder at the tree-lined lakes and waterfalls in Plitvice Lakes. Make sure to leave time to explore the islands off the coast of Croatia. There are nearly 100 islands, all surrounded by the clearest water you can imagine.
Costa Rica has led the charge in green travel. If you are an eco-minded individual wishing to travel the world while minimizing your impact on the environment, this is the perfect vacation destination for you. Adventure activities are available at every turn. You’ll find yourself rafting down the rapids of one of the country’s jungle rivers, hiking volcanoes, relaxing in hot springs, rock climbing, and watching wildlife. The beaches certainly won’t disappoint either, whether you are surfing the iconic waves of the western coast near Tamarindo or enjoying the calmer, turquoise water of the Caribbean shore, this is a beach-lovers paradise.
Portland, Oregon is known as a hipster haven and is famous for its quirky, indie spirit. ‘Keep Portland Weird’ is plastered all around town and they mean it - this is truly a spot that celebrates creativity and self-expression.
If you’re looking for a good pub crawl, Portland will certainly not disappoint and it’s foodie scene is unmatched. The city is home to James Beard after all! Craft breweries, unique, locally owned restaurants and some of the best coffee shops in the country will keep you fully sated for your whole trip. You’ll need the fuel too as you explore the city’s numerous independent bookstores like the massive Powell’s City of Books, take in an exhibit at the Portland Art Museum or the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, or get in touch with your spiritual side at the tranquil Portland Japanese Garden. There’s plenty of opportunity to get out into nature and explore the outdoors around Portland too, with Mount Tabor located just east of downtown, and Mt. Hood, the Hood River and Multnomah Falls just a bit further afield.