Elephants at watering hole.
Head to Botswana for prime elephant viewing and incredible landscapes.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Your Adventure Is Waiting: Top 10 Travel Destinations for 2019

Cure Your Wanderlust

Looking ahead into the New Year, you may want to update your bucket list. Forgotten cities are emerging as hipster hot spots, countries with murky pasts are stepping out from the shadows and wowing visitors, and natural phenomena are crying out to be seen before environmental damage spins too far out of control.

They are all demanding travelers’ attention, and for very good reason. These locales are making a name for themselves as the top travel destinations for 2019.


Between deserts and deltas, Botswana has a magical diversity of landscapes and animal life that make it an irresistible country to visit, and threats to the animal kingdom in Botswana mean 2019 is the time to go.

Poaching is driving more and more elephants into Botswana, as the great animals are aware of the danger poachers present, and they know this is the safest country for them (illegal hunting is kept in check here, compared to neighboring countries).

This awareness is leading to more and more elephants seeking shelter in Botswana and staying there, instead of moving across borders back into more northern countries during the year.

With the current population of elephants projected to be cut in half by poaching and hunting in the next eight years, there has never been a better time to go and see them for yourself. Go on a safari in Botswana to increase your chances of seeing these beautiful animals as well as plenty of other incredible wildlife.

Blue train on bridge through the jungle.Take a ride aboard a train and be carried away through the foliage.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has shrugged off the effects of the civil war in its past and is stepping confidently up as one of the top destinations for 2019. Hop aboard one of the cheerfully noisy trains that rattle across the country and be carried away among Ceylon tea plantations, past water buffalo wallowing in ponds and the odd elephant straying out of the jungle.

Eventually, you’ll wind up on a white sand beach you’ll have all to yourself, or in front of one of the many ancient temples that dot the countryside. When you get tired, you can enjoy the generous hospitality of locals, and when you get hungry you can indulge in the flavors of a cuisine you could spend weeks discovering. What’s not to love?

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Overhead view of the Great Barrier Reef and islandWhether you view it from above or take a dive and see it up close, you won't regret visiting the Great Barrier Reef.Photo Credit: Getty Images


Heading ‘down under’ to Australia is a chance to explore flawless beaches, outrageously cool cities (we’re looking at you, Melbourne), and come face-to-face with some of the kookiest wildlife on the planet.

Australia should be high on your to-visit list anyway, but in 2019 you should make sure it’s at the top, as it might be your only chance to see the Great Barrier Reef in all its glory. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most incredible natural wonders on the planet. It spans over 1,500 miles along the coastline of Australia, and is home to thousands of species of colorful fish and other marine life.

Unsurprisingly, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the best diving locations in the world, but if diving isn’t your thing it’s an equally incredible spectacle to see it from above aboard a seaplane.

Unfortunately, rising global sea temperatures are threatening its existence, with large sections of it already succumbing to coral bleaching. Go now, while it is still alive and beautiful, and hopefully come away from your trip with a renewed determination to protect the underwater wonders of the world.

Green boat in shallows on an islandVisit Panama City for its 500th birthday — it's sure to be a colorful celebration for a beautiful city.Photo Credit: Getty Images


Petite Panama manages to squeeze all sorts of tropical treasures into its small borders. From the colorful Caribbean enclave of Bocas del Toro, to the semi-autonomous and perfectly preserved Guna Yala archipelago, all the way to the towering buildings of modern Panama City, this is a country that knows how to delight and surprise visitors.

On August 15, 2019, Panama City will celebrate its 500th birthday — yes, it was founded half a millennium ago. The old quarter of Casco Viejo is getting a makeover in time for the celebrations, with old hotels and palaces being restored and re-painted. This will be one party you don’t want to miss, and it’s a great chance to explore more of Central America.

Wild horses with mountains in backgroundYou may even get acquainted with semi-nomadic shepherds. Photo Credit: Getty Images


Kyrgyzstan has been a name on the lips of many keen trekkers in recent years, and now the word is well and truly out. This Central Asian nation is one of the most exciting countries to visit in 2019. Mass tourism has yet to arrive in Kyrgyzstan, so you’ll get to enjoy the unspoiled natural beauty of the country without the crowds.

Kyrgyzstan is ready to welcome more international visitors in 2019, introducing 2,700 kilometers of newly-marked trekking trails and a surge in community-run tours. This means a wealth of authentic travel experiences, such as homestays, and the possibility to get to know the semi-nomadic shepherds who live in yurts out among rolling pastures and the craggy mountains.

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Colorful street in BulgariaGet your fill of mystery, history and incredible cuisine in Bulgaria.Photo Credit: Getty Images


From hiking through misty mountains to exploring Sofia’s gritty nightlife to sunbathing on golden beaches, Bulgaria has all the essential ingredients for an ultimate travel destination. Throw in some mysterious Communist monuments, gold-domed churches, and a delectable cuisine, and you will find yourself completely under Bulgaria’s spell.

2019 is the perfect time to visit Bulgaria, as it will spend the year celebrating diversity. Plovdiv, famous for the Roman theater in the center of the town, has been nominated as the European Capital of Culture for 2019. There will be year-long activities embracing Bulgarian culture and highlighting the delights of Plovdiv.

Beach at sunset in SamoaLooking to skip the crowds and take in authentic culture?Photo Credit: Getty Images


When it comes to Pacific Island getaways, Tahiti tends to steal the limelight. It’s worth exploring more of what’s on offer in the Pacific, however, as the scattering of Polynesian islands have an abundance of stunning beaches, adventures and culture — usually at a fraction of the price of Bora Bora.

Samoa is an under-the-radar destination that is well and truly off-the-beaten-track. There’s still a wildness to Samoa. Despite the intense natural beauty that bursts forth in the shimmering iridescent seas and intensely green jungles, there aren’t major resort developments or over-the-top tourist attractions.

There’s just a slow pace of life, plenty of warm smiles, and innumerable beaches waiting to be walked.

Bay in SenegalDakar makes for a great entry point to the wondrous destination that is Senegal.Photo Credit: Getty Images


West Africa is emerging as one of the most exciting regions to visit in the world. Senegal in particular is an enticing destination, combining French colonial heritage with surreal natural attractions. Throughout the country you’ll find labyrinthine markets, scenic national parks, and peaceful stretches of coastline that invite you to sink your toes into the sand as you watch the sunset to the sound of the call to prayer.

A shiny and new international airport is opening the way for Senegal to become a hub for exploring more of West Africa, and Dakar is the perfect place to start your adventure. The seaside city of Dakar is an exciting mix of boisterous nightlife and museums packed with traditional West African art.

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Trees in MadagascarNow's your chance to earn your stripes as an adventurer.Photo Credit: Getty Images


Madagascar is wildly different to any other country on Earth. Isolated from the rest of the world, this giant island has evolved in unique ways, leading to culture, flora and fauna that you won’t find anywhere else. Towering baobabs, cheeky lemurs and hiking trails winding through cloud-draped rainforests are just a few of the alluring attractions in Madagascar.

Until recently there has only been a trickle of tourists visiting Madagascar. Get in a visit in 2019 and you’ll earn your stripes as an intrepid adventurer. Tourism infrastructure is limited, which is half the fun of traveling here. You’ll need to hire a private driver and guide, unless you want to contend with the tiny and overcrowded public buses scooting from town to town.

If you brave it though, a journey to Madagascar will be the experience of a lifetime.

Beach with fishing boats in PhilippinesFrom surreal to lagoons to bustling mega cities, the Philippines is an experience you won't soon forget.Photo Credit: Getty Images


The thousands of islands that make up the Philippines are beautiful in their own right. Stop in Manila and dive into one of Asia’s mega cities, visit lush green rice paddies in the northern region or make your way to the surreal lagoons of Palawan in the west. Anywhere you choose to travel in the Philippines will live up to your expectations. However, the top island to visit in 2019 is Boracay.

The idyllic island of Boracay, repeatedly voted the most beautiful beach in the world, has recently undergone a massive cleanup effort. The island was closed to visitors for nearly six months in 2018, as the government worked to upgrade insufficient sewage systems and tackle the plastic problem that had degraded the beach significantly.

Happily, Boracay was declared clean and swimmable in October 2018, and is now ready to welcome visitors again.

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