Where to Travel in 2021 : The Top 10 Hottest Destinations for 2021

I think it is safe to say all of our travel plans hit rock bottom in 2020, so now that this year is coming to a close (cheers to that, jetsetters!!!), and we’re popping bottles to a new year and watching the ball drop (even if we’re doing it virtually) let’s talk about some good news! There are some amazing places you can travel right now – as more and more countries have begun to open their borders with new health and safety measures in place and with all the pent-up demand from 2020 as well as a vaccine on the way, and I don’t know about you guys but I’m ready to make BIG PLANS for 2021!

I am hopeful that by the middle of 2021 international travel will not only have become safer, but also more accessible to everyone. Here are some of the most note-worthy destinations to inspire you’re travel planning for the coming year, many of which have already opened their borders to tourists!  

THE MALDIVES

WHY YOU SHOULD GO IN 2021:

As you guys can probably tell, I LOVE the Maldives. The overwater bungalows are the epitome of luxury, and with thriving underwater wildlife right outside your door (or right below your glass bottom bathtub), it’s a dreamy destination any year – but especially after the year we’ve all had. Nothing screams total relaxation and disconnection from the ‘real’ world like sipping drinks on the beach all day or venturing out for a swim with the (friendly) sharks and turtles. The Maldives are also the first country to start a destination loyalty program that launches in 2021, where you can earn points based on the number of visits and the duration of stay! The Maldives have strict restrictions and testing requirements in place to keep the island safe but it IS possible to travel there now with a negative PRC test and pre-booked hotel reservations. If you need more reasons to visit the Maldives check out my complete travel guide here! 

WHO SHOULD GO:

Secluded romantic getaway seekers, honeymooners, families with small children looking for a beach escape. 

WHERE TO STAY:

St. Regis Vommuli for a sleek, modern, opulent five-star private island that epitomizes luxury.

Six Senses Laamu for an off-the-map, five-star deserted private island experience, and a one-of-a-kind focus on sustainability, eco luxury and wellness.

 

COSTA RICA

WHY YOU SHOULD GO IN 2021:

Costa Rica’s government has been recognized again and again for how well they have handled the pandemic. They have the lowest fatality rate in Central America and have recently re-opened borders to American citizens who meet their requirements. For those looking for a sustainable luxury option, Costa Rica checks all the boxes: the country runs on 99.5% clean and renewable energy and now not only has a Four Seasons Resort but many other boutique eco-luxury resorts! For a dreamy secluded jungle house check out this airbnb! 

WHO SHOULD GO:

Couples or families that want the beach but also a little adventure!

WHERE TO STAY:

 

 

 

VIEQUES, PUERTO RICO

Encantada Vieques

WHY YOU SHOULD GO:

When you travel to Vieques Island you will feel like you are stepping back in time, this virtually undiscovered island off the coast of Puerto Rico is how I picture Kauai being 20 years ago. There’s a laid-back feel on the island that makes you feel at home, the roaming wild horses add to the charm. Head to the beach for a day of snorkeling/picnicking and then take a glass bottom kayaking tour through one of the best bioluminescent bays in the world. 

 

WHO SHOULD GO:

Those looking for an undiscovered tropical paradise who aren’t afraid to brave a bumpy dirt road or two (that’s why they made Jeeps people!).

WHERE TO STAY:

Stay at the incredible and private Encantada Vieques Villa or Finca Victoria for treehouses and Ayurvedic healing. The best way to get to Vieques is to take a puddle jumper flight from San Juan International Airport.

 

QUEENSTOWN, NEW ZEALAND

WHY YOU SHOULD GO IN 2021:

Fingers crossed that international travel will be up and running just in time to catch a New Zealand summer (our fall/winter). The best thing about the South Island is that you can make your trip as rustic or as luxurious as you’d like, they have the best of both worlds there! But for me, I’ll take a wine tour through the valley, a helicopter tour of Frans Joseph Glacier, a soak in the Onsen Hot Pools and then maybe an overnight cruise through the Milford Sound (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), please and thank you. When it comes to where to stay in Queenstown you have A LOT of options, get the best views of the lake and mountains from one of the Azur Lodge luxury Villas, or get cozy at the recently renovated Sherwood Hotel that is more centrally located to town and has it’s own Organic/biodynamic farm from which they source all of their ingredients for their restaurant. 

WHO SHOULD GO:

Anyone who loves a combo of nature and luxury experiences! The South Island of NZ has some of the best hiking in the world, along with some of the best Sauvignon Blanc!

Onsen Hot Pools

Onsen Hot Pools

ANTARCTICA

 

WHY YOU SHOULD GO IN 2021:

This year is special, because on December 4th, 2021 there will be a total solar eclipse to be seen from Antarctica! This will not happen again until 2061! This is a once in a lifetime kind of trip, exploring the 7th continent!! You might be wondering how you even get to Antarctica…there are several companies that do Antarctic cruises which set sail from Argentina and can last anywhere from 6-15 days depending on the itinerary you choose! Activities range from whale watching, sea kayaking, glacier hiking, penguins spotting and more!

WHO SHOULD GO:

Adventurous travel enthusiasts who want bragging rights after experiencing a once in a lifetime phenomenon in one of the most unique places on the planet. 

 

TULUM, MEXICO

WHY YOU SHOULD GO IN 2021:

Tulum was one of the few places American tourists could still travel without restriction during 2020, which caused many avid travelers and Instagrammers to flock to the area and remind us all why we fell in love with Tulum in the first place! Maybe it was the perfectly crafted smoothie bowl, the dreamy hippy-chic beach palapas or the clear blue cenotes (underground swimming holes), but for me it was the Mezcal Margs. 

WHO SHOULD GO:

Honeymooners, yoga retreaters or day party seekers.

WHERE TO STAY:

 

 

 

 

 

 

KYOTO, JAPAN

WHY YOU SHOULD GO IN 2021:

This is one to daydream about but keep an eye on because unfortunately Japan just announced they are closing their borders for now. But, when they open again, this should be the top of your list. Before the global shutdown, Kyoto was gearing up to host the 2020 summer olympics, which means that there are many brand new luxury hotels and trains built to accommodate the demand of the games that are currently going unused. The refined and organized culture adds to the natural beauty of Japan, the people are so kind and helpful and the Ramen is next level! The best time of year to visit Kyoto is either in the spring for the cherry blossom season or fall for the gorgeous autumn tones. Explore ancient temples, wonder zen gardens and experience a traditional Matcha tea ceremony! My top stays are the Four Seasons Kyoto or The Hoshinoya Hotel situated on the river. 

WHO SHOULD GO:

Japan can be a romantic getaway or a family affair!

WHERE TO STAY:

The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto of course.

With 134 rooms but the feel of a boutique luxe hotel, The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto offers fine dining at the sleek Mizuki restaurant, and an indoor hotel pool and spa that’s hard to beat in Kyoto.

Check rates for your dates here

Or check into the Kyomachiya Hotel Shiki Juraku

If an intimate villa is more your style, this property has ten historic wooden machiya townhouses on a quiet Kyoto lane that have been exquisitely renovated into minimalist-chic rooms with private gardens, mid-century furniture, abstract artworks and a unique, contemporary Japanese design.

Check rates for your dates here

 

LAKE BLED, SLOVENIA 

WHY YOU SHOULD GO:

Located right next to Italy and named one of the most sustainable countries in the world, Slovenia is often overlooked by tourists, but that is all the more reason to go especially now! With hundreds of mountain lakes, hiking trails and Michelin star restaurants, you’ll find that this nature focused escape is just what you needed after 2020. Slovenia is also home to some of the oldest grape vines in the world, so head to the hills for a day of wine touring and then maybe to Charming Slovenia for a luxury glamping experience!

WHO SHOULD GO:

Travelers looking for the European Alps experience without all the crowds. 

Charming Slovenia Glamping

TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA

Freycinet Lodge, Tasmania

WHY YOU SHOULD GO:

Australia’s more remote cousin is planning on reopening borders to international travelers in 2021, there are talks of Australian Airlines accepting travelers who have had the vaccine. For a less touristed but no less compelling place to experience the Oceanic turquoise waters and diverse forests, Tasmania is a bucket list worthy destination. Stay at the ultra-sustainable Freycinet Lodge where you will dine on world class cuisine and sleep amongst the trees in glass walled forrest bungalows! Or for a little more adventure, hit the world class mountain biking trails in the Lake Derby region and make a pit stop at the Floating Sauna before settling in for a cozy night at The River Cabins.

WHO SHOULD GO:

Nature lovers searching for that remote WOW factor spot!

Floating Sauana

Floating Sauana

THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

WHY YOU SHOULD GO IN 2021:

The BVI’s are some of the most exclusive and least developed islands in the Caribbean. Experience the massive ash grey boulders of Virgin Gorda that are strewn across the beach that make you feel like you’re in the Seychelles without the long haul flight, while there it’s a MUST to stay at Scrub Island, an Autograph Collection resort which has 360 degree views of the Caribbean. Or maybe grab a group of friends and rent a catamaran for a week of island exploration! The BVI’s are currently open to tourists with a negative PCR test within 72 hours of flight. 

Oil Nut Bay

WHO SHOULD GO:

Couples of groups of friends for a castaway-esque experience on deserted white sand beaches.

Check out these related blog posts:

The best honeymoon destinations in the pandemic

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