50 Spectacular Places to Visit Post-Pandemic – Forbes Advisor

More people are being vaccinated everyday and travel is already top of mind. Suddenly, the whole world feels in reach again, even if travel restrictions haven’t quite been lifted yet.

Most travel experts expect travel to re-open incrementally rather than all at once. We’ll see some countries loosening restrictions early on and others late to follow. At your destination, attractions and local protocols will change in phases, too. Remember, even if you’re vaccinated, not everyone else will be when you arrive at your destination.

Some travelers already know exactly where they want to go: canceled trips from earlier that have been rebooked or bucket list trips that seem more urgent after witnessing a global health crisis. For others, it might be more nebulous. Cabin fever might be constant but the details a bit fuzzy.

For anyone who’s having trouble narrowing down where to go, we’re sorry. Our list of fifty spectacular ideas might make it harder. Every single destination on this list is worth visiting—whether now or in the future—and is probably going to add more places to your wishlist. As they say…sorry, not sorry

Alentejo, Portugal

You’ll find one stunning landscape after another in the mostly rural Alentejo province of Portugal. With soft hills and calm-inducing sunsets, you’ll find an easy-going culture and not a lot of stress (exactly what you need after the year we’ve had).

Take things in slowly by cycling past beaches, lighthouses and fishing villages—or head inland for wineries, castles and farmers’ markets. Rent bikes in Évora and design your own route or book a complete package to have luggage transfers and accommodations taken care of for you.


Sitting along the Mediterranean, Algeria offers incredible Roman ruins without any of the crowds. As if that’s not enough, you can also head into the Sahara Desert or Hoggar Mountains to add a dose of nature to your adventure.

Visas are required for entry, but a little paperwork is worth it for access to 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and heart-warming hospitality.

Alta, Norway

Known as the “aurora borealis city”, Alta offers conditions just right for northern lights hunting. Activity is high and, unlike other Scandinavian destinations, it offers a disproportionate number of clear nights for viewing. There are even “arctic dome” hotels (high-end glamping tents with transparent walls) that are friendlier on your waller than glass igloos in other locales.

When you’re this far north, aurora season is longer than you might expect, stretching from September through March. Still, a winter visit is recommended so you can enjoy dog-sledding, snowshoeing and reindeer sleigh rides while you’re there.

Antigua, Guatemala

There’s no denying that Antigua, Guatemala is a touristy destination but its annual Semana Santa (Holy Week, or the week leading up to Easter) celebrations are worth the trip. Every year, locals create gorgeous “carpets” on the street out of colored sawdust, flowers and other materials. These intricate works of art are only viewable for a few hours before religious processions parade over them, destroying them as they go. While you’ll have missed this week in 2021, it’s already time to start planning travel for early 2022!

While this tradition is worth scheduling your trip around, Antigua is lovely the rest of the year, too. The colonial town has beautiful churches to visit, great restaurants and volcanoes to tour right outside town.

Arkansas’ Ozarks

Natural beauty abounds in the northwest corner of Arkansas, where you’ll find the Ozark Mountains. This is one of the largest wilderness areas in the eastern United States, so it’ll come as no surprise that there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, mountain biking and other activities.

What sets this area apart, though, is how many activities there are even if physical pursuits aren’t your strong point. Scenic drives are abundant and head past rivers and waterfalls. You may even see elk. In town, the historic district of Eureka Springs is practically an artisan village and the Great Passion Play is scheduled to resume this spring.

Assam, India

Assam is closer to the Himalayas than the Taj Mahal, which keeps this part of India decidedly off-the-beaten-track. Ecotourism is the main reason to visit, with wild animals a surprising draw. You can search for an Indian one-horned rhinoceros at Kaziranga National Park or explore evergreen forest at the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary.

The same fertile ground that makes it a good home for wildlife also makes the region ideal for agriculture. Add a tea plantation to your stay. The estates are beautiful and can be a great way to enjoy some of the smaller villages in northeast India.

Ayutthaya, Thailand

One thing’s for sure: no one in the West learns about Ayutthaya in history class, despite the fact that it was the largest city in the world in 1700. Most of today’s visitors go to see earlier history, though. The ruins at Ayutthaya Historical Park date back to 1350. The park is expansive and from a different period and culture than renowned Angkor Wat, so don’t write it off before you go.

Trains from Bangkok leave frequently to make the 90-minute trip to Ayutthaya. In fact, most visitors arrive on a day trip but staying the night is even better. You’ll get to see the temples in early morning and late afternoon, when they’re at their quietest. Sunset in particular is beautiful and a great reason not to leave too early.


A lack of travel over the last year has put the spotlight on sustainable tourism as destinations reopen. One country that’s gotten this right for years is Bhutan, where hiring a guide is mandatory to ensure that travelers treat locals, communities and natural or cultural sights with respect. They strive to keep tourism “high yield, low impact.”

While having a guide is good for the Bhutanese, it’s also good for the traveler. Your guide will take care of logistical arrangements which is especially important in a world where travel restrictions are constantly changing. They’ll also tell you stories, add context and help you connect with locals along the way for a more meaningful experience.

Bristol, England

Banksy fans may already be aware of what a great destination Bristol is—the street art is phenomenal—but it’s time for the rest of the world to catch on. Due west from London, Bristol is a mid-sized city with a spirited identity and lively atmosphere.

Narrowing down what to do can be difficult, but visitors should include touring Brunel’s SS Great Britain and the flagship M Shed museum to start. Netflix Bridgerton fans can day-trip to Bath fifteen minutes away to see filming sites in person.

British Virgin Islands

Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on the BVI in 2017, leaving devastating damage in its path that took years to recover. Finally, the British Virgin Islands have rebuilt and reopened with enough infrastructure available that tourists can return and expect most of their favorites to be open.

Choosing which island to stay on can feel overwhelming, but there’s no bad choice. Pick one and stop stressing: You can visit others via day trip thanks to ferries and charter boats. If you truly can’t decide, you can always book a catamaran to sleep on instead of a resort so that your “hotel” room moves with you.

Cairo, Egypt

After numerous delays, this is finally the year the Grand Egyptian Museum is scheduled to open. The new museum will sit just outside the infamous Pyramids of Giza and, unlike the former Egyptian Museum downtown, it will be a gorgeous, modern look at Egypt’s past.

With brand new exhibits and never-seen-before artifacts from recent discoveries in Saqqara and Luxor, this museum will be worth the trip even if you’ve previously visited Egypt. Like all world-class museums, expect to spend a full day (or more) taking in all the exhibits.

Canadian High Arctic

Antarctica tends to get all the attention, but you’ll enjoy many of the same facets if you head to the other pole: an exclusive expedition to untouched nature, breathtaking scenery and astounding wildlife. The Canadian High Arctic also provides a glimpse into Inuit culture and history.

Opting for the Arctic can also be much more accessible. Group packages often meet in Toronto instead of Patagonia so flying is easy. On cruises, seasickness is less of a factor and itineraries start at only a week for travelers pressed for time. Prices are lower, too, despite offering an unforgettable experience.

Canary Islands

If you’re looking for a European getaway but aren’t quite ready to assimilate into city life yet, the Canary Islands can be your perfect solution. Vacation rentals here are common (and affordable) so you have a little extra space when you want privacy. Many have beach access, or even private pools so you can take advantage of the climate.

Tenerife is the largest of the Canaries, making it the obvious choice if you intend to stay awhile. The landscape varies from coastline to volcano to forest, so you’ll never be bored, and there’s everything from party cities to small villages to explore. Pro tip: even if your rental has a kitchen, allow plenty of flexibility to stop in bodegas and tapas bars, too. The Canaries have a cuisine of their own separate from Spain, of which it is a province. Be prepared to savor octopus in every possible permutation imaginable.

Cappadocia, Turkey

Few places manage to blend nature and history in equal proportions but Cappadocia excels. Best known for its moon-like scenery with rock formations referred to as “fairy chimneys”, this part of central Turkey is also home to underground cities that were built for protection during the Arab-Byzantine Wars.

Day tours introduce you to the fascinating history and allow you to explore churches built directly into rocks, some with well-preserved frescoes inside. Hikes of all lengths and difficulties are available for more active travelers while cave hotels, hot air balloon rides and hammams round out your visit.

Colchagua Valley, Chile

One of the four wine regions near the capital city of Santiago, Colchagua Valley is one of the most loved. The terroir is exceptional which is why there are so many award-winning reds, with classic favorites like cabernet sauvignon and merlot as well as carménère, Chile’s flagship varietal.

What moves the Colchagua to the top of the travel list is that it offers so much more than wine alone. In-between tastings, you can enjoy fine dining, luxury hotels and spectacular vistas. At 2.5 hours outside of Santiago, the light pollution is also nearly nonexistent, making it great for stargazing and other astronomical tourism at the Cerro Chamán Observatory.

Doha, Qatar

Because the National Museum of Qatar opened in 2019 and the country closed its borders for the pandemic, most travelers haven’t had the chance to visit this spectacular museum yet. It tells the surprisingly rich story of Qatar’s history and culture and makes a natural complement to the Museum of Islamic Art, also in Doha.

Since the country of Qatar is relatively small—approximately the size of Connecticut—you’re not likely to fly halfway around the world for a visit. Luckily, Qatar Airways makes it easy to include a one- to four-night stopover in your flight itinerary. Since they fly to more than 100 destinations worldwide, it’s an easy way to break up your journey.


The nature island of Dominica isn’t like other Caribbean islands. A trip here is less about beaches and resorts (though they have those) and more about exploring the extensive natural park system. You’ll find volcanoes, forests, freshwater lakes, geothermal activity and waterfalls, with plenty of hikes to enjoy them thoroughly.

Dominica also makes it easy to learn more about the cultural heritage than islands where you stay within resort confines. Head to the Kalinago Barana Autê to get insight on Kalinago traditions from hundreds of years ago. The cultural center shares arts, dancing and demonstrations in a respectful, informative way.

Eastern Shore, Virginia

You might already be familiar with Chincoteague, VA where you’ll find wild ponies and NASA’s Wallops Island. You may not know that’s the northern end of Virginia’s Eastern Shore and the entire region is worth a visit. Along with Chincoteague, the area is home to towns Onancock, Wachapreague and Cape Charles, among others.

Regardless of where you choose to stay, traveling up and down the peninsula will give you opportunities to explore barrier islands, tour a family-run winery and swim the warm, calm waters of Chesapeake Bay. Be sure to sample plenty of local oysters, too (yes, they taste different based on where they were harvested along the shore).

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Honestly, there’s never a bad time to go to the Galapagos but this time might be better than average. With international tourism still somewhat slow, not all cruises are operating due to a lack of passengers. If your voyage is scheduled and confirmed, you’ll have fewer ships to share waters with (and possibly fewer passengers onboard, too).

If all of that sounds a little too unpredictable for you, skip the cruise and book a land-based trip instead. You’ll have to prioritize a handful of islands that best fit your interests. For example, the tortoise breeding center is on Santa Cruz Island but there’s great snorkeling off San Cristobal at Kicker Rock.

Gaspé, Québec

French Canada is so much more than Montreal and Québec City so make this the year you get out of the city and into the province. Unlike its metropolitan neighbors, the Gaspé Peninsula offers small towns, strong heritage and several wilderness areas. The best way to visit is by road trip, which will allow you to stop in villages and national parks along the way.

This region also has incredible cuisine. Expect a blend of classic French with a uniquely Canadian twist, like a bouillabaisse gaspésienne made from local seafood or artisanal chocolate with local balsam fir. Hearty dishes, to keep you warm in cold winters, are also prevalent here.

Gdańsk, Poland

As it is, Poland usually isn’t one of the first places that Americans visit in Europe and Gdańsk is even less on a traveler’s agenda. What a shame that is, since this northern city along the Baltic manages to hit the trifecta of being beautiful, interesting and affordable. New flights from the U.S. to Poland even make it easier to reach.

In Gdańsk, travelers should visit the European Solidarity Center to learn about Polish Communist history. The modern museum includes an audio guide to further explain the solidarity movement. Another new and worthwhile stop is the Museum of the Second World War, which explains another significant piece of Poland’s history.


West Africa can feel intimidating, even for frequent travelers, but Ghana has a stable government and friendly, welcoming locals. Fly into Accra (nonstop from New York JFK) and dive in. Bustling markets, Atlantic beaches and nightlife can keep you busy for days before you head to Ghana’s rainforest or savannah safaris.

No trip to Ghana would be complete without a visit to the Cape Coast and acknowledgment of its position as a major hub in the slave trade. Learning about this part of history shows how far we’ve come as a world—and reminds us how far we still have to go.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The new Museum of Underwater Art can be found down under…literally. A series of sculptures has been installed underwater off the coast of Townsville, Australia, giving scuba divers yet another reason to plan a visit to this classic favorite destination.

Although it’s possible to snorkel at the “Coral Greenhouse” exhibit in John Brewer Reef, diving will give you a closer look. Take time now, before Australia’s borders are open anyway, to get certified and/or brush up on your skills.


Guyana is South America’s only English-speaking country but ironically it’s mostly untouched by tourism. Hop on a nonstop flight—it’s about four hours from Miami or six from New York—and then strap on an adventure mindset. It’s easy to arrive and communicate, but it’s distinctly off-the-beaten-path. Don’t expect luxury or a seamless transition.

Travelers who put in the effort will be rewarded with some of the most impressive nature you’ll ever see. Kaieteur Falls is the highest single-drop waterfall in the world and there are striking mountainous landscapes as well. Wildlife-watching is also a draw, with possible sightings including giant river otters, giant anteaters or potentially even jaguars.

Harbin, China

Every winter, there are dirt cheap airfares from the U.S. to China and now you have a reason to go: Harbin’s International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is the largest and most elaborate in the world. A modified version was held in 2021, so it’s relatively safe to expect it’ll occur again in 2022.

Although this festival is amazing every year, the timing of next year’s event lines up well to combine with a trip to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, an easy two-hour flight south.

Istria, Croatia

Foodies should consider Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula for their next taste-testing vacation. As the crow flies, you’re practically in Italy; in fact, there’s a ferry that runs between Venice and Pula, Croatia. You’ll find truffles, olive oil, prosciutto, wine and all types of seafood, plus delicacies that are 100% Croatian.

This region is popular with European travelers, but Americans are only just beginning to visit. If you go, be sure to split your time between a coastal city (such as Rovinj or Pula) and inland villages (hill-top Motovun is a favorite).

Jujuy, Argentina

Head to the province of Jujuy in Argentina’s Andes mountains to see a side of the country most people have never heard of. The scenery is mind-blowing, with a unique combination of mountains and desert. Colorful peaks, like the Cerro de Siete Colores in Purmamarca and Serranía de Hornocal in Humahuaca, pop like rainbows under the right lighting conditions.

It’s not just about the scenery and the outdoors, though. The Pucará de Tilcara is a set of pre-Incan fortifications, some of which have been rebuilt. Go to tour the ruins and learn more about the Omaguaca who lived here during the twelfth century.


For such a small country, Luxembourg packs a big punch. You can drive from top to bottom in just over an hour, but in-between you’ll see medieval castles, untouched nature and historic tunnels. Stay in Luxembourg City if you want to see the old and new juxtaposed or head to fairytale Vianden if you prefer a smaller town.

Believe it or not, Luxembourg has its own airport with flights to numerous European cities. However, since it borders Belgium, France and Germany, it can be equally easy to drive in as part of a road trip. Highways and other infrastructure make it easy to visit on your own.


Choosing a country for safari can be overwhelming, especially since almost everywhere is likely to be amazing. What makes Kenya stand out is the ability to book a trip at a more reasonable cost. Generally speaking, Kenya’s park fees are a bit lower than its neighbors and most parks have nearby budget lodges for travelers who want something in-between outright camping and a luxury stay.

Don’t think you’re skimping on animal sightings, though. Although the Serengeti in Tanzania is best known for the annual “great migration,” the exact same herds cross the border into Kenya at the Masai Mara National Reserve every summer.

Lombok, Indonesia

Move over, Bali. Lombok is where you should head if you want tropical relaxation without being overrun by tourists and global brands. You’ll find surf breaks, a looming volcano, waterfalls, beaches and temples.

Right now, flights to Lombok are only from a handful of international gateways, such as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur (most people fly or ferry in from elsewhere in Indonesia). Because of that, Lombok is relatively untouristed…for now.

Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana

Botswana’s zebra migration isn’t well-known, perhaps because it was hindered for decades by cattle fencing that previously cut off migration routes. Now, the fences have been removed and 25,000 or more zebras migrate each year to take advantage of lush, green feeding grounds.

Booking a trip to see this spectacular sight is best done with a knowledgeable safari agent. Since the zebras are on the move, you’ll need an expert to tell you where to go based on your exact timing. Be aware the migration is most dramatic during the low (rainy) season, so choosing navigable routes and finding open lodges is also a consideration.

Milos, Greece

The Greek isles will always be beloved by travelers but do yourself a favor and skip the most-heavily visited islands this year. Milos, while certainly not “undiscovered,” is less crowded than other islands and cruise ships rarely stop here.

Milos is best known for the stark white Sarakiniko Beach but the Catacombs of Milos and Kleftiko Caves are equally worthwhile. And, like all Greek isles, don’t underestimate how much time you’ll want for swimming, sunbathing, wining, dining and chasing the sunset.

Moab, Utah

With two national parks in and around Moab, this city deserves to be on a travel list every year. This year, it’s especially inviting since there’s a whole new way to arrive. The Rocky Mountaineer train launches this year, taking travelers on a scenic journey from Denver to Moab or vice versa.

The luxury journey includes views of places you can’t see from the road, including Ruby Canyon on the way toward Arches National Park. Once in Moab, you’ll want to spend a few days taking in the red rock landscape the area is known for as well as scenic rivers, forests and mountains nearby.

Oruro, Bolivia

The Oruro Carnival is a party like no other. Held each winter, the festival blends Catholic rituals with local Indian rituals for an extravagant, colorful festival. The parades are exceptionally long, lasting up to twenty hours, and feature folk dancing, music and elaborate costumes like nowhere else in the world.

Outside of Carnival festivities, Oruro is a small, sleepy town without a lot of tourist attractions. However, it pairs perfectly with Sajama National Park outside town, where you’ll find the
snow-capped Sajama Peak, geysers, hot springs and prehistoric rock paintings.

Puebla, Mexico

There are 365 churches in Puebla, one for each day of the year. There are also several art museums, a dozen restaurants that claim to have the best mole and one stunning view of a smoking volcano in the distance. Puebla is giving Mexico City a run for its money and is only two hours away.

The university town of Cholula, about 12km away, is nearly always combined with Puebla and for good reason. The Great Pyramid here is a huge draw for travelers and is worth climbing to the top as well as touring the underground tunnels. It’s also excellent for dining and nightlife, with more trendy options than you’ll find in Puebla itself. For an authentic Cinco de Mayo celebration, look no further. Puebla is the only city in Mexico that actually celebrates the holiday.

Queenstown, New Zealand

If being stuck in your own home for a year has you antsy, head straight to New Zealand’s adventure capital. Queenstown offers everything from bungee jumping to riverboarding to satiate your need for adrenaline.

Once you’ve checked a few activities off your bucket list, you can enjoy Queenstown’s gentler pursuits. This small city on the South Island is also great for scenic lake cruises, fly fishing, golfing and more. The Kiwi Birdlife Park will let you get up close and personal to New Zealand’s most famous bird.


Go ahead, pull out a map. Saipan is in the Northern Mariana Islands, in a part of the Pacific often forgotten about. It was an important World War II battle site and travelers can easily visit the exact location of historical events with a rental car. The American Memorial Park Visitor Center, a National Park Service site, can provide context and directions.

As you’d expect from an island, there are also glorious beaches and amazing diving, including one site with a sunken WWII plane wreck.

Salento, Colombia

If you haven’t been to Colombia’s coffee country yet, it’s time to consider a visit to Salento. This mountain town makes a convenient base for side trips to organic coffee plantations, the Cocora Valley (known for its iconic wax palms) and Los Nevados National Park.

Within town, you’ll want to walk the colorful Calle Real and visit the Plaza de Bolivar Salento, which are great excuses to constantly pull out your camera. Outside of town, most tours focus on outdoor adventures: hiking or multi-day treks, mountain biking, paragliding and horseback riding.


Samoa gets very little tourism compared to other parts of Polynesia. Perhaps because of that, their culture shines brightly. The Fa’a Samoa (or Samoan Way) isn’t something fake or exaggerated for tourists. As a visitor, you will be welcome to observe and participate in local customs.

This is the type of destination where you should go out of your way to support local businesses. Choose small restaurants, personalized tours and family-run hotels and avoid international chains. The beaches and tropical paradise might entice you to Samoa, but the warm hospitality will make you long to return.

Sayulita, Mexico

Easily accessible from Puerto Vallarta’s airport (PVR), Sayulita feels a world apart from this tourist center. Like Tulum was before Instagram discovered it, Sayulita has the tourist amenities and services that vacationers want without losing its Mexican identity entirely. Enjoy it responsibly so that visitors in years to come will be able to enjoy it as well.

While surfing is what first brought tourism to Sayulita, there’s also fishing, snorkeling and shopping for local Huichol art. If you’re willing to put in a little effort, you’ll still find virgin forest and hidden beaches or maybe even the city’s best street tacos.

Sydney, Australia

Australia did a great job of keeping life normal so when they finally reopen their borders to international visitors, you can guess that there will be plenty to do. While there are plenty of must-see sights for first-timers, the real draw to Sydney is the events and festivals you’ll find. There’s always something to do.

One of the city’s best annual events is Vivid Sydney, which features outdoor light installations and projections across the city for an immersive experience. Music and other performances encourage you to explore beyond Sydney’s main landmarks and discover a new neighborhood to return to in the future.

Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei is a foodie’s dream. There are Michelin-star restaurants, hole-in-the-wall eateries and street food 24 hours a day, each with delicious delicacies to offer. Start your day with pineapple cakes and oolong tea and work your way toward beef noodle soup and black pepper buns. Or head into one of the shrimping bars on Zhìshàn Road, where you literally catch your own dinner.

Of course, you have to do something other than just eat, and Taipei excels at that, too. Hit up the city museums and temples, do some shopping or day trip to Beitou for hot springs and hiking.

Telluride, Colorado

New routes and increased frequencies to Montrose airport have made Telluride more accessible than ever before. This small town in western Colorado has gorgeous mountain scenery with a wide assortment of active pursuits but a new twist compared to resort towns like Vail or Aspen that you may have been to before.

The best part about Telluride is that it’s lovely in both winter and summer. Choose to ski with shorter lift lines and varied terrain at Telluride Ski Resort. In summer, activities include favorites like hiking and off-roading. Plus, in either case, you’ll find great dining and cocktail options to round out your trip.

Tufi, Papua New Guinea

Realistically, anyone who goes all the way to Papua New Guinea will likely head to multiple areas but Tufi should be one of them. The pristine town sits next to a fjord (here, fjords are referred to as rias and were formed by ancient volcanic eruptions).

The scenery is only the beginning. You could easily fill a whole trip with diving alone with world-class sites and tremendous visibility. In addition to being known for macro diving, there are also rare white hammerhead sharks, wrecks and schooling barracuda.


East Africa is best known as a safari destination, but Uganda bucks the trend. Sure, you can see incredible wildlife here (and absolutely should) but it offers a more well-rounded travel experience. The country has stunning crater lakes, wild whitewater rafting and multi-day treks in the Rwenzori Mountains.

Among the places you shouldn’t miss on your first visit are Queen Elizabeth National Park, home to tree-climbing lions, and Murchison Falls National Park, one of the most powerful cascades in the world.


With a mild climate, Uruguay makes for a year-round destination with more variety than you could possibly fit in a week. The coastline tends to get the most attention, and with Punta del Este’s fabulous beaches and epic nightlife, it’s no wonder that’s where many travelers start.

Other highlights of the country include picturesque Colonia, a UNESCO World Heritage site for its many historic buildings and idyllic cobblestone streets. An hour away, the town of Carmelo has been up and coming for a few years now but hasn’t quite taken off. Go now, while you can still enjoy the peaceful countryside, blossoming wine scene and steakhouses galore.


Travelers who wish to explore Central Asia will find Uzbekistan to be one of the easiest -stans for independent tourism. The capital city of Tashkent’s metro system is both convenient and beautiful and high-speed rail links the city to other must-visit destinations like Samarkand and Bukhara.

Mosques and mausoleums dazzle with intricate designs, making the architecture a draw as much as its Silk Road history and culture. Slightly off the standard tourist trail, the Western Tien Shan mountains are perfect for hiking, mountain biking and skiing. On the other side of the country, the nearly-dry Aral Sea hosts a bewildering graveyard of former cargo ships.

Valdez, Alaska

Valdez offers an incredible microcosm of all that Alaska has to offer: glaciers, fjord cruises, salmon and halibut fishing, sea kayaking, hiking and wildlife-watching. It’s also a photographer’s dream. The drive-in on the Richardson Highway will leave you gaping at the scenery.

Since this small city isn’t on most first-timers’ radar, it’s not terribly busy even in peak season, but services are limited and you’ll need to make reservations in advance for hotels and tours. When you do, allow some flexibility for bad weather. Valdez gets a lot of rain (and snow), which keeps waterfalls looking spectacular all year long.

Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Waiheke Island is close enough to Auckland to make it a day trip but smart travelers will allow more time. There are over two dozen vineyards on this island, all of which are worth sampling. Olives are also grown here, thanks to hot summers, and olive oil tasting is an unexpected addition to your New Zealand experience.

When you need a break from your culinary experiences, Waiheke Island is also a terrific destination for biking or bushwalking. You can slow down entirely by heading to one of the island’s beaches, too. The coast on the north side of the island is typically best for white sand and swimmable waters.

Walt Disney World, Florida

Disney’s 50th-anniversary festivities begin October 1, 2021 and are expected to last 18 months, giving you plenty of time to join the party. Specific celebrations haven’t been announced yet, but you can expect magical entertainment, specially-themed souvenirs and treats and new park decor.

Waiting until 2022 for the initial crowds to lessen may actually be in your favor, especially since some favorite festivities like fireworks and parades are currently paused. Holding out for smaller crowds may also speed up your wait time on new rides like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT.

Bottom Line

Every week, we get a little closer to traveling again. More people get vaccinated every day and Covid-19 cases are thankfully dropping. As these trends continue, the ability to travel will become more of a reality and these destinations will be waiting. Which one you choose for your first post-pandemic trip…well, that’s up to you.