I always love sharing travel ideas for the new year, but now that it’s a new decade I wanted to do this post a little differently. I’m sharing a mix of the most incredible places we’ve experienced (and highly recommend) as well as places that I’m dreaming of seeing sooner than later.
Top Travel Destinations 2020
I’m currently working on booking my next flight, and I hope this post can inspire you to do the same! We’re aiming to do some road trips through Slovenia and New England but who really knows where the year will take us. Maybe one of the destinations below will steer us in a different direction.
Lapland is Finland’s northernmost region, and though it’s beautiful year-round, I think it really shines in the winter. Picture visiting a place that has more reindeer than people, spending your nights in an arctic treehouse, and possibly catching the northern lights.
During the day you can explore by dog sled or jump into Santa’s sleigh so the reindeer can show you around town. Lapland is as close to a winter wonderland that I can imagine and I hope I can experience it all one day.
Intrigued by what an arctic treehouse looks like? Check out the incredible hotel in Rovaniemi, the capital city in Lapland. Click here to book.
I’ve been wanting to visit Poland for some time now. It is one of the more affordable destinations to visit in Central Europe. Poland overall offers tons of history and picturesque cities but for some reason, Gdańsk is at the top of my list.
Maybe it’s because of its remarkable architecture or because it’s a small port city that hasn’t been overrun by American tourists yet. Whatever the reason, my camera and I can’t wait to see it.
The legend of Dracula can still be heard throughout this region in Romania. But what’s really calling my name in Transylvania are the medieval towns, nature drives, and beautiful scattered castles.
Plus, Romania is also another affordable destination you can add to your list! Are you seeing a trend here? Your girl is trying to save some money…
With towns like Sibiu, Brasov, and Sighisoara there’ll be no shortage of things to see. Like this crazy cool place that looks like a gnome village called Castelul de Lut Valea Zanelor (photo below) near Sibiu.
As Jorge and I were discussing the most memorable travel moments of 2019, we both kept going back to Germany. This country surprised us in all the best ways and we know that one day we need to make our way back there.
We specifically loved the Mosel and Rhine area, which are right next to each other and very simple to travel by car or train. Read more about Germany and see more photos in this post HERE.
Oh beautiful Slovenia, how did I barely learn about you in the last few months? As Jorge and I were searching for “cheaper” places to visit in Europe, he came across Slovenia. I had seen pictures of it before but had never looked further into it.
When I started digging, I quickly realized that we needed to make Slovenia happen. In this tiny but stunning country, you’ll find Lake Bled, a wonderful wine region, nature drives through the alps, seaside towns, and all at better prices than the neighboring countries.
Tuscany, Rome, Lake Como, my list can go on and on for places to visit in Italy. Everyone should experience Italy at least once. This is hands down our favorite country and one we keep returning to (5 times and counting).
If you have time, I recommend a long road trip through Tuscany to sample all the wines and experience the beautiful towns.
If you’re looking for incredible food, I recommend Rome or Naples. Each time we explore these cities we manage to spend very little money and eat a ton of tasty dishes. Think more popular street food and less tiny portions at high-end restaurants.
Did you know you can go on a safari tour in Wyoming?? Whattt! You don’t have to get 72 vaccinations to experience something like this in Africa, you can just book a somewhat similar experience in Grand Teton National Park or Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA.
The tours will take you on excursions to spot moose, bison, grizzly and black bears, wolves, elks, and more. I think that’s such a unique experience and one to consider if you’re traveling in the US. Check out one of the best-rated tours HERE.
Finger Lakes, New York
Last fall, I was trying to figure out where we can visit in the USA that was within driving distance to Chicago (to us driving distance is anything less than 12 hours). That’s when I learned that there’s this whole other part to New York outside of NYC haha!
Finger Lakes is just a 9-hour drive from Chicago but you’ll feel like you’ve landed in another country. They have more than 100 wineries, cheese trails, chocolate trails, waterfalls and it’s the perfect place for a road trip.
I had San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato on my bucket list for years before I finally made it happen last Thanksgiving. It was everything I pictured it to be. It’s the safest city to visit in Mexico and one of the most beautiful in the country.
Considering it’s in Mexico, it’s also very affordable. But when visiting Guanajuato make sure you include Guanajuato City in the itinerary. This colorful city is very different from San Miguel but charming in its own way. Here you’ll find fewer tourists, more layered architecture, and even cheaper prices!
Have you heard of Iceland? Haha, I’m sure you have! We were lucky to visit this magical place back in 2016 before they had to start implementing a ton of rules on tourists. But even with the rules, which are in place for good reason, Iceland is still worth a trip.
I recommend renting a camper (try to split the cost with friends) and driving the ring road on your own. We visited in May and the weather was mostly perfect, though we did hit some snow in northern Iceland.
This country and its many natural wonders will make you feel like you’re on another planet, and it’s also been listed as the safest country in the world several years in a row. Great place for family travel! Read more about it HERE.
During our time in the U.K., we only had enough days to drive through the Isle of Skye, but that little taste of the Scottish Highlands made me want so much more.
The Isle of Skye is located on the west coast of the Highlands and it offers hilly landscapes, scenic fishing villages, and medieval castles. Plus, all the goats, sheep, cows, hairy coos you can imagine just wandering along the roads.
While there we stayed in this fantastic bed and breakfast called Carter’s Rest (photo below). The B&B is within driving distance to a lot of great stops in Skye including the famous Neist Point Lighthouse. Check the latest prices here.
If you’re on a short trip to Scotland and are hitting the big cities like Edinburgh, Isle of Skye is a 5-hour drive away but it’s a whole other spectacular scene.
If you have more time in Scotland, I suggest you plan a scenic road trip through the highlands starting in the Isle of Skye and making your way around the North Coast 500 route. This route is over 500 miles long and ends at Inverness Castle.
How to Find Flights & Hotels
I briefly wanted to share some of my favorite sites to book flights and hotels in case you were looking for ideas on that as well. For flights, I always check prices on multiple search engines including Skyscanner, Google Flights, and Momondo.
I use their explore or discover tabs because it allows me to put “Anywhere/Everywhere” for my destination to get an idea of the cheapest place to fly into.
Many times we can get from one country to another for under $50 while in Europe (or Mexico) so I always try to choose the cheapest way in. When I find a good deal I try to book directly with the airline just in case any issues arise.
For hotels, I do my searches on Tripadvisor to read honest reviews and compare different site prices all at once. I tend to book with Hotels.com or Booking.com because I can usually find coupon codes.
Airbnb is also a huge player in my booking decisions. If the prices are better for any given city and the apartment is in a good area, I’ll go with Airbnb.
Was I able to spark some wanderlust in you? I’d love to hear what places you’re dreaming of for your 2020 travels!
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