Get ready to call your travel planner. It’s time to start planning next year’s travel wish list.
Lonely Planet released its list of best destinations to travel to for the year ahead. The list is divided into several categories, including the top 10 countries, cities, regions and value destinations.
“These are the places you shouldn’t miss next year,” said Lonely Planet’s U.S. magazine managing editor Alex Howard. “From Alaska to South Africa, our community of travel experts have named the top places to experience. Whether they’re coming into their own, celebrating an anniversary or have seen a resurgence in recent years, all these destinations are worth a visit in 2018.”
Topping the list of countries this year is Chile. From the wonders of the Atacama Desert to sipping wine in the wine region to exploring the country’s adventurous side, it’s no surprise this country is at the top of the list. It’s is an ideal time for Chile to be recognized by the world.
The country created a massive national parkearlier this year and added four new marine reserves to its preservation efforts, giving visitors more places to check out. While the natural beauty of Chile is front and center, the second destination on the list has a more urban feel.
Known for its futuristic capital city, South Korea is hosting one of the world’s premier sporting events next year. The 2018 Winter Olympics will take place in Pyeongchang, giving travelers a new side of Korea to discover that is decidedly more outdoor oriented.
However, modernity will still be on display as a new high-speed train will whisk visitors to the slopes during the games.
Following South Korea is Portugal. American travelers are becoming more acquainted with Spain’s coastal neighbor, traveling to the country in droves. The country’s new recognition on the Lonely Planet list is sure to take it’s newfound popularity to the next level.
One of the more off-the-beaten-path destinations on the Lonely Planet list is Djibouti. The African nation is a geological wonder where “martian-like deserts” give way to intoxicating culture, beaches and a view into the wrath of Mother Nature.
From Africa, the list taps New Zealand as it’s fifth country. The island nation has moved beyond Middle Earth and visitors are rediscovering its wild side, with extraordinary hiking, access to natural beauty, incredible topography and more.
The country began promoting a new tourism campaign that provides visitors with a closer look at the country’s regional offerings, giving travelers access to more in-depth experiences.
Malta, number six on the list, is also on the verge of a surge in tourism. It is an extremely tourist-friendly island that is easy to navigate and bursting with history and a culture all its own.
Lonely Planet lauds the archipelago for its “prehistoric temples,” its 17th-century fortifications and intricate underground catacombs.
Georgia is on the list in the seventh spot. For those looking for the foodie destination on the list, this may be it. According to Lonely Planet’s assessment of the country, we will likely be hearing a lot more about Georgia’s wine region.
At number eight is Mauritius. As the second African destination on the list, it’s clear a resurgence of travel to Africa is just getting started.
Travelers will want to head to Mauritius for “watery fun” that includes diving, kitesurfing, sea kayaking, lagoon cruises and more.
China is number nine on Lonely Planet’s list. China seems to be the hub of tourism in Asia, driven by a booming middle class eager to see the world. But the country is also drawing in visitors and expanding its reach beyond traditional tourism hubs such as Xian, the Great Wall and Yangtze River cruising.
The final country in the list of 10 is South Africa. Long known for stunning safaris and beautiful beaches, in 2018, South Africa will ‘Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018: Be the Legacy’ with a roster of events throughout the year.