Where are you off to in 2018? As 2017 inevitably shuts its doors, be one step ahead by planning out your new year’s adventures now. Doing so avoids stressful last minute flight bookings, missed travel opportunities, and of course, the infamous #FOMO (which stands for the “fear of missing out”, in case you’re missing out). So before you book that flight ticket and pack your bags, scour through this list of emerging travel destinations suggested by the world’s leading travel experts. Whether you’re dreaming of bucolic settings, fascinating culture spots, or bustling nightlifes, take your pick among this diverse list and have your best year of travel yet.
Stunning coastlines, old historical structures, and divine cuisine aren’t the only reasons why you should visit this stunning archipelago. Malta’s capital Valetta will be hosting the title of the European Capital of Culture 2018, which brings in a year-long festival of exciting events. While you’re hopping from one event to another, take your time exploring its main cities of Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua. If you’re craving for nature spots, dive into the stunning blue waters of the Blue Lagoon or take a stroll by the picturesque Valetta waterfront. What sets Malta apart from other Mediterranean getaways, besides its vast selection of activities and its rich history, is its English-speaking citizens — almost everyone is able to converse in English as it is the nation’s second language.
2. New Zealand
You don’t have to be a The Lord of the Rings fan to want to visit New Zealand. With a population of roughly 5 million people, New Zealand is not only loved by travelers for its unspoiled nature destinations, but for its uncrowded cities and friendly locals, too. If you’re stepping foot on the Land of the Long White Cloud, grab the opportunity to learn about the rich Māori culture, taste the nation’s divine food and wine, and witness breathtaking nature sceneries. To name a few, some of New Zealand’s most loved nature spots include the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, and Mt. Cook. If you’re looking for a different kind of adrenaline, party it up in the buzzing nightlife of the famous Queenstown. With the myriad of exciting things to do, New Zealand welcomes just about any kind of traveler — making it hard from them to leave, too.
If author Mark Twain once wrote, “Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius,” it’s safe to say you should book a flight to this nation at least once. Mauritius, an East African island in the Indian Ocean, is known for its fine white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and delectable gourmet cuisine. Perfect for nature lovers, experience its many nature reserves, botanical gardens and water sports. While you’re not basking in a tropical paradise or devouring their local cuisine, step food outside your luxury hotel and take a trip to their must-see Indian temples, specifically Maheswarnath Shiv Mandir, Ganga Talao, and Sagar Shiv Mandir. With a size that’s just about twice of Hong Kong’s, make the most out of your stay in Mauritius by allotting one to two weeks of travel. Besides its nature destinations, you can also explore by shopping in its markets and spending time in museums.
4. South Korea
Instead of hooting at your television screen or laptop (or whatever gadget you can stream the Winter Olympics 2018 from), why not howl as you witness it in real life? Pyeongchang, a two-hour drive from South Korea’s capital of Seoul, is where the much-awaited Winter Olympics 2018 will take place. Other bucket list items you can busy yourself with is to get a taste of Seoul’s thriving culinary scene, from affordable street food to Michelin-starred restaurants. If you’re not shopping in Myeongdong, explore ancient cities like Jeonju and Gyeongju, or enjoy panoramic city views while riding a cable car up Mount Namsan.
If animal encounters and memorable landscapes are right up your alley, then the South American nation of Chile should be your 2018 adventure. Explore the Atacama Dessert, the driest non-polar location on Earth with landscapes reminiscent to Mars’ red coloured surfaces. Witness it in its Mars-like glory during the day or have the ultimate desert stargazing experience at night. Other must-see spots in Chile include the famous Easter Islands, where you can gaze at monumental ‘moai’ statues that dates back to the 13th to 16th centuries. If you prefer to be far away from crowd, visit the southern region of Patagonia filled with awe-inspiring landscapes of mountains, lakes, forests and fjords. Not to mention that most dishes include avocado and mayo (yum!) and getting around the place is fairly easy due to its warm and friendly Chilean locals.
Georgia, a former republic under the Soviet Union, is typically looked past as a top travel destination. But with its unique geographic location, charming cities and peaceful society, it can easily be seen grazing headlines in future hot travel destination listicles. You're hearing it from us first: Visit Georgia in 2018 before flocks of tourists do in the years ahead. Described by locals as "the balcony of Europe", the nation lies within the vicinity of Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, and The Dead Sea. Step foot on its old cobblestoned town of Tbilisi and you will find yourself in a melting pot of different cultures, making it one of the most unique capitals of the world. With a bustling nightlife and a new generation who had not experienced a Soviet occupation, Tbilisi radiates with modernity despite its well-preserved structures. When visiting Georgia, make it a point to take a bus to the Caucasian Mountains and witness the magic of Tusheti National Park, a stunning, isolated area located on the mountain range's northern slope.
About the Author
Danna Peña is a Freelance Writer and Travel Blogger based in Manila. She was previously a Social Media Specialist for a digital advertising agency and a Content Producer for a news publication. When she’s not writing about lifestyle, culture, travel and technical topics such as food safety, she dabbles in prose and poetry. Besides writing, she is deeply passionate about photography. View her travels at her blog and Instagram. For more of her writing works, view her online portfolio.