It’s usually around September—as the last flashes of summer fade into a breezy fall—when we start to brainstorm our annual travel to-do list for the following year. In that sense, this past autumn was no different than the last, except that it followed a summer of no travel, staying put at home, and finding solace wherever we could outdoors. What we had hoped would be a year of checking out new, emerging, and more intrepid destinations turned into many (MANY) months of staring into the pixelated abyss of endless Zoom calls and Instagram feeds instead. Needless to say, our prospecting for 2020 was wholly wrong since, well, nobody went anywhere.
So what does 2021 hold? Hope. Rather than qualifying the following destinations as must-sees-now, we’ve put together a list of destinations we hope to visit—or revisit—this coming year, or maybe the next, as we reemerge from our chrysalis, soon ready to fly. You’ll notice that much of our list is based in the United States, given that much of air travel will be determined by each country’s individual rules and reopenings. After landing on our top places to visit domestically, we turn our attention abroad. From our research, bucket lists, and ears to the ground, the following destinations are poised to rise from the ashes from the dumpster fire that has been this year. From classic spots worth a pair of fresh eyes to countries championing social and environmental justice, here’s our list of where we hope to go in 2021—and where we hope you’ll plan to visit too.