12 BEST PLACES TO TRAVEL IN THE WORLD

Do you have a travel bucket list of destinations you would like to visit in the world?

During this time of staying home, I thought about some of the best places to travel in the world. I love the city as much as I love hiking, and I love snow skiing as much as I love the beach.

So my list of places should encompass something for everyone.

Sitting on the beach of Maldives, a best place to travel in the world
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Where to Travel the World

First, if you’re traveling internationally, I recommend using these tips for a more comfortable and convenient trip.

I’ve made it to and some are still on the list waiting to be crossed off. Being someone that loves to travel, the list may be endless, but here’s my (scaled down) bucket list according to the best month to visit:

JANUARY: FINLAND

Snow covered glass igloos at the Kakslauttanen hotel in Finland
Photo: Hotel Kakslauttanen, Finnish Lapland

The Northern Lights, or the Aurora Borealis, is one of nature’s most majestic neon light displays and has been on my bucket list for a while. Winter in the northern hemisphere  has longer, colder and clearer nights – the perfect recipe to see this phenomenon. 

You only need to be in the “aurora zone,” an area of 2,000-3,000 km from the magnetic pole, or at a latitude of 66 to 69 degrees north, to see the Northern Lights. The zone includes places such as Alaska, Canada and Iceland, which are all really great spots to see this special light show, but Finland specifically makes my bucket list. 

Why is Finland one of the best places to travel?

Because temperatures in the aurora zone can get below freezing, some hotels in Finland built beautiful glass-igloos that enables you to view the Lights from the comforts of your warm bed or sitting in front of a wood fireplace.  Couple this with activities such as snowmobile safaris, reindeer sleigh rides and ice fishing, and that’s a bucket list experience for me. 

Don’t wait and book the Hotel Kakslauttanen as it sells out fast.

TRAVELER’S TIP: Although you can view the Northern Lights as early as September, January is usually when the snowfall has settled and has the longest nights, thus maximizing your chances of seeing more of the Lights.

FEBRUARY: MALDIVES

Overwater hotel rooms at the Ritz-Carlton island in the Maldives, a best place to travel
Photo credit: The Ritz-Carlton Maldives

Endless sunshine, white sand and blue warm waters makes for a paradise you could get lost in. Located on the equator, you’ll regularly find vibrant coral reefs, a lush underwater life including fish, sea turtles, whales, dolphins, and one of the few places to swim with whale sharks.  

Why is Maldives one of the best places to travel?

Maldives is definitely luxury travel where you can experience the famous overwater bungalows. Imagine a consistent stream of marine life right under your feet, stingrays and schools of fish, then being able to snorkel with them right off the back deck. 

Then there’s the world’s largest all-glass underwater restaurant, Hurawahli, to immerse yourself in sea life while fine dining. These atolls are the epitome of barefoot luxury!

TRAVELER’S TIP: As the Maldives is a Muslim country, with the exception of resorts, it is a dry country. Also don’t try and bring your own alcohol as it will be confiscated upon arrival.

MARCH: TOKYO, JAPAN

Pink cherry blossoms on a tree in Japan

Tokyo is unlike any other Asian city with its cool and unique experiences such as bullet trains, the Imperial Palace and Shibuya Crossing. Then add amazing sushi from the Fish Market and ramen and udon noodles to satisfy your palate. 

This metropolis is so diverse that each neighborhood seems to be a cluster of mini cities with its own array of characteristics that merges to become Tokyo.  March is a great month to visit because of the famed cherry blossoms (sakura)!  These bright pink petals cover parks and streets and is the CHERRY topping any visit to Japan.

Why is Tokyo one of the best places to travel?

“For those with restless, curious minds, fascinated by layer upon layer of things, flavors, tastes, and customs, which we will never fully be able to understand, Tokyo is deliciously unknowable. I’m sure I could spend the rest of my life there, learn the language, and still die happily ignorant.” Anthony Bourdain described Tokyo perfectly. 

TRAVELER’S TIP: Snap a photo with the world’s most loyal dog, Hachiko, who waited for nine years for his owner to return not knowing he had died. Hachiko is now a symbol of enduring loyalty for Japan.

APRIL: GRAND CANYON

Grand Canyon at sunset

The Grand Canyon is a destination that can be visited any time throughout the year. The Canyon spans 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide with a depth of over a mile (6,093 feet or 1,857 meters), and the Colorado River runs through it.

As you can imagine, the temperature fluctuates greatly from one side to the other and from the interior to the exterior. But April has less rainfall, is much less crowded than the summer months, and the North Rim closes if there’s snowfall.

Why is the Grand Canyon one of the best places to travel?

One of the natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon is stunningly gorgeous with its colorful rock layers carved out by erosion and the Colorado River.

It’s also alive with hundreds of species that are native to the southwest such as elk, bighorn sheep, bison, mule deer, javelinas and mountain lions. Hiking, horseback riding, river rafting, biking, camping are some of the activities you can do right in the Canyon.

Book your Grand Canyon activities in advance to line up your tour and skip the lines. I also recommend bringing these things for a day hike in the Grand Canyon.

But what makes the Grand Canyon so special is its connection to the surrounding land and Native Americans. The only permanent human settlement inside the canyon is a village of 500 Havasupai (meaning people of the Blue-Green waters) Indians which is only accessible by helicopter, hiking down the canyon or horse. 

TRAVELER’S TIP: One of the most abundant species of rattlesnakes in the Canyon is pink hued so that it camouflages with the pink sands and rocks in the inner gorge. Be careful! 

MAY: GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

Two blue footed boob birds at one of the best places to travel, the Galapagos Island

The uniqueness of the Galapagos Islands makes it known as a paradise for scientists and wildlife enthusiasts.

Its subtropical climate and array of animal life makes any time of the year a great time to visit, but as with any place that has an abundance of land, sea and air life, the best time to visit depends on whether you want to experience mating season, migrations, newborns, or the wildflowers.

Why is the Galapagos Islands one of the best places to travel?

You will immediately see why it is the most bio-diverse place on earth from giant tortoise to northern penguins and marine iguanas and then there’s the friendly endless interaction with wildlife makes it one of my top picks on my bucket list.

Visiting in May means you’ll still have good visibility and calmer waters for diving and snorkeling to take in the still highly active marine life, including hammerhead sharks! And the best part is that the blue footed booby starts its courtship dance this month!  

TRAVELER’S TIP: Another way to see the Galapagos Islands is to volunteer. Programs may be willing to cover room and board for a few hours of work. Then you’re off to enjoy the rest of the day yourself!

JUNE: BANFF

Snow capped mountains and lake in Banff Canada

Although, June is the wettest month in the Rocky Mountains, it rarely rains all day. But, this month offers the time of year that you may get to see turquoise colored lakes with a backdrop of snow covered mountains and possibly snap some photos of grizzly bears and moose (but don’t get too close!). 

However, another great time is the end of November if you are looking for some winter snow magic, but it can get pretty cold, so bundle up and leave no skin exposed. And you can double up on sites as the Northern Lights are usually visible here this time of year as well.

Why is Banff one of the best places to travel?

Banff is a wonderland for the outdoor aficionado with its gorgeous mountain region filled with flora and fauna where the beauty can be taken in while on one of the many hiking trails, kayaking, rafting on the serene lake, horseback riding and fishing.

For an even better experience, travel though the Canadian Rockies on the two-day First Passage to the West train between Banff and Vancouver.  You will travel through areas otherwise inaccessible and of course, be immersed in picture perfect scenery.

Be prepared to get comfy with your travel buddy as cell service and wifi signals are poor to none. 

TRAVELER’S TIP: Don’t forget to bring plenty of sunscreen and bug repellant!

JULY: ARCTIC CRUISE

An Arctic cruise during the summer is the perfect time as the sea ice has melted which allows ships to cruise farther, migrating whales breach, and best of all, the Arctic experiences the “midnight sun” where the sun shines for 24 hours a day – so plenty of time to explore.

Why is an Arctic Cruise one of the best places to travel?

Two words: polar bears. They come closer to the shoreline which makes it a high likelihood that you will see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat and hopefully with their cubs. Summer also brings narwhals, humpback whales, sea birds and bloomed wildflowers.  

Another reason an Arctic Cruise is on my list is because of local interaction, not with the wildlife, but the Arctic people such as the Inuit who have lived here for centuries. You are able to take a glimpse into their hospitable, rich culture and traditions as well as support them by purchasing their beautiful crafts and artwork.  

TRAVELER’S TIP: Be careful with using the term “Eskimo.” In some places it can be considered outdated and offensive. “Inuit” is the preferred term, especially in Canada and Greenland. When in doubt, ask your guide. 

AUGUST: BUDAPEST

Bridge over Danube river and city of Budapest at sunrise

Technically two cities in one, the hilly Buda and the flat land Pest are connected by a 19th Century chain bridge over the Danube River. This fairytale city is one of the most historic cities on earth and is home to truly delightful sites, breathtaking landmarks and colorful street art.

So travel back in time as you stroll around Budapest.

Why is Budapest one of the best places to travel?

Come for the music, festivals and events, stay for the architecture and charming European streets, stay longer for the classic cafes, flea markets and public baths. You can’t beat that it’s budget friendly and a culinary’s delight. On a serious note, Budapest is also filled with commemorative pieces to remember the lost lives from the Holocaust, and Nazi and Soviet Regimes. Carve out some time to remember these brave individuals.  

TRAVELER’S TIP: You can book a stay at The Corinthia Hotel Budapest is said to have inspired the Oscar-winning film, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL.

SEPTEMBER: JORDAN

historical site of Petra at Jordan

The relatively small country of Jordan has so much more to offer than just the historical site of Petra. The ancient culture, diversity and Bedouin hospitality will be remembered long after your time here. And, it is one of the best ecotourism destinations in the Middle East. 

Why is Jordan one of the best places to travel?

There are so many reasons that Jordan should be on your bucket list. To start with taking a desert tour in Wadi Rum and star gazing with very little light pollution, floating in the Dead Sea – the lowest point on earth, scuba diving in Aqaba teeming with marine life, relaxing in a Turkish bath and observing Hadrian’s Arch – one of the best preserved Roman sites. Did I mention the Bedouin hospitality?

TRAVELER’S TIP: If you soak in the Dead Sea it’s incredibly salty, which means it’s incredibly dehydrating. It is recommended not to float longer than 10-15 minutes.

OCTOBER: MACHU PICCHU

Mayan ruins at Machu Picchu

Fall in the northern hemisphere and Spring in Peru is the best time to visit Machu Picchu as it has nice weather and fewer crowds. However, you will still want to be at the site first thing in the morning for a quieter and more peaceful trek, including beautiful photo-ops of the mountains and valleys.  

Why is Machu Picchu one of the best places to travel?

Known as the “Lost City of the Incas,” it’s one of UNESCO’s protected sites and listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This exotic destination will challenge your travel planning skills and trekking ability.

Archaeologists still can’t agree why Machu Picchu exists, but it is an engineering masterpiece sitting in the clouds at 7,970 feet (2,430 meters) above sea level. No wonder your views will be dreamy and hard to believe. 

Machu Picchu is such an exciting place with an interesting history, it may be the most beneficial to book a tour to get the full history and best spots to see.

TRAVELER’S TIP: You can get your passport stamped at the entrance for an original souvenir. 

NOVEMBER: INDIA

Long pool lined with green grass and trees leading to the Taj Mahal in India with many tourists outside

India is the seventh largest country in the world and is massive, so if you plan to experience India, plan to take your time.  India is big on train travel so take the train and enjoy the journey.

The weather in November is at its best in most regions of the country because it’s dry, the monsoons are over and specifically for people like me, the humidity is at its lowest. Because of the mild weather, this is a good time to head out to the desert and explore such cities as Jaipur and the palm fringed beaches in Goa.

Why is India one of the best places to travel?

You will be in awe of its rich history in the stunning architecture. Mainly, the Taj Mahal. As touristy and cliche as it may seem, this wonder of the world with its glistening ivory white beauty is a sight best best enjoyed in person. 

Although you should be prepared for the prevalent dirt, pollution and poverty, Indians have a saying that “Guest is God” and despite this, Indian hospitality will leave you speechless. In fact, it is not uncommon to be invited to the homes of people whom you intact with. 

TRAVELER’S TIP: Although English is one of India’s official languages, if you travel outside of the cities, it’s a good idea to learn some Hindi.

DECEMBER: VIENNA

Vienna has been voted the best city in the world to live in several times. It’s an expensive city, but apparently the citizens are still happy. It’s a walkable  city full of historic buildings and palaces.

Vienna is a winter wonderland that looks like it should be in a snow globe in December. It’s full of stringed lights on every street that’s so beautiful which is why everyone should come to Vienna at least once in the winter. 

Why is Vienna one of the best places to travel?

Vienna’s historic feel makes you think you are walking down streets in Old Europe, especially down gassen (alleys) which are a real time capsule. Spiraling cathedrals and seemingly untouched palaces add to the old world feel. 

Shopping is ideal this time of year in Vienna as several of the famous European Christmas markets are here where you can indulge in food, roasted chestnuts, handcrafted items, mulled wine and then burn the calories at the huge ice skating rink nearby. In reality, the markets are more about eating and drinking, and then maybe purchasing some goods. (wink!)

TRAVELER’S TIP: Vienna was home to Mozart and Strauss, two of the world’s most famous opera composers. You can’t leave Vienna without experiencing one of the best opera houses in the world for yourself at the Vienna State Opera House.  

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST PLACES TO TRAVEL THE WORLD

These are just a few on my list, not including an African safari, Giraffe Manor and Patagonia as anytime is the best month to visit these destinations. 

What would you add? Better yet – what’s on your bucket list? 

Ready to go? Don’t hesitate to book your bucket list travel experience right now!

Check out some of these other posts to inspire you to travel right now:

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Gabby
2 years ago

These are all magical places! My top three from this list are Maldvies, Galpagos, and Jordan. Can you believe I’m from Ecuador and have traveled there a few times but have never been to Galapagos??? I definitely have to plan a trip there, when it’s safe to travel again!

Much love always,
GABBY | http://www.gabbyabigaill.com

Clarissa Cabbage
2 years ago

Love this! Unfortunately I’ve only been to one of the places on your list – the grand Canyon. I’d like to visit many others though! Machu Picchu and the Galapagos islands are definitely on the list,as well as seeing the northern lights. I hope we’ll be traveling again soon!

Britt K
2 years ago

You listed many of the places that I would LOVE to visit if I had the opportunity some day. Of the locations that you listed, the only two that I have visited are the Grand Canyon and Banff. If you’re going to be in the area of Banff, make sure to visit Lake Louise and Jasper park as well. They all carry such beautiful sights.

Britt K
2 years ago

You listed many of the places that I would LOVE to visit if I had the opportunity some day. Of the locations that you listed, the only two that I have visited are the Grand Canyon and Banff. If you’re going to be in the area of Banff, make sure to visit Lake Louise and Jasper park as well. They all carry such beautiful sights.

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