Sitting in lockdown right now, dreaming about the next time you can hop on a plane and visit your dream destination?
I know we sure are. Every day we wake up thinking about a far-flung beach in the South Pacific, or heading back to Africa for a safari, or even just going on a road trip to Alaska. Things that, for two full-time travel bloggers, seemed so attainable before. But now we must stay home.
At least we can still daydream about places we want to visit most. Maybe after this pandemic, we won’t take travel so for granted. We won’t keep putting off that bucket list trip, because you’re never promised tomorrow.
If we could travel anywhere tomorrow, here are the amazing dream destinations we would choose. Some we have visited before, and some are still items to check off the bucket list. Either way, I hope it inspires you to do some travel planning of your own.
As Samantha Brown, travel TV host, said, “Travel comes back. A little fact I love is that simply the act of planning travel puts us in the same psychological happy place as being a destination.”
I also wanted to take the time to highlight some of the places that have been really affected by the travel lockdown. Some economies rely heavily on tourism – as you can imagine the 2020 pandemic has been devastating to their business and livelihoods. So you’ll see notes about those places in many sections, as well as a few places you can donate or remember to help moving forward!
*Note – The Pandemic will be referred to as the “C-Word” throughout this post, because Google is penalizing websites for using the real word. We all know what the C-word is anyway.
Epic Dream Destinations You Should Consider After the Pandemic
This East African island packs a whole lot of punch for things to do and experience. It’s safe to say that excitement and relaxation can be had on every corner of Zanzibar. At the same time, you can still easily relax on a beautiful beach and dive into the warm clear water.
To me, Zanzibar is the ultimate dream destination in Africa. It has turquoise clear water, white sand beaches, and a very unique culture. Seriously, if you want a dream beach destination that isn’t just resorts and rich people go to Zanzibar as it has it’s very own unique vibe I haven’t seen anywhere else in Africa, or the world for that matter.
Zanzibar is also one of the best cheap honeymoon destinations you can find with warm blue Indian Ocean water, Zanzibar really can’t be beaten. From backpacker to luxury there is a price range here for every budget.
*Africa, in particular will be very hard hit from the travel bans. Places like Zanzibar (and most of Eastern Africa) rely on international guests for revenue, not as much domestic. Since the first things to open up will be domestic travel, it could be a long time before people book flights all the way to Africa. Please consider visiting this amazing continent.
Mozambique is truly one of the best destinations in Africa. We have sung praises about Mozambique in the past. We went into the country uncertain of travel there and left with a strong desire to return immediately. Do you want to swim with whale sharks on your honeymoon? Do you want to sit on a beach without anyone else around? Then head to Mozambique!
Vilanculos, for example, is the gateway to the stunning Bazaruto Archipelago. It is here that some of the last dugongs reside (and you may even get lucky and see one). Bazaruto Island is an isolated white sand island offering incredible views of the bright blue Indian Ocean. See the photo above? This is the Bazaruto Archipelago! Bet you never thought of Mozambique as a dream destination have you?
Tofo Beach, is where you can yourself swimming among whale sharks. And not at one of those over touristy animal exploited places either. Here it is truly wild.
The best part about Mozambique? Once you get to where you’re going you’ll find $1 beers, $4 crab curries, and heavenlike beaches. You can also find very affordable beach-chic lodges like Trevessia Beach Resort, one of the most exclusive romantic experiences ever.
*As of those forgotten about African destinations I fear it will take a long time before tourism numbers are back in Mozambique. It already wasn’t a popular destination to begin with, now the tourism sector will need even more help. Please consider donating to one of our favorite lodges that supports the local population they reside in.
I’m sure having The Maldives on this dream destinations list is really no surprise. The series of coral atolls spread across the Indian Ocean is an enticing getaway with white sand beaches, turquoise water, and tropical weather.
The water is home to an abundance of marine life so diverse and snorkelers can rejoice in close encounters with rays, sharks, whales, and a dizzying number of fishes. To make it only better some of the world’s most luxurious resorts in the world sit on top of these atolls with indulgent water villas and beach bungalows.
If you’ve ever dreamed of staying in an overwater bungalow in the middle of the Indian Ocean, head to the Maldives. It really doesn’t get much better than here.
Italy may be our favorite country in Europe and definitely one of our favorites in the world. The iconic countryside, fantastic wine, rich history, and strong culture keeps us coming back year after year. Each time we have a new reason for visiting Italy. From the Alps in the North, to Sicily in the Mediterranean and the vast country in between, there is something for every type of visitor to enjoy in Italy.
Have you ever seen Under the Tuscan Sun, and dreamed about waking up in the Italian countryside surrounded by Vineyards? Well, you can fulfill that day dream in Italy!
*As you may be aware, Italy is one of the hardest hit countries. Their economy heavily relies on tourism and there have been many small businesses affected by the pandemic. Especially Northern Italy where the pandemic hit the hardest. One of the best things you do when you return to Italy is book an epic romantic weekend at one of the best wineries in the country.
The Yukon is one of the most beautiful places in Canada. The Yukon, a territory in northwest Canada, is wild, mountainous and sparsely populated. It is home to vast swaths of wilderness that is teeming with wildlife like bears, moose, caribou, and wolves. We enjoyed a road trip there last summer and it blew us away — we know we’ll return soon as it’s my dream destination relatively close to home.
If you’ve ever wanted to see Gold Rush towns in the middle of nowhere and jaw-dropping landscapes the Yukon is for you. You can even consider driving into Alaska via the scenic Top of the World Highway.
If your idea of a dream destination is mountains, wilderness, and traveling without anyone else around head to northern Canada.
*Being so remote, the tourism sector in the Yukon has also been affected by the C-word. The good news is when domestic travel opens up, we can all take a road trip there! For tours to the Yukon, please consider supporting The Klondike Experience whose business has come to a halt after losing all future bookings.
Many North Americans turn to the Caribbean or Europe given the close proximity to North America. For similar reasons, Australians may turn to Southeast Asia for the perfect getaway. These continents are fantastic!
Although, honestly, if I were to pick where our dream destination experience would be it would be on an African safari. Africa is often a continent that is overshadowed, but it is certainly a place to have an unforgettable experience. After traveling around Africa for over a year, we have a great appreciation for the African safari.
There’s really nothing like watching a huge male lion walk across the savannah, or fall asleep to the sound of wild dogs howling in the night.
*As mentioned, Africa may be one of the last places to see strong tourism numbers like before. I worry about all the people there that work in the tourism sector. Guides, lodge staff, park rangers now have no one visiting which could be devastating to the industry. Please consider going on an African safari when we can all travel again. It’s one of the experiences you have in your life. Companies like Nomad Tanzania, Wilderness Safaris, African Bush Camps, and many many more are struggling.
Although they are struggling many are doing what they can to support their community. For instance, Sababu Safaris, in Tanzania are providing rural communities with solar lights, and once guests can travel again, they too can visit these special communities.
You could invite me back to Greece over and over again, any time, any where and I will happily accept. Greece has well over a hundred inhabited islands to explore. There is an island in Greece for everybody and every budget, and they are all dream destinations to someone.
The historic Greek islands are full of epic beaches, charming seaside towns, delicious food, and rich culture. Speaking of that culture it’s tough to find a more hospitable or proud bunch than the Greeks. Romance is alive and well in Greece.
Aside from Mykonos and Santorini, Greece is also an affordable vacation for travelers. We particularly loved our time on Milos, Paros, and Naxos! What other dream destination can you find seaside accommodation for under $60 a night, and eat all the olives and tzatziki you want for cheap!
*Greece’s almost entire economy relies on tourism. The C-word has sent Greece into a downward spiral. For a country that was bouncing back from the 2008 financial crisis, it is sad that this has happened. The good news is everyone wants to visit Greece (even me – and I’ve been four times), so I believe tourism will come back.
This crazy biodiverse country has it all: the hot and humid rainforest of the Amazon, the soaring peaks and mystifying history of the Andes, bustling cities, and a surfer-friendly coastline.
Then there’s also Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail, and learning about ancient civilizations. I don’t think there are many other destinations as popular as Peru right now, and that’s for good reason – they have a lot to offer travelers.
I need to mention a few North American dream destinations on this list. So may as well be our beautiful backyard of Banff National Park.
If you want that wilderness vacation you’ve always been dreaming of, the Canadian Rockies are the perfect place to head. There’s nothing quite like Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. You’ve probably seen the mountains, but I’ve bet they’ve never been as in your face as they are here in Alberta.
Banff is the real dream destination for those after adventure, mountains, bears, and hiking.
*As someone living in the Bow Valley right now the effects the C-word has had on jobs here is mind-boggling. Over 6000 people essentially lost their jobs overnight, which is a ton for such a small community. We’re now facing a 60% unemployment rate. Tourism is the driving force in Banff, Canmore, and surroundings. When it is safe to travel to the mountains please consider visiting here and spending your money on tours, going to restaurants, and supporting local businesses. Loved places like the Yamnuska Wolf Dog Sanctuary are accepting donations to help pay for costs that go into caring for Wold Dogs, since no one can visit right now.
Traveling to the Faroe Islands was like a dream. If you were to ask us what the most beautiful islands in Europe are you wouldn’t get the answer you would expect. Well, maybe you have an idea from the heading above, but we would definitely say the Faroe Islands! Yes, the group of 18 windswept islands between Norway and Iceland certainly win a spot on our favorite dream destinations list.
In many ways they remind me of why we love the African bush, they are raw. The cliff faces and the bleak landscape are inhospitable, but it will humble you with beauty.
I can’t think of when I had a bigger grin on my face than when I stood on top of a mountain in near hurricane-force winds. It felt dangerous, it felt right, and I felt tiny. The best thing to do is rent a car here and explore this out of the world travel destination yourself!
Bhutan is one of those dream destinations in the world we have yet to visit. It’s always been on the bucket list, but we’ve never been able to make it happen.
Bhutan, officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked country in South Asia in the middle of the Himalayas. It’s a country known for its drop dead gorgeous landscapes and diverse wildlife.
Bhutan is the last remaining Buddhist Kingdom in the world, and is unique in that it measures its citizens “Gross National Happiness,” instead of GDP.
Bhutan also has done a great job of maintaining it’s unique culture and heritage by being a relatively closed-off country. It’s very expensive to visit as every visitor must pay $250 per day of visit for a Bhutanese visa.
The Philippines are a dream beach destination in Asia. There’s a vibrant culture to discover on its hundreds of islands, with huge cities and beaches comprising the places you should be exploring in this Southeast Asian nation.
We heard nothing but amazing things from people who had traveled the Philippines so we knew we finally had to see the dream-worthy destination for ourselves. After two weeks of soaking up the sunshine on white-sand beaches while spending a fraction of what we had spent in places like the Maldives, we can’t recommend visiting enough.
The Seychelles – we can definitely think of worse places to visit. This archipelago of over a hundred islands is pretty much a paradise. With uncountable beaches to discover, a cocktail of different cultures to experience, and some awesome marine life to see, it’s a must-visit dream destination. This paradise is made up of sparkling granite, crystal waters, and lush green jungles, unlike anything we had ever seen previously.
So, where are the Seychelles and what are they? The islands lie off the coast of East Africa in the warm Indian Ocean north of both Madagascar and Mauritius, and just about parallel with parts of Kenya. There are 115 islands, but the three main ones frequented by tourists are Mahe, Praslin, and La Digue.
There is no country more stirring than Namibia for dream desert landscapes. Its name even comes from the world’s oldest desert that covers much of the country. No country on earth can compete for the type of natural beauty that awaits travelers in Namibia. You can find towering red sand dunes, dead tree valleys preserved in time, and utterly unique wildlife.
Elsewhere you can find massive canyons and rock formations at Fish River Canyon, Damaraland, and Spitzkoppe as the Naukluft Mountains rise out of the desert sand dunes. Namibia does not end there as the East stretches into the endless plains of the Kalahari and the Caprivi Strip turns into an oasis of floodplains and rivers teaming with wildlife.
We drove into Southern Namibia from South Africa and were greeted by looming rock formations and empty roads. The path before us wound through an arid canyon and came up to a plateau. As we ascended out of the canyon the sun began to set. The change in weather created gusts of fiery red sand, that lit on fire from the descending sun. This all came within our first hour in the country. We had yet to make it to a single sight on our journey, but we had already come to our conclusion – Namibia is a dream destination.
Saint Lucia is a Caribbean island famous for its beaches, carnivals, and vibrant culture. There’s plenty of nature to explore here, a plethora of awesome dive sites, and some cool resorts where you can spend your days lazing around.
We’ve never seen anything as beautiful as The Pitons though. The Pitons are two mountainous volcanic plugs and spires. Gros Piton and Petit Piton are 798 m high and 743 m high, respectively. You could easily stare at them all day while visiting Saint Lucia.
One other bucket list destination I have not traveled to yet, but is high on the list is French Polynesia. This collection of over 100 islands in the South Pacific has a lot of things going for them. It’s where you can enjoy crystal clear water, lush forests, and epic sunsets.
There are few destinations in the world that attract quite as many people as Hawaii. Every Hawaiian Island offer something very special to visitors. Our personal favorite is Kauai.
Kauai has become more popular in recent years, enough to the point that is was the main island we wanted to visit on our trip to Hawaii. It’s known for being one of the prettiest islands and the most laid back vibe of the four main islands. The main points of interest are Waimea Canyon, Hanalei Bay, and the Na Pali Coast. We also found it to be the cheapest of the islands. If you’re in search of hiking and jagged Jurassic Park landscapes Kauai is your dream destination.
Sadly, we haven’t traveled much of Mexico, but the state of Oaxaca is one I’ve heard many great things about. Oaxaca has a ton of diversity, this area accounts for over 70% of all of Mexico’s bird species! There’s also epic hiking in the mountain regions, and plenty of cultural sites to see.
Places like Puerto Escondido claim to have some of the best surfing in the world. This is where you find epic waves and golden sand beaches. If that sounds like your idea of heaven there’s no place you should rather be.
*Like many areas of Mexico, Oaxaca relies on tourism dollars to keep locals employed. It’s also one of the poorest Mexican states with little help from the government. Unfortunately, the global pandemic has caused many to lose their jobs. Thankfully, the community has banded together to support those in need. A donation page can be found here.
Antarctica. I don’t really need to say much more than that. Of course, this continent is a dream destination in the world. Not many people get to say they’ve been to the other end of the world and back.
To see one of the driest, windiest, but also most beautiful places on earth is a dream. However it seems more possible every year with tour operators running there. The only downside is it’s very expensive and questionable for the planet.
Traveling to South Africa is a great decision as it’s one of the best places to visit in Africa. It’s definitely one of the easiest countries to travel on the African continent yet still offers creature comforts Westerners might be used to. Even though South Africa is the most modern country in Africa it still provides visitors with that “Africa” experience and has an interesting culture.
Before our long vacation in South Africa, the nation was one I knew little about. I watched the Color of Friendship like any little girl addicted to The Disney Channel and was introduced to apartheid. I watched nature documentaries showcasing the beautiful visuals of the Cape and the effects of the two colliding ocean currents. And of course, I knew of the inspirational Nelson Mandela. After 90 days, and getting banned from the country, we fell completely fell in love. After visiting the country three times I still consider it a dream destination in the world. You get beaches, you get wine, you get safari, you get mountains. Seriously – if that’s not a dream I don’t know what is.
*Another destination in Africa that is currently in lockdown. I believe tourism will return to South Africa first out of all of Southern Africa, and they have a large domestic traveler population. But the blow of not allowing international travelers in will take its toll. Places like Nourish Eco Village and HALO are helping both people and animals in rural communities through these hard times as well as when the world returns to normal. Please consider supporting them!
Besides the fact that Malawi is one of the smallest countries in Africa, and directly on our overland route through Africa, Malawi was a country I knew little about. I’ve met people that had traveled to Tanzania, South Africa, Namibia, and all the other “popular” African nations – but never had I met anyone that had been to Malawi.
I knew that I had to visit Malawi while we were venturing around Africa. We crossed over the Chitipa Border Post from Zambia with very little expectations, and what we found shouldn’t be missed by anyone traveling around Southern and Eastern Africa.
Malawi is dubbed the “warm heart of Africa,” and once you arrive you will see why. The people here are known for being the friendliest in Africa. No one is pushy, most areas are safe, and locals just walk around with a smile on their face. There’s also a lake, a big one at that, called Lake Malawi which is where you’ll want to take a drip or go for a kayak. You may not consider this a dream destination, but once you see Lake Malawi for the first time you will certainly change your mind.
*As one of the least traveled destinations in East Africa, business owners that provide job opportunities to so many locals will without a doubt be impacted in poverty-stricken Malawi. I highly recommend you visit Malawi when traveling Africa and supporting local tourism there. It’s such a wonderful and beautiful country with friendly people. Although we can’t visit now, places like Butterfly Space and The Funky Cichlid are doing what they can to support their staff through donations.
Ready to get to a few of these dream travel destinations?
So are we! Honestly, we don’t know when we’re going to be able to do that. Like many of you, we’re ready for the world to get back to what it was before the pandemic.
However, everything happens for a reason and maybe this is a way of telling us to all take a few steps back and realize how fortunate we are to live a life we do anyway.
It may take years for the world to recover from this catastrophic event. As travel bloggers, who rely on travel and others traveling for our livelihood this has hit us hard financially and mentally. But we get comfort knowing that this too shall pass, and all of us coming together for the greater good is important.
I hope this article has inspired you during these troubling times and help you determine a few amazing places you want to travel when it is safe to do so!