Are you looking for top travel destinations in 2020? I seek to offer my clients exciting destinations that are a combination of (some) popular- and ways of thinking of these tried and true in a new light, some up-and-coming, and some that may push your boundaries. So, in no particular order, here is what I am most recommending for this year! For more in depth descriptions about many countries mentioned here, please see my blogs and while there sign up to be the first to receive blog posts and updates on travel.

Sibenik Croatia, top travel destinations in 2018

Photo by Sergii Gulenok on Unsplash

Top Travel Destinations: Europe

The Old is New Again Europe

Ireland and Scotland:

Even if you have been before, consider exploring new places in new ways. If you are looking for top travel destinations for this year, try these wonderful countries for their wild side. Consider Donegal in Ireland and more remote areas in Scotland. I guarantee if you also add a little adventurous activity, you will see these countries in a whole new light!

Revisit countries you love, like Italy, England, Scotland or Ireland in new ays or in other areas. Click To Tweet


Ah, beautiful Italy.  While Rome. Florence and Venice are iconic musts for any traveler, there is so much more this country has to offer.

Let’s get off the Rome-Florence-Venice circuit. Explore other lakes than Como. Try new areas deep in Tuscany that few other tourists have been. Get thee to Puglia, and far lesser known regions where maybe the tourist infrastructure isn’t all there- but neither are any tourists! It is totally time for Sicily. And, Italy has spectacular mountains for hiking or skiing, so consider an Alpine or Apennine vacation with Italian flair.

From its Alps to the toe of its boots and islands, Italy is influenced throughout history by many cultures and ancient civilizations. Art is everywhere in the details, the food is gloriously fresh, the wines are stellar. Anything you can dream of making the perfect vacation, you can have in Italy- beaches by sparkling blue waters; biking and hiking through hills and mountains, vineyards, and medieval towns; art and history wherever you turn; delightful cultural immersion; some of the best shopping for exquisite goods in the world- to name but a few.

To fashion YOUR perfect Italian reverie takes careful planning- and the knowledge of all the country has to offer. I’d love to help you get all your desire for La Dolce Vita in Italy.


Easy to get to from other Europe destinations or direct from the U.S., Portugal offers sun, beaches, islands, gorgeous cities and enchanting villages, active pursuits in nature, and incredible food and wine. Go to the Azores for an even more unique experience.  

And Europe still has places to be discovered …


I cannot say enough about this country! From the interior to the coast, there is nothing any traveler can’t find or do. Croatian food, wine, culture, sailing, all sorts of physical activities, relaxing on the best waters in the world….. Croatia is the IT travel destination of my top travel destinations for 2019!


Slovenia.  A tiny country, easily driven across from Italy to Croatia in a matter of hours. This gem sits in the very heart of Europe, literally and figuratively. Its neighbors are Italy, Austria and Croatia. Its landscape stretches from Alpine peaks to rolling hills dotted with caves, beautiful crystal clear lakes and the shining Adriatic Sea. Its cities and villages are storybook perfect. And its food and wines are world-class. Go now in any season to enjoy the best of what Europe has to offer- history, culture, active pursuits from mild to extreme, wine-tasting, gastronomic fireworks.

My own recent trip here took me from the Slovenian wine valleys outside Ljubljana and Maribor.  In Maribor I was there for the festival of the oldest vine in Europe, which is trellised across the roofline of the Town Hall. With speeches, music and fanfare, the first harvest of the season was taken. I sampled various wines in the region with a local sommelier whose family has been involved in some of the most prestigious vineyards for generations. Closer to the Italian border, I sampled whites and Pinot Noirs- some of the best I ever had!

The best thing about Slovenia is the ability in any given day to combine active adventure with refined experiences. You can paraglide from Alpine heights to a vineyard tasting, or have a restaurant dinner where you order your fish course directly from the renowned producer listed on the menu. And it is possible to visit the most celebrated chef in Slovenia (a woman) after a day of biking or ebiking in mountain valleys steeped in World War II history.

Don’t miss your opportunity to experience a country not (yet) filled with tourists, as are its neighbors.

New European destinations to visit: the Balkans, the Baltics, and Iceland or Greenland. Click To Tweet


Iceland and Greenland:

Want someplace that is close, easy to get to, and offers the wild landscapes, Northern Lights, and geothermal activity of legend? This is it!

Blyde Canyon, South Africa, top travel destinations in 2018



Mysterious, enchanting, hypnotizing. Explore lifestyle, culture, medieval medinas, hammam, kahsbahs, handicrafts and artisanal goods, mountains, ocean …

South Africa:

Bright and so varied, anyone will find paradise here. Eco safari, yes by all means, but don’t miss Cape Town and the Cape, the winelands, the Garden Route, the coast and mountains.

Try a safari in several different locations in Africa - each will be unique. Click To Tweet

Namibia and Botswana:

Completely different landscapes, but both have tremendous animal conservation initiatives and different safari experiences.

African Safaris of all types and places. Definitely go for private reserves and camps.

Want to learn more about what you can do in Africa? Get in touch HERE.


New Zealand:

As one of my top travel destinations to explore the best food and nature, this country will capture your heart and soul! Fresh food and delicious wines, the outdoors and healthy lifestyle, the vast array of different land and waterscapes. Such a small country that it is easy to plan the perfect vacation in several locations. Minimum time to stay is 2 weeks.

New Zealand is a great destination for safe travel, a myriad of land and waterscape, and great food and wine. Click To Tweet


I am one never to combine the two countries; I think they should be experienced individually. If you want to go off the touristy trek in Australia, try Kangaroo Island, Tasmania, or Lord Howe Island.

Hint: Round out your stay and break up the long flight home with a stay in Tahiti or Bora Bora!

To learn more about Oceania vacationing, get in touch HERE.

argentina, top travel destinations

South America:


Long and thin, Argentina is as diverse as they come! From the Andean influence in the north, and the greatest waterfalls in the world, to a very European capital city, to legendary gauchos, to sport in polo and soccer, to wild Atlantic marine wildlife, to food and wine that is world-renowned, to stunning landscapes from the Andes to Patagonia…. And 3 major wine regions! This is a country to be visited more than once.


So many cultural influences in this large country that you will be happy it is so close and accessible from the US so you can explore again and again! Go for the Caribbean, or head to the Andes, or the jungle and Amazon, or the Pacific Coast, or the beautiful interior….


You can explore Patagonia here and in Argentina, but the Pacific Coast of Chile holds many charms in islands and fjords, and there is Easter Island as well. Head north to the desert for the most expansive night sky. Go on a wine tour in famous regions. Hike a glacier, explore the route Darwin did. Get in touch with your inner cowboy or explore a Welsh settlement.


Bucket list Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley await, but also consider Colca Canyon, the Pacific Coast, the Amazon region, the less-traveled North, or Lake Titicaca. And don’t skip Lima, a gastronomic world capital.


The Galapagos, yes, but Ecuador on the mainland is so much more! Explore the Amazon tributary region for nature, wildlife, indigenous cultures, fantastic adventure opportunities both challenging and not-so-challenging. Or go to the jungle and rainforests, to a hacienda or ecolodge. Visit its cities filled with history and culture. Head to the mountains for birding, hiking, volcanoes. Want to be South America-bound in 2019? We can help! Contact us HERE.

vietnam, top travel destinations



The interior and north hold cultural, natural and historical wonders far off the normal tourist path. You will feel like you are on safari, or help the elephants, and meet locals in their mountainous communities.


This long country is great from the north to the south and a foodie’s dream! Hanoi is a great place to start to learn history and a cultural introduction and from there you can explore the mountains and Halong Bay. Explore the imperial life in Hua, the great food in Hoi An, the bustling commercial center in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), and the fertile Mekong Delta. Of course, there are spectacular beaches and resorts at which to relax!


Beyond the Golden Triangle are so many immersive life-changing opportunities! Restore your spiritual balance, go on a safari, hit the beach and witness Portuguese influence, explore the high Himalayas, connect with a culture, visit artisans, be blessed by monks.

Sri Lanka:

A beautiful island nation rich in culture, nature, beaches, this is a place that has to be seen to be believed.

Dreaming of an Asia journey? We’d love to help! Talk to us HERE.

jordan, top travel destinations
The Middle East


Oman is quieter than its sister Emirates, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but all are so close in proximity. Quiet doesn’t mean boring- there is much to do exploring the outdoors, relaxing in wellness retreat, or immersing in the culture of its friendly people.

There are incredible and safe places to explore in the Middle East. Click To Tweet


I simply cannot say enough about this wonderful, safe country filled with kind people who love nothing more than to share their culture. Jordan is for sure one of my top travel destinations in 2018 that is the closest to my heart and soul. There is Petra, of course, but also other UNESCO World Heritage and Natural sites. The food is incredible, and yes, there is a wine and craft beer culture there as well! Natural wonders abound in the wadis (canyons), a biosphere reserve, the Dead Sea, the red desert called the Wadi Rum. The history is jaw-dropping as well from ancient caravan civilization, to a Roman city, to crusader castles, to fortresses of past rulers and empires. And don’t forget Jordan is a part of the Holy Land! If culture is your thing, you can stay with Bedouins, or cook in the homes of local people in small villages. To relax and restore, float in the Dead Sea at fabulous resorts, or head to the Red Sea for seaside pursuits. Outdoors, you can hike portions of the newly completed north to south Jordan trail that connects small and remote villages or wade through waterfalls on a canyon adventure.

You start it all with a stay in amazing Amman.

Abu Dhabi:

Yes it can be a jumping off point to other areas, particularly the Maldives and the Seychelles as well as India. But stay for a while in Abu Dhabi and you will be surprised by the wonders this small nation holds. Natural white sand-beached islands that feel like the Maldives, luxurious accommodations, a beautiful desert, art and culture that is works class- including the newly-opened Louvre!

Let us help you discover the mysteries of the Middle East. Get in touch HERE.

If you’d like to have more ease in your travel planning, I’d love to help! You can stay informed and inspired in planning your travel in 2019 by reading more of my blogs. You can also follow me on Facebook. Twitter @enlitndjrntrvl, and Instagram @enlightenedjourneystravel. Sign up to receive the blogs and a newsletter filled with more insights and offers so you don’t miss a thing.

luxury travel advisor Theresa Jackson on one of her adventures journeys

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