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It’s 2023 and the travel bug is catching on, as more and more people are starting to venture out of the comfort of their homes and into foreign lands, in search of exotic foods, new cultures, and adrenaline-inducing experiences. The C-19 bug robbed us of two years of our precious lives, so it’s time for some revenge travel. If you’ve got ‘travel more’ as one of your 2023 New Year’s resolutions, then you might want to start writing up your Wanderlust List, or ‘Wanderlist’ as I call it. Here are my personal picks for the 10 top travel destinations for 2023 that’ll surely satisfy that travel itch – from my personal favorites to destinations that are top on my ‘Wanderlist’.
Myanmar has been my favorite South East Asian country ever since I made a trip here in 2015. Since only opening up to tourism less than a decade ago, the country still remains one of the more authentic Asian experiences you can have.
The country has yet to be touched by Western influence, and you can actually see the locals walking the streets in their traditional wear, which is so rare in this day and age. And this is why this place will always have a special place in my heart. The magical landscape of lakes, mountains, and countryside will give you an all-encompassing trip to remember.
2. South Africa
My love for animals has always drawn me to the land of these magical creatures, and there’s probably no better place to witness the Kings of the Animal Kingdom and their royal subjects in their natural habitat than in South Africa.
But that’s not all South Africa is known for. Cape Town has slowly started to rise in popularity and rightly so for its breathtaking cliff sides and stunning beaches.
3 years later, my love affair with Georgia still has not ended. My heart still flutters when I look back on photos of my trip to Georgia. Rolling hills, vast desserts, ornate Soviet-era architecture, authentic culture, and melted cheese bread! What’s not to love?
Slowly creeping onto the radars of travelers the world over, Georgia and the Caucasus region are starting to gain popularity, and it’s no wonder why which is why you should make a visit soon. Not to mention how affordable everything is that it’s perfect for a budget trip. Read more: Tbilisi Through My Eyes: A Photo Diary
With 3 of its cities in CNN Travel’s Top 10 Most Livable Cities in 2022, Canada must be doing something right. Just before COVID, I made a trip from Toronto to Vancouver and visited most of the major cities in Canada, and it was a blast seeing the vast differences between the cities.
Sometimes referred to as ‘America’s nicer little brother’, you’ll find some of the friendliest people here. Of course, you would, considering how absolutely beautiful their country is?!
Traveling across the country makes for an excellent trip, especially when traveling via rail, which is one of the world’s greatest experiences. Treat your senses to some of the most beautiful terrain and scenery your eyes have ever laid on. Read more: The Ultimate Toronto Itinerary for First-Timers
5. New Zealand
Honestly, has anyone gone to New Zealand and not enjoyed themselves? Blessed with some of nature’s best, New Zealand is where you truly see Mother Nature’s work at hand. And the best part is so much of it is still untouched.
It’s best enjoyed by doing your own DIY road trip in a caravan, so you can leisurely travel from site to site and then set up camp under the stars. Be prepared to be amazed at every turn you take – this is where you will find the bluest lakes and greenest hilltops.
Even with the shittiest weather, New Zealand was still so astonishing and still remains one of my favorite countries to date. It remains high on a lot of travelers’ lists, but sometimes falls by the wayside because of the perception that it is extremely costly. Is it though? Read more: How to Road Trip New Zealand’s South Island in 10 Days
For the love of egg tarts, seafood, and #thatbeachlife, Portugal is where it’s at. Oh, did I mention port wine? Porto is the birthplace of port wine, and really the only place in the world where real port wine comes from. It’s the perfect city to slow down and just be. Wanna spend a slow weekend? Do it in Porto.
In Lisbon, there’s just something to fit every type of traveler– you get the best sunsets, the most beautiful beaches, the friendliest people, the most amazing food and wine, the most eye-catching architecture, and the most stunning sceneries. Need more convincing? Here are 10 Reasons You Absolutely Need to Visit Lisbon, Portugal in 2019!
If you’re looking for a little heart and soul in your travels, head to Japan. For a country that’s at the forefront of technology and innovation, they have still managed to preserve some of their most cherished traditions and culture, which is what makes this country such a unique gem. I mean, who doesn’t love a toilet that masks your less-than-desirable noises while keeping your bum warm and toasty in the dead of winter? The Japanese really have thought of everything.
And they will go out of their way to help you out in any way possible. Every time I return from Japan, I have a new story of Japanese kindness that restores my faith in humanity.
If you’re tired of bustling cities and robot cafes, skip Japan’s capital, Tokyo and head to the Kansai region instead, where you will find beautiful landscapes and well-preserved, pristine temples sure to satisfy any culture aficionado. Read more: The Perfect 7 Day Itinerary for Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and Hiroshima, Japan
Not for the faint of heart, but definitely rewarding for those intrepid travelers who are willing to take a bit of a risk and travel way off the beaten path. Often overlooked due to its lack of transport and tours, but those who seek adventure will certainly find it here in Bolivia. Home to the world’s largest salt flats, what you’ll experience will definitely be nothing short of magical, as long as you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone…
9. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka really started to gain in popularity in 2018 and will continue to do so even in 2023. It’s a country I fell in love with so hard, I’m still in a Facebook Group of digital nomads looking to set up camp there! Yes, I was so serious about moving there.
I don’t think I’ve been on a trip so wholesome before. With awe-inspiring landscapes, drool-worthy food, white sandy beaches, and the nicest people, Sri Lanka will surely please the fussiest travelers.
And we had the opportunity to stay in the most exotic, interesting locations; on treetops and in tents where we could hear elephants early in the morning. We swam on top of waterfalls and hiked up mountains to admire the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets. It was simply divine being so up close and personal with nature. Its picture-perfect beaches and majestic cliff-sides will leave you wanting more. Plus, it’s a really wallet-friendly destination which is a huge plus! Read more: 9-Day Sri Lanka Itinerary for First Timers: Everything You Need to Know
Stockholm was one of the most beautiful cities I’d seen with my own eyes, with its charming architecture, rich history, and minimalistic Scandinavian design. Home to so many big brands that we see and use today, the Swedes have done so much for the world of invention, and yet remain so humble about it.
Take a leaf from the Swedes’ book and learn their way of life; always taking things slow to appreciate the little things in life. It’s no wonder they’re one of the happiest nations in the world. Not to mention their incredible subway system which houses the world’s longest art gallery! It’s a fun and unique activity totally worth doing while you’re here. Read more: The Ultimate Self-Guided Tour of Stockholm’s Subway Art
Ready to plan your next adventure? Get your planning started with this checklist!
- Head over to Kayak to compare prices and find the cheapest flights and best deals!
- While you’re at it, check out my in-depth guide on how to plan your holiday like a pro!
- If you’re planning a trip this year, now’s the best time to get your travel insurance. Click here to get a free quote on your World Nomads Travel Insurance!
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MY TOP TRAVEL TIPS & RESOURCES
Here are my top travel tips and resources to help you save money and plan your trips effectively! If you're looking for more tips, head over to my travel tips resource page or my comprehensive guide on trip planning.
- Booking Flights: When it comes to finding great flight deals, I always start my search on Google Flights or Skyscanner. To save some cash, consider flying mid-week or on the weekends, opt for carry-on only with budget airlines, and be open to red-eye or early morning flights. Check out my in-depth guide on how I find the cheapest flights.
- Accommodations: I'm a stickler for finding the absolute best deals on my stays, so I will obsessively oscillate between a few booking sites: Booking.com (in general) and Agoda (for Asian destinations). When it comes to vacation rentals, there's Airbnb or VRBO.
- Travel Insurance: It's always a wise decision to purchase travel insurance for international trips. I can't stress this enough - it's highly recommended! For international travel insurance, I suggest considering World Nomads or SafetyWing. SafetyWing, in particular, stands out as one of the few policies that cover Covid-19. They also offer excellent monthly policies that are perfect for digital nomads and long-term travelers!
- Travel Credit Card: My go-to travel credit card for booking trips is the Wise travel card. I love that there are no foreign transaction fees, so I can pay like a local and never get any surprises at the end of my trip. You can also withdraw cash from the ATMs wherever you are. With Wise, you are always guaranteed the best exchange rate, and I have saved sooo much money just by using this card. Most of the time, I get charged the exchange rate I see on Google, plus or minus a few cents.
- Tours: Most times, I prefer traveling independently but sometimes, getting a guide and a local's perspective makes the experience all the more enriching. When it comes to tour bookings, I trust Viator and GetYourGuide to provide me with excellent options. In Asia, I choose Klook as they are the biggest provider in the region. Plus, you can often get entrance tickets and discounted prices!
- Transportation: To navigate through public transit options and plan my journeys from one place to another, I rely on Rome2Rio. When it comes to rental cars, I compare rental companies and find the best deals through DiscoverCars.
- Connection: It's essential to me to have seamless connectivity wherever I go. I need it to navigate to new places, Google what's around me, and keep in touch with my loved ones. But fumbling around with multiple SIMs has always been a nightmare, which is why I choose Airalo when I travel. No more switching SIMs, just purchase a plan on your phone, on the go, anywhere, and stay connected.
- Luggage Storage: Whenever I need to check out early or take advantage of a long layover, I securely store my luggage with LuggageHero. It's a reliable service that allows me to roam around freely. As a bonus, you can use this link to enjoy your first hour of FREE luggage storage on me!
- What to Pack: I always have packing anxiety once I've left home—you know the phantom feeling that you've forgotten something even though you've checked 372836 times. So I made my own packing list and use it religiously before every trip, and by religious I mean I tick off that list at least 7 times before I zip up my bag. Check out my in-depth packing list here.