After two years of travel restrictions, there’s plenty of eagerness to go back on the road. But where do you go to make future reservations? Though the pandemic had a significant impact on the hospitality business, several facilities took advantage of the forced downtime to refurbish rooms, add new amenities, and extend outdoor spaces in order to provide even more when customers returned. What are the new travel trends that have evolved since our last trip? Here’s our pick of the top 2022 vacation locations, which range from responsible travel to major bucket list excursions.
Rarotonga embraces the twenty-first century with a vibrant cafe culture, a rising organic and artisan food industry, and a handful of bars and clubs. Beyond the island’s tourist draw and modern exterior, however, there is a vibrant culture rooted in traditional Polynesian values and steeped in oral history.
The beautiful lagoon of Aitutaki, north of ‘Raro,’ is bordered by tiny desolate islands and is one of the Pacific’s most unlikely scenic jewels. Further exploration brings strong Polynesian customs closer to the surface. Explore the historic makatea (raised coral cliffs) and taro fields of Mangaia, or swim in the subterranean cave pools of Mitiaro and Ma’uke, or drink home brew in a traditional ‘Atiuan tumunu (bush-beer drinking club). The secluded Northern Group is a South Seas paradise that a select few have visited.
‘Mauritius was constructed first and then heaven, heaven being duplicated after Mauritius,’ claimed Mark Twain. For the most part, this is correct: Mauritius is well-known for its blue waters, powder-white beaches, and opulent resorts. But Mauritius has so much more to offer than the beach, and it’s the kind of location that rewards even the most insignificant attempts at discovery. Hiking is available in the interior’s forested and hilly areas, as well as world-class diving and snorkeling off the coast. Excursions to botanical gardens and colonial plantation mansions are available, as well as boat tours to near-perfect islets. Mauritius is a fantastic gastronomic destination with excellent wildlife viewing.
Norway is one of Europe’s most thrilling and varied adventure-tourism locations, and enjoying nature is very much an active endeavor. While some of the activities cater to the young, active, and courageous, the majority – such as world-class hiking, cycling, and white-water rafting in the summer, and dog-sledding, skiing, and snowmobiling in the winter – are accessible to everyone of reasonable fitness. These activities are an exhilarating way of getting close to nature, whether you’re here for the seemingly infinite summer options or for snowsports and the soul-stirring Northern Lights in the winter.
Slovenia has it everything, from the soaring heights of the Julian Alps to the subterranean wonder of Postojna and kocjan caves, to the glittering emerald-green lakes and rivers and the short but lovely Adriatic Sea shoreline. Warm Mediterranean winds reach the slopes of the Alps, where it can snow even in summer, thanks to an unusual blend of climates. Slovenia is one of the greenest countries on the planet, with more than half of its total territory still covered in forest.
Belize is a true adventure, whether you’re scuba diving the Blue Hole, ziplining under the rainforest canopy, rappelling down waterfalls, or crawling through ancient cave systems. In the Cayo District, you can tube or paddle through shadowy underground river systems or do some serious spelunking in the renowned Actun Tunichil Muknal cave. Ziplining is practically an art form in Cayo and Southern Belize, where there are a half-dozen spots where you may glide through the forest. Mayflower Bocawina National Park, Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Shipstern Nature Reserve, and Ro Bravo all have excellent horseback riding and hiking opportunities.
The island’s rich and varied history extends back to the arrival of the Amerindians and Arawaks, and incredible rock art can still be found in places like Fountain Cavern National Park. The flat topography, unlike many adjacent islands, makes it easy to navigate around by car, bicycle, or quad bike.
Of course, there’s a catch. Anguilla is not a budget getaway, and authenticity is valued highly. Jetsetters seeking an off-the-beaten-path holiday will find luxury hotels and private villas to their liking. For a more economical taste of paradise, visit outside of peak season.
For mountaineers, the Nepal Himalaya is the ultimate aim. With rough trails to Everest, the Annapurnas, and beyond, this region offers some of the Himalaya’s most iconic and accessible hiking. There are few places where you may travel for days through breathtaking mountain scenery while knowing that a cooked supper, cozy lodge, and warm slice of apple pie await you at the end of the day.
The adrenaline rush of rafting a raging Nepali river or bungee jumping into a cavernous Himalayan valley is another option. Canyoning, climbing, kayaking, paragliding, and mountain biking all provide an adrenaline rush set against some of the world’s most stunning scenery.
For visitors, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to engage with the Arab world without being distorted by overwhelming affluence. Low-rise cities in Oman retain their traditional charms, and Bedouin principles remain central to the Omani welcome. Oman is the logical choice for those seeking the modern face of Arabia while still wanting to sense its old soul, thanks to its plethora of natural beauty, which includes stunning mountains, wind-blown deserts, and a pristine coastline.
The spectacular summits of Mt Mulanje and the enigmatic Zomba Plateau, suspended in the clouds in Malawi’s far south, are both a hiker’s dream, with mist-cowled forests and unique animals. The Nyika Plateau, with its undulating meadows reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands, is further north.
Malawi was formerly overlooked as a safari destination, but that changed thanks to a lion reintroduction initiative at Majete Wildlife Reserve, which is now one of the country’s few worthwhile wildlife-watching spots.
Egypt pulls out the student in all of us with its sand-covered tombs, austere pyramids, and towering Pharaonic temples. Visit the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, where Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered, and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo to see the sparkling artifacts. Visit Dendara, Edfu, or one of the other waterside temples on a Nile cruise, cross Lake Nasser to view Ramses II’s masterwork at Abu Simbel, or journey into the desert to see the remains of Roman trading outposts. You never know, your donkey might come over yet another find, as many past discoveries have been found this way.