As it gets closer and closer to Christmas, it’s once again time to start thinking about the new year and all the possibilities it holds. For us at On The Go Tours, that means looking ahead to see where 2019’s hottest destinations will be. So whether your New Year’s resolution is to see more of the world or you want to cross a destination or two off your bucket list, here’s our pick of the best places to travel in 2019.
Whilst Jordan’s tourism industry has struggled in recent years due to the conflict of the surrounding region, this Middle Eastern nation has been hailed by several industry experts as one of the best places to travel in 2019. Jordan ranked sixth on Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel List for 2019 and, with its host of attractions, it’s easy to see why. From the UNESCO-listed lost city of Petra and the Roman ruins of Jerash, to the shores of the Dead Sea and sacred Mount Nebo, Jordan offers a unique holiday experience.
Online booking site Booking.com also surveyed 21,500 people from across the world and discovered that Jordan’s Wadi Rum desert is an emerging destination for 2019. This vast landscape encompasses some of Jordan’s greatest scenery and you can spend a night camping amidst its red sands, spectacular rock formations and surreal sunsets.
Adventure lovers can also experience the awe-inspiring Wadi Rum whilst trekking the epic Jordan Trail, a 650-kilometre-long route spanning the length of the country. Or, alternatively, you can trek its most famous section from Dana to Petra. Whatever distance you decide, you’ll be ahead of the pack by taking on the challenge in 2019.
Over the last few years, Iceland has established a firm spot on the tourist map and seen its travel industry boom. But if you’re looking for a similar experience and want to beat the crowds, then Latvia is a destination that should be on your radar for 2019.
Whilst Reykjavik is known as the only real city of Iceland, the same can be said of capital Riga in Latvia. The city is home to the largest collection of Art Nouveau buildings in the world. And its UNESCO-listed centre offers a maze of cobbled streets, architectural gems and towering church spires. Outside of Riga, Latvia is also a nature lover’s paradise. Described by Lonely Planet as a ‘vast unspoilt parkland’, half of Latvia is covered in forest. And to rival Iceland’s wilderness, you’ll find stunning national parks for hiking, countless rivers and lakes for canoeing and white sand beaches backed by pine-covered dunes for summertime sunbathing.
It was reported in a survey in Intrepid’s Adventure Travel Index 2018 that over half of respondents were motivated to travel to recharge their batteries and take a break from the stress of work. Whilst Latvia may be a small country, the amount of personal space it offers is huge. And with a population of less than 2 million, you can enjoy its scenic attractions almost all to yourself.
Japan is a destination that has long been alluring Western travellers. And it seems that the country will continue to be trending into 2019 as it hosts the Rugby World Cup in 12 cities across its main islands.
According to Expedia, interest in travelling to Osaka in particular has soared by more than 230%. Japan’s third largest city, Osaka is just a short bullet train ride from Tokyo and a fantastic foodie destination. Its other attractions include a 16th-century castle and lively nightlife. The Dotombori district in particular comes alive after dark with countless illuminated billboards vying for your attention.
From spring 2019, British Airways are also launching new direct flight routes to Osaka from London Heathrow, making travel to Japan even easier for those living in the UK. As well as watching the rugby, Japan offers a wealth of unique cultural experiences, from attending a traditional tea ceremony to staying in a Japanese ryokan. To top it off, you also have delicious cuisine, ancient shrines and breathtaking natural scenery.
The issue of single-use plastic was a hot topic during 2018, thanks to Blue Planet 2 and numerous campaigns to reduce plastic pollution and clean up our oceans. And according to Booking.com, 2019 will see our environmental concerns continue and lead to greater environmental action. Younger travellers are thought to be looking for more sustainable travel experiences. Proven by a huge 86% of those surveyed by Booking.com saying they’d be willing to spend time on activities that offset the environmental impact of their stay.
When it comes to finding an eco-friendly destination, Costa Rica is one of the most sustainable destinations in the world. The country already gets almost all of its electricity from renewable sources and in 2017 ran for a record 300 days on clean sources of energy. Costa Rica is also aiming to be carbon neutral by 2021 and is a world-leader in ecotourism.
Bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean, this tropical nation boasts beautiful beaches, lush cloud forests and smouldering volcanoes. And being one of the world’s most biologically diverse places, it protects its wildlife within a wealth of national parks. With a range of ecolodges to choose from, Costa Rica is a sustainable destination that’s sure to be a hit in 2019.
Experiences were at the heart of travel in 2018 and this trend is also set to continue into 2019. Booking.com has revealed that almost two-thirds of travellers value experiences higher than material possessions, and are seeking out different and authentic experiences when they travel. That in mind, it was clear to us that Laos is one of the best places to travel in 2019.
One of Southeast Asia’s best-kept secrets, Laos is brimming with exciting activities and experiences. Visit Bokeo Nature Reserve and stay in the world’s highest treehouses or travel to Vang Vieng and go tubing along the river or cycling through lush rice paddies. Experience a homestay with a local hill tribe or take a cooking class and discover the flavours of Lao cuisine.
On our group tours, we visit the Living Land Farm and get a taste of rural life in Laos. A fun and hands-on experience, local farmers teach our travellers all about cultivating rice. There’s also the chance to try your hand at activities such as ploughing a rice paddy with a water buffalo. A truly immersive experience!
Tourism in Africa is on the rise, with numbers expected to double to reach 150 million by 2030. But one of the continent’s least travelled destinations, and one of the most beautiful, is underrated Mozambique.
This off-the-beaten-track destination boasts blissfully empty Indian ocean beaches, remote archipelagos and a fascinating cultural heritage. With both Portuguese and Arab influences, the country’s cuisine is simply delicious. And on the Bazaruto Archipelago, you’ll find some of the world’s best diving. Pristine coral reefs and turquoise waters support dolphins, migrating whales, dugongs and more fascinating marine life.
In 2016, Mozambique received less than 2 million visitors, in comparison to the 15.52 million which travelled to neighbouring South Africa. So head to Mozambique in 2019 to discover this stunning slice of southern Africa before everyone else catches on.
Following the devasting 2015 earthquake, Nepal saw many of the buildings and temples of the Kathmandu Valley reduced to rubble. Yet three years later, and the capital’s recovery means Nepal should be firmly back on your travel radar for 2019.
Known as the doorway to the Himalayas, Kathmandu is now seeing its monuments and sites restored to their former glory. The city has been designed to reduce noise and air pollution. Cars have been banned from its historic centre and motor horns banned across the entire Kathmandu Valley. There’s also reliable electricity and even WiFi. So you can enjoy some home comforts before embarking on a trek into some of the world’s highest mountains.
The capital will also be hosting the South Asian Games in 2019. But if you still need persuading, Nepal has so much more still to offer. UNESCO-listed Lumbini was the birthplace of Buddha and Pokhara boasts the beautiful Phewa Lake. And if you’re a nature lover, outstanding Chitwan National Park is home to Bengal tigers, rhinos and more local wildlife.
Inspired to travel to one of these destinations in 2019? Take a look at our group tours and find your dream holiday.