It’s always an exciting time when we put together our list of destinations for the new year. We start our list of the best places to go in 2020 by surveying our well-traveled staff, and then our hyper-connected network of writers based all over the world. We look for the big reasons to visit destinations: The Olympics in Japan and the World Expo in Dubai are two major ones in 2020, but there are also smaller, surprising ones, such as the 800th birthday of a stunning Gothic cathedral or a new museum dedicated to African American music.

We aim to compile a list that is geographically diverse but also has points of interest for every traveler, whether you’ll fly for unparalleled stargazing, gorilla spotting in the wild, or shopping in Tangier. We know that you’re using this list throughout the year to plan your trips (frankly, we are too), so we vary the types of destinations on here, from summer escapes like western Michigan to far-flung locales like southeastern Australia. If your 2020 goal is to only travel to sunny islands, we’ve got you covered with this list.

Need more inspiration on a month-by-month basis? Check out our recommendations for where to go in January. After all, the best part of starting a new year might just be the endless possibilities for travel—where you’ll go, whom you’ll go with, and how those trips will change the way you see the world.

Travel Stories from Community Members

Armenia – Top places to travel in 2020

Armenia is on its way to being one of next year’s most talked-about destinations, and there’s more to the tiny Caucasus nation than what makes the nightly news (or Kim Kardashian’s semi-regular visits). Ryanair will begin flying to Armenia in 2020, marking the first time a low-cost airline has serviced the country and ringing in …

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Bahia, Brazil – Top places to travel in 2020

Brazil has had a momentous year when it comes to travel. The country has dropped its visa requirements for U.S. citizens. New flight routes have added better connections to Brazilian cities like São Paulo and Salvador from hubs throughout North and South America. Salvador is the main gateway into the northeast state of Bahia—a region …

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Botswana – Top places to travel in 2020

Littered with fossils and Stone Age artifacts, Botswana’s Makgadikgadi salt pans are the remains of an ancient super-lake—a salt-encrusted expanse covering more than 6,200 square miles of the Kalahari Desert. Fifth-generation safari operator and naturalist Ralph Bousfield put the harsh yet hypnotically beautiful pans on the safari map 25 years ago when he opened Jack’s …

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Canadian Arctic – Top places to travel to in 2020

The Canadian Arctic is “the world’s last and most pristine wilderness, with places man has not walked upon for over 500 years,” says Tessum Weber, a member of the esteemed family of explorers that runs Weber Arctic. It’s the ultimate destination for travelers, with a certain starkness that only polar regions can provide—though it’s rapidly …

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Canary Islands, Spain – Top places to travel to in 2020

This archipelago of islands off Africa’s Atlantic coast has attracted sun-seeking European travelers for decades, thanks to its black, white, and buttery-golden beaches. But it’s the mountainous interiors of the seven main islands that are grabbing the global spotlight in 2020. International airports on Tenerife, Gran Canaria, and Lanzarote are the archipelago’s main access points, …

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Copenhagen – Top places to travel to in 2020

Copenhagen doesn’t need to sell itself as a worthy travel destination, what with its long summer days, hygge-filled winters, and unparalleled food scene. Yet the city keeps finding ways to become more travel-friendly, most recently with the extension of the City Ring Line subway line. Areas like the leafy Frederiksberg neighborhood and industrial Nordhavn waterfront …

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