Whether they travel to taste a classic dish or relax on a perfect beach, AFAR readers are always planning their next trip. So when we asked them to vote for the places and events topping their 2018 travel wish lists, they responded with a whopping 160,000 votes. From global cities and cultural festivals to road trips and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, these are the destinations fueling their wanderlust for the year ahead.
Occupying over 150,000 square miles, California is big enough for a country’s worth of road trips. The most famous one—a 650-mile drive down Highway 1—will take you from the redwood forests of northern California down the coast through Monterey Bay and straight past the mansions of Malibu.
The resilience of Barcelona—and its residents’ fierce multicultural pride—was on full display after last summer's terrorist attack on Las Ramblas. Within days, half a million Catalonians marched for peace bearing signs that read “No to Islamophobia." Even now, as the Catalonian capital wrestles with the aftermath of this fall’s secession vote, its broad avenues and atmospheric Gothic quarter remain as enticing as ever, thanks to its inimitable mix of modern architecture, lively tapas bars, and vibrant arts scene.
Forget the teachings of Wild and Eat, Pray, Love: The way to truly find yourself is near the end of the Earth, where the scenery skews otherworldly with snow-capped mountains, home-sized icebergs, emerald greens, deep teal blues—and no other souls for miles.
Cycling in Provence
Glacier trekking in Iceland
Dogsledding in Finland
Horse trekking in Mongolia
Kayaking in Glacier Bay, Alaska
Swimming with whale sharks in Mexico
Tracking polar bears in Canada
White water rafting in Colorado
Cold water surfing in Norway
The archipelago recovered from hurricane season and is ready for visitors. There’s no better place to stroll white-sand beaches or try kitesurfing for the first time.
British Virgin Islands
Antigua and Barbuda
Yes, Bordeaux produces some of the world’s finest wines. But for oenophiles, the French region necessitates a pilgrimage not just for the tastings but also for the conversations. Here, wine—drinking it, growing it, debating it, sharing it—is as ingrained into daily life as a relationship with a loved one.
Central Otago, New Zealand
Duoro Valley, Portugal
Napa Valley, California
Winelands, South Africa
Colchagua Valley, Chile
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Guadalupe Valley, Mexico
If this fall’s opening of South Africa’s first contemporary art museum, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art, isn’t enough of a reason to visit, then the diverse music scene—with its epicenter at the long-standing venue The Assembly—surely will be.
The tiny Hawaiian island of Lanai is as untouched as it gets. With only 30 miles of paved roads and not a single stoplight, visitors can scuba dive in underwater coral grottoes, snorkel with dolphins and sea turtles, and hike the impressive Koloiki Ridge.
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Outer Banks, North Carolina
Carmel Beach, California
Coronado Beach, California
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Montauk, New York
Rialto Beach, Washington
The Rockaways, New York
A trip to Tokyo will teach you what Japanophiles have long known: The city is a hotbed for great food, interesting subcultures, forward-looking fashion, and fascinating art, all packaged together with that distinctly technological Japanese flair.
Thanks to a plethora of music festivals (Austin City Limits, Euphoria, SXSW), a surge of tech jobs, and many beloved local food movements (see: breakfast tacos), Austin is becoming America’s millennial city. As for a fresh reason to visit in 2018, look no further than the newest Proper Hotels property, Proper Austin. It’s set to open next fall in a fab downtown location with an exciting food and beverage scene designed by the team behind some of Austin’s best restaurants.
Is there any hotel experience as envied (or as Instagrammed) as the overwater bungalow? If there is, you’d be hard-pressed to find it, especially when said bungalow is located a few feet above the vibrant turquoise waters surrounding French Polynesia.
See wildlife in the Galápagos
Trace the Silk Road by train in Central Asia
Go on safari in Kenya
Cruise to the Arctic Circle
Tour hot springs and temples in Japan
Stargaze in Chile’s Atacama Desert
Join a desert trek to Petra, Jordan
Spot snow leopards in Ladakh, India
Storm watch in Tofino, Canada
Camp in Oman’s desert
Thousands of people from all over Mexico and the world will make their way to Oaxaca for its annual Day of the Dead festival and all the dancing skeletons, intricate altar decorations, and pops of color that go with it.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Montreal International Jazz Festival
Running of the Bulls
For the 2018 Winter Olympics, host city PyeongChang, South Korea, is doing a lot with little space. Athletes will compete for the 102 gold medals being offered this year—more than in any previous winter games, thanks to six new events—in just two intimate Olympic parks.
2018 FIFA World Cup
Monaco Grand Prix
Super Bowl LII
Tour de France
U.S. Open Golf
New York City Marathon
Winter X Games
There’s a reason every chef-in-training hopes to spend some time in the City of Light. No matter how renowned the food scene of a city, how revered a restaurant, or how beloved a chef, there’s somewhere in Paris—whether at one of its over 70 Michelin-starred restaurants or at a hole-in-the-wall, locals-only dive—that’s doing it better.
Two-time winter Olympics host St. Moritz isn’t just a world-class Swiss ski resort: It’s the birthplace of the luxury ski trip. Expert skiers can live out Olympic fantasies on the Piz Nair Wall, a downhill drop that forces athletes from 0 to 80 miles per hour in less than 10 seconds flat.
Lake Louise, Alberta
Les 3 Vallées, France
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Whistler Blackomb, British Columbia
Deer Valley, Utah
Taos, New Mexico
Squaw Valley, California
Sun Valley, Idaho
Fiji’s clear blue waters beg for attention from travelers. And whether you’re on a boat cruising or game fishing; splashing in to snorkel, scuba dive, or swim; or jet skiing along gentle crests, the island makes sure you won’t leave without getting wet.
British Virgin Islands
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