Ships, planes and trains are now being boarded for international destinations again. We couldn’t be more excited to be traveling and planning our adventures for the coming year. But which destinations are open for business and safe to travel to?
While we eagerly await the construction of our residential ship MV Narrative, everyone here at Storylines is thrilled to resume international travel in the meantime. It’s been an extraordinary couple of years of travel restrictions but we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The world is opening up again, and after getting our hopes up for 2021, only to realize it was much like 2020, we now view 2022 as the year of the reopening.
However, some destinations will open up sooner and be safer than others. We’ve done the research for you and are sharing 10 of our best places for travel in 2022 and beyond.
1. Northern Lights, Norway
Now could be the time to tick off one incredible bucket list experience - the Northern Lights. And where better to see them than in Norway. The Northern Lights are one of several astronomical phenomena; spectacular multi-color shards of light visible on occasion above the magnetic poles. There are several land based Northern Lights tours, although an increasingly popular way to view them is by cruise ship.
Unique and cozy accommodation options include mountain town lodges, Gamme cabins or even ice hotels! Besides viewing the incredible Northern Lights, you can also take part in truly local Nordic activities such as dog sledding, reindeer sledding, snowmobile safaris and viking-style feasts.
Also, among the majestic Fjords of Norway are some of the world's most picturesque small towns nestled between the mountains. We recommend Berjen, nicknamed the Gateway to the Fjords. You can reach there by the incredible train journey from Oslo, although the fjords are amazing to experience by sea.
2. Singapore, Singapore
Singapore is already opening up travel bubbles with other Covid resilient nations. Changi Airport has its own cinema, the world's first mirror maze within a garden setting, and the world’s tallest slide inside an airport.
Once you make it out of the airport, enjoy the journey as you catch the cableway over to Sentoza island where you can sip a Singapore Sling at one of the many beachfront cocktail bars. Be sure to check out The Gardens by the Bay, grab delicious street food in Chinatown, and visit The Night Zoo: the world’s first nocturnal wildlife park. There are lots of world firsts to discover in Singapore!
3. The Maldives, Indian Ocean
The Maldives has been one of the rare travel success stories during the pandemic, and despite some setbacks, it looks like the trend is set to continue. At the time of this writing, the Maldives is open to all, as long as you have proof of a negative Covid test taken no more than four days before your arrival.
The Maldives is a chain of about 1,200 small coral islands and is the ultimate perfect vacation for couples with luxury hotels set out over the water on private islands. You can literally swim directly from your hotel suite into the crystal clear waters, in case the beach is too far a walk.
Besides luxury resorts and quality beach time, the Maldives is also a great destination for surfers. Some even claim it has the best surfing breaks in the world. Local businesses specializing in surfing tours will take you out to the reefs by boat where you will find endless surf breaks over the reef without the crowds.
4. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as one of the seven wonders of the natural world. The largest reef of its kind, it consists of a mind-blowing 2900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching 2300km across the northeastern seaboard of Australia. Seriously big. While reports of widespread coral bleaching due to climate change are true, there are still many healthy and colorful parts of this magnificent living organism and its incredible wildlife. Just do your research to book a great snorkeling and dive guided tour. If you are arriving by ship into Cairns, there are plenty of reef tour options available.
If you get the chance, we highly recommend getting up to the tropical sleepy town of Port Douglas, just an hour's drive north of Cairns. Besides having luxury hotels with their own beach access, you can use Port Douglas as a base to explore the Daintree Rainforest (oldest in the world) as well as the Great Barrier Reef tours. Also a popular cruise destination, it’s one of the best places to visit in the tropical north of Australia, especially in the fall season.
5. Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is a uniquely beautiful city, and one of the world’s great trips. Active travelers flock to this English speaking country and Cape Town is its finest city. The central business district is flanked by the world famous Table Mountain National Park, which you can choose to climb by foot (must be fit) or by cable car; an incredibly scenic journey. The national park itself has a whopping 126 different hiking and mountain biking trails.
For those who like fine dining, you can eat out at some of the nicest restaurants with excellent cuisine and amazing local wine for less than half the price you would pay in the UK or US.
You can learn about Cape Town's troubled history during apartheid by visiting the District Six museum and Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.
There are so many other great places to visit in Cape Town that you will not want to miss, so here’s a must visit checklist to keep you busy:
- The Waterfront (city sightseeing tour buses go from here)
- Chapman’s Peak Road
- Camps Bay
- Hout Bay
- Boulders Beach penguin colony
- Constantia Wine Region
- Devil’s Peak hike
- Table Mountain cable car
If you are arriving in Cape Town by cruise ship for a short time, we recommend the City Sightseeing Tours, hop on hop off buses. These red double decker buses with the open roofs are a convenient way to see it all in just a couple of days.
If, however, you have more than a week, we recommend venturing outside the city as well for an overland tour or wildlife safari. If you are a rail enthusiast, the Rovos Rail to Pretoria and back is a must. If you’re keen to fit in a safari then we recommend The Garden Route Game Lodge, a four hour drive up the magnificent coastal Garden Route which is worth the drive in itself.
6. Big Island, Hawaii
The Big Island of Hawaii is one of our bucket list trips. One of the world’s best vacation spots, it’s a perfect trip for those looking to book a luxury hotel to unwind and enjoy the scenery. There is no shortage of natural attractions on the big island. It has everything you could possibly want in a tropical island paradise; calm waters, clear skies, different colored sand, gorgeous beaches, tropical local flora, world class snorkeling, hiking, otherworldly landscapes, volcano national parks, horseback riding, hot springs and sprawling resorts.
The Big Island covers several of the world's climate zones, from Wet Tropical to Polar Tundra, caused by the shielding from elevations of the volcanoes Maunaloa and Maunakea. It’s a nature island to be connected with. We recommend hiring a car and doing a road trip to discover the many outdoor adventures this awe inspiring island has to offer. And in between, remember to say aloha to the friendly locals!
7. Venice, Italy
Venice is one of the more popular historical travel destinations but was known to be overcrowded before Covid struck. But now it’s had time to breathe, with the waters of the famous canals clearing up. The local government plans to charge entrance fees when more people arrive starting the summer of 2022. The measure is being implemented to set a quota for the number of tourists at any given time - a good thing worth paying for to preserve the city and avoid crowds.
Just be sure to reserve access in advance as required so that you can enjoy all this romantic city has to offer. It’s a great place to travel for architecture buffs. Everywhere you look seems like it should be framed as artwork. It’s brimming with culture, quaint art galleries, boutique properties and archaeological wonders.
A great way to visit this city is by cruise ship, with some of the best cruises having Venice on their itinerary. So, while Venice is reopening after having its own holiday break, try and tick off this bucket list location while it’s refreshed and uncrowded!
8. Las Vegas, Nevada
This is not one for the family vacation. After all, it is nicknamed Sin City. However, the sparkling old town is not all about cruising the strip, gambling in the casinos and partying the night away. Las Vegas is also considered the capital of entertainment. Shows, shows and more shows, there’s something for everyone, including:
- Cirque Du Soleil
- Magic shows
- Comedy shows
- Tribute shows
- Hypnosis & psychic shows
- Boxing & MMA
If none of that floats your boat, you can simply hang out by one of the many five star resort pools which often have impressive pool parties. We recommend staying in one of the newer hotels such as Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
9. The Forbidden City, China
The Forbidden City sits right in the heart of Beijing, China, and it is their largest and most well preserved heritage site. The ancient city is one of the must-see destinations to travel to when visiting China. It is considered one of the world’s top five most important palaces, and it’s easy to see why when you are inside this awe inspiring place. The world’s largest imperial palace, the Forbidden City is a masterpiece of Chinese architecture and was home to 24 Chinese emperors who forbid commoners from entering; hence the name.
If you’re into history and culture, Beijing also has world class museums including the National Museum of China. Here, you will learn about the rich and fascinating history of this intriguing country of the Eastern world.
10. Istanbul, Turkey
Last but certainly not least is Istanbul, the gateway to both the east and west - and it is this factor which makes the city so fascinating. From the architecture to its food and culture, Istanbul is a perfect blend of east meets west. One side of the river is more European, while the other side is more Asian/Arabic. It’s known as a great city for epicures and walkers, so the best way to explore this melting pot of culture is on foot. You will find pretty much every cuisine known to man in Istanbul, but the street food is a real draw.
Highlights of Istanbul include:
- The Blue Mosque
- Hagia Sophia
- Topkapi Palace Museum
Coming in 2024: an epic maritime journey to all the best places in the world
If you’ve read this far, then you are obviously a keen globe trotter. We invite you to join Storylines' residential community of adventure seekers. We have luxury homes for sale on board a cruise liner which slowly circumnavigates the world every three and a half years. Sustainable travel is among our core values. Visiting iconic vacation destinations including some of those above, you too could make travel a lifestyle choice, not just a holiday. For more information visit Storylines’ website and reach out to a friendly residential advisor with any questions.