Emily Opie, Africa Specialist Travel Designer
Written by
Emily Opie, Rachel O'Leary, Kate Herz, Berni de Luca, Iain McConachie, Lily Bunker, Gilda Tang, Heather Evans, Jennifer Richt, Jody van Merode, Joyce Choi, Kit Wong & Tamara Potash

Well, it’s fair to say 2020 didn’t turn out how any of us thought. The world may be a different place to this time last year, but one thing that hasn’t changed is our desire to explore it. If anything, being stuck in one place for much of the last twelve months has us all desperate for a change of scene.

With the coming year looking a whole lot brighter, we know you’re dreaming of where you’ll escape to. In fact, 70% of you told us you’re planning to travel in 2021, with 15% of you looking to book as soon as possible. And with a lot of making up to do, we bet you’ll want to plan something special.

So, where are the best places to travel in 2021?

We’ve pooled the expert knowledge of our luxury travel designers to give you the inside track on the destinations and experiences you’ll be adding to your bucket list this year. (You’re welcome.)

Plus, with Jacada Travel you can plan with peace of mind. For any new bookings before December 2021, if your plans are impacted by COVID-19 you’ll have the option to change your reservation or cancel your booking in exchange for a full credit towards future travel. Travel soon, or travel later – it’s a win-win situation!

Without further ado, here are the 13 best places to travel in 2021.

1. Go on safari in the Okavango Delta

AFRICA

Botswana, Okavango Delta, Sanctuary Baines' Camp

“I’m dreaming of getting away from it all in total luxury in the middle of nowhere, and hearing the sounds of the Okavango Delta and the game at night while lying in my tent. The dream for me really must include staying at Mombo. Bush brunches, learning about the rhino conservation project, game drives… This dream is really about luxury and exclusivity.” Emily Opie, Africa Specialist Travel Designer

When to go: May to October is dry season, but you can go all year round – read our guide on the best time to visit Botswana.

Example trip: 12-day Botswana Explorer

2. Step back in time in Japan

ASIA

Kiyozumi Dera, Kyoto, Japan – photo by Su San Lee

“I’m dreaming of wandering the narrow cobbled streets of Japan’s Kyoto to find tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurants and bars, learning about the ancient Geisha tradition in the tea houses of Kanazawa, and sampling delicious locally brewed sake in one of Tokyo’s traditional sake bars under the expert guidance of a sake master.” Rachel O’Leary, Asia Specialist Travel Designer

When to go: Japan is a year-round destination, but visit in March and April to see the cherry blossom and from October to November to see the autumn colours.

Example trip: Luxury Gourmet Tour of Japan

3. See the Northern Lights in Norway

EUROPE

Northern Lights on Lofoten Islands, Norway

“I’ll never forget when I explored Norway’s Svalbard during winter. The day is spent in perpetual twilight and this incredible dark descends in the afternoon, only interrupted by the incredible hues of the northern lights dancing across the sky. We rode snowmobiles across frozen lakes and icy glaciers. What a fantastic adventure.” Kate Herz, Europe Specialist Travel Designer

When to go: Norway is a year-round destination – check out the best time to visit Norway depending on what you want to do there.

Example trip: Luxury Adventure to a Winter Wonderland

4. Hike through Torres del Paine, Chile

LATIN AMERICA

Torres del Paine – photo by Olga Stalska

I can honestly say there’s no place like Torres del Paine, in Chile. It’s so untouched and isolated – it really is magical. I imagine walking for miles in the vast open spaces, completely immersed in nature, then coming back to a cozy lodge and crackling fire to savour the taste of local lamb and a hearty glass of Carmenere.” Berni de Luca, Latin America Travel Concierge

When to go: The summer months of December to February are most popular, but autumn (March to early-June) and spring (mid-September to November) are beautiful, too. Read the best time to visit Chile if you’re thinking of combining it into a bigger trip.

Example trip: Luxury Chilean Patagonia Tour

5. Stay in the middle of nowhere in Namibia

AFRICA

Dryness in Namibia - Sossusvlei

“I’m longing to get back to Namibia’s big open spaces and stunning desert landscapes where you feel like the only person on a whole other planet, thanks to the giant, dreamlike sand dunes and surrealist rocky escarpments.” Iain McConachie, Africa Specialist Travel Designer

When to go: Namibia is a year-round destination, but from May to October it’s drier, cooler, and the wildlife can be easier to spot.

Example trip: A Complete Namibian Safari

6. Learn about biodiversity in Costa Rica

LATIN AMERICA

Costa Rica toucan Toucan resting on the branch in Costa Rica

Pura Vida (meaning ‘pure life’) is more than just a phrase in Costa Rica: it’s a way of life. It’s the friendlest nation I’ve ever been to, with a fantastic array of landscapes. I would love to take a break to visit the Osa Peninsula – one of the most remote and biodiverse spots in Costa Rica, where you can immerse yourself in the rainforest and wildlife.” Lily Bunker, Latin America Specialist Travel Designer

When to go: Each of the country’s four regions has a different climate – read about the best time to go to Costa Rica depending on what you want to do there.

Example trip: Costa Rica Wildlife Explorer

7. Explore ancient temples in Cambodia

ASIA

sunrise-angkor-wat-cambodia

“I’m dreaming of exploring the lesser known temples scattered through the forest around Siem Reap in Cambodia and hearing the fascinating stories of their history from an expert local guide. Of course, you can’t go to Siem Reap without visiting Angkor Wat and sampling the incredible local street food at the West Baray.” Gilda Tang, Asia Market Travel Designer

When to go: The best time to visit Cambodia is in late January or early February, although the climate is warm all year round, with temperatures rarely dropping below 23 degrees.

Example trip: Temples, Terraces and Angkor Wat

8. Witness the Great Migration in the Maasai Mara

AFRICA

Great Migration Aerial Shot The Great Wildebeest Migration is considered a natural wonder of the world – and for good reason

“I’ve always wanted to experience the Great Migration: 1.5 million wildebeest, 400,000 zebras and 200,000 gazelles moving en masse from Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park through Kenya’s Maasai Mara Game Reserve… There’s a reason it’s called ‘The Greatest Show on Earth – it really is a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife spectacle.” – Tamara Potash, Africa Travel Concierge

When to go: July to October is when the migration happens – check out the best time to visit Kenya to see what else is going on at that time.

Example trip: The Great Migration Luxury Safari

9. Walk with giants in Ireland

EUROPE

sunset-giants-causeway-ireland

“There are so many things to do in Ireland, but what I’m most excited about is seeing the Giant’s Causeway. The rugged symmetry of the rocks never fails to amaze me – I think being there would feel like stepping back in time. I’d travel down the wild West Coast, where there are barely any people and endless epic views across the vast Atlantic Ocean.” Heather Evans, Europe Travel Concierge

When to go: Ireland can be a charming destination at any time of the year, as long as you pack appropriately (which often means preparing for all weather!). Read our guide on the best time to visit Ireland to see what you can expect from each season.

Example trip: Gems of Northern Ireland

10. Discover Colombia's up-and-coming art scene

LATIN AMERICA

Woman selling fresh fruit in Colombia

“There are so many reasons to go to Colombia – to me, it’s just the perfect mix of tensions in nature, culture and food. The warm-hearted people made the biggest impression on me. That, and the incredible mix of diverse climates. Colombia’s art scene has always been inspiring, but now finally it’s getting the global recognition it deserves.” Jennifer Richt, Latin American Specialist Travel Designer

When to go: Colombia is a year-round destination. It’s drier between December and March, but tends to be a little busier then, too.

Example trip: Colombian Art, Culture and Cuisine

11. Encounter mountain gorillas in Rwanda

AFRICA

Mountain gorilla

“My lifelong dream is to see gorillas up close. They’re so majestic, and in so many ways weirdly similar to us! With only 1,000 left in the wild, seeing them in their natural habitat would be so rare and special. I’d love to stay at the incredible Bisate Lodge, next to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.” Jody van Merode, Africa Specialist Travel Designer

When to go: For gorilla trekking, visit between December and February or June to September.

Example trip: Luxury Rwandan Primate Adventure

12. Go on a journey of the tastebuds in Sri Lanka

INDIAN SUBCONTINENT

tea-country-sri-lanka Sri Lanka’s Tea Country

“I’m a real foodie, so Sri Lanka is top of my bucket list. I’d love to pick fresh ingredients from the markets in Galle before cooking a delicious Sri Lankan meal with a local chef. Another dream is enjoying an exhilarating hike through the scenic Tea Country, then being rewarded at the end with a freshly brewed pot of fragrant Sri Lankan tea.” Kit Wong, Travel Designer

When to go: Sri Lanka’s tropical climate generally means it’s warm and sunny year round. But the country does have two different rainy seasons, so the best time to visit the east coast is between March and September, while the south coast is best between November and March.

Example trip: Classic Sri Lanka Circuit

13. Go snorkelling in the Galapagos

LATIN AMERICA

Turtle in the Galapagos Islands

“I’m really inspired and in awe of the beauty and miracle of our planet when I encounter wildlife in its natural habitat. The Galapagos Islands are a mecca for wildlife enthusiasts – it’s also a destination that lets you step away from the chaos of the modern world. Diving alongside playful sea lions, turtles and manta rays is one of my greatest travel dreams.” Joyce Choi, Chief Travel Uplifter

When to go: Being so close to the equator means temperatures don’t vary much throughout the year, making the Galapagos Islands a great year-round destination.

Example trip: Luxury Galapagos Vacation

Feeling inspired? Our expert travel designers are always on hand to help you plan your 2021 vacation.