Lonely Planet has released its annual lists of the best travel destinations for the next year. This list is always hotly anticipated, because Lonely Planet does such a good job of staying on top of which countries, cities, and even regions have upcoming events, new attractions, discounts, and other benefits weighing in their favor for the year to come. Lonely Planet also does a good job of mixing up the list and not simply directing world travelers to the same favorite spots like London, Paris, and Barcelona year after year.
Let’s take a look at a few of the highlights from Lonely Planet’s 2019 travel lists.
Top 10 Countries
Sri Lanka – We recently profiled this beautiful island nation which has seen a dramatic surge in tourism over the last few years. Recovering from a long civil war, Sri Lanka is home to breathtaking sites and some of the friendliest people in the world.
Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe is one of the safest countries to visit in Africa and the perfect place to go on a safari to see all of Africa’s astounding wildlife. It is also the home to the immense and surreal Victoria Falls.
Panama – At the southern tip of Central America, Panama is often overlooked by travelers, but that may change this year as the country celebrates its 500th anniversary. It will be a party like none other surrounded by rainforests, white-sand beaches, and incomparable local culture.
Top 10 Cities
Shenzhen, China – This bustling city is known as the Silicon Valley of China and may have just as much in common with cities like Austin and San Francisco. The city is full of fascinating tech, but also an indie music scene, craft breweries, and wonderful museums. If you’re planning to visit this country, Swift can help you with your China visa.
Novi Sad, Serbia – The New Garden city is the 2019 European Youth Capital and will also play host to the twentieth annual EXIT music festival. If you’re young and free-spirited, this is the city to visit this year.
Top 10 Best Value Destinations
Southern Nile Valley, Egypt – The aftermath of Arab Spring meant that many people deferred visiting Egypt. But the tourism industry is coming back strong, and deals are making it absurd NOT to visit Egypt. Travel packages for Nile cruises are almost embarrassingly inexpensive, and travel to Egypt through Europe is currently quite convenient and reasonable.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA – For anyone hoping to find a local getaway, America’s national parks are hard to beat, and the Great Smoky Mountains may be the top park east of the Mississippi.
Check out the full lists at Lonely Planet. And remember to give Swift a call anytime to get your passport renewed or to get visas in order before your next big getaway.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.