While international travel anywhere can be a thrill, there are some places that should be on your bucket list for 2018. Whether they’re long-time tourist favorites or are just getting on savvy traveler’s radars, these countries all offer unique experiences you’ll remember for a lifetime. Here are the top 10 places you should visit in 2018, according to Lonely Planet.
Chile marks 200 years of independence in 2018, a terrific excuse to visit this South American gem. From the cosmopolitan capital of Santiago to the splendid beaches along the Pacific Ocean, you’re likely to fall in love with what you discover during your trip to Chile. Don’t miss a trek through the Andes or a stroll through Santiago’s Plaza de Armas.
South Korea combines the modern with the traditional for a unique Asian experience. The futuristic aspect is on display in its capital of Seoul, with a newly developed high-line park featuring libraries, cafes, and bars peppering a former elevated highway. You can also plan a trip to hit the 2018 Winter Olympics in the city of Pyeongchang.
Affordable, alluring, and packed with captivating cultural experiences, Portugal is easily one of the top 10 places to visit in 2018. This southern European country now boasts a healthy microbrewery scene, extraordinary chefs, and a handful of new museums. Don’t forget to visit Porto, which features the oldest building in Europe, and include a trip to one of the country’s world-famous beaches.
This east African country is in the midst of being torn apart by moving tectonic plates, providing what may be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to witness Mother Nature at her most fearsome and formidable. Amazing beaches, shark diving, and enticing culture add to the can’t-miss mix.
Outdoor enthusiasts may put New Zealand at the front of the list of top 10 places to visit, thanks to a new multi-day trail, the Paparoa Track, added to the South Island. Off the trail, the country also boasts soaring mountainous landscapes, secluded beaches, geothermal pools, glaciers, and rapid-filled rivers.
A lineup of film festivals and a contemporary art celebration are on the agenda as the country’s capital city of Valletta hosts the European Capital of Culture in 2018. Historical draws for this Mediterranean archipelago include ancient temples, centuries-old fortresses, and a vast network of subterranean halls, tunnels, and burial chambers dating back to 4,000 B.C.
Celebrating 100 years of independent statehood, Georgia already boasts a famed wine region where you can stock up for any planned festivities. A visit to the capital city of Tbilisi is a must, complete with a trek to Old Town and a peek at the ancient Narikala Fortress, a Persian citadel built in the 4th century.
Sparkling seas, luxurious resorts, and balmy outdoor adventures are yours for the taking in Mauritius. This year marks 50 years of independence from the U.K. for this East African island. Black River Gorges National Park is a major highlight, as is the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden.
Traveling through the world’s most populous nation is faster and easier than ever, thanks to China’s extensive high-speed rail system. The country has also upgraded the Forbidden City, Beijing’s imperial palace, with several previously off-limits halls now open to the general public. Explore contrasting architecture styles at The Bund in Shanghai, or take in the views on a Yangtze river cruise.
A 2018 Nelson Mandela celebration and the ongoing allure of wildlife and wild terrain make South Africa one of the top 10 places to visit this year. Cape Town is a must-see for this trip, as are the country’s phenomenal beaches and mountains.
Once you’ve decided on where to go, make sure you have all you need to get there. Renew your passport, secure any required visas, and contact Swift with any questions or concerns. Happy travels in 2018!
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.