Where to Travel in 2018

A new year brings with it a whole new list of plans—and for the intrepid traveler, a whole new list of places to visit. 2018 is no different: Economies and tourism are flourishing in far-flung locales that travelers rarely considered previously, while beloved but forgotten destinations are experiencing sudden cultural resurgences. It all makes for a whole world’s worth of destinations to consider—from South American cities on the cusp of becoming culinary meccas to landlocked African countries that boast surprising waterfront views, to revamped classics closer to home. Here, 13 places travel experts recommend adding to your list for 2018 and beyond.


“Buenos Aires has always been a late-to-bed city where dinner can go into the wee hours and tango dancing can last until dawn. It’s a city that’s festive and artistic—so it’s a natural choice as the first Art Basel partner city. The contemporary art fair, which spurred a whole scene in Miami, is set to take over this Latin American capital in September of 2018. Plan to be there, maté in hand, as the festivities unfold.”
—Maria Hart, editor,

“While all eyes are on Argentina’s rising culinary and arts capital of Buenos Aires, I’m most excited about under-the-radar happenings in the country’s vast north. In February, Awasi Iguazú is slated to open with 14 villas in northeast Argentina. Each booking will include a private guide to the area, totally reimagining what travel to Iguazú Falls will entail. In the northwest, Salta is emerging as an adventure-travel and oenophile haven. It’s an area so far off the beaten path that Argentines themselves seldom visit. Flush with serene desert landscapes and perfect for summer road trips, experiences include high-altitude llama trekking to salt flats with Say Hueque, horse riding at historical fincas like House of Jasmines, hikes to the country’s newly-discovered rock art galleries with Autentica Salta, and luxe stays at properties like Grace Cafayate, which is known for producing the country’s famed Torrontes, a high altitude white wine varietal that’s incredibly refreshing.”
—Michaela Trimble, contributor,


“Bhutan is going to be on every media outlet’s radar next year thanks to the highly anticipated upcoming opening of Six Senses Bhutan, a collection of five lodges spread out over Gangtey, Paro, Punakha, and beyond. It is sure to redefine luxury travel in the Himalayas.”
—Lindsey Olander, Editor, Jetsetter

“The Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary is an amazing new lodge opening in early 2018 near Paro. There, a focus on wellness is central, and travelers have privileged access to the Tigers Nest Monastery. Also in Bhutan, the new Six Senses will be opening, which is terribly exciting for the area.”
—Tom Marchant, founder, Black Tomato Travel



“Chile has been rapidly gaining popularity as a travel destination and 2018 is a great time to go. From wine tasting to desert camping to fjord jumping, it offers travelers a range of experiences that vary dramatically from region to region. There’s never a bad season to visit and it’s more accessible than ever. Santiago has flourished in recent years as an artistic and culinary capital, and the Atacama Desert has certainly put Chile in the international spotlight as a stargazing mecca. With such diversity, it’s an impossible country to define—there’s something for every kind of traveler.”
—Daniel Houghton, CEO, Lonely Planet

“Chile’s Colchagua Valley is often overshadowed by neighboring valleys like Casablanca and Maipo, but the Colchagua region is special for a very specific reason: Due to the soil and terroir, it only produces red wine varietals. With quaint country homes and an area largely free from traffic, it’s a joy to cycle to familial wineries like the organic and biodynamic Neyen, the Grand Marnier–owned Clos Apalta, and small-batch producer Clos Santa Ana. Plus, you can stay at the luxurious Viña Vik and Relais & Châteaux property Lapostolle before venturing to Hotel Alaia, where you can surf and practice yoga to your heart’s content.”
—Michaela Trimble, contributor,


“Comporta is truly the new Ibiza, where a bygone casual elegance, sophistication, and barefoot luxury reign. It’s the ultimate summer destination. Going to Comporta means escaping the glitterati crowds and you’ll immediately see its quaint village appeal in the stunning villas—many of which are owned by Lisbon’s well heeled—dotting the landscape. The elegant and understated Sublime will put you at ease and the soft, white-sand beaches are unfettered and unspoiled. It all makes Comporta a must for 2018.”
—Tom Marchant, founder, Black Tomato Travel



“The world-class Art Deco architecture, Motown music scene, and automotive history have always made the city a standout, but thanks to recent economic growth, the city now offers plenty of top-notch dining, hospitality, and entertainment options as well. So many American Rust Belt cities are experiencing a renaissance right now, but not all of them have managed to preserve their distinctive character the way Detroit has. There’s no city like it in the world.”
—Trisha Ping, editor, Lonely Planet

“People have been talking about it for a while, but 2018 will finally be Detroit’s year. There’s a new Shinola Hotel opening up soon, as well as the chic Siren Hotel. The QLine Streetcar just launched, so it’s easier to get around the city and hundreds more development projects are in the works for 2018.”
—Clara Sedlak, executive editor, Jetsetter


“Malawi is wonderful and unusual—though the landlocked country might seem so far from this fact. Lake Malawi is sprawling and the surrounding landscapes offer safaris teeming with endemic wildlife and an absence of crowds—or really, any other travelers. Stay at Kaya Mawa; it boasts incredible villas in a breathtaking, waterfront setting. If you can time it right, try to go in September when Lake Malawi’s Lake of Stars Festival, which celebrates music, arts, and culture, is on. You won’t disappointed.”
—Tom Marchant, founder, Black Tomato Travel



“Bolivia is pulsing with the energy of a country on the verge. While the country is known for dramatic, otherworldly scenery (the Salar de Uyuni salt flats are quickly topping bucket lists), its cultural capital, La Paz, is just hitting its stride. Framed by the jagged Andes mountains, the fun, soulful city has recently emerged as a foodie capital. Danish chef and Noma cofounder Claus Meyer launched an award-winning eatery and social enterprise, Melting Pot Foundation, which aims to train local people in the food services business. The resulting destination restaurants, plus two luxury hotel openings and a resurgence of La Paz’s historic center make Bolivia a must-visit for 2018, especially for nature lovers and gourmands.”
—Melissa Bradley, founder, Indagare Travel


“Brimming with attitude and sophistication, Milan is no longer the stopover destination that it once was. ‘The only city that works in Italy’—as it’s sometimes called—is also the country’s chicest and most modern metropolis. It has bloomed in recent years as a design-lover’s mecca. In 2015, the Milan Expo put the city on the map as a stand-alone destination and with the recent opening of the Prada Foundation and Armani Museum, as well as the ongoing success of the yearly Salone dei Mobile furniture fair, the city has officially debuted on the world’s stage. Add in a collection of ultra-luxurious hotels, innovative Italian cuisine, and some of the best architecture in Europe, and the city’s momentum shows no signs of stopping.”
—Melissa Bradley, founder, Indagare Travel



“I can’t say enough good things about Oaxaca, and it’s not just because of the mezcal. Thanks to that spirit’s rapid worldwide growth, tourist activity to its home state of Oaxaca is quickly increasing. The vibe in Oaxaca is a bit like that of Venice Beach in California—a bohemian artists’ community splashed with neon-hued walls, frequent street art, and some of the absolute best food and drink in all of Mexico. There are beautiful hotels in the region (Quinta Real, Hotel Escondito), excellent restaurants (Origen, Enrique Olivera’s Criollo), and of course prime drinking (Montelobos, Mezcaloteca), much of which is within a few blocks of downtown Oaxaca City.”
—Kat Odell, contributor,


“Panama will continue to top travelers’ wish lists in 2018—and with tons of direct flights from JFK and LAX on Copa, it’s never been easier to go. The perfect itinerary would start in Panama City at one of the beautiful new hotels opening in 2018 such as Santa Maria, a Luxury Collection Resort. After some urban exploration, finish your trip with some R&R at Islas Secas, a tiny cluster of private island eco-lodges off Panama’s unspoiled Pacific coast.”
—Todd Plummer, contributor,



“Although most travelers head to this landlocked country to see the endangered mountain gorillas—a wildlife experience that is unlike any other—it is the resilient spirit of the people and the beauty of the landscapes that make so many vow to return. In fact, this central African country delivers an incredible amount of optimism and promise: two things that are too scarce in the world today. Twenty-three years after the horrifying genocide, Rwanda has emerged as a beacon of hope, and its positive progress is drawing everyone from luxury tour operators to world leaders and conservationists, all of whom are visiting to get a dose of inspiration. These days, guests can now experience a new level of comfort, as the first five-star lodge in Rwanda, Bisate Eco Lodge, opened in June. A Singitaproperty is in the works as well.”
—Melissa Bradley, founder, Indagare Travel

“After two decades off the radar, Rwanda couldn’t seem to stay out of the headlines this year. It’s hard to say which feeds the other: Newfound optimism for an economy on the rise, or a newfound interest in gorilla tourism. Kigali, its capital, has become something of a boomtown thanks to a wave of new hotels, restaurants, and open-air bars that are drawing increasing amounts of tourists. One of the year’s biggest hotel openings, Wilderness Safaris’ Bisate Eco Lodge, introduced a whole new level of luxury to the region: Its six thatched villas feature soaking tubs and sweeping views and sit less than 10 miles from Volcanoes National Park, which is home to half the world’s mountain gorilla population. (Two other openings, One&Only Nyungwe House and One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, are slated to open in late 2017 and 2018, respectively.) Despite Rwanda’s gorilla permit cost doubling from $750 to $1,500 a person last May, the experience of seeing these endangered creatures remains as sought-after as ever.”
—Lindsey Olander, Editor, Jetsetter


“Santa Barbara has always been an idyllic escape, but recently the city has traded its signature sleepy glamour for something a bit more lively. This newfound energy is especially apparent along the waterfront, where the gorgeously designed Hotel Californian opened just a few months ago. The hotel’s three mission-style buildings include a spa, rooftop pool, and impressive Mediterranean-influenced restaurant helmed by Per Se and French Laundry alum Alexander La Motte. Located on a previously underdeveloped stretch of lower State Street just one block from the main beach, the hotel makes an ideal base from which to explore the city’s pedestrian-friendly streets as well as other recent additions: the newly opened Museum of Exploration and Innovation, the trendy restaurants and galleries of the Funk Zone warehouse district, and the ever-growing number of tasting rooms on the Urban Wine Trail. At the Four Seasons Biltmore, which celebrated its 90th anniversary last year, guests can experience a slice of Santa Barbara’s golden-era Hollywood past by whiling the day away on a pink lounge chair at the historic Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club overlooking the cliffs of Butterfly Beach, while those looking for a peek into the town’s future would do well to book a room at the secluded Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito, set to open in 2018.”
—Christina Pérez, contributor,



“2018 will be a great year for buzz-worthy new properties in Zambia such as Chundu Island, a waterfront lodge on an in the Zambezi near Victoria Falls, and King Lewanika, a new camp in the  game-rich Liuwa Plains. Those interested in supporting wildlife conservation can visit—or plan an extended stay by volunteering with—Game Rangers International, which operates several elephant facilities, including an orphanage near Lusaka and an anti-poaching unit in the heart of beautiful Kafue National Park.”