2022 is coming to a close, and while it may always be remembered for the dropping of travel restrictions, all eyes are already on 2023 as the first official, full post-pandemic year. Options keep widening for Americans as more countries reopen, but there are four destinations in particular that deserve a spot on your bucket list.
For nearly three years, non-immunized U.S. citizens have been targeted as risky travelers amid the health crisis. They have been routinely barred from traveling to overly conservative destinations, including some of their favorite European and Asian countries, as national governments intensified their fight against the virus.
Luckily, the darker days of travel bans are well behind us, for the most part, and it’s unlikely Americans will take their freedom for granted again:
An Off-Path Asian Gem And The Traditional European Classics
There’s no denying Mexico remains a best-seller all-inclusive package, and the Dominican Republic will see a record rise in arrival numbers in 2023, but for Red Savannah, a luxury travel company specializing in tailor-made vacations and villa-rentals, the Caribbean giants do not feature among the four trendiest destinations next year.
Instead, they have selected countries farther away – a mix of both up-and-coming tourist hubs and old classics:
The South Asian Gem of Bhutan
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Often overlooked compared to other Asian countries, Bhutan is a landlocked Buddhist kingdom in the Eastern Himalayas, sandwiched between the much larger China and India. Known for its mountainous territory, the mystical ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ is home to scenic hiking trails and remote, cliff-top monasteries.
The editors at Red Savannah highlight the opening of a Trans-Bhutan Walking Trail, set to take place later this year, running along 250 miles through ‘untouched landscapes’ and ‘centuries-old communities’. Entering the kingdom, Americans are no longer subject to health checks or mandatory: vaccinated or unvaccinated, they are all welcome.
The French Capital of Paris
In a sense, Paris is the heart of the Old Continent and a mandatory stopover on any European itinerary, what with its sparkly Eiffel Tower dominating the skyline, Belle Époque buildings flanking wide, tree-lined boulevards, old center dotted with UNESCO-listed medieval landmarks, and a multitude of charming cafes and street corner patisseries.
Now completely restriction-free, the City of Lights has enough cultural wealth to keep tourists busy for weeks, but the magazine specifically mentions a world-class museum facing the landmark Place de la Concorde: L’Hôtel de la Marine, a mini-Versailles where luxurious, French Revolution-era furniture are still displayed.
The Ancient Nation of Egypt
This summer, Egypt lifted all border curbs and started allowing foreigners in, irrespective of health status. Because of this, Americans can again marvel at this primeval nation’s equally ancient and jaw-dropping monuments, such as the Great Pyramid of Giza, materializing from the sands of the desert like a mirage on hot days, and the Luxor Temple.
When it comes to new attractions future visitors can’t miss, Red Savannah lists the Grand Egyptian Museum, set to debut this November and ascertain itself as one of the largest in the world, housing up to 100,000 artifacts. Within the museum, History buffs will find an extensive list of Tutankhamun items, as well as a 3,200-year-old statue of Ramses II.
The Charming Island of Sicily in Italy
Whether it’s the ageless Rome, the gondola-packed canals of Venice, Florence’s and the wider Tuscany’s iconic cypress trees, or Bologna’s ocher-tinged narrow alleyways, any of these Italian cities make for an idyllic, romantic break regardless of the season. However, Red Savannah’s Mediterranean pick for 2023 is not any of those.
They are promoting the insular but well-connected Sicily as the number one holiday in Italy following the country’s return to pre-Covid normality. Besides two new points of interest – a museum-fied 18th-century Masseria and a historic villa that once belonged to nobility in Palermo – they cite the island’s numerous UNESCO wonders, vineyards, and ethnic cuisine.
All of the destinations above have reinstated their customary border regulations, which means Covid has ceased being treated as a dangerous pathogen in the context of international travel. Even then, we would like to remind Americans that flying abroad is never entirely risk-free: you can still come down with Covid, or your flights may be canceled last minute.
For that reason, make sure you take out health insurance covering both disruptions resulting from the illness and flight delays and cancellations ahead of traveling.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com