9 best places to travel in 2022 according to experts

Predicting travel trends is an annual tradition for us here at Travel is waiting for, but as we all know, traveling in 2020 didn’t go as predicted. In 2021, we haven’t even bothered to stare into our crystal ball. As travel reopens in 2022, we’ve reached out to tour operators to find out where they’re planning to go this year.

Not only did they share their upcoming adventures, but they also introduced us to the travel trends emerging this year. For example, the global guided vacation company Trafalgar reports that the summer of 2022 will be a big one as travelers already fill their holiday calendars mainly in May/June 2022.

Meanwhile, Intrepid Travel saw a 144 percent increase in customers booking domestic travel in the US and UK compared to 2019, ahead of the pandemic. The company expects domestic travel to be popular in all regions by 2022 as several COVID variants continue to bring uncertainty to international travel, as we have seen recently with the Omicron variant causing rapid border closures and new travel restrictions. While flexibility with travel plans is key, Intrepid claims travelers will continue to opt for more adventures within their own national borders to avoid these headaches. Time will tell!

From distant lands to domestic destinations, this is where tour operators want to travel in 2022.

Cocos.Bounty / Shutterstock.com

Bali, Indonesia

“I’m going to Bali as soon as possible,” said Steve Lima, the marketing director of G Adventures. “We could all use some wellness in 2022, and Bali is a great place to recharge, relax and get active too. My plan is to go to the beaches first and then travel north to some of the less touristy parts of the island. Perhaps you will hike to Mount Batur and of course cycle through the incredibly soothing and linear rice paddies in Ubud. Bali is an exercise for mind and body, and hopefully it will leave me charged and ready for whatever 2022 throws my way!”

Colorful Coastal Buildings of Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre, Italy (Photo Credit : Anna Om / Shutterstock.com)

Italy

Tom Armstrong of tour company Tauck says 2022 presents a fantastic opportunity for the slightly more intrepid traveler to experience the wonders of Europe before the crowds return in droves.

According to our recent State of Travel survey, Italy was the number one international destination our readers want to visit in 2022. Trafalgar’s top 15 trips for 2022 so far are all European itineraries, with the 13-day Best of Italy tour taking the #1 spot. Armstrong says Italy is one of Tauck’s most popular destinations in Europe and this year is a great opportunity to explore it.

For an in-depth Italian experience, spend two weeks touring Naples, Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Umbria, Tuscany, Cinque Terre, Florence and Venice on Tauck’s Classic Italy Tour. If you don’t have two full weeks in Italy, try A Week In… Venice, Florence & Rome, a shorter tour that explores three iconic Italian cities. Both tours offer exclusive experiences, including an after-hours guided visit to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel without crowds.

Beautiful sunrise in Barcelona seen from Park Guell (Photo Credit : Pajor Pawel / Shutterstock.com)
Sunrise as seen from Park Guell in Barcelona (Photo Credit : Pajor Pawel / Shutterstock.com)

Spain and Portugal

Armstrong tells us “this will be a great year to visit Spain and Portugal – two of Europe’s rising stars!” Spend a week in Spain, a week in Portugal, or explore them both on Tauk’s Spain and Portugal tour.

“My wife and I took a river cruise on the River Tauck a few years ago and it was without a doubt one of the very best vacations we’ve ever been on,” Armstrong says. “We are still in the discussion phase, but we really hope to do a river cruise on the Danube or the Douro this year. Both rivers offer incredible culture and beautiful scenery. However, Tauck just launched our brand new MS to swallow riverboat on the Douro last August, so that may tip the scales a bit towards Portugal! Either way, we are big fans of river cruises and we know we have an amazing journey ahead of us.”

Armstrong proposes the tour of Northern Spain, the Rioja Valley and Madrid. This popular itinerary spends two weeks traveling from Barcelona through northern Spain, exploring Montserrat, Cardona, Pamplona, ​​San Sebastian, Bilbao, Leon, Santiago de Compostela and more before ending in Madrid.

Ashford Castle in Galway, Ireland (Photo Credit : Bartlomiej Rybacki / Shutterstock.com)

Ireland and the UK

According to Trafalgar, travelers use their vacation days to book trips longer than a standard week-long getaway to really immerse themselves in the destinations. At 15 and 10 days respectively, Best of Ireland & Scotland and Britain & Ireland Highlights are two of the company’s best-booked tours.

“My first trip this year will be to Ireland to celebrate a milestone birthday with my two childhood best friends who are also celebrating the same big birthday this year,” reveals Trafalgar’s president, Melissa DaSilva. ‘We are going to visit Dublin, Galway and the beautiful Ashford Castle. I can’t wait to travel again, but especially to share it with my friends who I haven’t seen since the start of the pandemic as our last two trips have been canceled due to lockdowns and restrictions,” she says.

Typical African sunset with acacia trees in Masai Mara, Kenya
Acacia trees before sunset in Masai Mara, Kenya (Photo Credit : Ivan Mateev / Shutterstock.com)

Kenya

“My goal this year is to take in the beauty of this world of wildlife and nature,” said Heidi Durflinger, president of EF Go Ahead Tours. “I would like to go back to Kenya. The connection with nature is surreal and you will feel reborn and refreshed.”

For some inspiration, check out Sarah Kingdom’s ultimate guide to planning your first African safari.

Petra in Jordan
Petra in Jordan (Photo Credit : ollymet / Shutterstock.com)

Jordan

“There’s an amazing energy coming up… a determination to take the plunge, pursue your passions and take action on your ‘someday’ plans,” said Steve Born, CMO of the Globus family of brands. “And taking that dream trip to the place you’ve always wanted to visit captures that spirit and inspired me. Next month I’m going to Jordan for a Jordan Escape trip with my fellow Globus guests, where I’ll host an amazing group of social media influencers to share the experience and spread the word about this spirit and this amazing destination.

The week-long tour of Jordan begins in one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, the capital Amman, and ends at the Dead Sea, one of the lowest places on Earth. Highlights include exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra (one of the New 7 Wonders of the World), sipping tea in a real Bedouin tent, and driving through the incredible desert landscape of Wadi Rum.

Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park (Photo Credit : Bill45 / Shutterstock.com)

Pacific Northwest

In the past year and a half Intrepid Travel has added nearly 200 new tours around the world built specifically with the domestic audience in mind. This goes hand in hand with another goal of Intrepid Travel 2022: to reduce the CO2 emissions of its travels. For example, the carbon neutral tour operator is expected to remove more than 3,000 individual flights from its routes this year if there is a better land alternative.

Intrepid Travel’s six-day Portland to San Francisco discovery tour, which kicks off in June this year, includes several of the 2022 travel trends it has identified. This foodie-friendly tour runs between two cities with excellent culinary scenes. Share a river-to-table meal with the First Nations people of Warm Springs. The picnic lunch experience serves the preservation of indigenous culture, recognizes the role salmon played in tribal history and responds to the trend of companies that embed the goal in their offer. According to Intrepid, the majority of best-selling trips include “purposeful” experiences like these: activities that directly support the environment or conservation, preserve indigenous minority cultures, or support marginalized social groups.

Other highlights of Intrepid’s Pacific Northwest tour include the tactile treat of shelling oysters at Hog Island Oyster Co., a visit to Crater Lake National Park to see the deepest lake in the US, and a stop at Muir Woods National Monument to hang out with the tallest living beings in the world. The latter two experiences are in line with another travel trend for 2022: the outdoors, according to the company.

“With COVID as our new reality,” Intrepid shared, “many travelers are choosing to travel where they can enjoy the fresh air away from the crowds, while also staying active and on their feet – far from their homes and computer screens. which have become the norm as careers and private lives fade in this new world dominated by remote work.”

Get inspired? Get in touch with our travel advisors Carie Skerritt and Bill Sharo of Dream Vacations to talk about where 2022 can take you!

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