Where to Travel in 2020: 10 Bucket List Destinations for the New Year

As the new year approaches, so does the possibility for fresh starts, exciting goals, and new adventures. Whether you have the urge to explore a new city, relax on a white sand beach, reset from the hustle of every day, or reconnect with your true self, 2020 is your year!

We’ve curated some inspiration to fill out your 2020 travel bucket list. Discover 10 of our top adventures for the new year:

1. Explore Australia

Nature walks on Kangaroo Island. Image: Tourism South Australia

Did you know that Australia was named Travel + Leisure’s Destination of the Year for 2020? Australia is a country filled with lush wildlife, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, impeccable cuisine & drinks, and so much more. Go from exploring the bustling streets of Sydney to the culturally rich outback, all within one trip. With more direct flights opening up this year—including the exciting new Qantas route from Chicago to Brisbane—traveling to Australia is simpler than ever.

2. Spot Africa’s ‘Big 5’ in the Sabi Sands

Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve is considered one of the best safari destinations in all of Africa. This beautiful region includes everything you could wish for in a safari: unparalleled wildlife sightings, sumptuous accommodations, delectable food, and incredible hospitality. Sharing an unfenced border with the famous Kruger National Park, the Sabi Sands offers exceptional wildlife viewing with more privacy and more freedom to enjoy unique activities, including bush walks and nighttime game drives.

3. Stay in Fiji’s Luxurious Overwater Bungalows

Iconic overwater bungalows at Likuliku Lagoon Resort

Likuliku Lagoon Resort, a breathtaking getaway in Fiji, provides a complete immersion into paradise. This beautiful adults-only resort pioneered the first true overwater bungalow experience in Fiji. Escape from the worries of everyday life while falling in love with the welcoming Fijian culture and impeccable beach views. Picture soft white sands, crystal clear waters, delicious meals, and amenities to meet your every desire.

4. Unplug in New Zealand

Hiking the beautiful Routeburn Track. Image: Tourism New Zealand

If the great outdoors is calling your name this year, New Zealand is the destination for you. With outdoor adventures and natural scenery stretching past your wildest dreams, this magnificent country has something for everyone.

One new trend that we love are the PurePods scattered in the stunning countryside around Christchurch. Think tiny home with a twist: these extremely remote “pods” feature glass walls, allowing you to soak up uninterrupted views of New Zealand’s most scenic hideaways.

5. Visit an Elephant Orphanage in Kenya

Baby Elephant Bottle Feeding at Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya
Elephant feeding at Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Image courtesy of Candice Heckel

Our travelers are always looking to give back and enjoy ethical wildlife interactions. One organization that holds true to our company values is Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) in Kenya, which is why we are always happy to send travelers their way. Their elephant sanctuary, located just outside of Nairobi, rehabilitates orphaned elephants and rhinos until they’re ready to return to the wild. This past year, team members and clients of Africa Endeavours fostered 29 elephants.

SWT offers a unique and humane program where you can watch the orphans playing and enjoying their bottle feeding. The owner and founder of Down Under Endeavours/Africa Endeavours, Corinne Goodman, recently visited the orphanage and captured this adorable footage of the baby elephants!

6. Rediscover the Great Barrier Reef

The exclusive new Heart Island experience on the Great Barrier Reef

Is the Great Barrier Reef on your bucket list? Home to more than 1,500 species of fish alone, it’s no wonder this rainbow-adorned underwater paradise is named one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. In 2020, take advantage of fabulous new ways to explore the jewel of Australia’s eastern coast.

Two new luxury properties have recently opened on the Great Barrier Reef: Daydream Island, a classic Aussie vacation spot that has been transformed into an exciting new luxury resort, and the InterContinental Hayman Island Resort, which opens up an excellent 5-star option for families.

We’re also thrilled about the new Heart Reef Experience in the Whitsundays. Heart Reef has been a highlight of Australian adventures for many years, with scenic helicopter flights allowing travelers to see the unique formation from the air. But now, you can also land on Heart “Island”—an exclusive 5-star pontoon that houses just six guests at a time—to enjoy lunch with champagne, glass-bottomed boat rides, and 360° ocean views.

7. Enjoy a Luxury Botswana Safari

Breathtaking starry skies in the remote Okavango Delta. Image: Jao Camp

Dreaming of seeing elephants and hippos in the wild, amongst the many other animals of Africa? Botswana is calling your name! Botswana is a truly unique destination with spectacular lodges and low-density tourism. The Chobe River, Okavango Delta, and other iconic destinations offer some of the most awe-inspiring safaris in Africa. A safari experience filled with ultra-luxe amenities, top-of-the-line service, and spectacular game viewing is what you can expect while visiting this astounding country.

8. Unleash Your Inner Adventurer in Zambia

Sweeping views of the beautiful Zambezi River. Image: Royal Zambezi Lodge

Get back to nature with a trip to Zambia. Think of Zambia as Botswana’s sister, a bit more affordable and under the radar without sacrificing quality or experience. If you’re looking for a truly wild and authentic safari, Zambia should be at the top of your list. Complete with rugged terrain and diverse wildlife, like elephants, buffalo, lions, leopards, and wild dogs, Zambia has everything that encompasses a truly magical safari experience.

Packing for safari can be a challenge, which is why we’ve put together some resources to help make preparing for your adventure a breeze.

9. Uncover the Hidden Gems of South Australia

The remote Arkaba Conservancy in the South Australian outback. Image: Tourism Australia

There’s a lot of Australia on this list, it’s true—but when you explore the laid-back, utterly charming state of South Australia, you’ll agree it more than deserves its own place on your bucket list! Wildlife encounters, award-winning wineries, and the vast outback are only a few highlights of this underrated part of Australia.

If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, head to Kangaroo Island to see native Australian wildlife like koalas, kangaroos, and wombats. Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, is one of the world’s Great Wine Capitals, with over 200 wineries to explore nearby. Whether you are a wine connoisseur or a casual foodie, the wine regions around Adelaide offer so many ways to indulge the senses. Lastly, don’t forget about the outback explorations at your fingertips!

10. Swim with Whales in Tahiti

Swimming with Humpback Whales in Moorea
Snorkeler with a humpback whale off the island of Moorea. Image: Tahiti Tourism

Weighing up to a ton and about the length of a VW bus, a baby humpback whale nosing up beside you is a breathtaking experience. Now picture her mother, weighing more than 40 tons, as she approaches with amazing grace for a creature the size of a semi-truck. Taking in both together or in a pod of multiple whales and you have a scene which is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

You can enjoy this magical experience in the Islands of Tahiti, where humpback whales come to calve in the warm Pacific waters from August to October. Combined with the overwater bungalows for which the Islands of Tahiti are world-famous, this is truly a bucket list adventure!

Want to get started on your 2020 travel bucket list? Call us at (888) 229-0082 or inquire about a custom trip!