2021 Destination Masterlist: Bucket List Destinations you Need to Visit

where to travel this year

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If you’re like me, the rough year of 2020 has seriously made you excited for future travels. Hopefully sooner rather than later. With travel destinations ~slowly~ beginning to open up, it’s giving me hope for this year. During quarantine, I had been trip planning, researching, and trying to find the best places to travel to. In this blog, I’m going to share with you the top bucket list destinations that need to be on your list of places to visit in 2021!

I know the future of travel is very uncertain, and things will look a lot different but I have put together a destination master list of the best places to travel to in 2021. This list includes destinations from all across the world and I’m going to tell you why these are the perfect bucket list destinations.

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links.

Bali, Indonesia 

Alright, I had to start with Bali in Southeast Asia because who wouldn’t want to pay Bali a visit! First off, the food. It’s amazing, fresh, and healthy.

Bali is known for its beautiful rice paddies, stunning beaches, and volcanic mountains. So there is definitely something to do in Bali for everyone. Assuming travel goes back to normal-ish, Bali should be at the top of your “best places to travel in 2021” list!

Bali Indonesia, best bucket list destinations to visit in 2021

Chiang Mai, Thailand 

Chiang Mai is one of my favorite places I have ever been to. It’s a laid-back city in northern Thailand. Spend time with the elephants at one of the many elephant sanctuaries, take a Thai cooking class, and relax at the spa. If you are looking for a chill trip, Chiang Mai should be on your list! 

Santorini, Greece

Known for its breathtaking sunsets, Santorini is most definitely one of the best bucket list destinations. The views here are incredible and you can even island hop around the area. If you are into architecture, Greek food, and wine, you’ve got to visit Santorini in 2021! 

Palm Springs, CA, USA

This city is located in the southern desert of Southern California known for its fancy hotels, hot springs, golf courses, and spas. There are endless amounts of shopping to do and so many fun resorts! If you’re looking for a luxury desert getaway, Palm Springs is one of the best places to travel to! 

Split, Croatia

Again with the gorgeous beaches. Split is Croatia’s second-largest city known for its beautiful beaches. You will also find affordable hotel prices in Split. This is another great place to island-hop and also party all night! The main town is a great place to explore as well. 


Aruba has great sunny weather year-round and stunning beaches. Honestly, enough said. But seriously, you will find crystal clear water, and you can even see the famous pink flamingos!

You will also find excellent diving in Aruba and the people are very friendly. Just another one of the best places to visit in 2021.  

aruba photography. bucket list destinations

Sri Lanka

Now, we’re heading over to Asia to explore Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is an island country in South Asia located about 20 miles off the coast of India. Sri Lanka is known for its rich culture, beautiful forest, landscapes, and gorgeous beaches.

If you are looking for a destination that’s off the beaten path, Sri Lanka is for you. Visit temples, go on a safari, and eat incredible food. Sri Lanka is an affordable country as well, so that’s a plus.

The Bahamas 

Get your tan on and head to the beautiful Bahamas. You will find some of the best snorkeling in the world here. There are also a number of different food festivals as well as many different hotels and all-inclusive resorts if that’s your vibe.

If you want a less touristy spot, consider staying on a more secluded island, like Harbour Island. When in the Bahamas you can’t miss swimming with the pigs and the sharks! 

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

If you live in the USA, want a tropical getaway, but don’t feel comfortable traveling internationally yet, Hawaii is the place for you! Hawaii recently opened up to tourism without having a mandatory 2-week quarantine.

There are seriously endless amounts of things to explore in the islands of Hawaii! From Hawaii Volcano National Park, island hopping, snorkeling, diving, hiking, and more, this place has it all. Hawaii is quite expensive, definitely not a budget travel destination so keep that in mind. 

Check out my full Maui and Oahu travel guide here.

places to visit in 2021. road to hana photography

Sedona, AZ, USA

Sedona is freaking stunning. I stopped here during my summer road trip and have wanted to go back ever since! The town itself is so cute with endless amounts of cafes, restaurants, and shopping. Also, literally everywhere you go is a VIEW. If you visit, make sure to hike the Devil’s Bridge, the views are even more perfect from up there! 

Tokyo, Japan

Go into the future and visit the incredible city of Tokyo. This city is HIGH on my bucket list for a number of reasons. The food, museums, markets, shopping, cafes, parks, and nightlife — Tokyo has it all! You can even explore Mount Fuji or take a day trip to Disneyland. Tokyo is expensive, so budget wisely. However, there are many affordable hostels to stay at. 

japan photography. bucket list destinations to visit.

Tulum, Mexico 

Mexico has opened its borders with no travel restrictions. Tulum is a town on the Caribbean coastline of the Yucatán Peninsula. The city is about a 2-hour drive by bus from Cancun. It’s known for its beaches, Mayan ruins, and Cenotes. The aesthetic here is seriously like no other destination in Mexico. Plan a trip to Tulum and enjoy countless amazing meals, drinks, and more! Check out my Tulum travel guide here.

tulum mexico photography. bucket list destinations to visit in 2021

Sydney, Australia 

The city of Sydney, Australia is a great place to travel in 2021, this city has been on the top of my bucket list destinations for so long. Sydney is one of Australia’s largest cities known for its harbor front Sydney Opera House.

There are so many activities to do in Sydney including harbor cruises, snorkeling, beautiful parks, trendy cafes with incredible food, and not to forget the picture-perfect beaches. Sydney, Australia is definitely one of the best bucket list destinations and a top destination to travel to. So, why not visit in 2021? Well, hopefully.

Siem Reap, Cambodia

During my time abroad in Thailand, I spent a weekend in Siem Reap, and let me tell you, it’s so underrated! Not only can you visit the famous Temples of Angkor here, but the nightlife is so much fun.

Also, the locals are very welcoming, the food is incredible, and it’s a super affordable destination! If you are looking for rich culture and history, Siem Reap is the perfect place. Plan for at least three days here. 

siem reap cambodia is one of the best travel destinations

Cork, Ireland 

Cork is known as the culinary capital of Ireland so if you’re a foodie, Cork is one of the best places to travel to. Start your trip by exploring the English Market and snack on all the goodies including fresh seafood, homemade chocolates, and local cheeses.

When in Cork, make sure to enjoy the gorgeous landscape by taking a local tour or even a road trip along the coast. Cork is also known for its history, so explore a few museums and art galleries while you are here! 

The British Virgin Islands 

The British Virgin Islands are part of a volcanic archipelago in the Caribbean comprising four main islands and many smaller islands. It’s a picture-perfect tropical destination! While in the BVI’s visit The Baths, Cane Garden Bay, Anegada Island, book a sailing excursion, or snorkel! 

Ninh Binh, Vietnam 

Alright, here’s why Nin Binh needs to be on your bucket list. First off, Ninh Binh has minimal tourism compared to Ha Long Bay or Hanoi, which means fewer crowds. Secondly, it’s affordable.

You will find a countless number of cheap accommodation and affordable restaurants to eat at! Not to mention the street food! Ninh Binh is also stunning. Its lush greenery, mountains, and river, all make for a picture-perfect place. You should also visit the temples while in Ninh Binh. 

Vietnam photography. bucket list destinations

Cairo, Egypt 

Cairo is the capital of Egypt set on the Nile River. Explore some incredible history here in Cairo by visiting the Egyptian Museum and the Pyramids of Giza! Book a dinner cruise on the Nile River and check out the markets around the city.

Cappadocia, Turkey 

Cappadocia is a freaking dream! It’s near the top of my bucket list and it should be on yours too. The scenery is literally out of a fairytale. Between the gorgeous rock formations around the region and the hundreds of hot air balloons in the sky during sunrise, it’s perfect. Cappadocia is a bit off the beaten path and somewhere that is definitely worth visiting 

Amsterdam, Netherlands 

Enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of Amsterdam. It’s a city like no other and for a great reason. I visited Amsterdam on an EF Ultimate Break trip and absolutely loved it!

While in Amsterdam you can’t miss the perfect gingerbread-like houses, a sunset cruise down the canals, a visit to the Heineken Experience, and a walk through the red light district. This is a unique city that is so much fun to explore. 

Click here for $100 off your first trip with EF Ultimate Break!

best places to travel to in 2021

Turks and Caicos 

If you’re a beach person, Turks and Caicos is for you. Here you will find insane beaches, luxury resorts, shops, and restaurants. You really can’t go wrong by adding this to your 2021 destinations list. 

Fort Collins, CO, USA

Fort Collins was the first city I visited in the state of Colorado and let me tell you, it is perfection. There is beautiful greenery everywhere and the laid back vibe of this college town is so relaxing. Not to mention the many delicious coffee shops and cafes! 

Lucerne, Switzerland

Lucerne, Switzerland is another fairytale town. It’s nestled near the Swiss alps so the views are absolutely stunning everywhere you look. The town is super cute and nice to explore, and the food is delicious! Make sure to take a cruise on Lake Lucerne and visit Mount Pilatus while you are here.

swizterland, one of the best places to travel to

Final Thoughts

Well, I hope you found some inspiration from this list of the best places to travel to this year! And I ~really~ hope 2021 can be a time to travel again because there are so many bucket list destinations I want to visit! Fingers crossed.

I don’t know about you, but in the meantime, I have been dreaming of places to visit in 2021. Let me know in the comments if you have been doing some serious trip planning this year as well.  

xx Syd.

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  1. November 7, 2020 / 2:19 pm

    This list has some awesome places in it! I visited Sri Lanka in 2019 and hope to go there again in 2021.

    • sydabroad
      November 13, 2020 / 3:31 pm

      So exciting! I would love to visit Sri Lanka

  2. November 7, 2020 / 2:39 pm

    Great places for vacation. Hoping 2021 will be a great for vacation.

    • sydabroad
      November 13, 2020 / 3:31 pm

      Me too!

  3. Taylor
    November 7, 2020 / 2:51 pm

    This is an awesome list! I’m grateful I’ve been to a lot of these places, but there is still so much more on my bucket list such as Egypt, Sri Lanka, The Bahamas and Hawaii. 🙂

    • sydabroad
      November 13, 2020 / 3:30 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed the list!

  4. November 7, 2020 / 4:23 pm

    Great list of places you’ve put together. My top pick would be Cairo – always wanted to visit there!

    • sydabroad
      November 13, 2020 / 3:30 pm

      Cairo seems like an amazing place!

  5. November 7, 2020 / 8:55 pm

    Sometimes I can’t even believe the beauty there is all over the world. What a great list! It looks wonderful in Bali!

    • sydabroad
      November 13, 2020 / 3:30 pm

      Glad you liked it! Bali is definitely at the top of my list!

  6. Kay
    December 10, 2020 / 6:35 am

    I’m hoping to go to maybe 5 of these next year! So hopefullyyy Rona will peace out, but who knows ahah. At the very least, I’ll be in Palm Springs for DesertX 2021!

    • sydabroad
      December 11, 2020 / 3:18 pm

      Yes i’m hoping so too! Fingers crossed we can travel

  7. December 10, 2020 / 6:47 am

    These are all fabulous bucket list ideas for 2021 or any year! I do have Bali and Thailand high on my list also.

    • sydabroad
      December 11, 2020 / 3:16 pm

      Thank you! Me too!

  8. December 10, 2020 / 8:25 pm

    These places all look incredible! I’m hoping to travel to a few of these in the next couple years!

    • sydabroad
      December 11, 2020 / 3:16 pm

      How exciting!

  9. December 16, 2020 / 8:00 pm

    So glad you shared this! We’ve been trying to figure out where to go in 2021 and our list just keeps growing!

    • sydabroad
      December 27, 2020 / 12:30 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  10. February 3, 2021 / 5:35 pm

    Wow, there are some great suggestions on this list! Bali, Amsterdam and Santorini are all on my post-lockdown bucket list! But there are some amazing destinations on here that I hadn’t considered too! Lucerne looks beautiful! And Siem Reap sounds like a fascinating destination too! I seriously hoping we can travel before too long, while I’m stuck at home I just keep adding more and more destinations to my bucket list! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • sydabroad
      February 4, 2021 / 2:42 pm

      I’m glad you liked the list! I totally agree, I just keep adding more and more to my list haha fingers crossed for traveling soon!

  11. Kitti
    February 3, 2021 / 6:45 pm

    Fantastic list! Plenty more to tick off my endless bucket list.

    • sydabroad
      February 4, 2021 / 2:42 pm

      Thank you! and me too! the bucket list never ends haha

  12. February 3, 2021 / 7:53 pm

    My fiance and I are planning a trip abroad and this is the perfect list to help us decide!

    • sydabroad
      February 4, 2021 / 2:41 pm

      I’m so glad it was helpful to you guys!

    • sydabroad
      February 4, 2021 / 2:48 pm

      I’m so happy it was helpful!!

  13. Aditi Sharma
    February 3, 2021 / 11:19 pm

    Wow, this post is a trove of travel inspiration! Quite a few of the destinations you have listed are on our bucket list and we have been looking forward to visiting these places once travel resumes. Will definitely check out the English Market in Cork when we make our way there – love exploring such markets and indulging in some of the local specialties.

    • sydabroad
      February 4, 2021 / 2:40 pm

      I agree! visiting the local markets is always a must!

  14. February 4, 2021 / 1:54 am

    Wow, what a list! So many of these places are on my bucket list, and now I have a few more to add! Please 2021 coorperate!

    • sydabroad
      February 4, 2021 / 2:39 pm

      haha I know right! fingers crossed for this year! I’m glad you enjoyed the list 🙂

  15. February 4, 2021 / 3:21 am

    This is such an awesome list!! Sedona (& Devils Bridge) are at the top of my list! I’d also love to visit Ireland & Croatia. SO much good inspo on this list.

    • sydabroad
      February 4, 2021 / 2:39 pm

      aw thank you so much!! I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

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