Travel bloggers have built entire careers around traveling the world. It’s their jobs to know the ins and outs of popular cities, vast national parks, and little-known hamlets across the world. They are indisputable experts on traveling cheap and fast, getting to know locals, finding off-the-beaten-path places for a great meal, and getting around with very few resources. In making our 2015 travel bucket list, we consulted these experts to find out where they are headed to next year and the places we we’ll be hearing a lot about. So before you make your own plans for the new year, take these recommendations to heart.
Mike Morrison: Churchill, Canada
The tundra near Churchill (dogrando/flickr)
One of the best things about travel is seeing how other people live. In this case, it’s all about the animals. Polar bears are some of the world’s most majestic and dangerous animals, and Churchill gives you the opportunity to see them up close and personal. The stories from the people who’ve done it sound so thrilling. Same goes for the beluga whales. Seeing animals in their natural habitat is on the top of my 2015 bucket list for sure.
Gary Arndt: Haiti
Haiti’s Labadee island (Ricymar Photography/flickr)
I’m most excited about the Citadel, which is Haiti’s only UNESCO site. Beyond that, i think just learning more about the culture and country. It is a country right in our backyard, but no one ever goes there or knows about it.
Andrew Hickey, Adventure.com: Greenland
The Uunartoq hot spring in South Greenland (Visit Greenland/flickr)
Greenland is a great destination for people that have been there and done that and want to try something new. IcelandAir flies there and you can even make a quick stop along the way before or after your trip to Denmark. You have dogsledding, heliskiing, and northern lights in the winter and kayaking, whale watching, and boat tours in the summer.
Christine Amorose: Philippines
Boating in the Philippines (paramita/flickr)
I’d love to visit the Philippines. I think that it will be the next fantastic and affordable beach destination in Southeast Asia
Johnny Jet: Cuba
On the way to Pinar del Rio in Cuba (Dainis Matisons/flickr)
I’ve always wanted to go to Cuba but never wanted to risk going illegally or be tied down to a sponsored program. Since it looks like Cuba will be opened in the very near future I want to experience it while it still feels (so I hear) like stepping back in time.
Lee Abbamonte: Alberta, Canada
The Spray lakes in Alberta, Canada (davebloggs007/flickr)
Pumped to go to Alberta in February for some winter sports!
Candice Walsh: Mallorca, Spain
Bellver Castle in Mallorca (Vicente Villamón/flickr)
I am traveling for three weeks through an archaeological institute. It’s in a Roman town, Sanisera, and it’s a good intro in the fieldwork. And then if I come across something new or cool, the archaeologists may even name it after me!
Related: Smackdown: Ibiza vs. Mallorca
Natalie Taylor: Savannah, Georgia
Live Oak Lane in the Bonaventure Cemetery (Sandy Auriene Sullivan/flickr)
I think Savannah is one of the most underrated cities in the U.S. Home to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), this southern belle is chock full of great shopping for design fiends and finds. Add in southern charm, 300-year-old oak trees, a smattering of fountains, and affordable packages, which makes for a great weekend escape.
Related: Thursday Night: Savannah
Katie Hammel, Senior Travel Editor at Viator: South Korea
Gyeongbukgung Reflections (Joe Nes/flickr)
The food is amazing, it’s so easy to get around, the ancient palaces are beautiful, and did I mention the food? I also took a trip to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) that was fascinating. In light of recent developments I think a lot more Americans will be interested in seeing it.
Ring of Brodgar in Orkney (Shadowgate/flickr)
An island archipelago that is and isn’t part of Scotland, that has a back-history as lively as Game of Thrones, and is one of the most beautiful, eerie and welcoming places I’ve ever been in the world. I worked there as an archaeologist for three summers. It’s still off the popular travel radar. It shouldn’t be.
View over the Rippon Vineyard to Lake Wanaka on the South Island of New Zealand. (Jocelyn Kinghorn/flickr)
Nerd alert: My yearning to visit New Zealand is fueled partly by my fascination with all things Lord of the Rings. Hobbiton, specifically. Bucolic, verdant vistas as far as the eye can see? Sure, what are we waiting for? Couple that with a world-class wine scene — NZ Pinot, anyone? — and it’s all I can do to not take the next 20-hour flight to Auckland, glass and TSA-approved wine key in hand.