Where You May Be Thinking of Wandering in Late 2021

Our Thoughts

Here are the places that are at the top of our wanderlust list for when the world begins welcoming international travel.

Reflecting on 2020 might be practical and purposeful—and there has certainly never been another year like it—but looking ahead is what most of us want to do now, particularly when it comes to travel.

No one knows exactly what 2021 will bring, nor how it will compare to the turbulent and transformative year that was 2020. However, now is as good a time as any to commit to a more optimistic outlook, and begin viewing the future for what it is—full of possibility, hope and ideally, travel.

Here are the places that are at the top of our wanderlust list for when the world begins welcoming international travel.

United Kingdom

My wife Cathy and I are particularly eager to see more of the Scottish Highlands, but ideally during the shoulder seasons when there are significantly fewer tourists.

Most of us will have to embrace socially distant adventures for some time to come, until the world returns to normality. Thankfully, Britain has them in abundance.

I’ve never been anywhere in the UK that felt quite as remote as the Scottish Highlands.

Of course, no trip to the UK is truly complete without a stop in London, one of the world’s most visited cities. Like you, we miss the hustle and bustle of this always vibrant and alive city. Hopefully theatre will have restarted in London (the performing arts capital of the world) by the time we’re able to visit again.

New Zealand

Aotearoa, New Zealand, The Land of the Long White Cloud, is rightly celebrated for its stunning scenery and the friendliness of its people. Few countries can compete with the country’s range of adventure possibilities: it boasts a surf-pounded coastline longer than that of the US, 1,500 miles of cycle trails, world-class scuba diving, 24 ski fields, and over 7,000 miles of walking trails. If there’s a structure to jump off, the locals have attached a bungee to it!

With the progress of the Waitangi Tribunal, an institution without parallel in post-colonial countries, New Zealand has awoken to discover new taonga or treasures: the art, culture and language of the tangata whenua (the people of the land) – the Maori. The evolution of the All Blacks’ haka performance is a striking illustration of the elevation of Maori culture in the country’s consciousness. For visitors, the experience of Maoritanga – Maoriness – paves a pathway inward to a place forgotten and obstructed by the absurd paraphernalia of modern life.

Enjoying New Zealand’s countryside.

Once travel resumes, a big ticket trip to New Zealand should be a top priority for anyone hoping to shake off the spectre of lockdown. They call New Zealand a big little country – it takes 30 hours to drive non-stop from end to end. The most common complaint NZ tourism operators hear is “we wish we had stayed on one island”.


The bridge between East and West.

No other city in the world straddles two continents; nowhere else has been the capital of two empires. This vibrant metropolis of 15 million people, sprawling across the European and Asian sides of the Bosphorus Strait, is unique. Founded by the Greeks, later capital of the Christian Byzantine Empire, Istanbul blossomed anew at the heart of the Moslem Ottoman Empire following its capture by the Turks in 1453.

One of the more colourful cities I’ve visited.

Both empires bequeathed Istanbul a wealth of superb buildings, most concentrated in the old city centred on Sultanahmet. From the glittering gold mosaics of the Hagia Sophia to the cascading domes of the Blue Mosque, and from the cavernous depths of the Basilica Cistern to the Topkapı Palace’s mysterious harem, Istanbul simply oozes history.

Across the curving inlet of the Golden Horn from Sultanahmet are bustling Karaköy, Galata and Beyöğlu. Istanbulites and visitors alike come here in droves to shop, eat, club, visit galleries, cinemas and theatres, whilst the more adventurous catch a ferry to Asia and hip Kadıköy and Moda.

New York

Unmissable big city bustle in one of the world’s greatest urban landscapes.

Exploring Central Park via bicycle.

American author E.B. White once quipped about this city of eight million inhabitants: “New York provides not only a continuing excitation but also a spectacle that is continuing.” And while he may have said this nearly a century ago, his words still ring true to this day. The City that Never Sleeps is in constant motion, and while the surface may be always transforming, its heart never really changes. Spend a day seeing the sites in Manhattan and another day wandering the heart of global hipsterism in Brooklyn. There’s no better time to take a bite out of this pulsating metropolis.


The uniform sandstone of the Haussmann buildings, the abundance of gilded historic monuments, and the glimmering Seine and its elegant bridges have arguably made Paris the most recognizable and romanticized cityscape in the world. But though the city wears its history with characteristic style, it is also increasingly looking to the future and outwards to the rest of the world.

Old, new and everything in between.

Those looking to explore the city’s rich heritage can spend long afternoons getting lost in the Louvre or exploring the Musée d’Orsay, or ducking in and out of Paris’s countless historical churches (many of which were reinvented as Republican temples after the Revolution). For more contemporary tastes, there’s plenty of exploring to be done in the less tourist-trodden outer arrondissements – from arts venues on the sloping streets of Belleville to the boutique hotels and reinvented dive bars of Pigalle.

Sadly I doubt we will have the opportunity to experience Paris in the spring until 2022, but this unforgettable city is still deserving of a spot on this list.


Think of Slovenia and you conjure up dramatic landscapes – towering mountains, alpine lakes, rushing rivers and thick forests. Slovenia is well-known for having some of Europe’s most spectacular and unspoilt scenery.

The best place to start discovering Slovenia’s abundant cultural charms is its delightful capital Ljubljana. It won’t take long to get your bearings on this petite city’s cobbled streets. We look forward to visiting the historic centre—always a delight to stroll through, as it’s car-free.

Wander unhindered by traffic as you stop to admire Ljubljana’s lovely architecture (a real mix of renaissance, baroque and art nouveau) and stumble upon quiet courtyards. Sauntering along the embankment of the river Ljubljana and crossing over the dainty stone bridges is a must I am told.

Walkway along the the river Ljubljana

Be sure to also make time to climb up to the hilltop castle that looms above for fantastic views over the Old Town. It dates back to the 11th century but was largely rebuilt in the 16th century. Walk along the ramparts to survey the picturesque city below and prepare to be dazzled.


This may be the first place in North America that tourists will flock back to. Low infection rates and a willingness to welcome vaccinated travelers will likely make it the place of highest demand around October.

Honolulu is definitely on our radar, and we can’t wait to swim in the warm Pacific Ocean, sip mai tais at sunset and just chill and enjoy the relaxed life of the islands.

Cathy and I have celebrated many life milestones and moments on the islands, so why not celebrate the ability to travel again by making this our first stop?

Book your vacation now, as long as the reservation is cancellable. We have, and we’re already dreaming of getting out there—I can practically hear the soothing ocean waves and the faint sound of upbeat luau music.


Suspended in the Indian Ocean, miles east of Kenya and north of Madagascar, is a 115-island archipelago so beautiful, early British explorers believed that they had stumbled upon the Garden of Eden. While the Seychelles were reportedly first sighted by Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama in 1502, little was known of the islands prior.

Though remote, the Seychelles attract visitors who come for the ultimate romantic escape. After all, there are few places more isolated than this heavenly cluster of islands. (Even Kate Middleton and Prince William came here after exchanging vows.)

The beautiful shores of Seychelles.

Of course, there’s more to the Seychelles than pristine beaches and water so clear, you never lose sight of your feet. In addition to unabashed natural beauty and wildlife, the main island of Mahé, where the capital Victoria is located, boasts beautiful French and British colonial architecture (to say nothing of the delicious seafood and incredible resorts). The Seychelles is the perfect place to recharge from the stress of the pandemic.


Once upon a time, trains were increasingly seen as the salvation to our travel problems—a means of getting from A to B without destroying the planet, while at the same time offering an enjoyable travel  experience. I’m hoping that in 2021 we can resume travel by train—but where to begin?

Prior to the pandemic came the welcome news that there was at last a London-Amsterdam Eurostar service that could be done direct both ways, with a journey time of just four hours, nine minutes. Nice!

In terms of new routes for 2021, the Vancouver-based Rocky Mountaineer is branching out into the United States with a dazzling departure that will traverse canyons, rivers and waterfalls as it journeys between Denver in Colorado and Moab in Utah.

In the UK, the Midland Pullman (a replica of Britain’s first luxury high speed diesel-electric train running in the early 1960s) will be running a number of routes, such as London to Manchester and along the Cornish coastline, both of which will offer fine dining along the way.

Cathy and I aboard the Belmond British Pullman.

For real train lovers, nothing can compare to the joy of bedding down for the night on one. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express will return to service between Venice and London. Carnival masks – and champagne flutes – may be obligatory.

If that’s too much train for your taste, take a day trip on Belmond’s British Pullman and enjoy the glory days of trains once more.

All these destinations (and more) make us wanderers long for good news and speedy vaccination schedules. Either way, now is the perfect time to begin researching destinations, building up your bucket list and looking forward to traveling again. Fingers crossed that we’ll all be packing our bags and purchasing our tickets again soon!

Share your wandering plans with us in the comments below.

Andrew Taylor

For Andrew, travel is so much more than just learning history or taking photos. Rather, the value of travel is witnessing a lifestyle, bonding with locals, and gaining rich cultural experiences. That’s why he founded the Luxury Wanderer; a place to share itineraries, offer advice, swap stories, and foster a like-minded community of curious travellers.

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