Explore 20 Unforgettable Travel Destinations for 2024

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Posted on February 5, 2024

Explore 20 Unforgettable Travel Destinations for 2024

Are you on the hunt for exhilarating travel destinations in 2024? Look no further! National Geographic’s highly anticipated Best of the World 2024 list is here to inspire your wanderlust with extraordinary experiences and breathtaking locations.

This exclusive list, unveiled first to USA TODAY, features a diverse array of top destinations worldwide, ranging from iconic cities like Paris and Niagara Falls to hidden gems such as the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia and the archaeological wonders of Menorca. But what sets this year’s edition apart is its emphasis on immersive, must-do experiences at each destination, providing travelers with unique and unforgettable adventures.

A Shift in Focus

Unlike previous years, National Geographic has chosen to focus on the immersive experiences that each destination offers rather than simply listing locations. Additionally, this edition introduces rankings to assist readers in prioritizing their travel bucket list, whether it’s embarking on a cruise or buying a used RV for a road trip, making it easier to plan their next adventure.

National Geographic’s Editor in Chief, Nathan Lump, expressed his excitement about the expanded list during an exclusive preview event in New York, highlighting its potential to provide travelers with fantastic ideas to explore the world. The list’s release date is intentionally set on National Vacation Day, which falls on the last Tuesday of every January, aimed at encouraging travelers to utilize their vacation days effectively and embark on memorable journeys.

Top 20 Travel Experiences in 2024

The Best of the World 2024 list includes the following captivating travel experiences, each carefully curated by National Geographic’s team of explorers, photographers, and editors:

  1. Horseback safari in Kenya: Traverse the stunning landscapes of northern Kenya on horseback, forging a deep connection with nature.
  1. Olympic Marathon in Paris, France: Participate in the historic Olympic marathon course during the 2024 Summer Olympics, taking place in the City of Light.
  1. Ski tour through UNESCO sites in Georgia: Explore the breathtaking landscapes and cultural heritage of Georgia on a ski tour.
  1. Bear-watching at Katmai National Park, Alaska: Witness the world’s highest concentration of brown bears in their natural habitat.
  1. Live music in Kyoto, Japan: Immerse yourself in the rich musical culture of Kyoto.
  1. Magdalena River Cruise in Colombia: Embark on a cruise along the Magdalena River, discovering Colombia’s natural beauty and colonial towns.
  1. Road trip Route 66 in New Mexico: Drive the iconic Route 66, exploring the heart of America.
  1. Explore ancient rock art in Algeria: Marvel at Africa’s largest national park and ancient rock art in Tassili N’Ajjer National Park.
  1. Dive with sharks on Australia’s Coral Coast: Experience the wonders of Ningaloo Reef and swim with marine giants.
  1. Volcano hiking in Panama: Embark on an adventurous journey to explore Panama’s volcanic landscapes.
  1. Observe the total solar eclipse in Niagara Falls: Witness the awe-inspiring total solar eclipse in the majestic setting of Niagara Falls.
  1. Trek a glacier in Chile: Explore Chile’s glaciers and witness their beauty before they succumb to climate change.
  1. Step back in time at Menorca’s archaeological sites: Discover the rich history of Menorca through its captivating archaeological sites.
  1. Ride classic rails through the Scottish Highlands: Embark on a luxury train journey through the stunning Scottish Highlands.
  1. Indulge your taste buds in Isan, Thailand: Savor the flavors of Isan, Thailand’s northeastern region known for its culinary delights.
  1. Wander the tea trail in Sri Lanka: Hike through Sri Lanka’s central highlands on the Pekoe tea Trail and discover its serene beauty.
  1. Gallery hop in Sao Paulo, Brazil: Explore the vibrant art scene of Sao Paulo by hopping between its numerous galleries and art exhibitions.
  1. Raft the rapids in West Virginia: Experience the thrill of white-water rafting in West Virginia’s Gauley River.
  1. Go antiquing in the Hudson Valley, New York: Uncover hidden treasures while antiquing in New York’s picturesque Hudson Valley.
  1. Sleep at a floating lodge on Tofino Island, British Columbia: Enjoy a unique and tranquil stay at a floating lodge on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

The Selection Process

Curating this prestigious list is no small feat. Amy Alipio, senior editor at National Geographic, leads the team responsible for selecting the destinations and experiences featured. The process begins by tapping into their extensive global network of experts worldwide, who provide recommendations based on their recent discoveries and travel experiences.

This year, the experts were asked to not only suggest places but also to share what they would personally do in those locations, adding a more personal touch to the list. The aim is to provide travelers with not just destination names but also specific activities and experiences they can enjoy once they arrive, enabling deeper connections and immersion in each location.

Introducing Rankings

For the first time, National Geographic has introduced rankings to its “Best of the World” list. These rankings offer readers insights into the trending and timely experiences that are capturing the travel world’s attention. Whether it’s the appeal of a horseback safari in Kenya due to the rise of slow travel or the allure of the Paris Olympics, the rankings help travelers prioritize their next adventure.

Notable U.S. Destinations

Among the destinations featured in this year’s list are several U.S. locales, including Katmai National Park in Alaska, Route 66 in New Mexico, Niagara Falls, the Hudson Valley in New York, and West Virginia’s New River. National Geographic recommends bear-watching at Katmai National Park, exploring Route 66, witnessing the total solar eclipse at Niagara Falls, indulging in antiquing in the Hudson Valley, and experiencing white-water rafting in West Virginia’s New River.

Exploring the World in 2024

Whether you’re seeking adventure, cultural exploration, or natural wonders, National Geographic’s Best of the World 2024 list provides a treasure trove of travel inspiration. From Africa to Asia, Europe to the Americas, this list showcases the incredible diversity and beauty our world has to offer.

So, don’t let another year slip away without embarking on your dream adventure. Let National Geographic’s recommendations guide you to the most captivating destinations and experiences of 2024, and make this year one to remember with unforgettable journeys and memories that will last a lifetime.

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