Every year at the new year (since we’ve been open) we’ve written an article about the top destinations to travel to in the coming year. In years past, we’ve taken the aggregate recommendations of various respected travel publications to come up with a list that all travel experts can “agree on”. 

In 2017, the top three destinationswere: (1) the Scandinavian Countryside, in Norway, Finland, and Sweden; (2) Canada, specifically Banff, Prince Edward Island, and British Columbia; and, (3) India, specifically Central India’s National Parks and the Ulley Valley. 

 In 2018, the top three destinationswere: (1) New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; (2) Valleta, Malta; and, (3) Southeastern Europe, specifically the Balkan states such as Slovenia, Serbia, and Croatia. 

In these past two years, I’ve made it my business to travel to many of the places on these lists in order to give you all the real lowdown on the location. In 2018, I went on a fabulous tour with G Adventuresto Morocco, a destination that was on both the 2017 and 2018 lists. I briefly went to Basel, Switzerland (2017 list) before a Rhine River Cruise with AmaWaterwaysin 2017. I planned a long weekend getaway to New Orleans as a birthday gift for my husband this fall (stay tuned for a blog about that). I re-visited what’s become my favorite destination, Slovenia in 2017 and 2018 with two really great Slovenian tour companies, Roundabout Travel and Wajdusnaand was able to see Belgrade, Serbia for the first time in 2018. 

Photos left to right: Ashley riding a camel in the Sahara desert of Morocco, Ashley standing in front of the famous Predjama Castle in Slovenia; and Ashley, husband, and friends in New Orleans before a Saints NFL game.

Some of the places listed, I’ve already visited and/or lived at and am very familiar with, such as: Arizona (2017), Canada (2017), California wine country (2017), Peru (2017), Spain (2017), the Bahamas (2018), and Southeastern Europe (2018).

This year, I intend to visit the Baltic Region (2018), specifically Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania in concert with a trip to see my sister in-law in Belarus where she is stationed with the State Department and I am moving to none other than Monterey, California this summer (very close to wine country, I might add!)

Why do I tell you all this? I want you to know that I’m scoping out the next best locations in the world for you to visit so that I know firsthand where to go and how to go about going there. Its a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it! 😉

Great! What about this year?

Well, in case you hadn’t noticed…our team has multiplied

Instead of consulting some other experts on their top picks for 2019 travel, I wanted to consult the experts at Kinship Vacations. We each have our own specialty and interest in travel, so I think you’ll find something different and interesting for everyone! Without further ado…here’s what we recommend for your 2019 travel plans.

For families and Star Wars fans: “Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge is opening at Disneyland this summer and at Walt Disney World this fall. My number one recommendation would be there. It will be an experience that is the first of its kind, immersing guests into the Star Wars Universe. It will be a unique experience that won’t be easily forgotten. On the heels of the opening of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, guests at the Walt Disney World Resort will soon be able to stay at the Star Wars Hotel, a completely immersive experience where the guests are part of the show. Additionally, this hotel will transport guests to Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge vía a transport ship. This new addition to Disney will make this mega theme park more popular than ever.” – Dina Farmer, our resident Disney vacation expert

For lovers of beer and culture: “For people looking to experience real beer culture and traditions, they should rest their suitcases in West Flanders, Belgium. Westvleteren and Rodenbach–to name but two–have been brewing some of the world’s best beers in this very region for years. Yet, the real magic of Belgian beer culture is found in quirky brewpubs and breweries like ‘d Oude Maalderij in Izegem or De Struise Brouwers in Oostvleteren. The country is small by American standards so rent a car and tack on a couple days to your trip to Bruges or Brussels and make your way out to the relaxing Belgian countryside.” – Maggie Cubbler, our resident beer sommelier and beer travel expert

For those that need to get away with the girls: “While it may seem an obvious choice, we would be remiss to mention Napa as the perfect Girlfriend Getaway location this year. Obviously, there are plenty of vineyard and wine tours available to satisfy any palate. You can also spend a morning learning the art of sabrage, spend an afternoon hiking in the Redwoods, and finish your evening at 3-star Michelin restaurant, The French Laundry. Relaxing spa options and boutique shopping opportunities round this out as the perfect long weekend for you and your girlfriends.” – Krystal Eicher, our girlfriend getaway expert

For Potterheads and Dinosaur-lovers, young and old: “Universal Studios Hollywood is truly bringing guests to the movies this year. With the insanely successful opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal is doing it again with another blockbuster franchise, Jurassic World. Guests will journey to where living dinosaurs roam. Allowing guests to explore this new world with a thrilling new ride, yet to be named. Additionally, coming to Islands of Adventure in Orlando fans of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter can look forward to an unnamed thrilling roller-coaster that brings two thrilling and two-family friendly rides themed after Harry Potter. Be sure to dress up in your wizard robes and brandish your wand, unlike Disney guests of any age are encouraged to dress up! Team Hufflepuff for the win!” – Dina Farmer, our resident family vacation expert

For once-in-a-lifetime experiences: “June 6, 2019 marks the 75thanniversary of one history’s most important battles, D-Day at Normandy, France. This year may perhaps be the last milestone year to experience it with the still-living veterans of that fateful military operation. The best way to experience this beautiful location and overwhelmingly important historical event is to take a river cruise.Not only is it a very relaxing way to travel, which is very important for anyone with mobility challenges in particular, but it is also a very immersive way to travel. River cruising, different from ocean cruising allows you to dock in the heart of a city and walk to the tourist highlights, hidden gems, and holes in the wall to your heart’s delight! While the June 6 sailings are largely sold out, you can still enjoy the festivities throughout this year without the crowds. Having experienced a fabulous AmaWaterways cruise, I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone as a preferred river cruise operator as it is high-quality and luxurious without the pretense – great value for your dollar and unforgettable experiences!” – Ashley Metesh-McCoy, our lead travel advisor and resident cultural immersion travel expert

For some real adventure with the kiddos: “For 2019, take your young children to Iceland. With cheap, and short, flights from North America compared to most of Europe, Iceland is a great foreign getaway without the super long flight with little ones.  Iceland is a very family-friendly destination with easy access to high chairs, cribs, car seats, and changing tables.  By far, the best way to see the country is by car.  A rental car offers you the freedom to go where you want, but also allows you and your family to travel at your own pace, something often needed with little ones.  With the exception of the famous Blue Lagoon (under 2 not allowed), children of all ages can visit the hot spring along with their parents. The natural beauty of Iceland is a sight to behold and a great escape from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.  Keep the weather in mind, though.  Especially for a self-drive trip, you should stick to the summer months as the weather is obviously warmer and the risk of road closures are less likely.” – Mackenzie Jervis, our resident adventure family travel expert (and Client Care and Marketing Manager)

Once in a lifetime events you need to book in 2019 for 2020: There are some exciting things happening in the year 2020 that we don’t want you to miss out on! If you are interested in participating in any of the following events in 2020, get planning now or it’ll be too late to participate! 

Passion Play Oberammergau, Germany – once every 10 years this event occurs in beautiful Bavaria to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus. Tours and tickets are almost sold out so don’t wait another minute. *Get in touch with Krystal, who lived in this area for expert advice or with Maggie, who currently lives in Germany for a beer-flavored tour of Bavaria to accompany your Passion Play experience. 

Tokyo Summer Olympics –If you’ve always wanted to go to Tokyo or always wanted to go to a Summer Olympics, now is the time to start planning. *Get in touch with Dina, who lived in Japan for expert advice on a trip to the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

ICC T20 World Cup– If you’re a cricket lover and/or always wanted to go to Australia, now is the time to start planning. *Get in touch with Suzanne, who is originally from Australia for expert advice on a ICC T20 World Cup Australia trip. 

2020 World Expo Dubai –If you’ve always wanted to go to a world expo and/or always wanted to go to Dubai, get planning now. *Get in touch with Veronica, who lived in the middle east and traveled extensively throughout including to Dubai.

2020 honeymoons, anniversary trips, and/or destinations weddings – Did you recently get engaged and are you planning a destination wedding or honeymoon? Get started planning it now, because special events like this take a lot of time to pull together. *Get in touch with Chelsea, who is our resident romance travel expert!

The inaugural sailing of Richard Branson’s, Virgin Cruises – Just like any Richard Branson enterprise, this promises to disrupt the status-quo. Virgin Cruises promises to be unlike any other cruise experience. Whether you are a frequent cruiser looking for something new or a “I will never cruise” looking for something to challenge your ideas of what cruising is (or can be), you are going to want to book a sailing ASAP. Limited spaces will sell out quick! *Get in touch with Ashley, our resident cruise (and Richard Branson admirer) expert!

Alright, I think this gives you enough to chew on! If you hadn’t realized it yet, we are an enthusiastic bunch here at Kinship Vacations, ready and excited to help you plan a dream vacation. Please get in touch with us to plan your next vacation, because we know your time is your most valuable resource and we want to help you maximize that!

If you’re ready to make 2019 (or 2020) a year to never forget, reach out to us by filling out our trip planning formnow. 

In the meantime…. 

Happy Wanderlusting! 

Ashley 

P.S. If you have a group (10+ people) that you’d like to plan a 2019 vacation for, consider yourself a group leader in the making! What does that mean? It means you can possibly earn free travel for yourself or others in the group, extra group perks, and/or potentially a share of revenue with Kinship Vacations. Is there an important charitable cause in you and your group’s life? Or, maybe you are a small business owner looking for a fun new revenue stream. We can share our revenue with you. What a nice way to spend your vacation, right? To get more info on our group travel opportunities, fill out our group trip leader form. 

P. P.S. To keep receiving travel tips and inspiration and a FREE GUIDE, “10 Ways to Strengthen Relationships Through Travel” CLICK HERE 

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