Where to Travel in 2020 – Our Guide to Best Places to Travel in 2020

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New decade, new travel plans! Where will you travel in 2020 and beyond? After spending six years on the road, here are a few destinations we recommend to one and all.

Where to travel in 2020 COVER

Where to Travel in 2020?

What are your 2020 travel plans? If you’re still wondering where to go this year, then we have a few suggestions. Keiko and I love traveling in just about every form: as a family, as a couple, with friends or solo. After a lot of careful consideration, we’ve selected some of our favorite places. The 2020 travel destinations you see below come recommended by us without hesitation. First, we recommend a few general areas for travel in 2020, then the next section gives more specific destinations per month. 

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Colombia: Where to Travel in 2020

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We were really impressed by Colombia last year: so much to do, and such a variety of experiences and climates. From misty mountains to tropical beaches, cities like Medellin and Cartagena are safe, exciting and full of cool stuff to do. Go now before everyone catches on!

Read our Colombia Travel Posts

The Yucatan Peninsula: 2020 Travel Destinations

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Warm year-round, Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is an amazing place to explore. Go beyond Cancun’s resorts and visit sleepy Spanish colonial towns, white-sand beaches, and Mayan ruins. Better yet, rent a car. It’s safe & easy in the Yucatan, and the roads are mostly flat and easy to navigate. Then drive to secluded cenotes. These amazing underground pools look straight out of an Indiana Jones movie.

Read Our Yucatan Travel Posts

Malaysian Borneo: Where to Travel in 2020

Once considered the land of sultans and headhunters, Borneo is accessible and full of adventurous potential. The roads are good, the internet is decent and the growing tourist infrastructure makes it easy to plan and improvise. We went river kayaking, scuba diving, and whitewater rafting. We had amazing fish BBQ and visited spectacular national parks. I was already planning a second trip before we left.

Read Our Borneo Travel Posts

Northern Spain: Where to Visit in 2020

Travel in Basque Country - San Juan de Gaztelugatxe: Spain Road Trip

Sure: Barcelona, Madrid, and Seville are all well-loved Spanish destinations for a reason. That said, Northern Spain is our favorite place for a summer road trip. The area is all emerald forests and stunning azure coastlines. Then there’s the Camino, the storied hiking paths that lead to Santiago de Compostela. Amazing food, museums, outdoor adventures, and more.

Read Our Northern Spain Posts

Kansai, Japan: Top 2020 Travel Destinations

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Yes, Tokyo is (and will be) in the spotlight as a 2020 travel destination as the summer Olympics approach. But there is so much more to Japan than the capital. After 13 years in Tokyo, we’re back in Japan and living in Osaka since August of 2019, yet I’ve barely scratched the surface of Kansai. Here you have some of Japan’s most famous cities — Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, and Nara — all within a 90-minute train ride from each other. Fantastic food, city escapes, nature, and more.

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Where to Travel in 2020 by Month

Okay, so when people ask me for general advice on where to travel in 2020, I give the list above. For those of you looking for more time-specific locations, then peruse the lists below. I’ve hand-selected places we’ve been and one of the best times of year to visit. Of course, many of them are ideal year-round. Yet many of you may need to narrow your search to whenever your vacation time allows. For that, here are our recommendations.

January – Best Places to Travel in January 2020

Best Places to Travel in January 2020

For us, we usually want to be somewhere warm after the Christmas holidays. That’s why you have Ho Chi Minh City listed: an amazing, dynamic and fascinating place, as well as the Mekong region nearby. Just remember that staying through the Tet Festival (late January) can be meaningful or tedious, depending on your travel style. The weather is beautiful and springlike in Medellin, Colombia in January. Well, it’s like that for most of the year, really, and a great place for art, food, and outdoor adventures. Now if you want a cold-weather destination, I’d recommend exploring Hakone Japan, just an hour or two outside of Tokyo. No, it isn’t blanketed with feet of snow, but what it does have are amazing traditional onsen (hot spring) hotels. Come here for a long soak as you ponder the year ahead.

February – Where to Travel in February 2020

Best Places to Travel in February 2020

For places to travel in February 2020, we have two more warm spots to recommend. Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast gets some rain year-round, but February gets some of the least. Come here for surfing, beautiful beaches, amazing wildlife, and a Jamaican vibe. On the other side of the planet, Northern Thailand gets our vote for 2020 travel since it’s warm and fairly dry. Just make sure to leave by mid-march or whenever the burning season is forecast. 

March – Top Travel Destinations in March 2020

Best Places to Travel in March 2020

Spring is around the corner, but tropical destinations like Malaysian Borneo are a great place to warm up faster. This is considered the dry season, which means better hiking and clearer waters for scuba and snorkeling. A similar situation in the Yucatan and Tulum is gorgeous year-round — just be ready for the heat. But the best place to travel in March 2020 is Valencia, Spain to see the amazing Fallas Festival in the middle of the month. Just go, and thank me later. 

April – Best Places to Travel in April 2020

Best Places to Travel in April 2020

Spring in Kansai is like no other place on earth. The cherry blossoms are predicted to bloom early this year (late March) and while that’s the most amazing week to be in Japan, it’s also one of the most crowded and expensive. Instead, visit a month later when the crowds return to normal and the trees are populated with green again. Further south you have the tranquil city of Kuching in southern Borneo. Come here for amazing wildlife and a slower pace of life, but if you want to speed things up, then I can’t recommend Mexico City enough. What an amazing town! Incredible art and street food. Lovely neighborhoods and fascinating museums. I wish I could visit every year.  

May – Where to Visit in May 2020

Best Places to Travel in May 2020

The development of Playa del Carmen in the past decade has been enormous, but it still offers something for just about any type of traveler. There are incredible resorts and small, family-run boutique hotels. There are gourmet cuisine and cheap and delicious street food. Then there are the waterparks, beaches, and adventure tours. In Southeast Asia, Bali is a perennial favorite, and visiting in May gives you some of the best weather. For city escapes, it’s hard to beat Kuala Lumpur. So much great food. So many museums and fun activities! Not to mention day trips in the region. Highly recommended travel destination for 2020. 

June – Best Travel Destinations for June 2020

Best Places to Travel in June 2020

For the culinary traveler, a visit to San Sebastian, Spain is almost like a pilgrimage. Sure there are the nearly countless Michelin starred restaurants, but for us, it was all about the tapas and pintxos. On top of that, San Sebastian is easily one of the best beach towns in the world. Visit when it’s warm but before the throngs arrive in August. If you want beaches in the east, then head for the Malaysian Island of Langkawi. The weather is dryer during June and you’ll find some exquisite hotels for a dreamy getaway. For nature and wildlife lovers, we recommend visiting Northern Sumatra. Some of the last semi-wild orangutans live here, and no one knows for sure how long places like this will exist. 

July – Where to Travel in July 2020

Best Places to Travel in July 2020

All eyes will be on Japan during the Olympics, and while this is where I call home I hesitate to recommend visiting Tokyo in the summer. Most of the country is unbearably hot and humid, yet it could prove to be one of the most amazing games ever. If in Europe, then we recommend visiting the Basque Country of Spain. Cities like Bilbao have incredible food and art scenes, and a short drive out of town brings you to lush forest walks. Closer to USA, I’d recommend Cartagena, Colombia as where to travel in July 2020. The beautiful walled city is an incredible place to wander.

August – Best Places to Travel in August 2020

Best Places to Travel in August 2020

Once resigned to stand in the shadow of Bali, the neighboring island of Lombok has come into its own and is one of the best places to visit in August 2020. The tourist infrastructure is not yet as sophisticated but the crowds are vastly smaller than Bali, but with all the natural beauty intact. The same could be said about the Asturias region of Northern Spain. This was easily one of our favorite places int he country thanks to friendly locals, regional food and incredible natural beauty with few other tourists around. Costa Rica is also one of the best travel destinations in August 2020. The wettest part of the year hits in September, but most of the country has fairly dry spells during August. 

September – Best Places to Travel in September 2020

Best Places to Travel in September 2020

While it lacks beaches, Merida, Mexico makes up for it with fascinating culinary and cultural charm. This is the cultural capital of the Yucatan Peninsula and a great place to base yourself for exploring cenotes and Mayan ruins. The weather starts to cool around this time, and the packed schedule of free outdoor performances will keep you busy for a week or two. If you’re looking for some beach time, however, then the Canary Islands are a great travel destination in September 2020. The volcanic island of Lanzarote has loads of experiences to seek out. From scuba and watersports to lava tubes and a pirate museum, we loved our road trip across Lanzarote. The only problem with our trip was that we arrived in January which was a little chilly for us. September sees great weather across the Canaries. 

October -Where to Travel in October 2020

Best Places to Travel in October 2020

One of my favorite cities in the world is Taipei, Taiwan: the street food, the city culture, and the day trips alone make it somewhere I constantly want to be. It’s a great place to travel in October 2020 because the heat up summer begins to subside, as well as the monsoon season. Another great city escape for October 2020 is Barcelona, before the chill of winter sets in. And while you’re there, head an hour or two north to see where Salvador Dali is buried. Speaking of graves, let’s talk Dia de Los Muertos. Mexico is the best travel destination in October 2020. They take the Day of the Dead very seriously, and it’s easily one of my favorite holidays now. There are celebrations all across the country, with Mexico City being one of the most famous. That said, we think San Miguel de Allende is one of the best. 

November – Best Places to Travel in November 2020

Best Places to Travel in November 2020

November means autumn for me, and one of the best places to see autumn leaves in Japan. Kyoto in the fall is spectacular. That said, our family also thinks one of the best 2020 travel destinations in November is Puerto Escondido, in Oaxaca, Mexico. My sister got married there around Thanksgiving, and we’ve spent two Novembers there thus far. Beautiful beaches, great food, and fascinating wildlife. Another great beach destination in November 2020 is Krabi, Thailand: snorkeling, rock climbing, and more. 

December – Best Travel Destinations for December 2020

Best Places to Travel in December 2020

Let’s end the year in the sun, shall we? If you’re looking for tips on a white Christmas, then I can’t help you. We like being somewhere warm and interesting. The Yucatan, for example, is a great place to travel in December. So is Peru. We spent December 2019 in Lima, Cusco, and Puno. Of course, the Incan ruins of the Sacred Valley were incredible, but as for a city escape, we left thinking Lima didn’t get the recognition it deserved. Then, of course, there is one of our favorite places and temporary homes, Penang, Malaysia, Come here in December 2020 for warm weather, incredible food, UNESCO Heritage sites, and friendly people. 

What Are YOUR 2020 Travel Destinations?

These are just a few travel destinations for 2020, but I’d love to know where you’re going this year. Let us know!

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Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you,  we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book a Japanese food tour using those links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help your travel.

Photo Credits via Creative Commons CC BY or other Royalty-free image sites. Some images may have been altered slightly via cropping or color enhancement: #21

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