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With 2019 almost behind us, it’s time to start planning your 2020 bucketlist destinations. One of the most common questions I get is how do I afford to travel and which travel credit card is the best to receive perks.
If you want to travel the world for almost free I recommend the Orbitz Visa Reward Card and start knocking those cool bucket list ideas and travel goals off one at a time.
That means you will not have to wait for your friends to have enough money, wait until you meet the right guy, or simply stop being afraid of the unknown.
My top bucket list destinations for 2020 have all been handpicked by your girl so you know they are going to be good! Among the reviews you will find:
- Hot Air balloons
- Overwater Bungalows
- Swimming with the pigs
- Historical landscapes
- New restaurants
These bucketlist worthy destinations will have your friends green with envy at your epic travel goals.
To help you get the most bang for your buck, I’ve accompanied each recommendation with deals from Orbitz to help you save money on discount flights, hotels, rental cars or activities when it’s time to start planning your vacation.
The Orbitz Visa Card has travel and dining bonus spend categories and the card also carries valuable travel protections any time I use it to pay for travel.
I started my journey into points and miles in 2015 but I have since switched to the Orbitz Visa Card which is a solid credit card for anyone entering the points and miles world and will help you travel the world for almost free!
15 Underrated Bucketlist Destinations For 2020
1. Cappadocia – Bucketlist Destinations
If you are on Instagram I am sure you have seen the photos of hot air balloons floating in the sky as if it were some magical fairytale from another world. Cappadocia is geologically amazing from the rolling hills, towering boulders and concrete formations that were built thousands of years ago.
Cappadocia, Turkey is like having your very own fairytale kingdom and was formed by a volcanic eruption that is now filled with breathtaking land surfaces and an impressive underground chambers, tunnels, and cities from thousands of years ago.
It is composed of 5 provinces:
The beautiful underground cities were declared “World Heritage” by UNESCO in 1985 but the main attraction to Cappadocia these days is the chance to see the city from above in a hot air balloon.
Luckily, Orbitz can help you can book a flight from just about anywhere in the world and you can see Cappadocia yourself and book your flight and hotel accommodation an for an unforgettable and ultimate bucketlist adventure.
Pro Tip: Check out Devrent Valley as it is that unlike other sites in Cappadocia, you can immerse yourself amongst the earth pillars and rock formations. You can explore and discover as you wind your way up the steep, slippery hills.
When to go: Istanbul is charming in April, during the city’s international tulip festival and value peaks during the shoulder-season months of June and September.
When not to go: In July and August, the busiest tourism months, hotel rates are as sky-high as the temperatures.
Where to stay: Cappadocia Cave Suites
2. Costa Rica – Bucketlist Destinations
Santa Teresa is located on the remote tip of the Nicoya peninsula. You will experience incredible sunsets, delicious international restaurants, luxurious boutique hotels, and myriad adventures including: (ATV rentals, nature tours, journeys on horseback, etc.) are all part of what makes this the romantic getaway of a lifetime. Santa Teresa is one of those cool bucket list ideas everyone needs to have on their list.
Santa Teresa has not become a tourist trap like so many other parts of the country with the influx of condos and mega-resorts. This little town remains rugged, rustic and natural but I worry that will not be the case much longer because Santa Teresa, Costa Rica is no longer one of my best-kept secrets.
Pro Tip: I highly recommend people who visit to rent a car or an ATV. The towns of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa are spread out along a few miles of beach and there really is lots to do and see. Having a means of transport allows our guests the flexibility to explore the area, enjoy the nightlife and dining options around town.
When to go: Early December and May, the start and end of high season. You get great weather without paying top dollar.
You’ll get clear mornings—but heavy showers every afternoon—during the rainy season, from June to October.
When not to go: Mid-December to April (Dry Season). This peak tourist season boasts plenty of sunshine but the dry season is the most popular (and expensive) time to visit. The rates are crazy!
Where to stay: Florblanca Luxury Resort! I promise you will not be disappointed. This is ulimate in travel goals.
3. Czech Republic – Bucketlist Destinations
Famous for natural parks, beautiful preserves, and gorgeous villages, the Czech Republic is one of the most fascinating destinations I’ve ever visited. Each city is studded with castles, ancient buildings, and beautiful ornate churches.
Olomouc is home to Holy Trinity, Saint Wenceslas Cathedral, and the Church of Saint Maurice. Let’s not forget the food in the Czech Republic because the Czech’s prepare some of the most savory meals you will ever have the pleasure of tasting.
Being home to such historical gems, the Czech Republic should definitely be on your 2020 bucket list.
Many cities in Europe are very expensive to visit but the Czech Republic is not one of those cities. Your airfare will be the most expensive thing you will pay for because the hotel, food, and cocktails are so inexpensive it seems almost unreal. I stayed in a 5-star hotel and a luxury hostel for less than $100.00 bucks per night.
Pro Tip: Prague Castle, one of the more popular destinations, remains open throughout winter while others shut their doors over this period. The result is that you will likely be queuing for much longer. A less-crowded option is Karlštejn Castle—in summer, visitors are free to roam the castle grounds alone.
When to go: Shoulder season from mid-April to May and September to mid-October seems to be the best time to visit Prague.
When not to go: The summer months of June, July, and August are the high season in Prague. This is when the city experiences mostly dry and humid weather along with exorbitant prices.
Where to stay: Long Story Short
4. Sri Lanka – Bucketlist Destinations
If golden beaches, calming waves, larger than life mountains, majestic elephants, and giant whales, are what you are looking then Sri Lanka is the place for you.
There is so much to do and see in this tiny little country in South Asia located in the Indian Ocean. You could be surfing at dawn and exploring the green-carpeted mountains by dusk.
After exploring all day enjoy some of the cuisines of Sri Lanka. The destination is known for its spicy food, exotic fruits and the array of sweetmeats found nowhere else in the world.
Sri Lanka has a mix of religions, cultures, beautiful temples, and let us not forget the wildlife. This tiny country has something for families, adrenaline junkies, foodies and couples no matter the budget and is definitaely one of the most cool bucket list ideas to visit.
Pro Tip: Although Sri Lanka’s southern beaches attract the most tourist the east coast is still undeveloped. The most known among the Eastern beaches is the Arugam Bay, which is where the surfer’s hangout.
When to go: The best time to visit the west and south coasts and hill country is from December to March, while the best weather on the east coast is from April/May to September.
When not to go: The Yala monsoon season (May to August) brings rain to the south and west coasts plus the Hill Country. The weather in the North and East is best. Prices nationwide are lowest.
Where to stay: Reef Villa and Spa
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5. Zimbabwe – Bucketlist Destinations
Zimbabwe has been in the news for all of the wrong reasons and many travel bloggers were even boycotting the country because of its political views and the regime that ran the country. Zimbabwe is one of Africa’s safest destinations and is also home to the Big Five-filled national parks, listed on the World Heritage site, and, of course, Victoria Falls.
Zimbabwe is ready to reclaim its title as a premier safari destination and tourism magnet not only for adventurers, families and travel bloggers.
You don’t even have to seek out wildlife in Zimbabwe wildlife seeks you out! There will be herds of elephants, zebras snacking just feet away or even a lion pride will stroll right past your tent. The options are endless in Zimbabwe. If this isnt’ travel goals I don’t know what is!
Pro Tip: The safaris in Zimbabwe won’t break the bank and in fact, Zimbabwe comes out on top when it comes to pricing against other safari’s so definitely put Zimbabwe on your travel bucket list.
When to go: With mild temperatures, virtually no rain and a low malaria risk, the dry May to October winter season is generally seen as the best time to visit Zimbabwe for game-viewing.
When not to go: Zimbabwe experiences the peak of its rainy season in January. Roads to the country’s wildlife safaris will not be in good shape since most of them are just paved. The rains are also not good for outdoor activities and camping becomes difficult.
Where to stay: Victoria Falls Safari Club
6. Sicily – Bucketlist Destinations
The island of Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean. There are vibrant cities and jaw dropping beaches, active volcanoes, ancient ruins and a cuisine that is world renowned.
Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature, cuisine, and architecture. It is also home to important archaeological and ancient sites, such as the Necropolis of Pantalica, the Valley of the Temples, and Selinunte.There are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites on Sicily.
By the order of inscription: Valle dei Templi, Villa Romana del Casale, Aeolian Islands, Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto, Necropolis of Pantalica, Mount Etna and Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedral churches of Cefalù and Monreale.
Pro Tip: Those wanting to travel even further back in time will be content to see the Greek Temples of Selinunte and Syracuse, as well as those of Agrigento and of Imera.
When to go: April to early June and late September to October are the best times to visit, as the temperatures are not as sweltering as they are in the summer.
When not to go: The real tourist boom picks up in mid-June, when schools are closed. From July to mid-September, the coastal areas are crammed. Unless you plan to spend time at a seaside resort or on an island, avoid August if you can: The heat is unbearable and most establishments in the cities are closed.
Where to stay: Palazzo Trigona Suite
7. Matera, Italy – Bucketlist Destinations
Matera is set right on the boot of Italy and best known for the white Sassi structures carved into limestone hills, which earned the town a UNESCO designation. The announcement that Matea would be the 2019 European Capital of Culture has spurred an increase in tourism.
It’s not the easiest place to reach which is why it has managed to remain relatively unknown, especially to American tourists but the region is slowly growing and many of the caves Matera is known for are now boutique hotels and restaurants.
Like the Amalfi Coast, the best way to explore the neighborhoods is by foot, roaming through the labyrinth of narrow alleyways, up and down uneven stone staircases, discovering dead ends and tiny courtyards adorned with flower pots, and cave churches. Matera, Italy is also one of those cool bucket list ideas you dont want to miss out on.
When to go: Tourists are unlikely to visit Matera in November. Those willing to visit at these times will likely find it the least expensive month.
When not to go: The busiest month for tourism in Matera, Italy is July, followed by May and June. Prices for hotels and flights will be most expensive during these months, though you can save if you purchase well in advance.
Where to stay: Basiliani Hotel
8. Exuma, Bahamas – Bucketlist Destinations
The Exumas are a 120-mile-long island chain-within-the-chain of the Out Islands, with the Exuma Cays scattered in a long line extending north toward New Providence from Great Exuma.
The Cays are the most exotic of the Out Islands, a collection of tiny jewels set in the aquamarine and sapphire of the most beautiful water you’ve ever imagined.
Where are the swimming pigs?
Although its location may be somewhat remote, I suggest staying at Sandals Emerald Bay which is an all-inclusive adults-only property.
The resort has three pools, a 150-slip marina, two whirlpools, and of course their signature Red Lane Spa which you will need after a day of swimming with the pigs. If this isn’t what I consider travel goals I don’t know what is.
When to go: The best time to visit the Bahamas is from mid-December to mid-April, the country’s peak season. Though temperatures here are great year-round (they rarely dip below 60 degrees)
When not to go: The months of August, September and October present the highest risk for hurricane activity. The islands of Andros, Abaco and Grand Bahama are the most likely to be affected by hurricanes and tropical storms.
Where to stay: Sandals Resort
9. Belize – Bucketlist Destinations
Belize is home to the world’s second-largest barrier reef; its interior is riddled with some of the most extensive and accessible cave systems in Central America, and the people have heritages that include Maya, Mestizo, Garifuna, Creole, and Mennonite. Many travelers are still unsure of where Belize is on the map.
Belize has so much to offer from culture, cuisine and people so take advantage of the country’s stunning cayes and jungle hideaways, and travelers are discovering a slice of Central America that’s relatively uninhabited by tourist.
Pro Tip: Allow the hotel to set up a day of explorations which will include ancient Mayan caves where rituals used to be performed, float on an inner tube down rivers, explore ancient Mayan ruins, or plan a private picnic right next to a waterfall.
When to go: The low season runs from approximately May to November. Rainfall is higher during this period but it is usually restricted to early morning showers and overnight storms.
There are fewer crowds to deal with and lower tour and room rates, many travelers prefer to visit Belize during the low season.
When not to go: The high season runs from December to April when the weather is drier and many people from temperature latitudes flock to Belize to escape the icy clutches of wintry weather. Because these are the most popular months to visit, accommodation rates are usually higher during this period.
Where to stay: I suggest ditching the beach for the jungle and stay Ka’ana Luxury Resort. Ka’ana Belize Boutique Resort lies right in the heart of the Belize jungle.
1o. Billings, MT – Bucketlist Destinations
Shaped by the Yellowstone River on one side and protected by the Rims on the other, Billings, Montana, is a small town with an enormous history, unbelievable natural formations and kind people. Visit Pictograph Cave State Park to learn about the life of Montana ancestors 2,000 years ago, stroll through Montana Zoo to meet the animals that live in the Rockies and bike the trails on the Rimrocks for spectacular views of Billings, MT.
Yellowstone Cellars & Winery is a boutique winery that makes wines from hand-picked premium red and white grapes from small vineyards in the Yakima Valley in Washington. The fresh grapes that are still on the stem are transported during the harvest time directly to the winery in Billings, where the grapes are crushed less than 30 hours after the harvest.
Billings, Montana’s Trailhead, has the only self–guided, walkable brewery tour in Montana. This unofficial “brewery district” is located downtown and includes six breweries, two distilleries, and a cider house, all within easy walking distance. Take this 1.5-mile brewery route and I promise you will not be disappointed.
Pro Tip: Check out Missoula is known as the “Garden City.” Tucked within the Rockies, surrounded by spectacular beauty, including seven wilderness areas and the confluence of three rivers, it offers a wealth of outdoor adventure
When to go: The best times to visit Yellowstone National Park are from April to May and between September and October. These shoulder months offer mild weather and fewer crowds. July and August are the most popular months to visit: The kids are out of school, and the weather is warm enough to sleep outside.
When not to go:During the winter, expect a wide range of temps, spanning from sub zero digits to the high 20s. I do not do well in extreme cold weather so I suggest not visiting Montana in the winter.
Where to stay: Golden Stone Inn
11. Memphis, TN – Bucketlist Destinations
Travel Channel, Frommer’s, and Trip Savvy have all listed Memphis as one of the top destinations to visit in 2020. These famous travel guides list the Spring as the peak season to visit, with Memphis in May festival as one of the top attractions the city has to offer.
Memphis has so much to offer and not just the well-known attractions like Graceland, the National Civil Rights Museum or the Memphis Music Hall of Fame but you also have Slave Haven an underground railroad museum in Memphis and the Bass Pro Shop.
Last but not least Memphis is home to some of the best BBQ in the world so make sure you go on a culinary tour try out some local favorite BBQ Joints like A&R BBQ, Payne’s BBQ, Cozy Corner, Charlie Rendezvous, and Central BBQ just to name a few.
Plan your vacation around the last Friday of each month to take advantage of Trolly Night in downtown Memphis which means the galleries will be open late, special deals, music, and free drinks will be available on South Main.
Pro Tip: Locals dine at A & R BBQ no matter how many shows you see with the world famous bbq joints being featured.
When to go: Best Times to Visit Memphis. The best times to visit Memphis are April and May or October and November. These short seasons are brief reliefs from the uncomfortable (and long) summer and winter seasons.
When not to go: July and August are pretty miserable months. Temperatures hover in the 90s, and it’s unbearable to be outside. Most locals take solace in swimming pools and air conditioning during that time. There are also a lot of mosquitos, and the humidity is high.
Where to stay: SpringHill Suites by Marriott
12. LaFayette, LA – Bucketlist Destinations
Lafayette, Louisiana lies 2 hours west of New Orleans, but might as well be a world away. The distinct French Canadian culture here was brought by the Acadians who were expelled from parts of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and eastern Quebec in the mid-1700’s during the British and French hostilities.
Over the many years, the word Acadian morphed into Cajun and today the region is rich in jaw-dropping, swampy landscape, OMG tasty food, incredibly friendly locals, and of course their signature Cajun Zydeco music.
Pro Tip: Visit Avery Island – Avery Island isn’t actually an island — it’s a salt dome that extends 8 miles beneath the Earth’s surface, so you may hear people say Avery Island is where salt and pepper meet.
When to go: The best time to visit Lafayette is from February to May when the weather is comfortably cool and the celebrations are in full swing.
If you’re not interested in Mardi Gras mania, plan to visit in December or January, when the city is calm and you don’t have to worry about making hotel reservations a year in advance. If you are a travel blogger check out TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange ) which is the largest travel conference in the world and the conference will be held in Lafayette, LA next year.
When not to go: Late August and September mark the height of hurricane season (which poses a threat from June to November). However, less stifling weather and plenty of cultural events still make Lafayette an enjoyable destination to visit.
Where to stay: Residence Inn by Marriott
13. Barbados – Bucketlist Destinations
Barbados is the most easterly island in the Caribbean island chain, situated above South America, northeast of Venezuela and north of Guyana. The Atlantic Ocean sits to the east of the island, and the Caribbean Sea to the west. The capital city is Bridgetown, located in the parish of St Michael.
Unlike many other Caribbean islands, you would never use the word “sleepy” to describe Barbados. The island’s vibrant culture and rich history come to life in its lively Bajan festivals, nightlife, and friendly people.
Famous luxury resorts are a big draw, but you can also find fun in a local rum bar. And you can’t beat the restaurants here, renowned as some of the best in the Caribbean.
When to go: December to May is considered the dry season in Barbados and also the ‘winter’ period for most of the northern hemisphere.
When not to go: The wet season begins in June and runs until November, the ‘summer’ months for the island. This season also brings with it the Caribbean hurricane season, although Barbados continually tends to be spared the direct hit of any significant storm.
Where to stay: Sandals Emerald Bay
14. Anguilla – Bucketlist Destinations
A British overseas territory — as the Caribbean island with the best beaches. With an embargo on cruise ships, casinos, and even high-rise hotels, Anguilla is far from a tourist trap.
According to users on TripAdvisor, Shoal Bay is one of the best beaches on the island — and possibly in the world. “The white powder sand and turquoise water is so peaceful and beautiful. Although all the beaches on Anguilla are beautiful, in my opinion Shoal Bay East is the best,” one user raves.
Pro Tip: Scuba diving or snorkeling, a good way to view the island’s surrounding coral reefs, which are teeming with sea life.
When to go: Anguilla enjoys warm, comfortable temperatures nearly year-round, so make your Anguilla travel plans at your leisure. Keep in mind the island’s peak tourist season lasts from December to mid-April; because of the increased demand, prices tend to shoot up considerably during this time.
When not to go: There is not a bad time to visit Anguilla
Where to stay: Four Seasons Resort
15. The Big Island, Hawaii – Bucketlist Destinations
Despite its name, the Big Island has a more laid-back, small-town local vibe than Hawaii’s other islands—and is among the chain’s less visited destinations. Head to Kona for beaches, Kohala for sea turtles, or Hilo for rainforest hikes and waterfalls.
If you like beaches you are in luck. The Big Island is a true paradise, and has quite some amazing white, black, and green sand beaches!
My hands-down favorite beaches on the Big Island are Hapuna and Mauna Kea beach (white sand), Punalu’u beach (black sand + turtles!), and Papakōlea (green sand). The Green Sand Beach is my favorite beach in the world! Travel Goals for anyone who loves beaches and this is one of my ultimate cool bucket list ideas.
Pro Tip: If you have rented a car, driving around the Big Island will give you the most incredible views of the the island landscape. From rugged coastlines to lush jungles, this is one scenic drive you won’t ever forget.
When to go: The best time to visit Hawaii’s Big Island is between September and November. That’s when the island’s generally reasonable room rates take the most significant plunge. Temperatures remain constant throughout the year – generally in the high 70s or low 80s.
When not to go: You might want to avoid the priciest season, from December to March, unless you like to surf.
Where to stay: Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on the Kohala Coast
Conclusion of best places to visit in 2020
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I pored over press releases, tourism statistics, and hotel openings to bring you the best vacation spots for 2020!
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