Give Your 2021 Travel Dreams a Do-Over

Give Your 2021 Travel Dreams a Do-Over

Four travel ideas for exploring the world in 2022 and beyond.

An older couple relax at viewpoint and look off to distant scene iStock

This past year was one of travel frustrations for many. Perhaps you made plans and then had to cancel or postpone them. Or maybe you played it safe and chose to stay close to home. Yet you still yearn to get out there and check those epic adventures off your bucket list.

It’s impossible to say exactly what 2022 holds, but more travel possibilities seem to be on the horizon. And whether you’d like to get away for a romantic beach vacation or a memory-making family adventure, we’ve got the inspiration to help bring your travel dreams to life.

Each of these four travel ideas comes with a new twist for 2022 and beyond.

Experience total relaxation in the Caribbean.

If 2021 left you in need of some get-away-from-it-all, forget-your-worries downtime, head for the curvaceous swaths of sand and aquamarine waters that make up the Caribbean. Some 30 island nations dot the ocean from just beyond Florida’s southern tip to the northern coast of South America. No matter how you get there, each country offers its own brand of escape—from snorkeling through crystal-blue waters to wandering and shopping local merchants in its charming seaside towns.

You could pick an island and stay awhile at an all-inclusive resort, where every part of your stay—room, food and activities—is included in one price. Nothing to think about but burying your toes in the sand and letting the sun-warmed breeze wash over you. Think butler service and beachside balconies, or even an over-the-water bungalow for two.

If you prefer to island-hop via a cruise, you can do it on some exciting new ships. In 2021 Carnival Cruise Line re-launched the Mardi Gras—featuring the world’s first roller coaster at sea. And Royal Caribbean has launched the ship Odyssey of the Seas, which has a skydiving simulator and a bungee trampoline for those seeking thrills, and a redesigned resort-style pool complete with shady casitas and hammocks for quieter moments.

Get a glimpse of Hawaii’s natural wonders.

A Hawaiian vacation is a bucket list-level adventure for many travelers—and for good reason. The 50th state beckons with jaw-dropping scenery—think black-sand beaches, lunarlike lava flows, emerald-green peaks and gushing waterfalls. Travel restrictions limited access to all that natural beauty during part of the past two years, but as rules have eased, people can experience the state in a few new ways.

Among the most recent offerings from island outfitters: a solar-powered e-bike tour of Honolulu’s Koolau mountain rainforests and a helicopter flight over Oahu that includes tales of Hawaii’s legends and deities. On Kauai, you can go whale-watching via kayak, paddling the same sea paths traveled by early Polynesians and whaling captains (October–April), and take an ATV tour of the fossil-rich limestone Makauwahi Cave.

And, of course, there are the classic experiences: hiking lava-filled landscapes in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, snorkeling the crystal-clear waters of Maui’s Molokini Crater and cruising along the ultra-scenic Hana Highway.

6 Hawaii facts as eye-popping as the scenery

Get to know the 50th U.S. state before you visit.

Get your culture fix in Europe.

For lovers of art and culture, a European vacation brings unmatched sights, from the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo in France’s Louvre Museum to Michelangelo’s David and Sistine Chapel ceiling fresco in Italy. And the coming year will bring even more ways to appreciate Europe’s masterpieces and storied history. (When planning to travel again, be sure to research specific travel restrictions in the destination you hope to visit).

In Germany, visit Berlin’s newest landmark, the Humboldt Forum. The huge museum complex blends modern and Baroque architecture inside a reconstructed 18th-century royal palace. Visitors can browse a range of displays featuring everything from Berlin’s history to Asian art. And in neighboring Austria, Vienna’s Sigmund Freud Museum is now open in a newly expanded space. Guests can step into the home of the famed neurologist and father of psychoanalysis to learn more about his life and work.

Farther north, the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Denmark and Sweden awe with spectacular natural scenery—thundering waterfalls, narrow fjords and glistening glacial lakes. But there’s just as much for art lovers to gawk at in the sleekly modern cities. A visit this year to Oslo, Norway’s capital, brings the chance to explore the Munch Museum’s towering new home. The glass-and-aluminum building provides more space to display the works of The Scream painter Edvard Munch. And Oslo’s new National Museum—which will be the largest art museum in the Nordic countries—is set to open in June 2022.

5 European masterpieces and where to see them

Europe is home to some of the world’s most treasured works of art. Here are just a few you’ll want to seek out when you visit.

Rediscover theme park magic.

Favorite theme parks are open. If you’ve been putting off that visit, and haven’t gotten your fill of hair-raising thrills and cuddly characters recently, there’s a lot to look forward to in 2022.

There’s always excitement at Walt Disney World, which kicked off its 50th birthday in 2021. Cinderella Castle got a fresh look over the summer, with a blue and blush-pink paint job and glam gold accents. New rides are on the way, too, including Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in Epcot (which is in the midst of a multiyear transformation) and the TRON Lightcycle Run in Magic Kingdom.

Universal Orlando Resort is now featuring The Bourne Stuntacular, a stunt show that fuses stagecraft and film as hero Jason Bourne battles bad guys across three continents. Plus, a new Jurassic Park-themed roller coaster, Jurassic World VelociCoaster, is now open. And at SeaWorld Orlando, new thrills abound aboard the park’s first launch coaster: Ice Breaker soars up to 93 feet and reaches speeds of 52 mph.

4 theme park thrills you won’t want to pass up

Spectacular shows, beloved characters, who-cares-about-the-calories snacks—they’re all part of the theme park experience. But nothing compares to the rides.

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Give Your 2021 Travel Dreams a Do-Over