Sure, we still have a few months of 2017 left, but it’s never too early to plan your next vacation (or two… or 10). Lonely Planet just published their Best in Travel 2018 detailing all the best countries, cities, regions, and value destinations that will be hot in 2018. Based on Lonely Planet‘s travel experts and criteria such as “topicality, novelty, and wow-factor,” here are the 10 countries that need to be on your vacation short list next year.
Chile: This narrow South American country has landscapes to please every type of traveler: Atacama, the driest desert in the north; tropical Easter Island to the east; and glaciers and volcanoes in the south. Chile celebrates 200 years of independence in 2018, a perfect time to cruise down and throw back some pisco sours. (Photo via Matt Munro/Lonely Planet)
South Korea: South Korea will become the ultimate playground when Pyeongchang hosts the 2018 Winter Olympics. Outside of the games, there are still plenty of things to do, including exploring the bustling capital of Seoul, which is the fifth largest economy and seventh most sustainable city in the world. (Photo via uschools/Getty)
Portugal: If you only know Portugal as the country that produces port wine, it's time to change that right now. Yes, you can visit the dessert wine's namesake city, Porto, or head to the vineyards of the Douro River Valley. But while you're there, walk up and down the hills of the quaint capital of Lisbon or head to the gorgeous beach town of Algarve, which boasts a number of Michelin-rated restaurants. Portugal is also one of the least crowded places to visit in Europe, so you can enjoy that glass of port in relative peace. (Photo via saiko3p/Shutterstock)
Djibouti: Djibouti is located in the Horn of Africa, at the convergence point of three tectonic plates that are slowly pulling apart. This tiny country was designed for adventure lovers — if you want to trek to a dormant volcano (Ardoukoba), visit a crater lake at the lowest point in Africa (Lac Assal), or snorkel with whale sharks (Bay of Ghoubbet), this is the place for you. (Photo via VUSLimited/Getty)
New Zealand: The lush green islands of New Zealand received the Hollywood spotlight thanks to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series, but Peter Jackson wasn't the first to discover the country's beautiful scenery. Don't expect too many crowds while wine tasting or exploring the breathtaking landscapes either: New Zealand is home to about 4.7 million people... and 27.6 million sheep.
(Photo via Marconi Couto de Jesus/Shutterstock)
Malta: This sunny archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea has a long history — it's been inhabited since 5200 BC. Modern-day Malta is a mix of grand palaces and churches and art. The country's capital, Valetta, was declared the European Capital of Culture for 2018. (Photo via liseykina/Getty)
Georgia: Georgia (the country, not the state) sits in the Caucasus region between Europe and Asia. The country is full of natural beauty, bordered by the Caucasus mountains to the north and home to forests, vineyards, and Krubera Cave, the deepest-known cave in the world. Georgians also claim the region of Kakheti is the birthplace of wine, which is reason enough to book a ticket. (Photo via Aaron Geddes Photography/Getty Images/Moment Open)
Mauritius: This tropical island in the middle of the Indian Ocean is a destination for honeymooners and beach connoisseurs, who can engage in water sports, enjoy the multi-ethnic culture, or simply lounge next to the crystal clear waters. Mauritius is also home to some of the rarest species of plants and animals and is famous for being the only habitat of the now-extinct dodo bird. (Photo via Ales-A/Getty)
China: One visit to China and you'll see why the most populous country is such a thriving world power. From the modern shopping districts in Shanghai to the impressive Forbidden City in Beijing to the mysterious terra-cotta soldiers in Xian to the seemingly unending Great Wall, there are more amazing sights than you can fit in just one trip. (Photo via NI QIN/Getty)
South Africa: In South Africa, between visiting coastal Cape Town, hiking Table Top Mountain, tasting incredible wines in the Winelands, or catching a glimpse of the Big 5 on a safari in Kruger National Park, your biggest dilemma will be deciding what to do first. (Photo via MHGALLERY/Getty)
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Reproduced with permission from Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018, © 2017 Lonely Planet