Got The Travel Bug? Here's Where To Travel in 2022, And How To Stay Safe
Before COVID-19, travel was a major priority for many Millennials and Gen Zers. The pandemic put a major damper on many of our travel plans, even though some of us found ways to take workations and staycations while WFH. Things are slowly opening up, though, and as more people get vaccinated, travel destinations are starting to welcome wanderers back. If you (like me) just can't beat the travel bug in 2022, here's a guide to where to travel — and some tips for staying healthy while you explore.
Where To Go In The US
Alaska's vast wilderness, gorgeous scenery, and huge amount of outdoor activities make it a fantastic choice for travel in 2022. If, like so many others, you picked up outdoor sports like mountain biking and hiking during the pandemic, you won't be disappointed with Alaska. Head to Denali National Park for all the outdoor adventures you could ever dream of, or explore trails and excursions near outdoorsy urban centers like Anchorage and Juneau.
San Diego, CA
San Diego, like most of Southern California, is car-dependent, sprawling, and not particularly walkable in most areas. In normal times, these may read as flaws, but in pandemic times, they help make San Diego an urban destination you can explore safely! Head to the beach, take a hike (there are plenty to choose from, even within the city — some of our favorites are Torrey Pines State Park, Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail, and Iron Mountain Trail), or dine al fresco. San Diego has it all and then some.
If you're a lover of all things woo-woo, you'll love Sedona. Even if you're not, you're bound to appreciate the area's stunning red cliffs, plentiful outdoor activities (including yoga, mountain biking, hiking, and stargazing) and wide-open, cloudless skies. Maybe you'll find a vortex while you're there.
If you're from the US and haven't visited Wyoming yet, you're missing out. Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks are right near each other, making this region of the US a perfect destination for outdoor lovers. We can't overstate the beauty and sheer vastness of exploring to be done. You can also check out historic towns like Buffalo, Jackson, and Sheridan to be transported back in time.
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City is growing fast, and with the increase in population has come an influx of hip restaurants, shops, and activities. Check out the Fear Factory, one of the country's biggest and most top-rated haunted houses, or dine al fresco in Sugar House, the city's trendiest neighborhood. Only a short 40-minute drive away is Park City, a wonderland for skiing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and all other manner of outdoor adventures.
If you thought California was all beaches and sunshine, think again. The Sierra Nevada mountain range is absolutely stunning, and spans 400 miles across the Golden State and its neighbor, Nevada. Home to three national parks (Yosemite, Sequoia, and King's Canyon), the region offers ample opportunity for exploring. You can also check out historic Gold Rush towns to get a taste of California's history. Nevada City, Auburn, and Columbia are just three examples, and are all located along the Gold Country Highway (Hwy 49, more technically).
Where To Travel Abroad
From vineyards to beaches and everything in between, Italy is ripe with opportunities for outdoor exploration that isn't exactly roughing it. You can live in the lap of luxury and still bask in the fresh air throughout Italy's rolling countryside or in its southern Mediterranean reaches. As long as you can show that you're fully vaccinated, you're good to travel to Italy; Italy isn't currently requiring fully vaccinated US citizens to quarantine when they arrive, according to The New York Times's guide to where Americans can travel.
Visiting Sweden is the ultimate experience in balance: They country is full of rugged, outdoorsy experiences, but also uber-sophisticated, stylish cities. Everything here is stylish and well-designed... but nothing is over-the-top. Rated one of the top places to live in the world, Sweden is what most of us picture when we think about when we imagine a Nordic wonderland. Head to national parks like Sarek, Muddus, Sonfjället, and Abisko to witness glaciers, meadows, and the Northern Lights, or head to urban Stockholm for some hygge and delicious Swedish food. The NYT reports that US travelers can enter Sweden as long as they have proof of vaccination.
If you're ready for one of the ultimate wildlife-viewing experiences, it's time to head to South Africa. With stunning biological diversity and breathtaking scenery, the Southern tip of the African continent has long been on the bucket lists of adventure-loving travelers. Kruger National Park is the place to go if you want to spot elephants, cheetah, lions, leopard, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, and buffalo roaming in their natural habitats. Other fascinating spots to explore include the Cape of Good Hope, the Nelson Mandela Museum, and the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town. To enter South Africa, Americans need to have taken a negative COVID test within 72 hours of departure.
Turks and Caicos
If basking in the sun is your idea of a good vacation (and we can't blame you for that), Turks and Caicos should definitely be on your radar. Less frequented than most Caribbean island destinations, these islands have managed to remain low-density and, therefore, simply stunning in terms of beaches and views. The resorts here are luxurious, and the diving is known to be particularly out of this world. To enter the country, all visitors 16 years of age and over must be fully vaccinated, and will have to test negative on a COVID 19 test with three days of departure. Finally, they must have insurance that covers medical costs related to COVID-19.
Thailand is another one of those countries that's full of extremes... huge cities like Bangkok are certainly one end of the spectrum, but vast swaths of tropical forests and stunning beaches are another. Head into the cities and towns to experience authentic Thai cuisine, loved around the world for its flavor and fresh ingredients, or take it easy on the nation's stunning beaches, including Hat Khuat, Hat Bang Thao, Ao Wai, and Hat Semila. Vaccinated travelers are welcome, but they need to apply for a Thailand Pass, pass a COVID-19 test, and have health insurance covering at least $50,000 in COVID-related expenses.
Now it's time for a few helpful tips to keep in mind if you go adventuring to help keep yourself and others happy and healthy. And the first one almost goes without saying: Mask up. Wearing a mask dramatically helps reduce your likelihood of contracting or spreading COVID-19. We're pros at this by now, so no surprises here!
Prioritize Outdoor Activities
It's also now well-known that outdoor activities are profoundly more safe than indoor activities when it comes to COVID transmission. So whenever possible, choose outdoor activities like hiking, biking, lounging on beaches, walking historic city streets, and touring botanical gardens or outdoor art venues. Eat al fresco when you can (dinner at an outdoor cafe or a picnic in the park, anyone?) and try to stick with outdoor venues if attending live music performances. The best part? Travel in which you spend your time moving around, absorbing the sunshine, and exploring new sites is way better, anyway.
Wash Your Hands Regularly
Another tip that almost goes without saying: Wash your paws. For a good 20 seconds. In warm, soapy water.
While traveling, and especially on flights, it's easy to become dehydrated, because the air in airplane cabins is so dry. You are also presumably moving around a lot more than usual, and therefore sweating a lot more. So be sure to rehydrate, if for no other reason than to stave off headaches and ensure you feel your best.
Avoid Crowded Areas
Finally, avoid crowded spots, like indoor concert venues, long lines indoors, and big crowds. While traveling, it can be almost impossible to avoid crowds entirely... and that's where the mask and hand-washing recommendations come in.
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Featured photo via STIL/Unsplash.