Happy 2022, Friends! Is your New Year's resolution to travel (more) this year? At this point, you might be so desperate to go somewhere, anywhere, that the destination itself is almost an afterthought. We completely understand, and we’re always up for a new place to explore or an old favorite to revisit and see what’s changed. We’re still, of course, navigating the unique circumstances that the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered into our lives. With those factors in mind, these destinations stand out for 2022.
After a lost summer season in 2020, the wild frontiers of Alaska were able to salvage a partial season last year, with great success. If not back to “normal,” this year at least figures to offer a full summer of adventure — although you don’t have to limit your Alaska explorations to the warmer months. Alaska’s autumn colors are just as spectacular as any you’ll see in the Lower 48, and the longer nights increase your chances of spotting Northern Lights. Cruising is the most common way people get around, and the Inside Passage does indeed showcase the state’s spectacular landscapes and wildlife, but it’s not the only way. Boutique lodges can be a fabulous way to explore Alaska’s interior and less-trafficked waterways. One of my all-time favorite vacations was my Father-Daughter trip to Alaska in 2018. Earlier that year, Dad and I were having breakfast and I asked him what destination or experience was on his travel wish list. He smiled and said that he always wanted to see glaciers up-close, bald eagles flying above, and seeing whales in the water, bears in the wild. He said that he and Mom had talked about going to Alaska before she got sick. I told him that he could still go to Alaska, but he quickly dismissed the idea, so I surprised him with a father-daughter trip on the Inside Passage. As an adult, have you ever vacationed with your older parent(s)? I can't suggest it enough! Dad said that everything he envisioned was so much better in person! I'll always remember the look on his face when he saw Margerie Glacier for the first time or the excitement of seeing whales from the balcony of our stateroom. Alaska was magical and I highly recommend it to everyone.
Last year, on the day that my Dad died, we were talking about our trip to Alaska and our float plane excursion in Juneau. We saw glaciers from the sky, then headed over to a remote lodge where freshly-caught Alaskan salmon was grilled for us for lunch. While they were preparing our meal, Dad and I hiked to a waterfall and spotted a bear cub in a tree. In this picture, Dad's wearing the hat that I bought him after we experienced the float plane -- he used to wear it all the time.
The British Isles
The UK and Ireland have both recently done away with the requirement for pre-departure testing for fully vaccinated travelers, making for one less barrier between you and a great vacation. Visitors to the UK do still need to present a negative test on Day 2 in the country, but those can now be rapid antigen tests rather than PCR. That makes cities such as London, Edinburgh and Dublin, as well as the lovely countryside you’ll find throughout England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland more easily accessible for your international getaway this year.
As a small, island state, Hawaii has understandably been careful with COVID restrictions through the pandemic. The governor has invited travelers back, and recent relaxations make it easier to get in. Domestic travelers who are fully vaccinated no longer need a negative test, and unvaccinated domestic travelers can enter with a negative test. Going between counties no longer requires any testing, so a multi-island itinerary is once again a breeze that shows off all Hawaii has to offer. Hawaii has long provided a tropical paradise you don’t need a passport to go to; now it’s a haven from onerous entry protocols.
Last summer, I visited Hawaii with my niece to celebrate her HS graduation. How fun to be able to see Aloha land through her eyes. She learned how to surf on Oahu's North Shore by taking a private lesson with a pro surfer. We hiked to waterfalls, sipped on Kona, snorkeled at Hanauma Bay, and relaxed on sugary white sand beaches.
If Aloha Land is on your wish list, Pineapple7 is a Certified Hawaii Destination Expert with the Hawaii Tourism Authority. I've visited 30+ times and had several clients visit Hawaii in 2021!
In recent years, after the fallout from the 2011 revolution, Egypt has re-emerged as a popular destination. Open throughout most of the pandemic, it’s been one of the go-to international spots for travelers, who have had all those antiquities largely to themselves. Few sights are as imposing and awe-inspiring as the pyramids and Sphinx towering above you against the desert backdrop. But the hits don’t stop there. At Sakkara you can view an even older pyramid, the Step Pyramid of Djoser and at Memphis, the ruins of the Old Kingdom capital. At Luxor you’ll find more than 400,000 square feet of well-preserved temples on the banks of the Nile.
It’s ski season, and the slopes of Park City, Jackson Hole and the resorts that stretch up and down Colorado are calling. It’s outdoors and it’s exercise during a season when we spend much of our time shut up indoors to get away from the miserable weather. Add mountains, though, and we can’t get enough of winter. The Rockies have plenty going on in all seasons, with summer bringing food and music festivals and the general pleasantness of being in the great outdoors with great weather and beautiful scenery.