Top places to travel post COVID-19
Being locked inside our homes for the betterment of everyone is crucial as COVID-19 becomes more dangerous. However, for an avid traveler like me, it's hard not to imagine where I would rather be right now. Once the war on Coronavirus is over and there is a return to normalcy, there will be a change in travel patterns for at least some time. People would want to maintain social distancing when they travel and avoid crowded destinations (either by habit or continued fear). Based on that thought, I have come up with a list of 10 places you can visit to maintain distance, while at the same time soak up all the sunlight you have missed over the past few weeks and celebrate nature's serenity.
1. Fjords in Norway
Norway has the most spectacular fjords. No, you dont have to take a cruise to enjoy them. You can hike, bike, swim, kayak etc. through these Fjords and have a fantastic time in the raw, sensational natural beauty of Norway. Fly to Bergen and rent a car to avoid the crowds. There are many stunning fjords to see with the top one being Geirangerfjord (pictured).
Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas is pristine, delightful and calming. This country was closed to tourists until 1974 and still is regulated through travel restrictions for preserving its sights and its environment. Its strategy has been low volume, high quality. Currently, one needs to pay about $250 a day during high season but this cost covers a meal, accommodation, transport, and a private guide. With a country of less than a million people and all the magical tales, this place is like nowhere else.
Alaska is many things: the land of the midnight sun, home to grizzlies and United States' last frontier. The Aurora Borealis (northern lights), amazing wildlife, glacier landings and a wide variety of breathtaking landscapes will leave you in awe. Pre-coronavirus, one would take a cruise to see Alaska. However, a better way- a social distancing way, is to drive around Alaska and soak in the raw wilderness.
4. Greek Islands
Greek islands are romantic, relaxing and ravishing. Every moment spent here is a heartbeat-skipping-kind. After visiting a few Greek Islands along with Athens, I regretted not picking Greece as my honeymoon destination. If you want to avoid crowds, run away from Mykonos & Santorini. Instead try the beautiful islands of Crete (pictured above), Ithaca, Corfu, Milos, Ikaria and Antiparos.
5. Tour de Mont Blanc, France
I'll be honest. I personally have not done Tour de Mont Blanc but it has been in my bucket list for a long time now. Tour de Mont Blanc is the #1 trekking experience in Europe. The tour circumnavigates the Mont Blanc which touches France, Italy, and Switzerland and takes about ten days to complete. While on the trek, enjoy the finest sceneries in Europe, ultra-delicious food and many other alpine experiences. Best time to go? Mid June- Mid July. You avoid the crowds and see the alpine flowers bloom.
6. Hana, Hawaii
One of the most spectacular and soulful experiences is the Road to Hana in Maui, Hawaii. The distance itself is 54 miles but the drive can take all day. Be ready to see the most fantastic views of waterfalls, taste the best banana bread, eat and drink coconut, buy local handicrafts and have the time of your life. Don't make it a day trip. Stay overnight and hike the beautiful bamboo forests that Hana has to over.
7. Scottish Highlands
It's hard to forget our (my husband and I) drive around the Scottish highlands. Every view was so damn gorgeous. The misty weather, wildlife, and stunning landscapes. With so few tourists, it felt that we were sharing the mountains only with the sheep (and a few stags) :) and no one else. There are plenty of hikes to enjoy and typical English castles and cottages to stay in.
Iceland is a magical place. Jon Snow's favorite country to shoot at. GOT fans, remember “beyond the wall” scenes? Iceland is the perfect place to run away from crowds, pollution (sound/air) and chaos. I personally remember being in total awe for the entire five days I was there. Fresh oxygen, raw nature, miles and miles of roads to ourselves: total bliss.
9. South Africa
Once you have experienced Safari, things are not the same. Lion King is not the same, planet earth is not the same and nor is the thrill of a roller coaster ride. It's such a life-changing experience which you wanna come back to again and again. South Africa though offers more than just Safari. It offers adventure sports for all the adrenaline junkies, treks with breathtaking scenery and fantastic wineries for all the wine enthusiasts. My must do is to head to boulder's beach from Cape Town to watch the cutest little penguins (pictured).
I know you are surprised to see Japan on this list, given the massive crowds that visit this fantastic country every year. Given it is almost cherry blossom season, it's hard not to think about Japan. Even though the place gets touristy, there are multiple non-touristy sights to visit as long as you avoid traveling during the Golden Week (end April - early May). Some of these places include Takayama and Okayama. My must-see is the Mount Fuji views as seen from Lake Kawaguchi (pictured).
Disclaimer: Some pictures displayed here may have been purchased from Shutterstock.