Where to Travel in 2024: Rethinking Your Bucket List

We’re on the cusp of a new year, and with that comes the tradition of making resolutions: drink more water, find a new job, and, of course, take an epic bucket list trip. We all know the popular destinations: Paris, Machu Picchu, Tokyo, and so on. But maybe it’s time to reconsider these classic bucket list ideas as many of these places have become victims of their own popularity.

The problem of overtourism is a significant challenge that not only diminishes the experience for visitors but also has negative impacts on local communities and the environment. Venice, Italy, and Dubrovnik, Croatia, are just a few examples of places that have been inundated with tourists. As Tom Smith, vice-president of sales and marketing for North America at Intrepid Travel, points out, “We just have to rethink how we do so.” There are many lesser-known sites and towns that are just as culturally and historically significant, waiting to be explored.

So, instead of always following what’s trendy, experts suggest being open to destinations that aren’t constantly thrown at us. Cari Gray, CEO of Gray & Co., a luxury travel company, recommends exploring lesser-known parts of popular destinations. For example, instead of just going to Taormina or Noto in Sicily, try exploring other parts of the island, such as Puglia or Sardinia. This way, you can still experience the beauty of these places while avoiding overtourism.

Read more  The Fascinating Concept of a Light-Year: Exploring the Depths of Space

The United Nations World Tourism Organization also encourages a shift in mindset. Their initiative, the Tourism Opens Minds pledge, promotes the idea of exploring new and underappreciated destinations. This not only benefits travelers but also allows local communities to benefit from tourism in a more sustainable way.

If you still have your heart set on a popular destination, there are ways to approach it differently. Consider planning a longer stay and immerse yourself in the local community. Traveling in the off-season can also help you avoid crowds. For example, in Venice, instead of staying in the historic center, try staying on one of the islands. This way, you can go beyond the usual tourist spots and have a more authentic experience.

When it comes to concerns about the environmental impact of travel, there are planet-friendly options available. For instance, Intrepid offers carbon labelling on many of its itineraries, allowing travelers to make more climate-conscious decisions. Flying direct, renting electric vehicles, and choosing accommodations and providers that prioritize sustainability are other ways to minimize your impact on the environment.

In the post-pandemic era, travel has taken on a new meaning for many of us. It’s a chance to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations, support local communities, and have a more conscientious approach to travel.

Now, let’s explore some top picks for travel destinations in Canada, the United States, and further afield.

Where to Go in Canada


One destination that deserves attention is Whitehorse, located in the Yukon. This hidden gem is often underestimated and underappreciated, according to Jordana Manchester, a senior travel advisor. The city offers breathtaking natural beauty, a vibrant food scene, and a gateway to outdoor adventures in the vast mountainous territory of the Yukon.

Read more  Mexico: Exploring the Reality Behind the Hype

Visitors can explore marked trails for hiking, biking, and paddling. The Adaka Cultural Festival is a must-visit, as it celebrates the cultural heritage of the 14 First Nations in the Yukon.

Fogo Island, N.L.

Fogo Island, off the northeastern coast of Newfoundland, is another unique destination. It is home to Shorefast, a Canadian social enterprise focused on revitalizing the local economy. Fogo Island Arts and Fogo Island Inn are two remarkable ventures that have attracted international attention.

The island offers stunning natural landscapes, hiking trails, and opportunities to immerse yourself in the local culture. You can also explore nearby Trinity and enjoy the abundant wildlife, including moose, puffins, and cod.

Cape Breton Island, N.S.

Cape Breton Island on Canada’s East Coast is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The scenic Cabot Trail, a 298-kilometer loop around the island, provides breathtaking views and opportunities for hiking, cycling, kayaking, and surfing. The island also boasts a rich history and culture, especially related to the Mi’kmaq people. Visitors can learn about their traditions and explore their heritage through various activities and workshops.

Where to Go in the United States

Hamakua Coast, Hawaii

While Maui and Kauai are popular destinations in Hawaii, the island of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island, offers a different kind of experience. The Hamakua Coast, with its waterfalls, rainforests, valleys, and artsy towns, is a hidden treasure that is often overlooked. Manchester recommends staying at the Inn at Kulaniapia Falls or the Grand Naniloa Hotel to fully enjoy this scenic region.

Driving the Hamakua Heritage Corridor is a must-do activity, taking you from Hilo to the Waipi’o Valley Lookout. Along the way, you can explore parks, waterfalls, and traditional cultural sites.

Read more  A Guide to Chinese Tourist Visas: All You Need to Know

Central Coast, Calif.

The Central Coast of California, encompassing cities like Morro Bay and Santa Ynez, is a lesser-known region that offers diverse attractions. Kayaking with sea otters in Morro Bay, exploring hiking trails with stunning views, visiting wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley, and taking a trip to the Channel Islands are just a few highlights. The area’s pleasant weather and beautiful landscapes make it an ideal destination for outdoor activities.

Charleston, S.C.

Charleston, known for its historic charm, also offers a deeper cultural experience through the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. This heritage trail recognizes the contributions made by Africans and African-Americans to American culture and history. Tours curated by organizations like Black in Travel and Tourism and the Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism provide insights into the rich cultural heritage of Charleston.

The city is also famous for its cuisine, with a wide range of seafood dishes and innovative culinary creations. Exploring the Museum Mile and staying at historic inns like 86 Cannon Historic Inn are other highlights of Charleston.

Where to Go Further Afield

Jaffna, Sri Lanka

If you’re looking for a more exotic destination, consider Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka. Manchester fell in love with the country years ago and recommends exploring this former kingdom of the Tamil people. Jaffna offers a rich history, vibrant cultural traditions, and a unique blend of South Indian, Tamil, and Sinhalese cuisines. The local guide is highly recommended to fully appreciate the historical and cultural significance of this city.

Mallorca, Spain

While Portugal has been a popular destination recently, Mallorca, a Spanish island in the Mediterranean, offers an alternative worth considering. With its cycling-friendly infrastructure, hiking paths, and beautiful beaches, Mallorca is an island playground for outdoor enthusiasts. The island’s mild climate makes it a year-round destination, and its proximity to other European cities, such as Barcelona and Madrid, makes it an ideal addition to your European itinerary.

Read more  How to Budget for Your Trip to Japan

Quarry Trail, Peru

Peru is making a strong comeback as a travel destination, and the Quarry Trail offers a unique alternative to the famous Inca Trail. With fewer visitors and equally stunning scenery, the Quarry Trail allows you to explore the beautiful Andean landscapes with a smaller environmental impact. The trail also brings economic benefits to communities that have not benefited directly from tourism. Tunupa Lodge and Tika Wasi Casa Boutique are nearby accommodations that offer a comfortable stay.

These are just a few ideas to inspire your travel plans in the coming years. Remember, it’s important to be open to exploring new and underappreciated destinations, while also considering the impact of our travels on local communities and the environment.


  • Q: How can I avoid overtourism in popular destinations?

    • A: Consider exploring lesser-known parts of popular destinations or visiting during the off-season. Stay in neighborhoods away from tourist hotspots and connect more with the local community.
  • Q: How can I reduce the environmental impact of my travel?

    • A: Choose planet-friendly options like flying direct, renting electric vehicles, and staying at accommodations that prioritize sustainability. Look for travel providers that offer carbon labelling and offset emissions.
  • Q: What are some alternative destinations in Canada and the United States?

    • A: In Canada, consider visiting Whitehorse in the Yukon, Fogo Island in Newfoundland and Labrador, or Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. In the United States, explore the Hamakua Coast in Hawaii, the Central Coast of California, or Charleston in South Carolina.


As we enter a new year, it’s time to rethink our bucket list travel plans. Overtourism is a growing concern, and exploring lesser-known destinations can offer a more authentic and sustainable travel experience. Whether you choose to explore hidden gems in Canada, discover off-the-beaten-path locations in the United States, or venture further afield to exotic destinations, the key is to approach travel with an open mind and a desire to create positive impacts on the communities and environments we visit. So, start planning your next adventure, and get ready to travel in a more conscious and meaningful way.

Read more  The Best Time to Visit India: A Guide to Discovering a Remarkable Nation

Related Articles

Back to top button