Pack your bags! As 2018 comes to a close, one thing you can already start to plan for the year ahead is travel. Whether it's for your honeymoon, bachelorette party or destination wedding, you can get a head start and nail down those locales early. While we're sure you've had some spots in mind—there are some dream destinations out there—there are a few unexpected places that should be on your list too.
Home rental site Airbnb recently released their list of 19 destinations to visit in 2019. Their data on search, booking, and wish list growth all suggest that off-the-beaten-path destinations are becoming increasingly more popular. From unexpected nightlife towns like Accra, Ghana, to overlooked domestic destinations like the Great Smoky Mountains, people are booking trips to places where they can experience outdoor adventure, new cultures, and seaside relaxation, oftentimes all in one.
Pull up your flight tracker and your calendar to book one of these 19 far off trips.
The metropolis of Taipei has long been a fan favorite, but regions like Daxi and Yujing are increasingly present on Airbnb wish lists. As a contrast to the city destination, these towns are more laid back with mango farms, hot springs, and culinary attractions.
For a best of both worlds travel destination look no further than Xiamen. On the mainland, visitors can take in the bustling, artsy city scene, and just off the coast you can visit Kulangsu. This pedestrian-only, vehicle-free island is perfect for relaxation with even more sights to see.
The 2017 earthquake isn’t holding travelers back from visiting this Mexican city. Airbnb has seen a 240 percent increase in searches this year in “the city of the angels.” Immerse yourself in the city’s rich culture through cooking classes and sightseeing while also taking a beat for you and your boo with a day at the Chignahuapan lagoon or El Salto de Quetzalapan waterfall.
Santa Catarina State, Brazil
This locale might throw you for a loop with all of its international influences. In the capital, Florianópolis, you can still experience the country's beautiful beaches and mountain views. The town is home to traditional markets as well as its German influences. Blumenau is home to an Oktoberfest parade and a beer museum showing off the city’s brewing history.
Buenos Aires Province, Argentina
No, the province is not the capital, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in attractions. Inland, travelers can get lost in the town's dense forests, and on the Atlantic coast, Necochea is home to some of the longest beaches in the country. If you decide to stay at an Airbnb in this town you’re in luck. It’s one of the booking site's most hospitable cities based on the number of super hosts with five-star reviews.
Kaikoura, New Zealand
Making a comeback after a 2016 earthquake, this down under town is ready for visitors again. There has been a nearly 300 percent increase in bookings year over year for Airbnb, but that shouldn’t come as any surprise. This coastal town offers plenty of stunning sights. Go kayaking with the fur seals or take a helicopter ride over the town to take in all of the natural landscape and marine life, including their famous population of sperm whales.
There are so many things to do in this big city. From the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to the Forks—a central market featuring dining, accommodations, and one of the world’s longest skating rinks—there are endless things to keep you busy.
Catskill Mountains and Hudson Valley, New York
Music lovers rejoice, and visit the the home of Woodstock for its 50th anniversary. In addition to many performances that are rumored to be scheduled for 2019 in the upstate New York region, the area's year-round rich wildlife and hiking trails will still be the main attraction.
There is no need to worry about what time of year you’re booking your travel since the climate in this coastal city is pretty mild year round. While you’re there, take in the Adjarian cuisine, which is unique to the area. Oenophiles will also enjoy the wine—over 500 varieties of grapes grow in the country, so you will definitely stumble across a blend you like.
If there’s any flexibility in your schedule, Airbnb recommends travelling to Pondicherry between the months of November and February to take advantage of the mild temperatures. This timeline—and the city’s mix of shopping, sightseeing and adventure—make it the perfect destination for a holiday proposal or destination wedding.
Great Smoky Mountains, U.S
Outdoorsy couples and country music fans alike will love this location. This mountain range is home to America’s most visited national park with over 800 miles of trail to roam, so you’ll never run out of sights to see. If you're looking to break up your trip with a little less laborious fun, on the Tennessee side travelers have easy access to the iconic Dollywood.
Anyone in search of a history lesson will enjoy visiting Normandy in 2019, as this year will mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day. This coastal town has a lot more to offer than just battle sites. Visitors can take in the splendor of the quaint villages and medieval architecture. Spend several days leisurely taking in Normandy’s charm, or cram it into one afternoon, since the site is only a two-hour train ride from Paris.
This emerging destination might actually be perfect for a bachelorette trip—no need to choose between a wild weekend and something more subdued. You and and your bridal party can have a zen outing during the day as this city is quickly becoming the place for spiritual journeys and self-discovery. After dark, Labadi and Kokrobite beach towns boast all the nightlife you need.
An animal lover's dream, Mozambique offers the opportunity to take in all of the country’s wildlife including pink flamingos, Nile crocodiles, dolphins, lions, and hyenas. Visitors can plan their trip around the many national parks to get a glimpse at them all. In addition to adventure, this coastal town has plenty of gorgeous beaches for relaxation.
Outer Hebrides, Scotland
These Scottish islands are one of the few places that offer arrivals just as epic as the rest of your trip will be. Your flight into the Barra Airport will land on the beach, and from there you will continue exploring the natural wonders this place has to offer—red deer, golden eagles, otters, whales, dolphins, and more.
Wakayama Prefecture, Japan
Have an authentic experience staying at one of the 52 temples on holy Buddhist grounds in Koyasan, where you can experience meditation, temple services, Buddhist gardens, and vegetarian cuisine. Outside of your lodging, more cultural immersion awaits. Visit the open-air baths, fish markets, and in July, travel for the Nachi Fire Festival, one of the most sacred festivals in Japan.