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It’s true that the way we travel has changed as a direct result of the current pandemic, and will likely continue to change as we navigate the new world of travel post COVID-19.

While future travel is set to see increased safety precautions, social distancing, and face masks become the norm, just as the way we travel will evolve, so to have the destinations which are trending.

Mass tourism has been one of the biggest social and environmental issues of the 21st century, though this has seen a swift death, and where destinations like Venice, Barcelona, and Bali were once constantly at the top of the trending list, post pandemic we’re set to see new front runners.

With a swing towards destinations that can provide you with a bit of distance, we expect these 5 destinations to be topping the list of trending travel once borders reopen.

Trending Travel Destinations for After the Pandemic

Doha, Qatar

Doha RF

Doha has been a great city in the making for years now, and it’s set to rise as one of the trendiest destinations after the pandemic. With a modern skyline, though a culture steeped in tradition, you can mix luxury with ancient history.

This has typically been a popular layover city, though the tiny oil-rich nation in the Persian Gulf has started gaining a solid reputation as a destination in its own right. And it’s very budget friendly.

Pro tip: If you are planning a stopover and you’re flying with Qatar Airways, you can book an incredibly cheap stopover package which includes tours, excursions, and 5 star hotel stays starting at USD 86.

Qatar describes itself as ‘a land rooted in ancient cultures, authentic soul, where past learning informs contemporary vision’. And in a land where souqs sit next to skyrises, dhow boats bob in modern harbors, and men are obsessed with falcons, this is a pretty apt description!

Doha’s arts and culture scene is world class, so don’t miss the newly opened National Museum of Qatar, the Arab Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Islamic Art.

For history lovers you can take a walk through the Old Doha, to take in the old buildings and attractions like the Souq Waqif – the city’s historic open-air street market (it smells seriously amazing!)

At the end of the night it’s reasonably cheap to retire in a 4 -5 star hotel, which is also a driving factor which makes Doha a tending destination – it’s accessible to travelers even after the economic hit of the pandemic.

Paros, Greece

Cyclades Greece RF

Greece has been one of the first European countries to re-open its borders, so it’s no wonder its many islands have started trending (both international airports and ports are opening up to tourists, including ferries from Italy).

Flights are now back up and running to popular island destinations like Corfu, Kos and Rhodes. But we expect Paros to be one of the biggest front runners to come out of the pandemic.

Paros is the best summer destination to experience the serenity of Greece. This Greek island is located in the heart of the Cyclades, and it’s home to the same white-washed and blue-roofed buildings Greece is known for.

Unlike in Santorini and Mykonos however, you won’t have to deal with too many tourists, which is huge in an age where people are keen to travel, though still conscious of social distancing.

Paros combines your typical crystal clear waters (here’s a Greece summer skincare routine), and you still have access to all of your elegant and chic cocktail bars and restaurants, and it’s only a 35 minute flight from Athens, so very easy.

Rijeka, Croatia

Rijeka Croatia RF

Croatia is another country which was fast to open its borders, though it’s not your typical destinations of Dubrovnik or Split which are trending – it’s lesser known Rijeka.

Rijeka is actually Croatia’s third-largest city, and while it’s on the opposite end of the country to Dubrovnik (north), you’ll get to take in a similar blend of ‘gritty 20th-century port and Italianate Habsburg grandeur’.

Like Dubrovnik, the city holds impressive views of the Adriatic coast (though there’s not really any real beaches), and ornate Austro-Hungarian–style buildings. It’s pinned with world-class museums, cinematic hiking trails within its mountain ranges, and several top restaurants.

Take a walk around Korzo (the main pedestrian street), visit the Clock Tower and the Roman Gate, and don’t miss the Maritime & Historical Museum or the Church of St Vito.

There’s also Trsat castle which sits high on a hill above the city, and offers spectacular views out over the city and the Adriatic. You can also see the ruins from when it was a pre-historic watchtower.

Durban, South Africa

Surfing underwater RF

South Africa is well known for Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Pretoria, but if the city of Durban is trending for it’s thriving food scene and tropical beach; it’s set to become South Africa’s number one coastal getaway.

Set on the coast of the Indian Ocean, Durban is a seaside playground, and The Golden Mile is amazing for snorkeling, wreck diving, whale watching, fishing, and kite surfing too.

There’s a big Indian population here, so much of the city has a distinctly Asian feel; when wandering the streets, and taking in the sights, smells, and sounds, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were actually on the subcontinent!

Durban’s food scene is a mixture of the diverse range of cultures that co-exist here, and their street food game is strong! Cheap Indian takeaways are found all through the city, and you can pick up ‘delicious Indian-style shawarmas, bunny chows and curries’.


Image: Jason Houston for USAID via Flickr

Kenya and Tanzania have commonly held the title for trendiest safari destinations, but Rwanda is set to come out on top after the pandemic – specifically for it’s Gorilla trekking opportunities.

Rwanda is where Dian Fossey spent nearly twenty years researching mountain gorillas. Her life of studying wild gorillas from the Karisoke Research Center is shared through here famous book Gorillas in the Mist.

The premier gorilla trekking location in Rwanda is the Volcanoes National Park, and you have hotels and resorts such as One & Only Gorilla’s Nest set in the foothills of the Virunga Volcano Range with excellent gorilla access.

Along with gorillas, Rwanda is home to an abundance of birds species as well the chance to come across hyenas, African buffalo, several antelope species, and possibly even elephants on rare occasions.

Where do you plan to travel after the pandemic? Will you be taking in any of the above destinations?

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



  1. I want to go to all the places you listed!! Once I feel more comfortable flying, I will definitely consider Greece or Croatia. Thanks for sharing this list, gives me hope to resume my travels sooner than later ;)

    • Maybe a round the world ticket is in order :D! You really can’t go wrong with Greece or Croatia, such fabulous and beautiful countries. Fingers crossed on this side too that we can all resume travel very soon!

      Thanks for reading Cathy :)

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