Before the pandemic, I was able to visit four new countries in 2020 after going a couple years without visiting a new one. My current country count stands at 135. While traveling for 2021 seems a bit premature at this point, I can still dream about visiting eight new countries later this year.
Eight Countries I Hope To Visit in 2021
First, a preface. My focus is on new countries, but if I end up only being able to take one trip, it will be to Greenland (Denmark) and the Faroe Islands (also Denmark). I’ve been to Denmark, but not to these semi-autonomous regions. Nevertheless, because these are not technically separate nations, I do not include them in my list.
Algiers looks like an interesting capital city filled with cool architecture and great food. I also would like to review Air Algerie, which operates A330 longhaul service between Montreal and Algeriers.
Algeria and Tunisia would be one trip. Tunisia is even easier to visit than Algeria in that no visa is required (at least before the pandemic). Tunis appears to be another beautiful city full of culture and features ancient Roman mosaics I would like to see first-hand. I’d fly Tunis Air in the other direction, which also offers longhaul service to Montreal.
I don’t know what it is exactly about Kathmandu that draws me, but I’d like to check out all the hustle and bustle enroute to Bhutan.
The beauty of Bhutan is striking. This an expensive country to visit and also a difficult one. Nevertheless, the hiking looks amazing and ideally I would visit Nepal and Bhutan on the same trip.
Nicaragua + Honduras + Belize + Guatemala
I love the food and hospitality in Latin America and with United’s new service from LAX, I hope to visit four countries in Central America over a week or so. I have no ties or connections, but each looks inviting in its own way. Specifically, I’d like to visit a coffee planation in Nicaragua, Mayan ruins in Guatemala, and take in the physical beauty in Honduras and Belize.
I’m stoping at eight instead of 10, because I frankly don’t think I will even get to eight.
Again, these are countries I have not been to before. I also hope to visit Cuba, Indonesia, and Russia again this year. But like so many travel plans, much of my ability to travel will be determined by the course of the pandemic in the weeks and months ahead.
What new countries do you want to visit in 2021 if travel returns later in the year? Are you even thinking that far?
Hopefully you’ll spend at least 8 hours in each one.
But if I cannot, it will still be worth visiting. First round is the mezze sampler, next round is the main course. But it’s okay, Michael is going to pay…
Happy to give you some ideas on Bhutan. While last there in 2008 I spent some years back and forth working during that time with locals to develop river tourism. I kayaked a number of rivers to seek out potential runs that could sustain wilderness trips.
An amazing country. It’s been awhile and wondering what has changed since. But worthy of any bucket list for sure.
I still have contacts, be them loose over the years, if you or anyone needs.
@Stuart and all: I’ve always wanted to visit this country. Not many carriers serve that country. Advising how one should book air travel with tips would be great. Thanks.
@T Druk Air is the only way in. They are a modern carrier with Thai Airways trained pilots. I typically flew via BKK and caught Druk from there. You can also choose Delhi. Or combine with a trip to Nepal and fly via Kathmandu (one of the most beautiful flights you will ever imagine right over the Himalayas with stunning views of Everest). You will be on either an A-320 or A-319. Oh, and the landing at Paro is, well, something else! You will be pretty wide-eyed…lol
Usually you book tickets in combination with your sponsored host (hotel, trekking company, guide etc). Not sure if it’s changed since I was there a few years ago but unless you are an Indian national you can’t just book tickets with Druk Air.
Do you have a list of all the countries you’ve been to on a post? I would love to see it!
My money says none of these countries will be open for tourism this year. Put them on your 2022 list. Now that the Brexit transition is complete I’m only going to travel in the US because the EU is off limits and I have no interest in touring my home country. 2020 was a good travel year, and almost completely devoid of tourists.
Could be the case. I sure hope not! I do hope to come back to your country and stay at the Great Scotland Yard.
Looks swanky, if I make Hyatt Globalist this year I’ll check it out.
If I’m allowed in the country by May, have a stay already booked there
@Ken, I’m working on a LALF page that will include an interactive map with all the countries I have visited with links to reports, when available, from my travels there. But my list includes most of North and South America, all of Europe except for Andorra, most of Asia and the Middle East, but a big gap in Africa (only 15 countries I’ve set foot in), the Caribbean, and Oceania.
Then why is Andorra not on this list?
I have selected Andorra as my last country, which I will visit once I have visited all the others.
Please don’t visit the Faroe Islands. The people there engage in the cruelest whale and dolphin hunts/‘culling’ , couched as always with bloodlust killers in terms of cultural heritage. It is beyond barbaric.
Ill set the over/under at 1.5
Pretty sure I’d take the under too.
The Faroes are cute. You have to get to Denmark or Iceland first to fly there commercially.
The Faroe Islands are part of Denmark but they are not part of the European Union. The people I know from there sometimes have a Danish EU passport and sometimes they have a non-EU Danish passport.
The Faroe Islands are Danish, not Swedish
Fixed. My mistake.
The Faroe Islands are definitely owned by Denmark: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faroe_Islands
Other than that, great list!
Does that ‘Air Alergie’ serve lots of peanuts? 😀
Love the picture of Sidi bou said, I snapped an almost identical picture. The roman ruins within a couple hours’ drive of there are nothing short of amazing.
So for Central America this would be an itinerary (prepandemic, I dont know if it would still work today)
Consider a day in Guatemala City to visit Antigua or climb active Pacaya Volcano.
GUA-FRS with Avianca to visit Tikal.
FRS-BZE with Tropic Air, visit San Pedro.
BZE-SAL-RTB with Avianca to visit the Bay Islands. However you might want to consider something else as San Pedro in Belize would be a similar activity.
RTB-SAL-MGA with Avianca.
Or if you want to avoid local Tropic Air you can start LAX-BZE-SAL-GUA-FRS-GUA-SAL-RTB however thats an extra stop in SAL and GUA for FRS when BZE and FRS are close to each other.
Thanks for these suggestions! Questions: would you recommend overland travel? I’m up for that adventure as well.
Yes its possible, however time consuming. The ones I would do are Flores-Belize City ~4-5 hours or Guatemala – San Salvador to catch a flight also ~4-5 hours.
The other pairs take on average 10 hours so if you are short on time you have to give it a good thought.
Do they have those overnight busses with lie-flat beds like in Chile and Argentina? (Forgive me if my question is stupid, but I love those).
To be honest I dont know, probably between the capitals you may find something like that but Im not 100% sure.
Unlikely. Infrastructure on the ground is far poorer here than in Southern South America. You’ve been to El Salvador, and it isn’t substantially different.
Internal flights in Belize are amazing. A reason to visit, but I strongly believe Caulker > San Pedro
I think in fixing the Sweden / Denmark error, you forgot to correct the phrase ‘both countries’:
“….will be to Greenland (Denmark) and the Faroe Islands (also Denmark). I’ve been to both countries, but not to these semi-autonomous regions.”
FYI, if you’re into Mayan ruins, there are several very good sites in Belize, too. One (Altun Ha) only about 45 minutes from BZE. You can dig up my old Belize posts on my blog for other ideas 🙂
Will certainly look them up!
That’s a good list. Bhutan is an awesome place to visit. It’s expensive, but not difficult. Pre-covid, there were direct flights from Bangkok, Singapore, or Delhi. Visa is issued as long as you can pay royalty fees.
If you make it to Algeria, I’d highly recommend visiting Constantine as well as Algiers. Since it lies between Algiers and Tunis, you can fly there direct without backtracking as you travel between the two. The setting of the city is stunningly beautiful.
Personally planning visits to new countries of Syria, KSA, the Guyanas and Madagascar. We’ll see what happens. Fingers crossed.
Thanks, for the tip on Constantine. I’d love to visit Damascus as well (I’ve talked about it for years) and it is even easier now, at least pre-pandemic. We’ll see. Syria is on my country list since I’ve driven though the Golan Heights. But certainly not the same as stamping in.
I’ve been to Damascus a few times but not since 2009 or 2010. Even at that time, infrastructure was starting to fail. The hotels hadn’t been renovated in years and money was a problem because paying by card was forbidden via sanctions. Even so, a great place for a visit ( and an easy drive to Jordan)
Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras are not places to play tourist. Very dangerous countries so watch your back. Visited all them for business and not places I would like to go back. Search for San Pedro Sula in Honduras. You will see what I am saying and I have been there couple times.
I think Matthew would enjoy Botswana. He seems to like Africa and Botswana offers great opportunities for seeing animals in great conservation areas like the Okavango delta.
I’ve been there (and loved it!).
Very determined to visit South Africa and Namibia as new countries next year. Waiting to see how vaccinations and borders work out before planning anything else
I recall in a post months ago that the only A380 you hope to fly F in is Korean Air. Not sure if you did it already but if not I’m guessing you’re going to try and book a flight at some point in 2021 or 2022?
I’m in a quandary about that. I would like to do the A380, but even more the 747-8. Not sure if it will ever return to service, though.
Dang it. Big regret not putting some of my chase points into Korean skypass. So many searches come up with ke first as a reasonably cheap option.
My big aspiration is to move from chicago to a beach in Spain with the family lol
Good luck! 🙂
Tunisia is beautiful— there’s a great Four Seasons (very cheap, too— I think I paid less than $200 a night in December 2019). Highly recommend visiting the El Jem amphitheater and then the cities on the coast on the way down (or up) from El Jem.
Nepal is a lovely destination. I was there pre-earthquake, but it is truly a stunning place. The Hyatt Regency is a nice place to stay although Dwarika’s is well known (although quite pricy) and more “authentic.”
That Hyatt looks so nice in KTM. Would love to stay there. Thanks for the FS tip.
I second the recommendation for the Hyatt in Kathmandu, have stayed there several times and it is a lovely and peaceful refuge from the noise, crowds and general chaos of the city. Beautiful grounds and a “secret” gate out the back leading directly to the Boudhanath Stupa. Excellent food, comfortable rooms with great water pressure in the shower, and a very friendly staff.
If you feel inclined to do some trekking, perhaps the Everest Base Camp, Langtang or Annapurna treks, I can also recommend a great local trekking company, Keep Walking Nepal. Small and Sherpa-owned, you will be treated like family and well taken care of. Highly recommended. I can’t wait to be back in the Himalaya!
I visited Kathmandu several times a year for the past four years. Always enjoyable.
Recommend stay at the amazing Dwarika’s Hotel. Take the early morning mountain flight along the Himalayas to Everest and back, it is an amazing experience, flying past 6 of the 10 highest mountains and you’ll still be back in time for breakfast!
Let me know if you need any info or help on the ground.
$160 visa fee for US nationals for Algeria is a turn-off
It is, but I’m willing to pay.
I will settle for a weekend in Canada at this rate
I’d encourage Matthew to see his desired countries earlier in life. By the time one is 65 and certainly by the late 70’s, medical care is an issue. Having a medical problem in Benin might be dicey. My guess is that Benin lacks certain sub-specialties. It is even short on specialties like ophthalmology and ENT. Trauma care might be not too good in the case of hip fracture, head injury from a fall, gunshot or knife wound from robbery. (Sorry, Benin, didn’t mean to pick on you)