Let’s be 100% honest. Travel isn’t a cure-all. It’s not going to mend the fabric of our society or bridge the cultural divide overnight. A trip to Baja Norte to taste Sabina Bandera‘s famous tostadas mariscos probably wouldn’t make Trump rethink his wall. And a hike in Bears Ears National Monument isn’t likely to change his mind about shrinking it.
Travel isn’t that perfect. But I’ll be damned if it’s not one of the best tools we’ve got for making the world better.
Nothing forces us to rethink long-held biases like a bowl of dumpling soup shared with strangers. Nothing spans ideological chasms better than a wild rave out on the beach. Nothing makes us want to fight for this planet like a surf at G-Land or Witches Rock. Nothing makes us want to put our phones down and truly connect like a starry night spent sipping beers with new friends in a hot spring.
So here’s to the “mad ones,” the vagabonds, the micro-adventurers, and the #VanLifers. Here’s to anyone eager to see and smell and touch everything. We hope this list — written by some of the best travel writers and most prominent influencers on the planet — helps steer your next adventure and motivates you to get out on the open road in 2019.