July 2020 Now & Later: 10 Travel Ideas for 2020 and Beyond

Now & Later: 10 Travel Ideas for 2020 and Beyond

Sun-drenched tranquility at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.
Sun-drenched tranquility at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.
Photo by Justin Nicholas
Dream destinations to plan for – and stand-ins that will get you traveling now.

We asked Virtuoso travelers where you most want to go, and one thing was clear: You’re thinking big. Far-flung beaches, safaris, and the White Continent are on your minds. And while jetting off to Greece or East Africa might not be a tomorrow possibility, now is a great time to plan big trips for 2021 and beyond. In the meantime, scratch the travel itch with local – or local-ish – destinations that bring some of the same vibes. Here are five of the places you’re dreaming of now, paired with closer-to-home counterparts.
 

Lake Kora, a former Vanderbilt family retreat.<br />
 
Lake Kora, a former Vanderbilt family retreat.
 

Now: The Adirondacks

Lake Kora, a historic Great Camp on a 500-acre private lake in upstate New York, is available for exclusive use only. That means groups can live like the Gilded Age vacationers who arrived with their entourages at the turn of the last century, commandeering the entire 12-room camp and its spa, dining room, flotilla of canoes and kayaks, and more. Rooms are spread among seven log lodges, complete with stone fireplaces and handcarved furniture straight out of a posh “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” Virtuoso guests receive a $100 beverage or spa credit per person.

Villa d’Este.
Villa d’Este.

Later: Italy

The pull of la dolce vita remains undimmed: As ever, Italy tops your dream-destination picks. We’re partial to northerly Lake Como for its sophisticated summer living, charming towns, and views of the Swiss and Italian Alps. The hotels here are as legendary as the Clooneys and Madonnas who turn up for holidays: 90-room Grand Hotel Tremezzo, with its adjacent belle epoque private villa and a swimming pool that floats on the lake, and 152-room Villa d’Este, surrounded by 25 acres of park and gardens, for example. Virtuoso guests of Grand Hotel Tremezzo receive breakfast daily, a $70 spa credit, an Italian winetasting, and entrance to Villa Carlotta and its gardens. Virtuoso guests of Villa d’Este receive breakfast daily and a complimentary minibar.

An overwater suite at Rosewood Mayakoba.
An overwater suite at Rosewood Mayakoba.

Now: Mexico’s Riviera Maya

Channel Maldivian serenity a quick hop south of the border at Rosewood Mayakoba. Just north of Playa del Carmen on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, the resort’s 129 butler-serviced bungalows and villas sit tucked among mangroves or fronting a mile of pristine beach. Among them: newly renovated, adults-only overwater suites (which guests arrive at via electric boats) with plunge pools, hanging chairs for lounging, and an outdoor garden shower. Sunbathe on the private deck and dip your toes in the lagoon below, or head to the beach to snorkel, paddleboard, and sail Hobie Cats on the world’s second-largest barrier reef. Virtuoso guests receive breakfast daily and a $100 spa credit.

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
Photo by Justin Nicholas

Later: The Maldives

Snorkeling off the deck of a private overwater bungalow sounds like the ideal 2020 reset to us, and, apparently, we’re not alone: The Maldives lands right up there with Italy for our poll’s leading destination. (We might even yield it the top spot, given how many of you simply replied, “A beach.”) Long a honeymoon and diving favorite, the Indian Ocean archipelago consists of 1,200 sand-fringed coral islets – none more than eight feet above sea level. Make a splash at the 151-room Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, one of 14 Virtuoso properties spread across the atolls and home to 71 overwater villas. Live out mermaid fantasies from The Muraka, a first-of-its kind, bilevel residence with a master bedroom 18 feet under the sea beneath a clear domed ceiling. Virtuoso guests receive breakfast daily, a $100 resort credit, and a sunset fishing excursion for two.

Poolside privacy at Sugar Beach.
Poolside privacy at Sugar Beach.
Photo by Andrew Hendry

Now: Saint Lucia

The Caribbean hideaway of Saint Lucia delivers vertiginous backdrops reminiscent of the Greek Isles just a three-and-a-half-hour flight from Miami. Its two most iconic peaks are the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Gros Piton and Petit Piton volcanic plugs. Check into the 96-room Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, set on 100 acres of rain forest in the Piton Valley, with plunge pools at every room, villa, and white-sand-beach-fronting bungalow. Virtuoso guests receive breakfast daily and a $100 resort credit.

Dreamy Santorini.
Dreamy Santorini.

Later: Greece

The Greek Isles look like something out of a dream, with their jutting hills and whitewashed towns cascading down to the sea – blue-green water where, if you squinted, you might spot Poseidon himself. A cruise is the classic way to fit several islands into a visit (Windstar and Oceania Cruises, among others, are planning 2021 Greek odysseys), but it’s also inviting to settle in at a mythic hotel with stop-in-your-tracks views and postcard architecture – 18-room Canaves Oia Hotel on Santorini, for instance. Virtuoso guests of Canaves Oia receive breakfast daily and a $100 dining credit.

Reasons to make plans for Churchill.
Reasons to make plans for Churchill.
Photo by Getty/iStockPhoto

Now: Churchill, Canada

This former Hudson Bay trading post in Manitoba is a gathering point for Arctic wildlife. Beluga whales return by the thousands in summer to congregate near the mouth of the Churchill River, Arctic fox and caribou roam the tundra, and the kings of the Arctic, polar bears, migrate here by the hundreds from midsummer through fall to kick off their seal hunts on the ice. World Wildlife Fund partner Natural Habitat Adventures offers travelers the chance to sea-kayak with belugas, view bears and marine life by helicopter and Zodiac, visit a polar bear den, and, new this year, stay in a “train” of eco-friendly, linked tundra vehicles (lounge car, dining car, sleeping quarters) that cruise the landscape for close encounters with the bears.

Kayaking off the Antarctic Peninsula.
Kayaking off the Antarctic Peninsula.
Photo by Andrew Peacock/Getty Images/iStockPhoto

Later: Antarctica

Penguin colonies, leopard seals, and whales – and let’s face it, bragging rights – ensure Antarctica’s white-hot appeal with globe-trotters. Exploring the world’s most unforgiving continent is about to get a lot more luxe with two new ships: Crystal Cruises’ 200-passenger Crystal Endeavor and Quark Expeditions’ 199-passenger Ultramarine, which up the adventure quotient with two helicopters for flightseeing on each ship – an industry first. On top of that, cruisers on the Endeavor can get whale’s-eye views of icebergs and marine life from its seven-person submersible, while Ultramarine will introduce activities such as heli-hiking on previously inaccessible terrain, sea-kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, and overnight camping on the ice.

Worldwide wanderland: Yellowstone in the winter.
Worldwide wanderland: Yellowstone in the winter.
Photo by Getty Images/iStockPhoto

Now: Yellowstone National Park

Winter is the time to catch Yellowstone’s geysers, paint pots, and lodgepole pine forests – not to mention its wildlife – without the crowds. From November through late April, the park closes most roads to cars. Guests of Austin Adventures’ adults-only and family trips explore the snowscape of the world’s first national park in search of bison, elk, and moose by snowcoach and cross-country skis, and get up close to North America’s top apex predators at West Yellowstone’s Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center.

Ballooning in the Maasai Mara with Micato.
Ballooning in the Maasai Mara with Micato.
Photo by Giuliana Provenzano
 

Later: East Africa

Migratory wildebeests and zebras aren’t the only ones plotting journeys around East Africa’s vast savannas. Days that dawn with the call of the wild, wide-open skies, and the “big five” ranging across the grasslands speak to nature lovers now more strongly than ever – and many of you are already planning safaris for 2021 and beyond. Big Five Tours & Expeditions, Micato Safaris, and African Travel, Inc. help travelers explore Kenya’s Maasai Mara, Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater, and other top game-viewing areas by Land Rover and hot-air balloon. And these companies are deeply invested in conservation and giving back to communities.

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