Where To Travel in 2015

by Brenna Holeman

Where to Travel 2015 3

San Augustín, Colombia

The past few years I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to some really cool, exciting, and challenging places. I occasionally get emails asking for recommendations on where to go for holidays, usually from first-time solo travellers. To be honest, there are very few places I’ve been that I don’t recommend; I think that nearly any place can be someone’s dream destination. We each have different travel tastes, which is what makes the world so interesting. Here then, are my top choices for trips in 2015; they’re not necessarily my favourite countries (that’s a different list), but they’re where I recommend travelling in the next year.

Where to Travel 2015 4

Matera, Italy, where you’ll find very few tourists

1. Italy

I have been to Italy four times, and while I had a lot of fun in the big cities like Florence and Rome, my recommendation lies in the Italian countryside. When I visited the region of Basilicata last summer, I completely fell in love. If you’re looking for absolutely stunning scenery, quiet cobblestone streets, delicious food, and long-lasting traditions, you’ll find it all in Basilicata. The city of Matera was especially lovely.

The peaceful beach of Mirissa, Sri Lanka

2. Sri Lanka

A lot of travel bloggers recently visited Sri Lanka for a conference, so you’ve probably seen it recommended a lot. I visited in 2009, well before I experienced India or Nepal, and I found it a great introduction to the region. While there are things to do all over the country, I focused on the south, riding a motorbike along the coast. It was cheap, beautiful, and full of surprises; I was often the only tourist around, and was treated with curiosity and respect. The food is also incredible, and the train rides are always an adventure.


Gorgeous streets of Gdansk, Poland

3. Poland

Poland is perhaps a bit underrated when it comes to travel in Europe. Most people think of visiting France or Germany, or, if it’s Eastern Europe, Hungary or the Czech Republic, but Poland is a country not to be missed in my eyes. It’s full of fascinating history, like every European country; visiting Auschwitz was one of the most eye-opening and important places I’ve seen in my travels. Cities like Gdansk and Krakow are beautiful, and compared to many countries in Europe, Poland is very cheap.


Elephants drinking in Chobe National Park, Botswana

4. Botswana

After doing a lot of research about where to go in southern Africa last year, I decided upon Botswana. Not only was it the season for it (always a crucial thing to consider when travelling in this part of the world) but it is known as one of the best places to see African elephants in the wild. I was not disappointed; Chobe National Park is filled with them, and even a short bus ride through this region will guarantee many elephant spottings. I camped through the country with G Adventures, and one of the highlights was camping under the stars in the Okavango Delta. I didn’t know much about Botswana before going, but it was one of the best places I’ve been for animal sightings and getting back to nature.

Driving through Alberta, Canada

5. Canada

What kind of Canadian would I be if I didn’t recommend my own country, the best country on earth?! Canada really has it all: jaw-dropping scenery, multicultural cities, and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. While it is certainly not the cheapest country, if you love nature you’ll love skiing in winter or camping in summer; if you’re more of a city person, you have Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, and a whole lot more in between. The best thing I can recommend to do is to drive from one coast to the other; you’ll find so much to do in every province, and so many different kinds of beauty. Check out the islands on either coast, too. (This is especially recommended for all of our lovely neighbours to the south… I constantly meet Americans who have never seen Canada, or only seen one or two big cities. What are you waiting for?! Get exploring!)

Yeah, the sky really does look like this in El Nido, The Philippines

6. The Philippines

The Philippines is another country that has been on a lot of traveller’s radars for a while now, and it is really taking off as a destination in Southeast Asia. The standard track for a lot of backpackers in the area includes Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam; island nations like Indonesia and the Philippines are not always included in that because they are slightly more difficult to get to. The truth is that they’re only a short flight away, and there is so much to explore; the Philippines and its many islands are well worth spending time in. I particularly enjoyed my time in Palawan, where the sea shines turquoise and the sky turns the most beautiful shades of pink and orange at night.

Where to Travel 2015 5

Guatape, Colombia

7. Colombia

I said I wasn’t going to solely recommend my favourite countries, but it’s no secret that Colombia is at the top of almost every list I write. I spent six weeks in the country in 2012, and I found it to be full of culture, full of beauty, and full of fun. Although it has a dicey reputation, those days seem to have mostly been left in the past; I found it to be extremely safe. From scuba diving in Taganga to dancing the night away in Cali, from the history of San Augustín to the bright lights of Medellín, from the sleepy little town of Popayan to the rolling hills of Salento, I cannot recommend Colombia enough. Oh yeah, and Cartagena? One of my favourite cities in South America. There are also lots of great hostels throughout the country, which means you can easily meet other backpackers.

Where to Travel 2015 1

Any excuse to post photos of halloumi in Nicosia, Cyprus

8. Cyprus

Cyprus was a new country for me in 2014, and even though I only spent a few days there, I loved it. Many people head straight to the beaches, and for good reason; they’re stunning. I recommend taking some time to explore the capital city of Nicosia, though; it has unbelievable restaurants and a ton of really cool things to do. The nearby hills are also worth exploring, with hiking and cycling options.

Where to Travel 2015 2

Another beautiful beach on Little Corn, Nicaragua

9. Nicaragua

As you may know, I was just in Nicaragua a couple of weeks ago. It was my second time to the country, and it completely reconfirmed how much I like it there. More and more people are travelling through Central America – especially solo females – and it is not as intimidating as a place as you may think. I spent three months in the region in 2012 and Nicaragua was perhaps my favourite country of the bunch. From the scuba diving in Corn Islands to surfing in San Juan del Sur to walking the colonial streets of Granada and Leon, there are plenty of places to keep you busy.

Mongolian Ger 3

Dress warmly in Terelj National Park, Mongolia

10. Mongolia

Sleeping in a ger in Mongolia was one of the most unique and interesting things I’ve done in my travels. It was a stark contrast from where I had just been – Beijing – and where I was heading – Siberia; to this day I think it is unlike any country I’ve been to. This is definitely a country for those like a bit of a challenge; think sleeping in a ger and riding horses in the countryside as opposed to cushy hotels. If you relish that kind of challenge, however, you’ll love Mongolia.

Where to Travel 2015 6

The stunning Sintra, Portugal

11. Portugal

Another European country that I think is often overlooked for its neighbour, Spain. I’ve only been to Portugal twice but I hope to visit many more times in the future. I’m obsessed with the architecture and with the food, and again, it’s relatively cheap compared to many of its counterparts. The people were also incredibly friendly and open, and the wine is fantastic. From the gorgeous city of Porto in the north, to the rich cultural history of Lisbon, to the beaches of the southern Algarve, I absolutely love Portugal.



As I said at the beginning of this post, there are very few places I don’t recommend. I could have easily added Myanmar, Argentina, Japan, Guatemala, Ireland, Cuba, New Zealand… the list goes on and on. And as for the places I’d love to visit in 2015, well, that list is endless, too: Georgia, Albania, Jordan, Namibia, Oman, any of the “stans”.

Where do you want to go in 2015? Have you been to any of the countries on the list? Do you agree with me?

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Sarah January 13, 2015 - 12:41 am

I would love to visit Mongolia this year! Unfortunately I’m pretty sure it won’t be happening, I’ll have to stick to Latin America. Revisiting Colombia seems like a good idea, when I was there I only got to see in Bogota. Ok, I’m doing it! Colombiaaa! 🙂

Brenna Holeman January 13, 2015 - 1:08 am

Yes! That’s amazing. I hope you get to Mongolia soon, too!

Karl January 13, 2015 - 12:53 am

A long time fan of your blog, I must admit that I do find it a bit unsettling to find you refer to any country as the best in the world, be it your own or another. I never saw you as ethnocentric as I know you have travelled your way across the globe, but perhaps the word ‘favourite’ is a better term? Canada is a great country and has a lot to offer, but there are others around the world in which the same could be said about (I am an Aussie who has spent a great deal of time in Canada and in other parts of North America). Just rubbed the wrong way, that’s all.

Lots of other great countries on this list, however. Particularly loved seeing Colombia mentioned!

Brenna Holeman January 13, 2015 - 1:14 am

I’m sorry that I rubbed you the wrong way, Karl! I definitely don’t think I’m ethnocentric but perhaps I’m guilty of not being able to pull off a tongue-in-cheek comment. That being said, as I wrote at the beginning of the post, we each have our own travel tastes…

Meggie Kay January 13, 2015 - 12:53 am

This is a good list even though I haven’t actually been to many of those countries myself. My personal travels for 2015 don’t involve any of them. I’m currently travelling New Zealand until July/August, then a quick trip through Australia, followed by South Korea until at least 2016. We will see if any of it comes to fruition.
P.S. Georgia is also high on my list of places I would love to go for a long time. It looks like an amazing country!

Brenna Holeman January 13, 2015 - 1:15 am

That plan sounds awesome! I’d love to see New Zealand again. I can’t wait to see Georgia, I hope it happens this year!

Kristin McNeil January 13, 2015 - 5:19 pm

Meggie, I’m going to be posting about my trip to South Korea earlier this year on my new blog. Check it out in a few weeks after I’ve had the chance to get some posts up. I’ve just launched my blog and my first posts will be all about Seoul and our trip to the DMZ. My sister-in-law is Korean and from Seoul so she is a great resource if you should have any specific questions.

Anna @ shenANNAgans January 13, 2015 - 8:21 am

WOW… not going to get to any of the places you suggested, but I shall add them to my list. Especially Sri Lanka and the Philippines. 🙂 Just got back from visiting Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia & Singapore, all the fun! I plan on visiting India in April/May & South Africa in October, cant wait. Actually staying with bloggie buddies in both countries. Yay!

Brenna Holeman January 13, 2015 - 2:13 pm

Oh wow, I’m sure you had an amazing time. I love that part of the world! And enjoy South Africa, I really enjoyed my time there. I would love to go back and see Kruger National Park!

Sue January 13, 2015 - 1:44 pm

Love this! Has given me some to add to my def to do list for 2015 (the Philippines and Mongolia particularly as they are both already planned) and I just want to say your to do is a must for you to do. I have done of those places except Oman and definitely recommend them all! Georgia is so interesting – I recommend adding in Armenia at the same time – and Albania is a fab off the beaten track place to go rather than the usual spots of Croatia, Greece and Montenegro (all of which are also well worth visiting) I’m heading off again shortly on travels and this was so well timed as I have a month unplanned and I think it will be the Philippines now. Can’t wait!

Brenna Holeman January 13, 2015 - 2:14 pm

Yes, I’d definitely go to Armenia if I could! I really haven’t been to Central Asia at all and it fascinates me. I’ve been to Greece and Croatia but I know I’ve missed a really cool part of Europe… hoping to explore Albania, Montenegro, and many others this year. Thanks for the suggestions and I hope you get to the Philippines, it’s gorgeous!

Kristin McNeil January 13, 2015 - 5:25 pm

I think you have a great list and I look forward to your travels! I’m going to Panama in February and this summer either Yellowstone area or Grand Canyon area. On my Dream 2015 Bucket List I would include: Nicaragua, South Africa, Iceland, UK, Germany, Tasmania, and Sweden!

Brenna Holeman January 14, 2015 - 3:11 am

That’s an amazing dream list! I’d love to go to Tasmania, too, and I’ve been thinking about going back to Sweden for a long time. I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic time in Panama and the US!

Ashley January 13, 2015 - 6:25 pm

Great post, Brenna! Many of these countries are at the top of my travel wishlist, especially Portugal, Nicaragua, The Philippines, and Japan! And I keep hearing great things about Albania, so I might have to add that to my list as well!

Brenna Holeman January 14, 2015 - 3:12 am

Thanks a lot, Ashley! I hope you have an amazing year of travelling…

Cynthia January 13, 2015 - 7:52 pm

Great list! I hear ya on Poland– when I was planning my 3 week backpacking trip around the country last summer I could find hardly ANY information or blogger posts about it…. tragic! I really fell in love with it: the culture, the cuisine, the history, the national character of the people. So glad to have gone and happy to see it on your list.

Brenna Holeman January 14, 2015 - 3:13 am

Thanks, Cynthia! I agree, Poland should definitely be on people’s itineraries. I’d love to visit it again this year!

Camille January 14, 2015 - 3:09 am

All great recommendations! I feel like Poland doesn’t get enough attention. Honestly, Mongolia wasn’t even on my travel radar until I read your post about it, now it’s at the top of my list.

Brenna Holeman January 14, 2015 - 3:10 am

Totally agree with you about Poland… and that makes me so happy about Mongolia! I hope that you get there soon. 🙂

Nelson January 14, 2015 - 11:14 pm

Thank you for including Philippines. Im originaly from there but never been to El Nido. Will have to go there next year.

Brenna Holeman January 15, 2015 - 1:26 pm

I love the Philippines! I definitely recommend visiting El Nido…

Kasha January 14, 2015 - 11:40 pm

Oh my goodness, Brenna – you’ve been to so many incredible places!

I think I’ll definitely be heading back to Italy this year, but would love to travel to somewhere spectacular like Colombia or Sri Lanka. I totally need to hide my credit card away for the next day or so 😛

Hope to see you soon!

Kasha x

Brenna Holeman January 15, 2015 - 1:26 pm

I know – I’ve already been looking up so many flights! Hope to see you soon, too. xx

Scarlett January 15, 2015 - 1:28 pm

Such a great list! I would really love to go to Poland and I would also recommend Romania to anyone thinking of visiting any European countries – it’s also a less obvious destination but it has some incredibly beautiful scenery and cities (plus it’s very cheap compared to Western European countries)

Also your South America posts are all beautiful, I would really love to go some day!

Brenna Holeman January 16, 2015 - 3:09 pm

Totally recommend Romania, too. I loved it there, especially the countryside!

And thanks – I hope you get to South America very soon, I’m sure you’d love it! It’s a gorgeous part of the world.

Christine January 15, 2015 - 5:38 pm

Too many places, too little vacation time, lol. I have to agree with Portugal. I really loved it there but it’s so underrated! Porto is such a stunning place!

I really want to go to Italy/Greece but I also want to go back to Asia this year. The dilemma!

Brenna Holeman January 16, 2015 - 3:10 pm

I know – how will we ever choose where to go?!? 😀

Helene January 17, 2015 - 6:29 am

Wow, I love your blog so much! I just “discovered” it, and browsed through some of your archive. I really liked this list too, I haven’t travelled a lot yet but I’m definitely addicted already. I’m happy I found Sri Lanka on your list, I’m actually going there tomorrow and will be staying there for almost 3 months!:) I’d looove to visit Mongolia some day too, looks so beautiful!

Brenna Holeman January 19, 2015 - 8:07 pm

Thank you so much, Helene! That is such a nice comment. I hope you get to travel to Mongolia soon, but have an amazing time in Sri Lanka!

Lizzie January 18, 2015 - 8:57 pm

Wow fabulous choices! Many of these places are ones that I’ve been longing to go to for a long time, but Botswana and Mongolia hold a special kind of intrigue for me 🙂 Every year my list of places I want to go to gets bigger and bigger and I find myself not knowing where to even start!

Brenna Holeman January 19, 2015 - 8:07 pm

I know – I feel the same way! Where do I even begin??

Kate M January 19, 2015 - 10:51 pm

I have to admit I have been guilty of overlooking Canada, mostly due to having friends and family in the US which constantly lures me south of the border but I hope to change that sometime soon! My list for this year starts with Abu Dhabi in March and then New Zealand for a working holiday visa. Hope you have a great year!

Brenna Holeman January 20, 2015 - 12:30 pm

Sounds very cool… and I hope you get to travel around Canada more soon! Thanks and hope you have a great year, too.

Renate @ Renate's Travels January 20, 2015 - 9:51 pm

Oooh so many great options! How to choose?!

I really want to visit the Philippines, Canada and Sri Lanka, oh and Sintra in Portugal (and the list goes on for five more months).

I visited Albania and Macedonia last year, and I loved both of them – so definitely recommended. I’ve been to almost all of the countries in Europe now, but still have a couple to go – and I hope I get to visit Serbia and Kosovo this year. I have Georgia and Armenia booked in August, and I really can’t wait!! First up though is Australia in two weeks, and since I’ve never been there I’m overly excited right about now. XD I hope you get a fantastic-new-travel-year!

Brenna Holeman January 21, 2015 - 3:42 pm

Ha ha yep, my list goes on forever! That’s great to know about Albania and Macedonia, I’m really hoping to go soon. That’s so exciting about Georgia and Armenia – top of my dream travel list, I think!

Whitney January 22, 2015 - 11:53 pm

I just got back from my first trip to Portugal and I couldn’t agree more. Why isn’t everyone going there… like now? It’s so stunningly beautiful and I’m so glad that I made it happen. I have to get back there soon!!

Brenna Holeman January 23, 2015 - 12:28 am

I know! It’s easily one of my favourite countries in Europe, if not my favourite.

Zalie January 30, 2015 - 6:04 am

I don’t know why I forgot to comment on this earlier! I REALLY need to hit up Europe at some point, the good thing is that I feel like I can cover a lot of countries over a short period of time. I think my jumping off point should be London though 🙂

Brenna Holeman February 3, 2015 - 1:05 pm

Yeah, you can definitely travel really easily between countries. Come to London this summer!! 🙂

Michelle @ The Restless Reporter February 4, 2015 - 3:11 pm

Oh, the sky over Palawan! I spent January 2014 traveling around Palawan on a boat, and it’s the best trip of my life.

This year I’m planning a trip to the Balkans (from Istanbul over Greece and then Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Montenegro, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia and Romania), then I’ll spend the summer in Scandinavia, and from August to December I’ll either be traveling around South America or the southern part of Africa, I think.

Brenna Holeman February 5, 2015 - 2:47 pm

Wow – what amazing adventures you have coming up! Sounds like such a cool year of travelling.

Magda May 30, 2015 - 10:50 am

I agree, Gdansk is not to be missed in your travel plans 🙂 I am from Gdansk and since deciding to start blog about my city I discovered that Gdansk is more than meets the eye. It is definitely worth going outside of the Old Town to see some unique places 🙂

Brenna Holeman May 31, 2015 - 12:36 am

I’d love to go back… I had a great time there!


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