The Destinations You Should Be Travelling to in 2025

Komodo Island travel destinations 2025

I spent nearly all of 2018 travelling. I wanted to see the world and get into freelance travel writing. I went on press trips with other writers and visited places on my own or with friends and family.

Fast-forward to 2024, and since that incredible year, my travelling has slowed down, but not stopped. I’ve been fortunate enough to work in full-time roles that allowed for frequent press trips. Last year alone, I visited Japan, Vanuatu and Vietnam, sailed to Hobart, Tasmania on Disney’s first Australian cruise and spent countless weekends flying or driving all over the country.

All this is not to brag, but to share my credentials for the ahead edit. It’s of the 10 destinations I visited during those years of travel that I deem the most underrated. Sure, some spots on this list, like Seoul, Havana and Vienna, are getting substantial hype, but, in my eyes, that’s only going to ramp up. Their hype is not nearly what I think it’ll be in 5-10 years.

Ahead is my recommendation for places to go next year that don’t have big crowds yet — but will. They’re the travel destination to add to your bucket list for 2025 and start planning for right now.

Seoul, South Korea

Earlier this year, Seoul, South Korea came in second on TripAdvisor’s annual list of the world’s top trending destinations. The country is known for its K-pop, K-beauty and cult foods like Korean fried chicken, bulgogi and kimbap. I visited in March 2024 on Intrepid’s new Essential South Korea tour, and the city, in my eyes, exceeded its hype.

Mocomoco Seoul cafes
Image: Instagram @mocomoco.seoul

I could’ve spent two weeks just in Seoul, second-hand shopping, visiting its heavily-themed cafés and trying all the cutting-edge beauty treatments. You can read my tips about South Korea to know before you go here, but top line, they’re to do your research beforehand, download apps Naver and Papago and get a SIM card.

Apia, Samoa

Before visiting Samoa this year, getting there on one of Virgin Australia’s five services from Brisbane a week, I knew very little about it. You can read more about my Samoa travel experience here, but, in a nutshell, a local described the South Pacific island to me as “like Fiji, but 20 years ago”.

Samoa travel guide
Image: Getty Images

Having also visited Fiji, I agreed. The two share similar landscapes, activities for tourists and cultures with strong family and community values. When you visit, be sure to attend a church service on Sunday, stay in a traditional Samoan beach fale (house on the beach) and visit the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum where the Scottish author who wrote Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde once lived.

Komodo, Indonesia

An hour-long flight from Bali, Komodo is one of the destinations I visited with a friend in 2018. I flew into its fishing town of Labuan Bajo, and stayed at Le Pirate Boatel, a floating hotel off the town. Though it’s since closed, Le Pirate now has an island stay in the area and Explorer Cruises. After my visit in 2018, the area opened its first five-star hotel, Ayana Komodo Resort.

Komodo National Park travel destinations 2025
Image: Getty Images

One of the main drawcards of Komodo is the chance to see Komodo dragons roaming free. My friend and I booked a one-night cruise exploring Komodo National Park, which included the opportunity to see them. The cruise also let us swim at Pink Beach and climb to the top of Padar Island for a surreal view.

Brisbane, Australia

Brisbane is fast growing, and with the River City set to host the 2032 Olympics, it’s likely to stay in that top spot. I visited as a guest of Brisbane’s tourism board in May 2024 and experienced the best of it over a weekend.

what to do in brisbane howard smith wharves
Image: BEDA

I stayed at Crystalbrook Vincent in a room under the Storey Bridge at Howard Smith Wharves. I window shopped on James Street, home to the heavily Instagrammed The Calile Hotel and a handful of shops from Australia’s best designer names. And I dined 17m above the ground, off the side of Brisbane Powerhouse, at Vertigo. The restaurant launched in October 2023 and is open Thursdays to Saturdays.

Suganuma, Japan

Who knew Japan had a village that looked straight out of Switzerland? I didn’t until I visited it in June 2023. Called Suganuma, the village is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with just nine homes, all built in Gassho style. Gasso means “praying hands” in Japanese, and the homes resemble this gesture. There are only 150-200 Gassho homes left in Japan.

Suganuma Japan
Image: Getty Images

To get here from Tokyo, take a two-hour bullet train to Shin-Takaoka, then take a bus or hire a private car to get you to the village, a roughly 80-minute drive away. Another nearby village called Gokayama also has gassho houses. You can only visit the villages during the day. Read about my Suganuma experience here.

Santa Catalina Island, California

Even many Americans don’t know about Santa Catalina Island, referred to simply as ‘Catalina Island’, an hour-long ferry ride from Long Beach, California. Coming into its harbour on the ferry, surrounded by sailboats bobbing on blue-green water and arid mountains in the distance, I felt like I was on an island in the Mediterranean.

Catalina Island travel destinations 2025
Image: Getty Images

The island’s main town is Avalon, though it also has the town of Two Harbors on the other end. Spend your time here relaxing at a beach club, exploring the island by golf cart or taking a bison tour where, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot one or several of the free-roaming animals. The island also offers scuba diving, kayaking and paddleboarding and hiking.

Coron, Philippines

Coron is one of Philippines’ 7,641 islands. To get to it from Sydney, I took an eight-hour flight to Manila and then a 75-minute flight to Coron, both via Cebu Pacific. The island is best known for its snorkelling and diving, thanks to 12 sunken wartime ships near it.

Coron Philippines travel destinations 2025
Image: Getty Images

I stayed at The Funny Lion and did a full-day tour, visiting Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, Barracuda Lake, Coral Garden and Cyc Beach. In mainland Manila, don’t miss trying Jollibee, a much-loved Filipino fast-food chain, with fried chicken, burgers and spaghetti.

Vienna, Austria

One of my favourite memories from 2018’s nonstop travel is from a visit to Vienna, Austria. After writing about how the city won the most liveable city in the world, according to the Global Liveability Index 2018, I was invited to visit.

Vienna Austria travel inspiration 2025
Image: Getty Images

The memory that stands out from the trip is sitting in a dark coffee house on a Sunday morning, soaking in the scene. I saw two men sitting in a booth, sharing a cake, heard the clinks of coffee cups and quiet chatter and sipped a Viennese coffee. Vienna’s café culture is such an integral part of it that UNESCO put it on the intangible cultural heritage list for Austria. I also visited a winery outside the city in the Wachau Valley, dined in a beer garden and stayed in a slick, all-white room at SO/ Vienna.

Havana, Cuba

Havana, Cuba is a city frozen in time, with no new infrastructure, refurbishments or cars. I saw countless crumbling buildings and roads dug up, so you couldn’t even walk, let alone drive, through them. It was heartbreaking to see the devastation the government had caused, but also fascinating.

Havana Cuba travel destinations 2025
Image: Getty Images

Publications including Bloomberg, believe the Communist regime on the island is on the brink of collapse, so this may soon change. If you are keen to see and experience Cuba as it is now and has been for the last 50-odd years, now’s the time to go. Australians can visit Cuba with a tourist card, sometimes called a tourist visa.

Mostar, Bosnia

While you might not recognise the name Mostar, you likely would know Stari Most, also called Old Bridge. It’s a reconstructed medieval arched bridge, connecting cobblestone streets over emerald-green Neeretva River. The town looks out of a fairytale, with its stone buildings, church steeples and mountain range in the background.

Mostar Bosnia travel destinations 2025
Image: Getty Images

For those within Europe, Mostar is a popular spot, but before visiting on a tour through the Balkans, I didn’t know much about it. The city has a hectic history, playing a major role in World War II and the Bosnian War. Today, Mostar’s mostly reconstructed sites include mosques, Orthodox churches and cathedrals.

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