The world is getting smaller.
Thanks to faster, cheaper, longer flights, far-flung destinations are easier to reach than ever before.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t still a few stones left unturned, though.
Booking.com has put together its top 10 up-and-coming destinations for 2019 – and there are some seriously under-the-radar places to visit.
The travel site used insights from over 163 million verified guest reviews and research from 21,500 travellers across 29 countries to come up with its travel predictions for next year.
On the list are countries you may not have expected, like Uzbekistan, and places you may not have even heard of, like Ksamil in Albania.
Scroll down to see the 10 places to visit 2019, in no particular order.
Booking.com says this conglomeration of hamlets in northwest Georgia is perfect for active travelers who can hike to their heart’s content.
According to Lonely Planet, government-sponsored tourism has made the area much more accessible and appealing in recent years.
Nicknamed “The Land of a Thousand Hills,” Kigali is one of the few places in the world you can see wild mountain gorillas which live in Volcanoes National Park.
It is also near enough to Akagera National Park to go on safari, Booking.com says – and the city of Kigali itself is one of the safest in Africa.
- diegocardini / iStock
Booking.com says Bacalar is tipped to be the next Maldives.
Its stunning Lake of Seven Colours is home to some of the oldest organisms on the planet, according to Visit Mexico, and was once an outpost for pirates in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Ouarzazate is known as the gateway to the Sahara, according to Booking.com, and is located just south of the country’s stunning Atlas Mountains.
Lonely Planet calls the garrison town the “ideal launching pad for mountains, desert and gorges.”
Named a European Capital of Culture for 2018, Leeuwarden is full of laid-back Dutch charm, Booking.com says.
The town is easy to explore on bicycle and features a Pisa-esque leaning tower, Fries Museum, and plenty of food and drink hotspots.
If you didn’t associate Albania with pristine white beaches and pristine waters before, then you may want to reconsider.
Located on the Albanian Riviera, Ksamil is a peaceful village with three islands a stone’s throw from the shore.
Booking.com users endorse the area for seafood, seaside, and friendly people.
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Such is the other-worldly aesthetic of this middle-eastern desert that you may recognise it from the sets of some sci-fi films including “The Martian,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” and “Prometheus.”
Booking.com says its visitors endorse the area’s stunning sunsets and stargazing.
You can read our travel correspondent’s account of his experience there here.
Nusa Penida, Indonesia
Indonesia’s islands are by no means off-the-beaten-path these days – Bali attracts around seven million tourists a year.
However, the lesser-known Nusa Penida is a much quieter alternative to the archipelago’s more popular islands.
Booking.com users endorse the island for snorkelling, beaches, and nature.
Samarkand is one of the most prosperous stops on the old Silk Road, Booking.com says, and has been a hub of world cultures for hundreds of years.
Visitors can check out the town’s medieval architecture and monuments, including Registan Square, which is covered in intricate mosaics.
Colombia isn’t exactly struggling for stunning beaches but Palomino is great for surfing, sunbathing and wildlife spotting alike, Booking.com says.
The travel site recommends tubing on Palomino River, which gently carries you downstream into the Caribbean Sea.