Where to Travel Next: The Best Trips for the Explorer on Your List
Our experts sought out epic adventures in every landscape, from new desert outposts to off-the-grid wellness retreats, with plenty of trails, beaches, and base camps—all perfect to give or get
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As I write this, the Delta variant is raging through the U.S., and here in New Mexico, another mask mandate has gone into effect, requiring everyone to once again cover their faces in public indoor spaces. Like most of you, I was vaccinated last spring, and afterward I enjoyed a summer in which the world reopened and seemed to return to a blissfully abnormal sense of normalcy. Now it feels like we’re back where we started. In fact, a colleague recently posed a question that gave me an immediate—and depressing—sense of déjà vu: Should we still go ahead with this issue’s annual Best Trips of the Year coverage, considering everything that’s happening in the country and around the world?
The first time we wrestled with that question, in March 2020, I recall several weeks of hand-wringing with senior editor Erin Riley and deputy editor Mary Turner, who have deftly handled Outside’s travel coverage during the pandemic. This time, though, the right answer feels immediately clear: of course we should. It’s true that a resurgence of COVID-19 will force all of us to make difficult decisions about whether to travel in the months ahead. It’s also true that the pandemic hasn’t dulled Americans’ desire for adventure—if anything, the longing to explore the world again when it’s safe has intensified. We saw a glimpse of this pent-up demand over the summer, in the form of overflowing crowds at our national parks, record-breaking airline bookings, and twice as much travel-related search traffic on Google. Travel may be on pause again, but our collective need to plan epic trips will never let up.
That explains why we decided to move forward with this idea-laden travel feature, with 30 awesome trips around the globe. It also explains why, despite the pandemic’s return, we’re excited to announce a new 2022 partnership with Modern Adventure, a company run by a savvy team of travel veterans who design unique itineraries around the globe. We’ve joined forces to offer four classic, life-list trips—in Alaska, the French Alps, Chilean Patagonia, and Everest Base Camp in Nepal. Each inaugural departure will be accompanied by an Outside editor. That’s good news for me: I’ll be heading to Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska with some of you next August for seven days of backpacking. And it’s great news for Outside+ members, who get a $200 discount on booking. (Scroll down or go here to read more about the trips and for information on how to sign up.)
Meanwhile, don’t worry: if you miss out on these four inaugural expeditions with our editors, Modern Adventure is also offering additional departure dates for Alaska, Chilean Patagonia, and Nepal in 2022 and 2023. After all, no one knows what the travel outlook will be next year, but that shouldn’t stop us from dreaming big. —Christopher Keyes, editor in chief