2022 may be the biggest step towards “normal” we’ve experienced since the pandemic started, and we can put that in quotations, because do we even know what normal is anymore? In any case, people have been chomping at the bit to do some serious traveling, whether going to places they’ve visited before, or totally new terrain.

According to Nature, “countries are starting to lift restrictions that were first imposed in 2020 to slow the spread of COVID-19 — including rules that governed travel, socializing, mask- wearing and self-isolation.” Here in the US, New York, California and Illinois among other states, are gradually relaxing their pandemic mandates. With this in mind, now may be the time to book that next adventure, if you feel safe enough to do so.

Expedia compiled a list of destinations for travelers seeking city and beach getaways here and overseas. Which kind of escape sounds more appealing to you? The rush and excitement of a major metropolis like San Francisco or Barcelona? The Algarve in Portugal, known for its excellent beaches, coves and seafood? What about Singapore, with an airport that has to be seen to be believed?

In no particular order, here are some beach and city escapes to consider for your 2022 itinerary.

1. San Francisco

Photo by Pablo Fierro

Visit California playfully refers to San Francisco as “the hilly, chilly city by the Bay,” which couldn’t be more accurate.

Go shopping in Union Square, hop on a cable car, and enjoy casual and fine dining. Looking for some gay culture? Head to The Castro district. Bike or walk along the Golden Gate Bridge for sweeping views of the Bay, which are magnificent even with fog present.

When night falls, hit up clubs like Temple, catch a drag show at Oasis, and if kink is your scene, Citadel hosts play parties and  workshops.

House of Air in Crissy Field is an indoor trampoline park, offering trampoline classes, dodgeball and other events for adults and children. It’s more of a workout than you might expect.

Lastly, there are Black-owned businesses you can support in the Bay Area, some of which are listed here.


2. Singapore

Photo by Meriç Dağlı

As noted by Conde Nast Traveler, Singapore may put a strain on your wallet, but “it has racked up plenty of superlatives: cleanest, best planned and quite possibly most entertaining.”

Jewel Changi stands alone as an airport, especially from an aesthetic standpoint. Not only does it offer plenty of shops and restaurants, it boasts an indoor forest and a spectacular waterfall. It’s impossible to be bored if you have a layover here.

Marina Bay, Chinatown and the Singapore Zoo are also recommended.



3. Barcelona

Photo by Enes

The second – largest city in Spain makes the list because of its blend of historic and contemporary charm. It brings the city and the beach together.

Behold the beautiful Sagrada Familia, a church that was never finished, and amble through Parc Güell and Ciutadella Park. Go shopping in Las Ramblas and grab tapas, well, everywhere.

Looking to soak up some sun? Barcelona’s most popular beaches are Bogatell, Nova Icaria, Mar Bella and Barceloneta.



4. The Algarve

Photo by Melanie Martin

According to the US Embassy and Consulate in Portugal, “non-essential travel to Portugal is permitted from the United States.”

If you decide to go here, you won’t regret it. The Algarve is Portugal’s answer to the Côte d’Azur. As you might expect of any coastal region, the seafood is delicious.

Resort towns Albufeira and Lagos are great, and if you’d like to do any kind of surfing, Expedia suggests Carrapateira and Odeceixe.

Looking for the perfect villa for your stay? Check out this feature.





5. Malibu

Photo by Jenna Day

Heading back to California, when it comes to surfing and sunbathing, Expedia gives this chill, beach city glowing marks.

Sites of interest include Malibu Pier, El Matador Beach, which is tucked away, and Zuma Beach. On a sunny day, biking along the Pacific Coast Highway is a scenic workout.

You may spot a celebrity or two here since Malibu is only about an hour from Los Angeles proper.


6. Mauritius

Photo by Xavier Coiffic

As Expedia indicates, this exotic island “is 1,200 miles from Africa’s southeastern coast, east of Madagascar.”

It’s known not only for its natural beauty, but for being a melting pot. The locals are of Indian, Chinese, European and Creole descent.

Visit Le Morne Brabant Mountain, once a symbol of courage in the face of adversity.

According to Mauritius Attractions, “when runaway slaves saw the authorities approach, they climbed to the top of Le Morne Brabant’s cliff and jumped to their deaths.” To them, it was better to die than be forced back into their previous station.

You can snorkel around Crystal Rock or drive a four-wheeler through Frederica Nature Reserve.

7. Kauai

Photo by Jason Weingardt

Nicknamed “The Garden Island,” Kauai is the fourth largest in the Hawaiian archipelago.

According to Hawaii Guide, “it’s full of uncrowded and secluded beaches, and you’ll be sure to find one that’s just right for you.”

Aside from the beaches, try your hand at zip-lining, hiking, golf and hiking.

According to The Hawaiian Islands website, “beginning March 26, 2022, there will be no COVID-related requirements for domestic passengers.”



8. Zambia

Photo by Henning Borgersen

Zambia is the wildcard of this list, which Expedia classifies as an “off the beaten path” destination.

If you’re a lover of safaris, this landlocked African country is a great choice. You’ll find elephants, lions, hippos and more in South Luangwa National Park.

Zambia’s natural beauty is staggering, including “5 vast lakes, 3 major rivers, 17 waterfalls and various wetland areas,” as indicated by Zambia Tourism.


9. Rio de Janeiro

Photo by Agustin Diaz Gargiulo

From mountains to beaches, Rio pulses with life. Popular stretches of sand include Copacabana Beach and Ipanema Beach.

Soccer is a point of national pride for many Brazilians, so check out Maracanã Stadium.

As far as nightlife, how hard you want to party is your call. Of course, there are the clubs with DJs working to keep the dance floor packed till the early morning hours. But there are also venues offering live music and samba.

Check out our guide on navigating Rio here.