The staff at National Geographic Travel is continually criss-crossing the globe to uncover the best and the brightest places, but we have travel wish lists just like everyone else.

Here’s where we want to go in 2016 and why:

Iceland: “It’s winter, so I’m dreaming of Iceland’s frozen ice-scapes, geothermal pools, and, of course, the otherworldly northern lights. How many travel destinations on Earth are there where the dramatic highlight of your trip depends on factors such as solar wind conditions and space storms?” —Justin Kavanagh, Traveler series editor, National Geographic Books

Cherry blossom (sakura) trees in Kyoto, Japan (Photograph by tetsuji0105, flickr)
Cherry blossom (sakura) trees in Kyoto, Japan (Photograph by tetsuji0105, flickr)

Kyoto (Japan): “This year, I want to travel to Kyoto during hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season. I like to sketch the delicate flowers and stunning pagodas there from photos using oil pastels, but I’d rather draw them first-hand. Seeing Japan’s glorious former imperial capital blanketed in pink and white springtime blooms is doubtless an iconic and breathless sight to behold.” —Andrea Leitch (on Twitter and Instagram @andrealeitch), digital director, National Geographic Travel

Trinidad and Tobago: “In a former life (okay, college) I was a teacher’s assistant for a Shakespeare course. In addition to being an expert on the Bard of Avon, the professor I worked under, Milla Riggio, had an academic preoccupation with Trinidad and Tobago. She even helped spearhead a study abroad program there. Her enthusiasm about the people there never left me. And though I missed my chance to spend time there while a student, I plan to right that wrong this year by traveling to the Caribbean island nation to witness its grand Carnival tradition. While other pre-Lenten celebrations may garner more attention (Mardi Gras, anyone?), Trinidad’s version seems to me to be a particularly idiosyncratic, authentic, and exuberant cultural expression. I mean, what Carnival can compete with (Read more...)

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