Where to Go in 2022
From mountain escapes to desert beaches, we’ve picked our favorite getaways for the coming year to spend some serious time away.
Remote work, funemployment, complicated testing entry requirements, and general anxiety—all these things have contributed to one of the more fascinating developments over the last two years: long stay travel. If you haven’t done it yourself, you probably know someone who recently went off and lived somewhere interesting for a month or two. Some have been called to tranquil beach towns, others to the mountains. Some of us need a city so as not to get bored, while others have tried to tackle whole countries.
So in that spirit, our list this year is focused on places we think are worth really immersing yourself in with a longer stay. These are places that either have too many attractions to squeeze into a rushed vacation, or are just are so lovely you might never leave. (To help you, we’ve included rentals in some of the destinations.)
If there’s any country we’ll always want to escape to, it’s Mexico. And while a number of its beach destinations are overrun (Tulum) or at risk of becoming overrun (Puerto Escondido), a number of places remain the chill getaways you daydream about.
One of those is Todos Santos, a sleepy seaside town on Baja California’s southern Pacific coast. It’s roughly 90 minutes north of Cabo, which means it’s easy to get to (Cabo is a major airport) but not so easy (you still have to drive) that it’s at risk of being swamped by mass tourism. The town itself is just a few blocks of brick and colorful stucco buildings with a number of restaurants and hotels (including the Hotel California), but stretching north and south from it is virtually uninterrupted sandy coastline where a number of houses are available for rent and some boutique hotels have gone up (including the chic new Paradero Hotel, which also embraces the area’s desert landscape).
While the surf here is so rough you can’t swim in most places, the Sea of Cortez across the thin peninsula has a number of beaches (Playa Balandra being the most epic) and is a launching point for boat excursions for swimming with whale sharks or exploring the island of Espiritu Santo.
When we think about where we might want to live for a month or two at a time, it can be hard to balance certain needs that aren’t as pressing when visiting a place for a mere weekend. You worry about whether or not you will be bored if it’s not big or cosmopolitan enough. Or that you might feel suffocated if it’s too big and busy. Zurich is one of those few places in the world that seems to be a perfect balance—such that some of its residents think it’s a trap.
The city of nearly half a million is located at the edge of Lake Zurich and has everything you’d want in a European city—historic architecture, great art, traditional food. But it also has a side to it that is thoroughly 21st century—cutting edge architecture, an international food scene, a surprisingly edgy nightlife. And if you get bored, the city’s airport connects quickly to all major destinations in Europe.
Those looking to dive into the city’s scene would do well to start their night in the bar at the new 25Hours Hotel in Longstrasse, while those looking to chart a quieter stay should make seeing the new Chipperfield wing of the Kunsthaus a priority. But perhaps the city’s best draw is the water, as not only its lake is clean enough to swim in, but so are its rivers!
The pandemic kept us out of Canada for a year, but its second biggest city still remains one of the coolest spots in the world. Montreal has long felt like a fusion of old world Europe and the energy-stoked cities of the Americas. A study in contrasts, it has a beautiful historic Old Port with skyscrapers that tower in the background, and neighborhoods that vary from leafy blocks of orderly townhouses to sleek glass and steel condos.
This culinary capital has plenty of new spots to check out, though no doubt you’ll want to check in on your old favorites. New favorites in the Old Port area include Stellina, Buvette Pavek. Up in the Plateau neighborhood, Bar à Flot is worth popping in for a glass of wine and fritters. For those looking to visit for just a short time, two exciting hotels opened in the last year—Griffintown Hotel, which is named after its popular neighborhood, and the Hotel Humaniti, an Autograph Collection property downtown.
Montreal is also a great home base for exploring Quebec, from Jacques Cartier National Park for nature lovers to a weekend excursion to historic Quebec City.
If you haven’t heard of the town of Ouray, Colorado, it’s a safe bet you’ll be hearing it more often in the future. Few places have boomed economically like Colorado over the last decade, and so all that money and interest means that its scenic mountain mining towns are becoming major destinations. Located at the narrow head of a valley in the San Juan Mountains, the town is a picturesque combination of historic village (population: 1,000) with 19th-century architecture and a spectacular mountain backdrop any way you look. Long called the “Switzerland of America,” Ouray is unbeatable as a home base for outdoors enthusiasts.
In winter the town is a popular destination for its ice climbing at the Ouray Ice Park as well as its thermal hot springs. In summer, it’s surrounded by epic hiking trails that range from easy (Box Canyon Waterfall) to more difficult (Blue Lakes Trail ,which takes hikers to turquoise alpine lakes).
The town is also one of the end points for the epic Million Dollar Highway. Considered one of the most dangerous roads in the U.S., it stretches 25 miles from Ouray to Silverton and traverses jaw-dropping mountain passes with hairpin turns.
Jose Ignacio, Uruguay
Sandwiched between South American giants Brazil and Argentina, for decades Uruguay flew under the radar. But this tear-shaped country’s coast is no longer just a getaway for rich Argentines—its beach scene is now one of the continent’s most desirable escapes for the entire world.
While there’s plenty of glitz to be found as you head up the coast away from Montevideo and Punta del Este, the best option for hiding out with fellow low key travelers is San Ignacio, a former fishing village. Its beaches range from calm to Atlantic-facing stormy, but one thing is certain—you won’t find them overcrowded.
The town is also home to one of the region’s more anticipated hotel openings—Posada Ayana, a 17-room property with its own James Turrell Skyspace. If you’re coming for an extended getaway, don’t hesitate to head inland to Uruguay’s burgeoning wine region, Maldonado.
How do you fit 5,000 years of action-packed history into a mere week or two? We couldn’t figure it out and so when we were coming up with this list of places we’d like to explore for longer than the typical American vacation, Egypt was an obvious choice. Its highlights need no introduction—the Pyramids of Giza, Abu Simbel, Karnak, the Valley of the Kings, and Luxor. Not to mention the Nile River itself, home to some of the world’s best river cruises (including the one that inspired Agatha Christie!).
COVID drastically thinned the crowds around these ancient wonders, and because those crowds probably aren’t coming back soon, you’ll have a less harried visit and also a less expensive one.
Plus, it’s unlikely you’ve been since the country reopened King Tut’s tomb a couple years ago, and the long awaited Grand Egyptian Museum is supposed to finally open in the fall.
No country packs more variety within its borders than Ecuador. It gives unmatched historic beauty in Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its highlands, decorated with towering volcanos, are right out of a Frederic Church landscape painting. One day you could be in the unforgiving Andes, and the next in the equally unforgiving Amazon. And, of course, there’s the Galapagos, a jewel that will draw in just about any traveler. All of this, and more, fitting into a country roughly the size of Nevada.
Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar, which is certainly convenient and is still affordable (you’ll undoubtedly see a number of backpackers). Its tourism sector is also heavily invested in both sustainable tourism that engages in environmental restoration as well as empowering indigenous communities.
Spending a longer period in the country means you can get beyond the wonders of Cotopaxi (check out the Hacienda San Agustin de Callo) or Cajas National Park (with the nearby historic city of Cuenca) and explore the country’s southwestern coast or its cloud rainforest.
Southern California, alluring as it is, can seem daunting. Los Angeles is huge and overwhelming and much of the coastal area around San Diego is just downright crazy expensive. Huntington Beach, or “Surf City U.S.A.,” has emerged over the last decade as the more chill, less overpriced spot younger generations are calling home.
The city has 10 miles of unbroken beach if you want to surf or just watch the pros do it. If you’re a Brutalist enthusiast you can go check out the Neutra-designed Central Library. Those who want a break from the sea can traverse the trails in the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, the largest saltwater marsh in California. The city also has one of the best dog beaches in the region, and in the fall hosts a wildly popular dog surfing competition. Need a break? Get a massage at the Hyatt Regency right on the beach or In winter time go skating right on the pier.
If we’re going to be all New Age-y about it, being here isn’t so much about what you can do, though, it’s about who you can be when you’re finally able to relax.
For years, this sightseeing-packed southeast Asian country has topped lists for affordable countries to retire in, so it makes total sense as a place you could plop down for a month or two. And unlike many of its neighbors, the country seems determined to stay open for tourists ever since its reopening earlier this year.
Cambodia, like Egypt, has iconic historic sights including Angkor Wat that were often overrun in pre-COVID times. With many travelers reluctant to go far, these places can be experienced with a tranquility unheard of for decades.
But the country is more than its temple ruins. The capital city of Phnom Penh has incredible architecture and palaces while the coast has a number of idyllic soft sand beaches carved out of the jungle and set against turquoise waters.
Just south of Nashville is a spot that gives as good a sense as any what smaller city paced American life can look like. Devastated by the Civil War and, like many small cities, nearly hollowed out by the 20th century, Franklin, Tennessee is undoubtedly one of the next crop of Southern cities we’ll all fall in love with.
Franklin has a population hovering around 80,000, and its revitalized Main Street is something Rockwell would have whipped up in an advertisement. You can spend your days antiquing or diving into Civil War history. Or, believe it or not, try some of the local wine!
Do make sure you catch a show at the Franklin Theatre, a restored historic movie house. And if you need to work off any of that Southern food, nearby eastern Tennessee has some of the country’s best outdoor activities.