2020 Travel Plans: 12 Destinations You Should Already Be Saving Up For


Faruq Senin •  Jun 29, 2019

[Updated 19 Mar 2020]

Given the current situation of the world, it may be easy to feel like travel isn't on the cards anytime soon. But that doesn't mean you should stop dreaming about the next place you want to explore!

Credit: Giphy

So keep the fires of your wanderlust fuelled, and think of where you'd want to travel to next! Plus, to ensure that you make your travel plans a reality (when the right times comes and we are able to do so safely again), you'd probably need to set aside some money for it starting now. Here's a list of destinations for your future getaway that you should already be saving up for!

Disclaimer: When the time is right to travel again will depend on several factors, including the lifting of travel restrictions,  the developments surrounding COVID-19, the respective situations in your home countries and desired destinations, and of course, your own comfort levels and circumstances. We urge everyone to stay updated with the latest information from your government (including foreign and health ministries) and other verified authorities when making your travel plans for the future.

P.S. Looking for ideas for other more affordable destinations for your future travels? We've got 8 amazingly affordable destinations you'd love!

1. Japan

Japan is going through a lot at the moment, as the Olympic games (scheduled for 24 Jul to 9 Aug) currently hang in the balance and the country works to contain the spread of COVID-19. As travellers who love going to Japan (as we sure many of you are too!) we're sad we won't be able to visit the country for now, but we look forward to when this situation gets resolved and we get to explore this fascinating country once more!

In Tokyo, some of the must-visit spots include places like Tokyo Disneyland/Disneysea, Asakusa, Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo Skytree and more! Our 6D5N Muslim-friendly itinerary of Tokyo will be perfect if you're looking to explore Tokyo and its surrounds. Or better still, why not cover Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto with our 7D6N Muslim-friendly itinerary?

As you tentatively plan your trip, keep an eye out for airline promos that will likely come along down the road from all airlines that fly from KL/Singapore/Jakarta to Japan, including AirAsia, Scoot, ANA, JAL, Garuda, SIA and more.

#HHWT Tip: When the time is right to start travelling again, most airlines will likely have travel deals and promos to help attract travellers. Keep your eyes peeled on the airlines (be it those that fly to a destination you're eyeing, or just in general too!). In our list below, we've included typical costs for flights to these destination given normal circumstances, so you can have a good gauge of what it would normally cost and hence be more prepared for the deals that may be coming our way.

#HHWT Tip: To make sure you snag the right accommodation while in Tokyo, here are 9 affordable hotels in Tokyo near halal food!

Credit: All About Journey Tour on Facebook

Besides Tokyo, Hokkaido is also a dream destination for many. While the island has been one of the most hard-hit regions of Japan for the virus, optimistic developments are happening - the government announced yesterday that it's lifting its state of emergency. It's a small start, but surely a positive one!  The island is best known for winter and its activities, but you can also visit Hokkaido in spring. Witness the glory of seasonal flowers at the colourful Farm Tomita and enjoy the Shibazakura Festival ? Our first-timer's Muslim-friendly guide to Hokkaido will be just what you need!

You can also start looking further afield to other more remote parts of Tokyo that are calling to be explored - last year, we travelled for the first time to places like Tohoku and Okinawa and loved it!

2. Turkey

Always wanted to see the splendour of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia in Istanbul? Or has it always been your dream to ride the hot-air balloon in Cappadocia? Make it a reality for your future epic trip! ?

Need some ideas on what to do? Our 6D5N Turkey itinerary will let you experience the best of what this enchanting country has to offer! Besides immersing in Islamic culture and history at Hagia Sophia or shopping at the Grand Bazaar, you'll also get to take that famous hot-air balloon or soak in the limestone baths of Pamukkale. Not forgetting all the scrumptious Turkish food that you're going to savour!

But even if all you want to do is soak in the beauty of Istanbul, then our first-timer's guide to the city will guide you on all the things you need to see, do and eat in this magical destination! If you're already looking to plan your vacay in Turkey, the best time to visit is from April to May as that's when you can enjoy lovely spring weather. But if you want cheaper flight prices, January is typically known for being a better month to visit as it's not peak season.

3. London

Ah... Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace and shopping at Primark ? With so many iconic sights and things to do, it's hard not to have London on your travel bucket list!

And who says you need to break the bank when you explore the city? It can be affordable if you know all the budget hacks to navigate the city. What's better is that we've prepared a budget-friendly itinerary for you (under £30 per day!) so exploring London will feel less daunting!

Are you a football fan? Then a tour of some of the most iconic football stadiums is a must - we've got just the guide to London stadiums (near halal food!) you'd need for all the football fanatics.

#HHWT Tip: Booking accommodation in London can take up a huge part of your budget and we feel you! That's why we've rounded up a list of 10 affordable accommodations in London near halal food ?

Better still, complete your trip with a visit to the coastal town of Brighton and the city of Manchester with our 6D5N itinerary. Or head north to Scotland to explore the stunning city of Edinburgh ? Of course, London also makes the perfect base from where you can travel to other parts of Western Europe. Conquer Europe's most iconic cities with our 9D8N Muslim-friendly itinerary to London, Paris and Amsterdam!

While the best time to visit London for the nice weather is around March to May, it's also one of the busiest travel seasons! If you want to spend less on flights, travel during the late winter period (around February), or keep your eyes peeled for promos and early-bird fares from major airlines like Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Thai Airways and Royal Brunei Airlines.

4. New Zealand

With 2 islands worth of surreal landscapes, beautiful Maori culture, thrilling activities and more, New Zealand is a place that you need to visit at least once in your life!

Embark on a journey to Middle Earth at Hobbiton, the set of the Lord of the Rings movies, or be mesmerised by the sheer beauty of Mt Cook and the sparkling blue Lake Tekapo. For the adrenaline junkies, New Zealand's where you can fulfil your goals of bungee-jumping and skydiving too ?

If you're a nature lover, then South Island is a must-visit! Don't miss out the wonders of Lake Tekapo and Hooker Valley or head over to the picturesque Queenstown for the bungee of your life. Our 8D7N New Zealand South island itinerary is just what you need and don't miss out on all the scrumptious halal food that will excite your taste buds ?

#HHWT Tip: Thingking of visiting New Zealand for the first time ever? Then you'd need these 9 essential tips for first-timers!

New Zealand's magnificent scenery can be admired during any season but if you want a mild and comfortable temperature, we'd recommend visiting in summer (Dec-Feb) so you can try out the various thrilling activities too. If you don't mind taking a budget flight for your 10h trip to New Zealand, look for flights with low-cost carriers such as AirAsia or Jetstar during the peak travel season. Full-service flights like Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines can sometimes be as cheap as around RM3000-3100 during a sale, so do keep a lookout for their promos when you do start planning for your trip!

5. Mecca and Medina

The recent closure of the Masjidil Haram in Mecca and Masjid Nabawi in Medina by the Saudi Arabia government was a huge moment for Muslims around the world. It was a solemn sight to see pictures of the Kaabah without worshippers doing the tawaf around it, and many pilgrims' plans to perform umrah have been affected during this time. Saudi Arabia recently reopened the two holy sites, though the status for foreign pilgrims to perform umrah or hajj in the upcoming months still remain uncertain.

If anything, we have no doubt that the situation has strengthened the resolve of many Muslims to visit the Two Holy Mosques. While fulfilling the Islamic pillar of Hajj might take more years to prepare for (financially, logistically and mentally), setting your intentions to perform your umrah as your next major trip is a great idea at this point in time.

Do note that most Umrah packages with a travel agency for around 12D11N will typically cost between RM5000-7000/SGD3000+ depending on the type of comfort you choose for your accommodation. The packages are usually inclusive of travel visa, flights, accommodation, transport, itinerary, and Umrah course but do set aside money for your own expenses too. If you have the expertise or know tips to perform Umrah without a travel agent, then you can definitely plan a cheaper trip.

Other than budget, you'd also have to think about when you'd want to visit the holy cities. Check with your travel agencies for feasible slots in the upcoming months once its safe to travel, and do stay updated with the latest developments, as there may be influxes of pilgrims once travel restrictions are lifted.  Otherwise, the peak travel season for Umrah is usually during Ramadan and December while the quieter (and cheaper) season is perhaps in October. Do note that if you're planning to do your Umrah in June, the weather can get really hot, so it's probably not an ideal time to go.

#HHWT Tip: Planning an Umrah with kids in tow? We've got 20 tips you'd definitely need to experience Umrah with kids!

6. Paris

For all the romantics out there, the city of love will always be a place that's close to their hearts. Stroll along the River Seine, marvel at the Eiffel Tower, see the Louvre and more - Paris' landmarks are a sight to behold ?

Make sure you arm yourself with a good camera so that you'll be able to capture picture-perfect memories at these 11 gorgeous spots in Paris! And who says you need to fork out a lot when in Paris? Discover this charming city on a budget with plenty of free things to do such as free walking tours and catching free movies.

If you think Paris isn't Muslim-friendly, think again! These 10 halal eateries will prove otherwise and introduce you to the world of halal food in Paris ?

For a rough idea of airline costs, flight prices to Paris during usual travel periods can go anywhere from as low RM1800 (especially during the non-peak travel periods in late winter) to around RM2600+.

#HHWT Tip:Plan your Western Europe trip with our 9D8N Muslim-friendly guide to Paris, London and Amsterdam!

7. Amsterdam

Charming canals, windmills, and amazing museums - there's nowhere quite like Amsterdam! Plus, with the start of the direct train from London to Amsterdam last year, it has become easier to plan your Western Europe trip without the hassle of multiple flights.

P.S. If you'd like to do Paris and Amsterdam instead, check out our 9D8N Muslim-friendly itinerary!

Take a trip to the nearby town of Zaanse Schans to see the windmills or visit the iconic clogs museum. But besides sightseeing, Amsterdam is also known for its Muslim-friendly street food that you can find in Albert Cuyp Market. Get your fill of stroopwafels (Dutch pancake), Dutch fries and poffertjes (Dutch pancakes). What's more, the city can be done on a budget too with our one-stop guide!

Just like Paris, the best months to visit Amsterdam weather-wise is usually from April to May and September to November. Just imagine spotting the gorgeous tulips in Keukenhof in spring! But flight prices for these months can usually be a tad expensive - keep a lookout on airline promos from KLM/Air France and Emirates!

8. Greece

Greece is one of those places you'd dream of going with your significant other or even with closest friends. The images of the whitewashed houses of Santorini overlooking the sea as well as the magnificent ruins of Athens come to mind when you mention Greece.

The best time to visit Greece is from May to October when the weather is lovely - it might be a tad sunny but the good thing is, you don't have to wear thick clothing or layer up ? What's great about Greece is that it isn't as expensive to travel to as compared to other European countries and if you keep a lookout for airline promos, you can really get a great deal!

Want the best of Greece? Our 6D5N Muslim-friendly itinerary of Athens and Santorini will ensure that you cover the best attractions in these 2 amazing destinations. For those of you who are eyeing Greece for your honeymoon, make sure you book a stay at one of these 8 gorgeous Muslim-friendly accommodations in one of the Greek islands!

9. Spain

A country steeped in Islamic history, Spain is a must-visit for any Muslim traveller. And if you've been wanting to discover Islamic architecture at these places, why not plan that future Andalucian dream trip?

Witness the grandeur of the Alhambra and the Alcazar Palace while reminiscing about one of Islam's greatest kingdoms with our 8D7N Southern Spain itinerary! Don't miss out on doing your prayers at the Granada Mosque or savour Muslim-friendly Spanish tapas while on your trip.

Of course, no visit to Spain is complete without immersing yourself in Spanish culture too - like watching the flamenco dance or learning how to cook Muslim-friendly Spanish cuisine like paella.

P.S. Did you know that part of Portugal is home to places rich in Islamic history too? Conquer both Spain and Portugal with this 9D8N Muslim-friendly itinerary!

Flight prices from KL to Madrid or Barcelona have usually gone for anywhere between RM2500 to RM3000. As with all the destinations, keep an eye out for promos by the airlines for the time period you'd want to travel in.

10. The Balkans

For a truly off-the-beaten-path experience, The Balkans is definitely full of hidden gems from natural landscapes to charming rustic architecture. The peninsula consists of countries such as Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece and more.

Although most of the places are not Islamic countries, you’ll find that the place is rich in Islamic history, which can be seen from its religious diversity ? Visit the iconic Mostar Bridge, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that will surely leave you in awe, the Pliva Waterfall or admire the coastal town of Dubrovnik in Croatia. You'll also find magical sites like Lake Bled, Ohrid and Blagaj Tekke. Our 2-week Balkans itinerary would be perfect for you!

Credits: @stuartgrant365 on Instagram

What's great is that travelling in the Balkans is not as expensive as other parts of Europe but what makes it expensive is getting to the Balkans in the first place. With limited airlines serving the routes between Kuala Lumpur/Singapore to destinations in the Balkans, you'd have to plan your trip early and save up. To get to the Balkans, we'd suggest flying to the main cities of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Zagreb, Croatia where flight prices would be cheaper (typically from around RM2600) with Turkish Airlines. Do keep a lookout for Turkish Airlines' flight promos!

11. Switzerland

Constantly known as one of the most expensive places to visit in the world, Switzerland's breathtaking mountains are truly worth saving up for.

Head to the top of Europe at Jungfraujoch, walk the suspension bridge at Mt Titlis or visit Matterhorn, the "Toblerone" mountain. One of the experiences that you definitely can't miss is taking the Glacier Express where you'll get an all-encompassing view of the Swiss Alps ? Switzerland's old towns and villages are not to be missed either! Check out our 7D6N Muslim-friendly Switzerland itinerary to plan your Swiss itinerary. 

Credit: Noel Reynolds on Flickr

You'd definitely need to set aside at least around RM2000 or more for transport and around RM2000 more for accommodation, so time to start saving now if you plan to visit Switzerland next year. While spending in Switzerland can take a toll on your finances, travelling there is actually comparable or even cheaper than travelling to other parts of Europe. The peak travel period is in summer around June to August but flight prices might already start to pick up in April. It can get even cheaper if you don't mind the cold of winter in January.

12. United States

Times Square in New York, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Hollywood, the theme parks of Orlando and more - the US is just so huge that you could keep making repeat trips to different parts of the country! But perhaps one thing that puts travellers off from planning a trip to the US is the cost it takes to travel there as well as the long flight hours.

That's why it's essential to start saving up for your trip now! While Singaporeans are eligible for the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP), Malaysians and Indonesians have to pay around USD160 (RM661/IDR2.3m) for a tourist visa. As for flights, the cheapest ones are usually around RM3000-3500 from Kuala Lumpur to major cities like New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles on most months. Keep a lookout for flight promos from airlines like Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, ANA and Korean Air in the coming months.

Start off your first US vacay by exploring one of the iconic cities in pop culture - New York City! This vibrant metropolis has so many exciting things to do and attractions and our 6D5N Muslim-friendly New York City itinerary will help you out. Feeling like hitting the west coast instead? Then there's no better place to start than in Los Angeles. Home to Hollywood celebrities, Santa Monica and basically everything you've seen in movies, check out our first-timer's Muslim-friendly guide to Los Angeles!

That's it! 12 destinations you need to start saving up for your next epic trip ? Travelling might not seem like it's on the cards right now, but we genuinely hope it doesn't stop you from dreaming and planning for your next big trip. As we go through this uncertain period and come out on the other side, your adventure will be waiting. So as you stay home, may this guide help you feed your wanderlust! SHARE this with your travel buddies and start setting aside money for your future vacay!