The 2020 Emerging Destination Awards

Next year, don’t be an overtourist. Travel to these  hidden gems instead.

Let’s Fix Overtourism:

Overtourism is a complex problem. We have some ideas on how to fix it – starting with promoting emerging destinations. Read the below perspectives or visit our Overtoursim Resource Center to join in the conversation.

Meet Our Judges

Our winning destinations were selected by regional panels consisting of the world’s top travel bloggers. Click the tabs to meet our judges for each region:

Minority Nomad

Minority Nomad

Erick Prince

Erick is a travel journalist and photographer on a journey to become the first African American to visit every country (he’s been to 93 to date). He writes about his travels at his site, Minority Nomad.


Nomadic Matt

Matt Kepnes

Matt is the New York Times best-selling author of How to Travel the World on $50 a Day. Through his site Nomadic Matt, he has helped millions of travelers travel cheaper, better, and longer. 


Adventorous Kate

Kate McCulley

The author of the celebrated solo female travel blog, Kate has been to over 80 countries around the world and, among other accolades, was named by Forbes in 2017 as one of the 10 most influential travelers in the world. 

Travis Sherry of Extra Pack of Peanuts

Extra Pack of Peanuts

Travis Sherry

A serial entrepreneur and world traveler, Travis hosts the popular travel podcast Extra Pack of Peanuts. Known as “Rick Steves for the new generation”, he teaches listeners how to travel more with less.


The Blonde Abroad

Kiersten Rich

Kiersten is a California native who has traveled to over 70 countries in the 6 years since she left her corporate finance job. She is the founder of The Blonde Abroad, a go-to resource for solo and female travel around the world. 



Murad and Nataly Osmann

What started as a sweet but simple idea is now a global phenomenon: Nataly pulling Murad by the hand towards some of the most iconic places on the planet has become the basis for the FollowMeTo movement. 


My Life’s a Movie

Alyssa Ramos

Alyssa is a solo female adventure traveler who has been to 85+ countries and all 7 continents. Through her social media and blog, My Life’s a Travel Movie, she chronicles her incredible experiences and inspires others to travel.

Wandering Earl's take on Slovenia

Wandering Earl

Derek Baron

In 1999, Derek flew to Bangkok with just $1,500 to his name. He’s been traveling nonstop since, visiting over 100 countries across 6 continents. In addition to his blog, he runs Wandering Earl Tours, which takes small groups around the world. 

Nadine Sykora

Hey Nadine

Nadine Sykora

Nadine is a vlogger and videographer who shares her travels (she’s been to 50+ countries) in fun videos on her Youtube channel, with 413,000+ subscribers. She’s been featured in CNN, Forbes, BBC, and numerous other media outlets. 


Bobo and Chichi

Megan Indoe & Scott Herder

Megan and Scott started BoboandChichi as a resource for travelers in South Korea during their time teaching in Seoul. They’ve since gained notoriety for their creative video production and marketing campaigns, and are especially known for producing mind-bending hyperlapse videos. 


Foodie Flashpacker

Nathan Aguilera 

Nathan is the food-obsessed founder of Foodie Flashpacker, a travel site where he writes about his adventures eating his way around the world. Nathan left on what he thought would be a six month trip to SE Asia four years ago, and hasn’t stopped traveling since. 


Jessie Festa

Jessie Festa

An award-winning travel blogger behind the celebrated site Jessie on a Journey, Jessie inspires solo travelers to explore their passion for travel and think beyond the box. Jessie teaches aspiring bloggers how to grow their blog into a business, and she is also a certified guide in her hometown, New York City. 


Mapping Megan

Meg Jerrard

A nature-obsessed  Australian journalist and professional travel blogger who has visited all seven continents and 50+ countries, Meg is the creator of Mapping Megan, a site where she writes about her exploits exploring some of the world’s most unique destinations.



Daniel Herszberg

With 162 countries already under his belt, Daniel is en route to become the youngest Australian to visit every country in the world. He chronicles his adventures at his inspiration Instagram account



Jarryd Salem

An Australian couple traveling the world for a decade, Jarryd & Alesha are the authors of the adventure blog NOMADasaurus. From breaking world records in chicken buses to getting engaged in the world’s largest cave, their crazy adventures continually inspire their 200k+ followers. 


Never Ending Footsteps

Lauren Juliff 

Author of How Not to Travel the World: Adventures of a Disaster-Prone Backpacker, Lauren has been traveling since 2011 and inspires other travelers to do the same at her site Never Ending Footsteps.


Fun Food Travel

Tommo & Megsy

An adventurous couple that has been traveilng and working abroad since 2006, Tommo and Megsy keep their 118,000+ followers salivating at the mouth on their podcast The Dish and their travel guide Food Fun Travel


Francisco Ortiz

Francisco Ortiz

In 2015, Fran left his corporate career in Argentina to travel the world and has been to over 60 countries and 500 cities since. Fran writes about travel, entreprenuership, and minimalism at Viajando Con Fran and his Youtube channel


Wanderlust Chloe

Chloe Gunning

Repeatedly named as one of the top UK travel bloggers, Chloe recounts travel tales in colorful detail and offers readers practical guides on how to explore the planet themselves at her travel blog Wanderlust Chloe


Luxury Latin America

Timothy Scott

Timothy Scott is the editor of Luxury Latin America online magazine, the leading information source for upscale travelers headed to Mexico, Central America, and South America. 


Nomadic Boys

Stefan Arestis And Sebastien Chaneac

Authors of one of the largest gay travel blogs in the world, Stefan & Sebastien left home in London in 2014 and have been traveling the world ever sense. At the Nomadic Boys gay travel website they showcase the best in gay travel, cultural immersion, and food from around the world.


Getting Stamped

Adam & Hannah Lukaszewicz

Adam is a New York City-based traveler, hipster, and creator of one of the world’s most unique travel blogs: Travels of Adam, where he writes guides aimed at helping you visit the cool and cultural side of destinations around the world.


The Broke Backpacker

Will Hatton

Will is an adventurer who has been traveling the world for a decade, a location independent entrepreneur, and the face behind the popular budget travel site The Broke Backpacker, where he shows readers how to travel the world on $10 a day while setting up an online business. 


Miss Tourist

Yulia Safutdinova

Yulia is an intreprid traveler from Russia, a speaker of five languages, and the author of the site Miss Tourist, which gives its millions of readers practical tips on traveling to extraordinary destination. 


Goats on the Road

Nick Wharton

A Canadian couple who has been traveling the world for 8 years, Dariece & Nick run the lifestyle and travel blog Goats on the Road, a popular site with over 350k+ hits per month and a highly-engaged reader base.


Two Wandering Soles

Katie and Ben

Katie and Ben are an American couple and the authors of the site Two Wandering Soles, where they write about van life, responsible travel, and food. They have been traveling the world for five years and counting.


Travel with a Pen

Amarachi Ekekwe

Amarachi is a systems engineer by day and a superhero writer by night. Her travel blog Travel with a Pen is one of the most popular in Nigeria, where she inspires her readers to travel both locally and internationally. 


Maroc Mama

Amanda Mouttaki

Originally from the United States, Amanda lives in Morocco and writes the highly-acclaimed site Maroc Mama, where she helps food adoring readers plan authentic experiences around Morocco and the world. 


Uncornered Market

Audrey Scott

Leaders in the sustainable travel movement and especially known for their travel to less touristed destinations, Audrey & Dan’s site Uncornered Market encourages travelers to think deeper and work to make sure travel is a force for good in the world.


The Planet D

Dave and Deb 

Over one million monthly readers enjoy Dave and Deb’s award winning photography, travel advice, and entertaining videos at their site The Planet D, which has been featured in the likes of CNNBBC, and National Geographic

Patrick from German Backpacker

German Backpacker

Patrick Muntzinger

Patrick is a world traveler from Germany, who loves to explore unique and adventurous destinations with his backpack. His journey has already taken him to more than 65 countries all around the world and he documents his experiences on his bilingual travel blog German Backpacker.

Very Hungry Nomads

Rach & Marty

Rach and Marty are on a big food adventure to visit every country in the world (they are currently at over 170) and to become the first Australian and Slovakian women to do so! They chronicle their adventures of their site Very Hungry Nomads

How Did We Pick These Winners?

Our curated list of the best 2020 Emerging Destinations is the result of months of collaboration with stakeholders across the travel space.

Step 1: Nominations by Governments and Tourism Boards

National and regional tourism boards around the world submit nominations for the top emerging destinations on each continent. This year nearly 100 participated from all around the world. We also solicit a small handful of nominations from our Nominating Committee to ensure regional balance.

Step 2: Vetting 

We vet the nominees to ensure they fit the definition of an emerging destination – one which an average American traveler would probably not already be considering visiting and which has enough capacity to handle additional tourism without becoming overtouristed. 

Step 3: Winners Selected by Our Judges

We round up some of the top travel influencers and bloggers on the planet to act as Judges. We have way too many nominations to ask each judge to review them all, so we divide the work into regional panels. The judges vote for their top choices among the nominees, drawing on their collective experience, knowledge of the travel industry, and their own expert perceptions about what destinations are appealing to them in cases where they’ve not personally visited a nominee. 

Step 4: Announcement of Winners (Nov 2019)

We announce the 30 winning destinations. 

Step 5: Readers Vote (Nov – Dec 2019)

After the articles are shared, readers vote for their top pick on each continent. The final list of our Readers’ Choice winners are released just before the new year of 2020. Click here to check out last year’s winners

Explore Last Year’s Awards:

Nate Hake, travel lifestyle instructor

About Travel Lemming 

I founded Travel Lemming to highlight the world’s emerging travel destinations. Our mission is to encourage travelers to think beyond the big name destinations and to explore the lesser-know, but still incredible, destinations that this world has to offer. 

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