Leisure travel has been halted amidst travel bans and restrictions, but that hasn’t stopped us from dreaming about our next vacation.

We may be living in trying times, but the ever-growing interconnectedness of the world proves that challenges are best faced collectively, and there’s really isn’t a better way to human understanding and shared purpose than travel.

So let’s not let the pandemic drive us further into our homes. Read on for all the cities we’re yearning to head to next.

Penang, Malaysia

“While I still have credits with Singapore Airlines for my cancelled March trip to London, it isn’t the UK that I’m longing to go. It’s far closer: Penang.

I’ve only been there once and my stay in George Town left a deep, nostalgic imprint on me. The street names, the labyrinthine rows of shophouses and hearty, rambunctious street food feels so much like Singapore. It lets me imagine what our city would be like had we stayed a small town.

In other words, it’s Singapore without the bullshit. If you can’t already tell, it isn’t physical travel I yearn for. It’s time travel; a desire to return to a simpler time and one that lingers in the memory like a long, drawn-out goodbye.” — Azimin Saini, Editor

Galway, Ireland

“The first time I stepped foot into Galway felt like a homecoming. The snug coastal city, sandwiched by Atlantic and the River Corrib, is home to many, many things close to my heart. Not the least of which is the fact that it is the hotbed of literature and arts for the country, which means the pocket-sized city has bookstores that, till today, boggle my mind more than standing over the Cliffs of Moher.

Match that with restaurants that serve ocean-fresh seafood, an entire annual festival dedicated to oysters, rowdy pubs with live music that begins as early as four in the afternoon and boardwalks I can stroll through until my feet quit before my eyes do, and it is safe to swear that Galway is a city that owns my every knee-jerk reaction to, “where do you want to go for a holiday?”

2020 was meant to be the year I visited Ireland to finish my rounds of the West Coast, beginning at Galway for the Arts Festival in July, and also to share the city I never shut up about with my partner. Though that is not a possibility right now, the minute the world is safe again, trust that I am booking a ticket there with zero hesitation.” — Beatrice Bowers, Features Editor

London, England

“Call me predictable but if there’s one place I really miss, it’s London. Few places have the same charm as it does, creativity is everywhere and there’s a palpable energy everywhere.

There’s architectural grandeur all around — a nice change from the four walls I’ve been trapped in — and a dizzying mix of cultures to immerse in. Plus it’s hard to say no to cooler weather — even if it’s grey skies all day — during warm months like these here.

If weather permits, a picnic at Hyde Park would be a lovely way of being around nature once again while getting some fresh air. Come sundown, there’s no better place to be than the million brilliant bars the city has to offer.” — Shatricia Nair, Senior Writer

Barcelona, Spain

“Wanderlust has always been a foreign concept for me. My one “dream destination”, Paris, was a stock answer I would give as a child who knew nothing about the world. And then I grew up and learned too much about it. I couldn’t think of Paris without thinking of the racism. I couldn’t think of America without thinking of the violence. I couldn’t think of anywhere in Asia without thinking of colourism. The world, quite frankly, has always been an ugly place. No eroding beaches or grand palaces built on oppression could distract me from that. (Also, I mean, have you met tourists?)

But 2020 was the year I thought I would give this travelling thing a try, before it turned into Year Zero. In fact, I should be in Barcelona right now. And if I still could, I would be: marching along with the rest of humanity to purge one of the world’s oldest diseases. Like Broken Social Scene declares, I have been “World Sick” for a long time; “my love is for my man.” Now, I can finally see that I’m not a lonely lover.” — Pameyla Cambe, Senior Writer

Seoul, South Korea

“There were so many places I planned on heading to this year: traversing through the Canadian wilderness, rolling my luggage through the cobbled streets of Granada, wandering through the old trinket shops in London and so on. Yet, after this pandemic is over, it’s safe to say I want to head to where I feel the most at home in: Seoul.

Apart from its dizzying lights and tall skyscrapers, serene pockets of palaces and neighbourhoods are littered everywhere, waiting to be explored. There’s an inexplicable sort of energy when it comes to Seoul: one moment you’re in a cafe and taking in every bit of its tranquillity, and the next, you’re club-hopping till 6 in the morning with a bottle of soju on hand. Despite numerous visits to this city over the years, I still find myself yearning to head back once more.” — Jocelyn Tan, Writer

Jocelyn Tan
Jocelyn Tan is a travel and design writer. She's probably indulging in serial killer podcasts or reading one too many books on East Asian history. When she actually gets to travel, you can find her attempting to stuff her entire wardrobe into her luggage. Yes, she's a chronic over-packer.