by Jessica Bisesto
It's hard to believe another year is coming to an end, but this just means you have more travel adventures to plan! Here are the up-and-coming travel trends of 2017 for those who need a little inspiration.
Whether you're looking for a culinary vacation, an off-the-grid adventure, or ideas on how to keep that health-geared New Year's resolution, we've got you covered.
River Cruises — Row Row Row Your Boat
We think 2017 will be the year of the river cruise. River cruises are more intimate than ocean cruises and the food selection focuses on local cuisine. If you're looking to explore more of the United States, why not pretend you're Mark Twain and take a cruise down the Mississippi River?
There are plenty of cities to begin your domestic river cruise adventure. We especially like the Bourbon Cruise, which takes you from Memphis, Tennessee to Louisville, Kentucky.
For those looking for a European river cruise, the options are plenty. Flight prices from the United States to Europe have been unusually low, making those sought-after destinations more available.
There are multiple options as far as rivers and country selection for these European escapes, but we love the Danube River for its fantastic views and off-the-beaten-path destinations.
Staycation — Let's, Let's Stay Together
For some people, staying close to home, but getting just far enough away so it still feels like a vacation, is the definition of paradise. The most desired staycation destinations vary depending on where a traveler calls home.
We like to think of it as the "Green Acres effect." City dwellers head for the country and suburbanites flock to the cities.
We love Joshua Tree as a close-but-not-too-close getaway for residents of Los Angeles and San Diego. The drive is pleasant and relatively easy, and this national park is a great location for camping and hiking alike.
The terrain is beautiful and is home to the indigenous trees that give the park its name. Joshua Tree is an inspiring destination. If you don't believe us, just ask U2!
Montreal is an excellent staycation for those living in the Northeast. This city is not only beautiful, filled with museums, excellent food and fantastic nightlife, but it's an easy five-hour drive from Boston or six-hour drive from New York City.
Fill up on those smoked-meat sandwiches, grab yourself some poutine and hike up Mont Royal for a panoramic view of the city. There are so many things to do and see in this French-infused city.
Domestic Travel — I Only Have Eyes For You
There was a time when traveling to far off lands was the thing to do. Although long-distance trips across oceans are still all the rage, many people are focusing inward and exploring more of our own country's nooks and crannies.
With affordable flights across the states, why not take that vacation in the United States and leave your passport at home?
Orlando is a great option for travelers across the U.S. because there are so many cheap flights available! Home to theme parks galore and a great nightlife scene, this city is a great and easily-accessible travel destination. Between Disney World and Universal Studios, Orlando is a fantastic getaway for friends, couples and families alike.
Las Vegas isn't just for gambling (don't get us wrong, pirates enjoy a bit of cards). Sin City offers incredible nightlife, restaurants and people watching. Plus, there are several fantastic national parks just a few hours away.
If the Hoover Dam doesn't do it for you, check out Red Rock Canyon National Park, or take the drive about 5 hours and check out Grand Canyon National Park. If you're looking for a bit of good and evil, Las Vegas should be your next destination.
Solo Travel — Here I Go Again On My Own
If not now, then when? Solo travel is on the rise, especially for women! Whether you’ve been hesitant to go on your first solo trip or you’re the kind of person who just can’t wait to get some alone time, solo travel can be one of the most fun and enlightening experiences. Imagine waking up whenever you want and operating under no itinerary but your own.
Thailand is an excellent destination for solo travelers. With its well-defined tourist trail and public transportation system, it's easy to navigate around this beautiful country. Since it is a popular choice for many, you're sure to make many friends along the way!
Start your trip in Bangkok, and flip a coin to decide whether to head north to the hills of Chiang Mai, or south to the beaches of Koh Phi Phi.
If you'd prefer to jump start your solo vacation a little closer to home, Scotland is a fabulous choice. Filled with luscious green landscapes, castles and history, this country is not to be missed.
Take the Jacobite steam train, go on a sea kayaking adventure, work on your photography skills, or make a few friends on a whisky tour — just make sure you aren't caught rooting for England's football team.
Wellness Trips — Taking Care Of Business
Spin class, vegan diet, pilates, check your fitbit and repeat. There have been massive swings in the ways people take care of themselves and people are living longer than ever.
Unfortunately, many of us are also working more hours than our European counterparts and we take less vacation time. What's the cure? Take a health-inspired trip and #treatyoself.
Indonesia is the perfect destination for a wellness vacation. There are many yoga retreats available on these lustrous islands, healthy (and delicious) foods, as well as many gorgeous places to explore. Relax and enjoy holistic-style massages and facials, organic farms, tropical jungles and gorgeous beaches.
If you're looking for a bit of activity, there's plenty of bikes for rent, hikes to enjoy and rivers to raft.
Looking to head a little south to explore beautiful beaches, jungles and take some yoga or meditation classes? Nicaragua offers ample resorts to get yourself balanced. Regardless your budget, you can enjoy luxurious resort-like amenities, spa treatments galore and relax in a lesser traveled country before heading back to the daily grind.
Cold Destinations — What's Cooler Than Being Cool?
There has been a recent shift from sun and sand vacations to snow and ice destinations. Don't get us wrong, many travelers still seek destinations where they can relax under an umbrella with a Mai Tai in hand, but more people are looking for colder retreats.
Luckily, many of these cooler destinations offer fantastic bucket-list items to scratch off. With the polar ice caps melting and temperatures gradually rising, why wait to take a vacation that requires thermals and snow boots?
Iceland has been an up-and-coming destination for the last few years, but we anticipate 2017 to be the biggest travel year yet. Perhaps taking a dip in the Blue Lagoon is on your bucket list? If it's not, surely witnessing the Northern Lights in person has made the cut. This tiny country offers a colorful culture and interesting cuisine.
Who wouldn't want to escape for a few days to the least-populated continent? Antarctica has become more accessible in recent years, as many people look to scratch off their seventh and final continent.
You can take a cruise from the tip of Chile to Antarctica, where you'll enjoy several days of exploring various parts of the continent before heading back. We recommend taking a smaller cruise ship, as there are limitations of the number of passengers allowed on land per day. If you're looking to explore a wild and delicate terrain that few have experienced before, this is the place.
Get Off The Beaten Path — Born To Be Wild
There was a time when traveling in well-defined countries was desired. Easy travel, the kind that involves tour busses, guides and set schedules, are slowly becoming a thing of the past as travelers move toward adventure tourism.
We want to go to places not everyone has been, eat foods not everyone has tried and experience things not everyone has experienced.
For many years, traveling to Myanmar was considered nearly impossible due to self-isolation. This beautiful and mysterious country is on the brink of major changes towards democracy and economic growth.
Myanmar resembles old Asia in many ways and there are still many villages with locals who have never seen travelers before. This is a wonderful destination filled with delicious local food, golden pagodas and hope for the future.
Interested in seeing some flora and fauna that can't be found anywhere else in the world? Head to Madagascar for a one-of-a-kind vacation. This beautiful island off the coast of Africa has experienced years of isolation, which allowed different species of plants and animals to thrive. You can travel this island by boat, plane, train or taxi — there are three modern roads in Madagascar, so prepare yourself for a bumpy (but well worth it) ride.
Photogenic Destinations — But First, Let Me Take A Selfie
Between Pinterest and Instagram, you're bound to see plenty of Instagram-worthy destinations every day. This year, we anticipate many travelers will aim to visit some of the most photo-worthy places to snag some photos and use some choice hashtags. Grab your smart phone, add that roaming package and get snapping!
Santorini, Greece takes the cake for the most famous (and Instagrammable) spots. With the inexpensive accommodations and delicious local cuisine available in this wonderful country, it's no surprise people keep coming back for more.
Fill up on some fresh feta, gyros or seafood. Then, rent an ATV and explore this beautiful island. Whether you begin your island adventure in quieter Fira, or more the recognizable Oia, you're sure to have some incredible photos by the end of your trip.
Morocco is famous for many things, but the one we like most right now is the beautiful blue city of Chefchaouen. This city is located in the northwest area of the country, inland from popular Tangiers. Although no one knows for certain why the old town is painted in various shades of blue, it's a magnificent sight to see. Wander through spice markets, sip tea at a cafe and enjoy the relaxing vibes from the bluest city in the world.
Instead of visiting the beaches of Thailand, why not head further east to Halong Bay, Vietnam? Known for its emerald green waters and limestone islands surrounded by jungles, this UNESCO World Heritage site does not disappoint.
Book an overnight boat cruise and explore the beautiful and well-preserved environment, while feasting on traditional Vietnamese cuisine. You won't have Wi-Fi or cell service on these boats, so you'll have plenty of time to snap beautiful photos.
Foodie — Get In Muh Belly!
Many of us travel to eat and culinary tourism is booming. There are food-tastic destinations everywhere and (if you know where to look), you'll find yourself overwhelmed with the sites and smells of local cuisine. Food-based vacations are becoming more popular thanks to social media (here's looking at you Tasty Recipe videos) and the public's desire for real-life experiences.
New Orleans has plenty to offer, from beignets and gumbo to po'boys and French-African fusion cuisine. Famous chefs like Emeril Lagasse and Susan Spicer have opened restaurants in New Orleans because of the fantastic food scene. If you're looking for fresh seafood, fried deliciousness and Creole-Cajun infusion, look no further than the Big Easy.
The street food in Georgetown, Malaysia is some of the best in the world. Don't let the size of this island, which is a few hours north of Malaysia's capital, fool you — the amount of flavor available is insane. Whether you're a carnivore or an herbivore, your tastebuds will feel anything but deprived.
There are plenty of exciting dishes to sample, from nasi kandar (a curry-based meat or veggie dish) and mee goreng (cuttlefish and potatoes with noodles) to assam laksa (a spicy fish-based soup). Most of the food in Georgetown is healthy, so you won't have to worry about adding inches to your waistline.
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