Whether it’s fatigue from 2016 or the changing political climate, the new year promises to be a banner year for travel with nearly one-third of American adults saying they are more likely to take time off this year compared to 2016, according to a recent AAA survey.
Overall, 42 percent of Americans are planning to take a vacation in 2017 – with most planning trips to the warm weather destinations in the U.S. and abroad. And while flight prices are predicted to be 8 percent higher than last year, they are still down 9 percent compared to two years ago, according to Hopper.
“There is a lot of pent-up demand for travel in the new year,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president of travel and publishing, in a release. “Whether they’re taking a road trip to a well-known domestic destination or visiting an exotic international locale, today’s travelers are seeking experiences that are unique and immersive.”
But where to go in the new year? From the best in travel experts, here are 2017’s top travel destinations and trends.
Thanks to the addition of commercial flights to Cuba for the first time in 50 years, interest to the island nation skyrocketed, with travel experts reporting a 191 percent increase in searches in this year over last. To capitalize on this this momentum, many airlines are also offering flash sales to Cuba.
“Havana has dominated headlines over this past year, so between that and increased accessibility, we weren’t surprised to see it take the top spot on the list,” according to ReservationBooth.
America’s northern neighbor is continuing to have quite the year. Between being named both the Lonely Planet’s and the New York Times’ top travel destination for 2017.
In addition to the strong buying power of the dollar fueling the country’s popularity, it is the country’s 150th birthday. Experts recommend traveling to destinations where the dollar continues to be strong, so if poutine and the great outdoors don’t do it for you, consider the savings.
Due to a rise in cheap flights to Europe, as well as an extensive marketing campaign, the country of Iceland is still a tourist favorite in 2017.
“Reykjavik continues to be a hot spot – it has placed on the top trending destinations list for our last two Travel Hacker Guides,” says Solomito. This year, the island nation grabbed the number two spot on ReservationBooth’s annual list, with a 77 percent increase in year-over-year searches.
“There are many reasons why Reykjavik continues to trend, from Icelandair’s free stopover offer to the country’s breathtaking beauty (which will make you feel like you’re on another plant!) to the diverse range of experiences – volcanoes, hot springs and geysers,” “Not to mention – it’s a quick flight from the East Coast!”
The Emerald Isle is also benefiting from low-cost flights. AAA predicts the island will be especially of interest as it is a previously unexplored destination in Europe that is perceived as safe.
Cork, Ireland is also the new darling of low cost airlines, making it an affordable hop from the East Coast , reports Cheapflights.com.
“Whether you prefer churches, castles and old-world architecture, a bustling and scenic waterfront, or popping into pubs and fish and chips shops, County Cork has you covered,” said Cheapflights.com. “A visit to Cork’s English Market, which dates back to 1788, is a feast for the senses.”
New Zealand and Australia
From Auckland to Sydney, the land down under is trending for 2017. While New Zealand’s boom is thanks in part to a strong dollar, the two countries are also benefiting from new flight routes.
“In the last year and a half, several new routes to both cities have opened, offering more options, and often times, lower cost,” says Solomito. “And good news for travelers looking to book a trip to Auckland – the New Zealand Dollar is on the decline, so now is the time to go to stretch your dollar. On the reverse, the Australian dollar is on the rise, but that doesn’t appear to be slowing down interest!”
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