It’s that time of the year again, as 2017 comes to a close we are looking to the future and already planning trips for the New Year. To help everyone plan the best vacation possible, we put together a list of some of our favorite destinations, as selected by our talented team of bloggers, highlighting spots around the world. From cities close to home to more far flung locales, here are the travel destinations we think should be at the top of everyone’s 2018 travel wish list.
Philadelphia is arguably the most important historical city in America. Inside Independence Hall is where our country was born. It is here our founding fathers wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence. Afterwards, our Constitution was also formed inside its walls. It is humbling to stand in the shadows of our nation's greatest heroes. Independence Hall is the main highlight of any historical trip to Philadelphia. However, the city has more fun and historical spots like the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross house, and the Benjamin Franklin Museum. Philadelphia is a prime spot for a historical vacation and also a great city to explore in its own right.
If you’re looking for a big dose of Americana, historic Route 66 is the road trip for you. The original route opened on November 11, 1926 connecting Chicago to Santa Monica along 2,448 miles of roadway. Over the years portions of the original route were replaced by interstates and America’s Main Street began to decline. Fortunately, in recent decades Historic Route 66 has been revived by communities along the route. Neon signs, Mom & Pop eateries, kitschy roadside motor inns and historic Route 66 markers serve as a reminder of days gone by along the “Mother Road of America.”
I never could resist quirky roadside attractions and Route 66 delivers them in abundance. You can catch the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle in Collinsville, Illinois, the World’s (second) Largest Rocking Chair in Fanning, Missouri, and plenty of old style gas stations. Be sure to make a stop at the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo—a public art spectacle where 10 classic Cadillac cars are buried nose down in the ground.
Being home of Mount Kilimanjaro – the tallest mountain in Africa – and the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania is coming up as a prime destination for safaris and adventure. The Serengeti is considered as one of the top places to see the Big Five – the five most dangerous land animals. If you’re in decent physical condition, you can dedicate a week to hike Mount Kilimanjaro as it is one of the easiest Seven Summits in the world. On the other hand, Tanzania also offers a lot of relaxation along its shores and the island of Zanzibar. Beautiful white sand beaches surround Zanzibar, but beyond their beauty, it is also interesting to see the local ladies picking up seaweed during low tide to use them as a prime material for several products and food.
Ready to take your baby on their first international foray, but not up to the idea of a long trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific flight? Canada has got you covered. This place has everything from historic forts to cosmopolitan cities and gorgeous natural beauty, so get ready to pick your own adventure. One recommendation? Visit Quebec.
Quebec provides a taste of European travel without having to leave North America. With rich French heritage and culture, gorgeous cities and buildings that are hundreds of years old, you will really feel somewhere foreign. The province hosts over 400 festivals a year, so there is always something going on to keep you entertained.
The Catalonia region has some impressive food cities like Barcelona, but don’t discount smaller cities like Girona. Girona is the heart of the Costa Brava region and the gateway to some of the best Spanish and Catalan cuisine around. You’ll also find this is where some of the top restaurants and chefs are located as well. Girona is where you’ll find El Celler de Can Roca, the current #2 (previously #1) restaurant in the world on San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Plan far ahead for this one – the waiting list can exceed a year in some cases, but it’s worth the wait!
Parrot Cay has possibly the best spa in the Caribbean, with therapists hand-picked for their individual talents. This means alongside popular spa options you’ll find atypical curative therapies like an Indonesian Massage, Indian Head Massage, a variety of Ayurvedic treatments and hyper focused therapies for areas like the eyes and neck. Along with the healing spa services is an available spa menu with wellness juices, exciting salads and mains like soba noodles topped with raw tuna and avocado, and spicy lentil curry. Get fit with daily yoga and pilates classes, or opt for a multi-day onsite yoga retreat (offered at certain times of the year). Whether you choose the healthy add-ons or not, all guests over 16 get free use of the fitness center, pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room.
If you have your heart set on a relaxing beach vacation, consider taking the leap over to Hawaii. Yes, the flight is long, especially from the East Coast, but you won't find anywhere else in the United States with such stunning beaches, tropical weather, and laid back culture. In Hawaii you can lay by the rolling ocean with a pile of shaved ice and just relax in a way you probably won't be able to for the next 18 years
Not sure which island to choose? Oahu has the bigger cities, while the Big Island and Kauai are less populated and more centered on nature. Maui is a nice mix of development and untouched beauty. All of them have fabulous beaches and resorts to relax in.
You really can't go wrong with a Caribbean getaway; however, for those looking for paradise outside of rainy season, the Exuma Cays are where it's at. Located about 30 minutes from Nassau (mainland Bahamas) or 90 minutes from Miami (Florida) by airplane, the Exumas contain 365 cays and islands worth exploring. Along with translucent sapphire blue waters and white sand beaches, you'll find unusual experiences like swimming with pigs at Big Major Spot Cay, hand-feeding stingrays on Stocking Island, swimming with nurse sharks at Compass Cay and snorkeling in Thunderball Grotto, James Bond's hidden lair in Never Say Never Again and Thunderball. Moreover, there are seemingly endless opportunities for swimming, snorkeling and diving in the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, a protected area containing 176 square miles of islands and dazzling waterways.
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A luxury adventure traveler at heart, Matt Long shares his experiences with thousands of readers every day through his travel blog, LandLopers.com. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Matt is a Washington, DC based travel writer/photographer and has been featured on many other web sites and publications including BBC Travel, CNN GO, Huffington Post, AFAR Magazine and National Geographic Intelligent Travel. His work is also syndicated on the Flipboard and Pulse apps. Follow Matt on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Google Plus.
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