Where are People Going This Year?

The month of January is a crazy one in the travel industry!  People are ready to begin planning their next 12 months of travel, so I get to see the travel trends of the year pretty early.  People are stepping out of their box a bit….looking for new destinations and rediscovering old ones.  Here is what is hot from my perspective:

  • Dominican Republic, Dominican Republic, Dominican Republic!!!  I cannot say this enough!!  The DR (and more specifically, Punta Cana) offers golden sand beaches, a plethora of upscale all-inclusives, and a price to match almost anyone’s budget.  This Caribbean Island is a great value – it prices between Mexico and Jamaica for Midwestern travelers.  It is my go-to all-inclusive destination.
  • Hawaii.  The beautiful islands of Hawaii are back in style!!  This trend began last year and is continuing through this year.  Hawaiian travel sales are up and the destination is hot.hot.hot! It’s paradise without the passport!
  • Italy.  What can I say……we are fascinated with Italian food, wine and culture!  Italy seems to be on everyone’s bucket list.  My clients want to see the majors:  Florence, Rome and Venice, but also want to get a bit off the beaten path and explore small towns and enjoy private guides and upscale wine tastings.  Italy never fails to disappoint!!
  • St. Lucia.  Although St. Lucia can be pricey as far as Caribbean islands go, it offers many of the dramatic scenery and activities as Hawaii without the crazy long flight from the Midwest.  Many of my honeymoon clients list St. Lucia as their first choice for a romantic destination.
  • Chile.  From vineyards to desert to rugged peaks to ancient civilizations on Easter Island, Chile offers exploration opportunities to many different kinds of travelers.  Midwestern travelers are beginning to broaden their horizons to include the South American destinations.  Resorts in Patagonia offer all-inclusive packages with food, drinks and adventures all at one cost.
  • Costa Rica.  The land of Pura Vida—pure life!!  Costa Rica offers waterfalls, butterflies, volcanoes, monkeys, and great surfing!  It is soft adventure at its finest!!  Costa Rica offers all-inclusive hotels in Papagayo, yoga retreats in the cloud forest, hanging bridges in Arenal and dramatic sea views in Guanacaste.  This is one of my favorite destinations
  • River Cruising.  Although this is not technically a destination, one could surmise that the ships themselves are a destination.  Many river cruising vessels offer even more amenities to discerning travelers.  Amenities such as complimentary wine and beer with lunch and dinner, champagne with breakfast, complimentary bikes for shore excursions, complimentary excursions, bigger rooms, balconies, swimming pools, and swim up bars are offered.  River Cruises allow travelers to visit destinations at their leisure and at their own pace.  River cruises give easy access to small towns and villages in the interior of Europe, Asia and South America.  They give a sense of exploration but with the comfort of packing and unpacking once .  These small ships sell out quickly, so one must plan at least a year in advance.

Up and Coming:

  • Burma.  This Asian country just north of Thailand has been getting a lot of travel-friendly press lately.  Our Asian specialist has gotten many inquiries about this hot destination.  Stay tuned for more from this spectacular country!
  •  Belize.  This little country used to be simply a diver’s haven offering little more in accommodations than a few dive hotels (and I do mean dive).  In the last couple of years, we have seen more hotels pop up – including the fabulous Turtle Inn by Frances Ford Coppola.
  • Eastern Europe.  Many European travelers are beginning to look to Eastern Europe with its rich musical, art and social history.  Eastern Europe offers a taste of the east combined with European accessibility.  Although Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Dubrovnic and Montenegro are not new to the travel scene, more Midwest travelers are becoming intrigued with these destinations.  Stay tuned for more from this historical destination.