Hot Destinations and Travel trends for 2017

We ran the numbers and quizzed travelers to get some insight on where Nomads are heading in 2017.

The top international destinations for US residents? Thailand, Cuba, Peru and Mexico.

Thailand and Nepal led the pack for long-duration trips (4-5 weeks). With the death of its beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thailand will be in official mourning until Oct. 2017 … but look for the country to make up for lost time once the black clothing is put away.

The hot list:

Iran:

While the tourism infrastructure is lacking, the country is making a concerted effort to open its arms to visitors. And with its ancient ruins, friendly locals, and incredible food and culture, it’s time to welcome the embrace. It should be noted, though, that some Iranian-Americans have run into serious issues when traveling in Iran.

Greenland:

Hot springs and dog sledding, scuba diving(!) and kayaking, skiing and hiking, plus a mixture of Inuit and Norse cultures, lit by a midnight sun and northern lights. Oh, and Greenland is melting, so you might want to prioritize this one.

Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California, Mexico:

About a 90-minute drive from the San Diego/Tijuana border is Mexico’s Napa Valley: the Valle de Guadalupe. Rustic and rural, you’ll find dozens of wineries here, from major players to a number of mom y papi operations. You’ll also find amazing farm-to-table restaurants like Laja and Corazon de Tierra, as well as super-cool lodgings in post-modern “pods” at Encuentro Guadalupe.

Piran, Slovenia:

Get to know your next First Lady a little better with a trip to her home country. And this medieval gem of a town (population 5,000) is the perfect starting point. With its mash-up of Byzantine and Gothic architecture, it’s reminiscent of Venice, which sits across the Adriatic from Piran, a three-hour ferry ride away. In fact, Piran was part of the Venetian Republic for nearly 500 years and boasts an impressive array of historic churches, squares and palaces, not to mention a stout wall defending the city (no doubt paid for by invading Ottomans).

Serbia:

Serbia has doubled its tourism to 1 million visits a year and it plans to forge ahead with even more growth. And events like the EXIT Festival, one of Europe’s best music gatherings (held in a 17th century fortress along the Danube), are helping to drive the traffic.

South Africa:

The upside of economic troubles is that the Rand is poorly valued, and the place is really cheap. Great scenery, wild game, beaches … it has it all.

Colombia:

While the peace agreement failed to pass, Colombia’s Caribbean coast, including Santa Marta and Cartagena, continue to be safe – and alluring – for travelers.

The No-Go list:

  • Turkey: War on its borders, terror attacks, and a failed coup with a strong-arm response have led the US Department of State to issue a Turkey Travel Warning. The warning states: “S. citizens should avoid travel to southeast Turkey and carefully consider the risks of travel to and throughout the country.”
  • Venezuela: Rampant inflation, shortages of food and medicine, roiling civil strife … Venezuela is teetering on the brink of becoming a failed state.
  • Egypt: On top of all its recent troubles there are food shortages and the currency has been devalued by 50 percent. Lots of angry, hungry, desperate young men. Not a good place to go.
  • Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon: The 2014 kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls by the terrorist group Boko Haram shocked the world. Most of the girls are still missing and Boko Haram is still a serious threat in these countries. It killed more people in 2015 than any other outlawed group, including ISIS.

Must-Dos:

  • Total Solar Eclipse, Aug. 21, 2017: America will be making eclipses great again with the so-called Great American Eclipse, the first total eclipse to be seen from mainland USA since 1979. It will traverse across 10 states, from Oregon to South Carolina; it will also be fully seen in Iceland, Scotland and Ireland.
  • European Capitals of Culture 2017: Aarhus, Denmark, and Paphos, Cyprus, are the Euro Capitals of Culture for 2017, with a full lineup of scheduled events and exhibitions.

Trends:

  • Gap-year travel: Malia Obama is part of the growing trend of taking time off to explore the world either before or after going to college. According to a survey by hostel booking site Hostelworld.com, 50 percent of respondents under age 30 would consider taking a gap year before or after college.
  • Ancestry travel: The growing popularity of DNA testing to trace your ancestry has fired a trend of traveling to those countries that spring up in the family tree.

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