With our fingers firmly set on the pulse of travel trends, combined with our ever-growing pursuit of travel knowledge, our agency has a unique view on which countries are attracting more visitors and why. Here are four countries which are peaking at the right time, making them very desirable destinations for 2015.
Croatia – With more than a thousand miles of coastline set on calm, cerulean waters, finely preserved historic towns such as Dubrovnik and Split, dramatic mountains and world-class wines, Croatia’s gifts are many. The celebrated nation on the Adriatic Sea is also seeing a rise in tourism connected with HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” which is partially filmed there.
Portugal – For a country so small, Portugal has a lot going for it. Visitors worldwide come to this nation, sandwiched lovingly by Spain and the Atlantic, for its lively culture and rich cuisine; outstanding array of beaches, from stylish to secluded; hilltop fortresses; and an alluring landscape. With our current strong dollar, visiting countries like Portugal and her neighbors has become a very cost effective choice.
Maldives – A dazzling collection of more than a thousand islands crisscrossing the equator in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are what many people envision when they think of paradise. Visitors come here to relax on the most pristine beaches in the world, explore world-famous dive spots and simply forget that the rest of the world exists.
Morocco – Exotic, historic and accessible (it’s only a seven-hour flight from NYC), Morocco checks off all of the boxes for an intriguing holiday destination. Your time here trekking through the High Atlas Mountains, navigating the labyrinthine medinas and savoring the sights and sounds of the busy streets will be forever etched in your memories.
For centuries, people have visited the islands of aloha for basically the same reasons: vibrant beaches, verdant mountains, lively volcanoes and ancient culture. Yet that doesn’t stop this American slice of paradise from trying to improve itself. Here are the latest enhancements that will have travelers returning to live the island life.
Molokai Now More Accessible – There are no mega-resorts on friendly, little Molokai island, which has long been an attraction to backpackers and snorkelers who could brave the long ferry ride. Thankfully, Mokulele Airlines has introduced new routes to the island from both Oahu and Maui, opening up this unspoiled island to a new generation of travelers.
Resorts – Multi-million dollar renovations are happening across the islands, adding luxury, space and style to such popular resorts as Maui’s Hotel Wailea and Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, and Oahu’s Spa and Turtle Bay Resort and Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort, the latter of which will add an on-site apiary to house 80,000 honey-producing bees. Attractions & Activities – The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is now offering the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park as a new offsite venue for groups, where your event could also include exclusive access to the USS Arizona Memorial’s two museums and theaters. At the recently-opened Maui Hawaiian Village, you can learn how native Hawaiians have thrived for generations. And the always-dazzling Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art just opened the Mughal Suite at Shangri La to the public for the first time, showcasing private living quarters inspired by the Taj Mahal.
As travel consultants, we try to give our clients plenty of time to thoroughly explore each destination. However, because vacation days are valuable and should be made the most of, we understand that sometimes you want to jam as many sites into one journey as you can, even if that leaves you with just one day to spend in a major city. In that case, follow these tips the next time you have one day to capture the essence of your destination.
Split Up – Traveling in large groups is great when you have the time to plan accordingly. But in a new city, where everyone has different ideas about what they want to accomplish, it’s wiser to split up in teams and conquer. Just think of all the fun stories you’ll share once the group reconnects!
Hop On and Off – Many larger cities feature a hop-on/hop-off bus system that connects all of the major sites for a fair price, making it super easy to get around.
Ask Around – While on your journey, ask vendors and shop keepers if there are any rare local events on tap for the day. If so, try to catch the event—be it a festival or even a farmer’s market—to experience an authentic, non-touristy part of city life.
Skip the Big Restaurants – Eating local food from small cafés or street vendors not only gives you savory insights into the city’s culture and cuisine, but also saves you a ton of time for more exploration.
Erase Most of Your Must-See List – Look at your must-see list, pick the two places that are the most important, and erase the rest. This gives you the time you need to follow your heart and see where the day takes you, which often leads to our most memorable moments when traveling.
So you want to see the world. Like, all of it. Congratulations, you can, thanks to several cruise lines that offer around-the-world itineraries. One ship, one cabin, one million adventures to be had and sights to be seen at exotic ports of call around the world. It’s a chance to tick off every destination on your bucket list, write a second bucket list, and then check those off too.
But is an around-the-world cruise right for you? There are some things you should know before you go, such as you’ll need time to enjoy this cruise. Most circumnavigating cruises take four months to complete, sometimes longer, typically beginning in January. You can choose to participate in only segments of the itinerary, such as one month straight, but it’s a better value (and a better story) if you choose to cruise for the whole shebang.
You will not awaken to a new port every day. At some ports, your ship will stay for up to three overnights, giving you plenty of time to explore the city. And on sea days, your ship will simply ply the open waters without land in sight, giving you all the time you need to recover from dancing at that salsa club in Buenos Aires until three in the morning. You can also spend these days attending lectures and wine tastings, taking an exercise class or watching a Broadway show, if those things interest you.
As you can see, you will have many options during your voyage. These options also include time to email friends and family to stay connected, and medical assistance (and evacuation if necessary) in case of illness, so all of your emotional and physical needs will be met. The secret on such a long cruise is pacing. Never try to jam too many activities into one day, because you have more time and opportunity on the morrow.
So, are you up for an around-the-world cruise? If you would like more information about the various world cruise options, or the shorter segment durations, please feel free to give us a call.
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