Happy New Year, travelers! Now that the craziness of 2016 has passed, it's time for a fresh start and some new goals for the year. And while I'm all about visualizing and writing down your life, love and career goals, this blog is called The Globe Getter so, of course, I'm focusing on travel goals.
Every year, several of the most well-known travel publications and outlets share the places they think you should visit in 2017. From the New York Times travel section, to Travel + Leisure magazine and a bunch of others in between, these lists provide great motivation and fun possibilities for where to go.
Well, I've decided to jump on the bandwagon and share 10 destinations I think should be on your travel bucket list this year. Most of the places below are based partly on my personal travel experiences but also broader circumstances. So, let's get to it:
It feels to me like everyone and their mother is talking about Portugal right now but that's because it's very much worth talking about. This country has so much going for it — a great location by the water, beautiful places like Lisbon, Porto and the Douro Valley, amazing food, a stunning coastline and it's affordable! It's like a win-win-win-win-win situation. Plus, a few months ago TAP Portugal introduced free multi-day stopovers, so if you book with them, you can stop in Portugal on your way to and from another destination. More winning.
2. South Africa
Let's be real – South Africa is a destination to visit every year, and I don't just mean Cape Town, though that gorgeous slice of the world is very much worth seeing. I also highly recommend seeing Johannesburg, Kruger, Durban (haven't made it here yet but it's on my list), the Blyde River Canyon area and wherever else you can go. I've always felt South Africa is one of those places that just sticks to your bones and seeps in. Sort of a weird description but I mean it in the best way possible; going there stays with you.
My main reason for recommending Chicago as a place to visit in 2017 mostly centers around food. The restaurant scene is only getting better, and it feels like a great time to check out everything the city has to offer. I traveled to Chicago for the first time last year and was blown away by how delicious everything was that I tried. There simply wasn't enough time or room in my stomach to get to all the places I wanted to, but all the more reason to return there soon. So, go while you can, preferably when you won't feel guilty about breaking your New Year's resolution to eat only salads.
4. United Kingdom
This is an unsurprising suggestion since we all know (or should know) the British pound is extremely low right now. And when there's a low British pound, that means your money goes further (unless you live in the UK, in which case, sorry). Another reason to visit the UK — there's so much going on! London has a bunch of new hotels and restaurants opening up and, if you head north to cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow, you'll have the opportunity to check out the many events and festivals taking place. Or, you can just go on a haggis binge; whatever works for you.
5. South Florida
Yes, I am being super biased, seeing as how I'm originally from this area, but I truly believe this pocket of Florida is an amazing place to visit right now. Miami is not the Miami of 10 years ago – not even close. For starters, there's some really good restaurants that have popped up. Then, you have all those fancy hotels, and on top of that, the art scene is really happening in a non-boring way. But, I also recommend not staying in Miami. Head north to places like Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Las Olas and Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach for some different options of things to do. Go now while you can.
The Philippines is a place that is often overlooked from a tourism perspective when compared to other Asian countries like China, Thailand and Japan. In part, I think, because Filipino food is not as mainstream in the Western world. But the fact is, while those other countries are definitely worth seeing, the Philippines should be bumped to the top of your list. The culture is fascinating, the people are mostly friendly and there's the beautiful island of Palawan, which will only be discovered and visited by more tourists as time goes on.
Confession: I've never been to Chile. In fact, I've never been to South America, but I included Chile on my list, partly for selfish reasons (it's high on my 2017 bucket list) and partly because I hadn't realized until recently how much there is to do in Chile. From its capital of Santiago to the Atacama Desert in the north to Patagonia in the south and all the places in between, Chile feels really underrated right now. Also, did you know you can travel to Antarctica from Punta Arenas, Chile? I found that to be a cool fun fact and another reason to visit.
8. US Virgin Islands
Besides being a beautiful and relaxing Caribbean destination, my main reason for including the US Virgin Islands as a place to visit in 2017 is because, apparently, you will get paid if you go there. According to reports, travelers who stay at least three consecutive nights in St, Thomas, St. John and/or St. Croix will get $300 in spending credits for tours and activities in the US Virgin Islands. You have to book before October 1 and visit in the 2017 calendar year. Sounds like a great reason to go, don't you think?
I'm always up for visiting Italy but, in particular, I think folks should head to two specific parts of the country: 1. Puglia and 2. Erbusco. I visited Puglia last year for a friend's wedding and immediately loved it. Rather than going south where most tourists go, I headed to the northern part of the region where spoken English is minimal but the scenery is gorgeous and the people are warm. I also got the opportunity to visit Alberobello and Polignano a Mare, two places in Puglia that are well worth seeing. Then there's Erbusco, which is in northern Italy about an hour outside of Milan. What I love about this area is the fact that it's the home of Franciacorta. Franciacorta refers to both the wine region and the sparkling wine itself and is a great place to visit for anyone who loves wine as much as I do (which is a lot).
10. New York
I've called New York City my home for more than a decade and very much believe it's worth visiting in 2017. You have all the changes happening downtown with Oculus, Brookfield Place and the Westfield Mall. Then there's the new 2nd Avenue subway, which probably isn't exciting for tourists but, trust me, it's a big deal and you should probably see it before it becomes dilapidated. There's also great things happening in places outside of NYC, like in the areas surrounding the city and the regions up north, including the Finger Lakes and Buffalo. New York is much more than the Big Apple, and I encourage anyone who comes this way this year to get out of Manhattan and Brooklyn and venture out. You won't regret it!
Of course, as a traveler and blogger, I want people to travel wherever their heart desires, but in case you're looking for places to add to your 2017 bucket list, hopefully these 10 destinations gave you some ideas to get you started.
What's on your 2017 travel bucket list?