If travel is on your to-do list for the New Year, but you aren’t sure where to go, we’ve got you covered. From a domestic foodie-haven to a country where tradition and modernity coexist, these are the 17 places to travel in 2017.
Why: Cuba has been all the buzz since President Obama loosened restrictions, and the interest is still going strong. Though only 90 miles from the United States, Cuba feels like you’re going back in time with the 1950s cars and laid-back lifestyle. And as companies look to add new hotels and shops, travelers are eager to beat the rush and experience authentic Cuba. Travel to Cuba still must fall in certain categories, most often People-to-people. During a trip you get to engage with locals, dine at charming paladars , and truly experience the Cuban culture.
Stay: Properties vary depending on dates and itinerary
Why: Japan is a country like no other. It’s rich history peacefully contrasts with modern lifestyle in a way that can only be described as “wa” — which literally means harmony. Though Tokyo and Kyoto are top on everyone’s list, Japan’s lesser known cities (easily accessible by bullet trains) allow you to experience the deeply rooted traditions with fewer crowds. Kobe is known for Kobe beef — of course! — and is also Japan’s top sake-producing area. Nara has many UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as deer that will bow back to you. Sapporo has an ice festival and Mt. Fuji has great climbing and outdoor activities.
3. SOUTH AFRICA
Why: Two things about South Africa:
Why: Our neighbor to the north isn’t just beautiful — it’s on sale! Canada is another destination where the US Dollar makes it much more affordable. If you’re into culinary and culture, head to Montreal. 2017 marks the city’s 375th birthday, so travelers can take part in the year of celebrations. For outdoor adventures, Western Canada with Canadian Mountain Holidays is the place to go. The Bugaboos have incredible scenery and plenty of activities — from heli-skiing in the winter to hiking in the summer. (See our Top 10 Experiences here !)
Why: Cartagena has been an exciting destination for a few years, but many travelers still haven’t made the trek to Colombia. Good news for those who have and haven’t been – there is even MORE to see in this country. Bogota has a vibrant culinary scene, fascinating museums, and great shopping. For a longer trip, add the Cocora Valley, Medellin, or Cali (the “Salsa capital of the world!”).
Why: You can’t help but fall in love with Portugal’s picturesque towns, mouthwatering cuisine, and vibrant culture. This small country that once ruled the world doesn’t have the huge crowds of other Western European countries and is easy to explore. Porto and the Duoro Valley in the north have plenty of vineyards and wines to taste. In Lisbon, the art and cultural scene can only be matched by the gastronomic movement. And the coastline offers incredible views of the Atlantic as you hike, horseback ride, or bike along the cliffs.
Why: If you love beer or wine, you will love Oregon! Portland has a vibrant craft brewery scene — and by vibrant we mean the most breweries of any city in. the. world. You could spend weeks there trying all the local flavors. And if wine is more your scene, the Willamette Valley is less than an hour away from Portland. Without the crowds of Napa, you can enjoy tasting pinot noir and stay at charming properties like the Allison Inn & Spa.
Stay: The Allison Inn & Spa; the Nines, a Luxury Collection Hotel – Portland
Why: Chile could be on this list year after year, since this 2600+ mile country has more to do than a single trip can suffice. Many travelers are drawn to Santiago, the wine country, and stunning Patagonia, but the desert and lake district are not to be missed. To the north lies the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world, that offers incredible, unpolluted views of the stars. In the lake district, Chiloe island is still one of the most undiscovered areas of the country. The second largest island in South America, Chiloe has lush green forests, a lot of wildlife, and over 120 churches.
Why: A trip to Australia is on just about everyone’s bucket list. So why is it a must-see for 2017? Well for starters, it is about the size of the US, so it will take several trips to see it all. Kangaroo Island is a must – think California coastal wine country meets South Island of New Zealand and add kangaroos. For a romantic escape, Orpheus Island is the place to go. And if you’re a wine enthusiast, South Australia has fantastic wine regions plus incredible star gazing and gorgeous coastlines.
Stay: Lifetime Private Retreats on Kangaroo Island; Orpheus Island; Park Hyatt Sydney
10. SRI LANKA
Why: Sri Lanka is coming out of the shadow of it’s sister to the north, India. With a rich 2000 year history, the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” has so much to see and do — wildlife spotting, tea-plantation exploring, beach relaxing, history learning, and more. And as an up-and-coming destination, this island still has natural beauty that will make you fall in love ( just like this Brownell Traveler ).
Why: For people who have been just about everywhere, Antarctica is often the last continent to cross off the bucket list. A trip to Antarctica isn’t just for expedition travelers — our travel partners like Seabourn make exploring Antarctica accessible to everyone. If you’re making the trek to the end of the world, we recommend allowing plenty of time to see South Georgia as well. This island is the largest breeding ground for King Penguins. Imagine: penguins as far as the eye can see!
Why: TLC may urge you not to “ go chasing waterfalls ,” but when in Guatemala, it is a must. This Central American country is close to home yet many travelers have yet to explore its beautiful landscape, culture, and ruins. For adventure, swim in the pools formed by the falls at Semuc Champey and Los Siete Altares, or hike to the mighty Chilascó Waterfall, one of the tallest in Central America. You can also explore Mayan ruins in Tikal, El Mirador, and Yaxha.
Stay: La Lancha
13. UNITED KINGDOM
Why: The US Dollar is stronger against the GBP than it has been in over a decade, so the United Kingdom is more accessible than ever. London with all its history, shopping, and culture is always a good spot, but many travelers want to venture beyond the big city. The Cotswolds, Wales, and Scotland (calling all Outlander fans!) are great spots outside of London for families, couples, friends – anyone!
Stay: Gleneagles – Scotland ; Barnsley House – The Cotswolds; Bodysgallen Hall – Wales
14. USA WEST
Why: Between Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado, there are so many gorgeous guest ranches that offer stunning scenery, fresh mountain air, and fun outdoor activities for travelers of all ages. Ultra-lux ranches like The Ranch at Rock Creek or T he Resort at Paws Up have all the comforts of a 5-star hotel, perfect for multigenerational family trips. There are also many smaller options that your Brownell Advisor can recommend based on your needs.
Why: Bermuda often gets lumped in with Caribbean, but its actually around 650 miles off the coast of North Carolina in the Atlantic Ocean. This British Territory has beautiful, crystal-clear waters, gorgeous pink-sand beaches, pastel buildings, and is Zika-free. Many East Coast hubs (Atlanta, DC, Boston, New York, Charlotte, Miami) have direct flights that get travelers to paradise in less than three hours. And as host of the 35th America’s Cup in July, Bermuda has been updating, renovating, and revamping restaurants, hotels, and shops around the island in preparation.
Why: If the words “ I like to move it, move it ” immediately bring visions of dancing lemurs to mind, you know a little about Madagascar. But did you know its a country that you should actually visit? Whether paired with another country in Africa or by itself, Madagascar is a dream. More than 80% of the animals and plants are native to the island – calling all wildlife enthusiasts! Beyond the wildlife, Madagascar has blends Asian- and African-influence to create a feel that is as unique to the island as the flora and fauna.
Stay: Anjajav y L’Hotel
Why: Charleston , with its award-winning dining scene, Southern-charm, and Lowcountry luxury, is a fan favorite. Perfect for a long weekend away or a weeklong stay, travelers are smitten with the pastel buildings, secret gardens, and history. Charleston has experienced a boom in popularity ( it was named the #1 city in the world by Travel + Leisure after all! ), so new restaurants, shops, and activities are popping up around the city. And of course, you can easily access the beach and water for a taste of adventure.