2012 Hottest Destinations

From sea to outer space, check out our picks for the hottest travel destinations in 2012.

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World Bodypainting Festival
World Bodypainting Festival

World Bodypainting Festival

Since 1998, Carinthia, Austria, has hosted the colorful World Bodypainting Festival. Artists from more than 40 different nations do their best to stun, entertain and win the title of “World’s Best Bodypainter.” In addition to workshops and demos, the 3-day festival also includes music concerts, a Runway & Body Art Fashion Show and fireworks synchronized to music. 960 1280

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Queenstown Winter Festival

Queenstown Winter Festival

More than 45,000 people flock to Queenstown, New Zealand, for perhaps the biggest winter celebration in the southern hemisphere -- the Queenstown Winter Festival. Since 1975, this gold mining camp, turned sophisticated city, comes alive during balmy, but cool temps (44°F - 46°F) in June. The 10-day celebration of winter has more than 75 events, including ski races, ski jumping, colorful parades and exhibitions. 960 1280

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Gay Pride Month

Gay Pride Month

June is Gay Pride Month. Make a trip out of the annual LGBT celebration and travel to World Gay Pride, held in a different location every year like Rome, London and Toronto. Head to San Francisco for the largest Pride festival and parade in the US, or save your money and pack your bags for Sao Paulo, which hosts the largest Gay Pride celebration in the world. 960 1280

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Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic

Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic

Soar to new heights in California’s beautiful Wine Country. The Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic draws thousands of people to this 2-day event in Windsor, CA. On Saturday and Sunday, set your alarm clock early to make sure you’re awake to catch approximately 30 colorful balloons launch around 6:30am. 960 1280

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Chicago Blues Festival

Chicago Blues Festival

Chicago is the place to visit in June, especially if you’re a fan of the blues. The Chicago Blues Festival is the largest free blues music festival in the world. During 3 days, more than 500,000 people converge on Grant Park to hear well-renown performers like B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, KoKo Taylor and Otis Rush (pictured) perform on the festival’s 5 stages. 960 1280

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Dragon Boat Races

Dragon Boat Races

Visit Hong Kong to experience the excitement of the Duanwu Festival, celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar. The Festival includes dragon boat races in Aberdeen -- one of the first places to host these races in Hong Kong. Fishermen believe that rowing dragon boats during the Duanwu Festival will bring them luck. 960 1280

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Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

From indie rock to reggae, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, draws thousands of fans to hear notable acts like Bob Dylan, Arcade Fire, Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z, Tool, The Beach Boys and The White Stripes. During this 4-day music festival, bands, rappers, musicians and singers perform from around noon until 4am or later at Great Stage Park, which is located on a 700-acre farm. 960 1280

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Midsummer Festival

Midsummer Festival

Apart from Christmas, the Midsummer Festival is the most important holiday on the Swedish calendar. Flowers in your hair, dancing around a maypole, singing songs while drinking schnapps and eating pickled herring is all part of this special celebration. We recommend visiting Leksand to experience the largest midsummer festival in Sweden. 960 1280

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Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Explore the incredible Inca ruins of Peru’s Machu Picchu, often called “Lost city of the Incas.” Take an adventurous climb to see the Temple of Condor and Sun Gate -- the end point for the Inca Trail. Visit in June to take advantage of the dry season and to avoid the heavy crowds in July and August. 960 1280

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Father's Day

Father's Day

Don’t forget about Dad this month. Spend some extra time with your father figure by planning a trip to go fly fishing, rock climbing or skydiving. For a getaway minus the adrenaline-pumping thrills, we have a few Father’s Day travel ideas like a brewery tour in Portland, OR, or game of golf in Myrtle Beach, SC. 960 1280

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Glastonbury Music Festival

Glastonbury Music Festival

Since 1970, music fans and art lovers have swarmed to Pilton, Somerset, England, to attend the Glastonbury Festival. Only 1,500 people attended the first festival, and today more than 170,000 people flock to Worthy Farm -- owned by festival organizer Michael Eavis -- to hear leading pop and rock artists as well as other forms of art, including dance, comedy, theater, circus and cabaret. 960 1280

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Gettysburg Fest

Gettysburg Fest

The Battle of Gettysburg -- the bloodiest battle in American history -- is known as the turning point in the American Civil War. Today, locals and tourists don’t have to be history buffs to enjoy the annual Gettysburg Fest. This 5-day festival has more than 50 live performances on 7 stages, 7 art shows, culinary experiences, movie premieres and more. Over the past 6 years, more than 3,000 artists, musicians and performers --The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, blues artist Robert Cray and world-renowned guitarist/singer John Pizzarelli -- have been featured at the festival. 960 1280

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Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice

June marks the official start of summer, and what better way to welcome the Summer Solstice than by joining thousands of people at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. It’s not uncommon for groups to celebrate by performing impromptu ceremonies that include samba bands and drummers. No amplified music is allowed here. 960 1280

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Wimbledon Tennis Championships

Wimbledon Tennis Championships

Arguably the most famous tennis tournament in the world, the Wimbledon Championships have been played since 1877. Starting towards the end of June and lasting approximately 2 weeks, or until all events are complete, tickets for Wimbledon are always in fierce demand, especially with pro tennis players like Andy Murray competing. 960 1280

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Sri Lanka
Southern Asia Trek

Southern Asia Trek

"A budgetista when it comes to travel, I can't even imagine how far a budget of $10,000 would take me! Instead of going the luxe route, I'd use this ample amount of cash to fund a long trip … perhaps a grand tour of less-than-easy places to get to in southern Asia. I’d love to see the happiest people on in Earth in Bhutan, tour the temples in Nepal, go tea-house trekking in Sri Lanka … and just keep on travelin’ until the money runs out." -- Kathleen, Interactive Producer
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First-Class Flight to Dubai

First-Class Flight to Dubai

"Fly first-class to <a href="http://www.travelchannel.com/video/travel-trends-2013-dubai">Dubai</a>! $10,000 will get you a round-trip first-class ticket from New York to Dubai. Just remember: When traveling to a city that uses Lamborghinis for police cars, it’s important to arrive in style."  -- <i>Josh, Online Production Manager</i>  960 1280

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Golf at St. Andrews Links

Golf at St. Andrews Links

"With $10,000, I would take 3 of my best friends to <a href="http://www.travelchannel.com/video/travel-trends-2013-scotland">Scotland</a> for the ultimate golf adventure. After arriving in the “Home of Golf,” we’d hit St. Andrews Links for not 1, but 2 incredibly tough rounds of golf. On day 1, we’d play the famed “Old Course,” then on day 2, see how it compares to St. Andrew’s new course (although I should mention, the “New Course” was designed in 1894 by Old Tom Morris)." -- <i>Ben, Interactive Producer</i>  960 1280

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Whirlwind Tour Around the World

Whirlwind Tour Around the World

"As a mileage runner and rock climber, I’d fly around the world -- first stops in Paris and Cape Town for bouldering, in Fontainebleau and Rocklands respectively. Then continue on to Tokyo for some sashimi, with a final stop in Buenos Aires, just because I’ve never been there. Besides the fun, this trip would earn me 47K elite qualifying miles, which will help me maintain my Delta elite flyer status." -- Arthur, Video Project Manager 960 1280

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Amazing Amalfi Coast Getaway

Amazing Amalfi Coast Getaway

"I would probably make my $10,000 last as long as possible and save most of it. However, I’d throw some caution to the wind and splurge a little on a fun getaway to Italy’s Amalfi Coast or Spain to explore the Canary Islands, Ibiza, Costa del Sol and Seville." -- Kwin, Managing Producer 960 1280

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Great Greek Adventure

Great Greek Adventure

"I’d take that $10,000 and hop on the next flight to Greece, where I’d charter a yacht and sail the Aegean. I’m not talking a big, hulking cruise ship with subpar onboard meals and a set itinerary -- my Greek adventure would include a gorgeous sailboat and a personal skipper who’d chart an off-the-beaten-path course. I’d spend my days admiring the crystal-clear waters, exploring ancient ruins and dining on fresh seafood. Oh, and drinking plenty of ouzo." -- Allee, Interactive Producer 960 1280

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Scotland Road Trip

Scotland Road Trip

"I'm currently planning a spring trip to Scotland, so $10,000 would come in handy! I'd rent a car and explore the arts-and-culture hub of Glasgow, historic Edinburgh and then head north to Inverness, castle trail and the Highlands. Or, I'd stay in a castle in Stirling, and then charter a boat to see the Inner and Outer Hebrides, like Skye (beautiful craggy mountains) and Islay (famous for malt whisky distillation). Actually, I could do it ALL for $10,000, and still have change to spare." -- Liz, Photo Editor 960 1280

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Tuscany Bike Tour

Tuscany Bike Tour

"I'd spend my $10,000 on la dolce vita! I'd book the first flight to Firenze, where I'd indulge in Italian food, culture and fashion. I would attend Cucina con Vista, where I'd attempt to learn how to cook from chef Elena Mattei, and then peddling it off on a Backroads bike tour of Tuscany, drinking in the Renaissance architecture, scenic olive orchards -- and private wine tastings." -- Sara, Interactive Producer 960 1280

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Italy's Wine Country

Italy's Wine Country

“I use the $10,000 to travel through Italy’s wine country. I would sip my way through the vineyards in Tuscany and eat authentic Italian food until my heart’s content. The money would also give me the opportunity to see where some of my family originated from and experience Italian culture at its best.” -- Kristen, Photo Editor 960 1280

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Jao Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Jao Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana

“With $10,000, I would take my husband home. Ha! Seriously, he was born in Uganda and he hasn’t been back since he was 2 years old. We’d travel around the country, and also visit Rwanda (where his mother was born) and Botswana, where we’d experience the ultimate sleepover at Jao Camp in the Okavango Delta.” -- Rani, Managing Producer 960 1280

Wilderness Safaris  

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, royal baby, princess
Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana

Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge gave the paparazzi and dozens of anxious spectators their first glimpse of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana – weighing 8 pounds, 3 ounces – as they walked outside of the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital, on May 2, 2015. 960 1280

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images  

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge arrive at Wellington Airport’s military terminal for a windy start to their tour on April 7, 2014, in Wellington, New Zealand. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on a 3-week tour of Australia and New Zealand, their first official trip overseas with their son. 960 1280

Samir Hussein/WireImage  

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge joined 10 other babies and their parents for a playdate at the Government House, the principal residence of the Governor-General of New Zealand. With George being just 8 months old, his first major royal engagement involved lots of toys and attempting to eat his mother’s famous locks. 960 1280

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The royal baby has finally arrived! Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge appear with their baby son, as they stand outside St. Mary's Hospital, in central London. 960 1280

Reuters  

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive for a service of celebration to mark the 60th anniversary of the Coronation Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey. 960 1280

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images  

Prince Harry walks with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as they view areas of the boardwalk that have been repaired in Seaside Heights, a beach town in New Jersey hit by Hurricane Sandy. 960 1280

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson  

During a visit to the US, Prince Harry visits Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. 960 1280

REUTERS/Charles Dharapak/Pool  

Prince Harry plays sitting volleyball with members of the British Warrior Games team, before the opening of the Warrior Games at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO. The Warrior Games is a Paralympic-style competition featuring injured servicemen and women from the US, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. 960 1280

REUTERS/Rick Wilking  

Prince Harry kneels down at the bottom of a pyramid of cheerleaders, US and British military officials and near the U.S. Air Force Academy mascot "The Bird" at the academy in Colorado Springs, CO. 960 1280

REUTERS/Rick Wilking  

The royal couple visit Singapore Botanical Gardens on their Diamond Jubilee tour. 960 1280

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge walks past the super trees during a visit to Gardens By The Bay as part of their Diamond Jubilee tour in Singapore. 960 1280

Nicky Loh/Getty Images  

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge tour the Kranji War Memorial in Signapore on their Diamond Jubilee Tour of the Far East. 960 1280

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Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge travel in a special boat vehicle as they arrive at Honiara International Airport during their Diamond Jubilee tour of the Far East in Honiara, Guadalcanal Island. 960 1280

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Britain's Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, ride a traditional war canoe as they arrive in Tavanipupu, Solomon Islands. 960 1280

REUTERS/Rick Rycroft/Pool  

Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, cross a bridge at the Borneo Rainforest Research Center in Danum Valley on the island of Borneo. The royal couple are on a nine-day tour of Southeast Asia and the South Pacific on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee. 960 1280

REUTERS/Mohd Rasfan/Pool  

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge reviews a Guard of Honour as he visits the Istana on day 1 of their Diamond Jubilee tour in Singapore. 960 1280

Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, Singapore  

Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Albert II of Monaco and official team GB ambassador Robin Cousins watch Synchronized Swimming at the London 2012 Olympic Games. 960 1280

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Prince Harry talks to Gold medal winning rower Sophie Hosking at Team GB House in the Westfield Centre at the London 2012 Olympic Games. 960 1280

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Carole Coe, Prince Harry and Peter Phillips watch the Track Cycling at the Velodrome during the London 2012 Olympic Games. 960 1280

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Zara Phillips (Queen’s granddaughter) of Great Britain rides High Kingdom after competing in the Individual Jumping Equestrian Final of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Park. 960 1280

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth watches the morning session of the swimming at the Aquatics Centre during her visit to the London 2012 Olympic Games. 960 1280

Reuters/Martin Rickett/Pool  

Catherine, the Dutchess of Cambridge, meets Great Britain’s sailing gold-medalist Ben Ainslie at the Weymouth & Portland venue near Weymouth Harbor. 960 1280

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The Duchess of Cambridge was in the audience to witness Romanian gymnast Sandra Raluca Izbasa compete in the women’s vault final during the Artistic Gymnastics at the North Greenwich in London. 960 1280

Ezra Shaw  

Prince William talks to silver-medalist kayaker Jessica Fox of Australia during a visit to the Team Great Britain house. Will and Kate requested the visit be arranged in order to allow them to say thank you to volunteers for playing their part in the staging of the games. 960 1280

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The Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge join in with the crowd to do “the wave” at the Velodrome. 960 1280

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Prince Harry talks with athletes, including Great Britain's Jessica Ennis (3rd from R) during a visit to Team Great Britain’s flats in Olympic Village, located in Stratford. 960 1280

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Will and Kate hug in excitement after the British men’s cycling team breaks a world record during a qualifying round at the Velodrome. 960 1280

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Prince Harry, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice watch the cross-country equestrian event at the London 2012 Olympic Games. 960 1280

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images  

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Victoria Barracks during a medal parade for the 1st Battalion Irish Guards Regiment in Windsor, UK. 960 1280

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, rows a dragon boat across Dalvay Lake in Charlottetown, Canada. The royal couple’s trip to North America included touring more remote areas of Canada, such as Prince Edward Island, Yellowknife and Calgary. 960 1280

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The Duke of Cambridge takes a shot while playing hockey while his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, cheers him on in Yellowknife, Canada. 960 1280

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The royal couple, in cowboy attire, joined millions of Canadians taking part in Canada Day celebrations. 960 1280

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Dressed to the nines, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at the 2011 BAFTA Brits in Los Angeles. 960 1280

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Prince William shows off his equestrian skills in the Foundation Polo Challenge in Santa Barbara, CA. 960 1280

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Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip attend Royal Ascot in Ascot, England. 960 1280

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, pose for a photo with members of the Canadian Forces flight crew after arriving in Calgary, Canada, during their first joint overseas tour. 960 1280

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Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Price Harry wave to the crowd at Buckingham Palace during the Diamond Jubilee. 960 1280

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wave to the crowd from the royal barge during the Diamond Jubilee Thames River Pageant in London. 960 1280

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Queen Elizabeth II share a laugh during a children's sporting event while in Vernon Park, Nottingham for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. 960 1280

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Torchbearer Scott Moorhouse, a Paralympic javelin thrower, hands the Olympic flame to Jay Kamiraz while standing with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales. 960 1280

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Queen Elizabeth II takes center stage to say a few words during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Games at Olympic Stadium. 960 1280

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend a cross-country equestrian event during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Park. 960 1280

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Royal Spotting  42 Photos