What's In, What's Out for 2012

In: Traveling Social. Out: Traveling Solo. Find out more of Travel Channel's picks for what's hot and what's not for travel in 2012.

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two faces of january, movie, athens, greece, ancient ruins
‘The Two Faces of January,’ Athens, Greece

‘The Two Faces of January,’ Athens, Greece

A film that might have gone slightly under the radar in 2014, The Two Faces of January featured a throwback to the golden age of travel in the 1960s and the timeless intrigue of ancient Greece. While an American trio dressed in tailored linen entangle themselves in crime among crumbling ruins, Greece’s classic beauty steals the scenes. With sun-drenched shots of the Acropolis, the Agora ruins and the idyllic island of Crete, this film has us dreaming of a Greek vacation, but one without all the drama. 960 1280

Magnolia Pictures  

‘Wild,’ Pacific Crest Trail

‘Wild,’ Pacific Crest Trail

Wild is something of a phenomenon. First, Cheryl Strayed’s memoir of her 1,100-mile solo trek gets the seal of approval from Oprah; then, it gets the Hollywood treatment in a film adaption starring Reese Witherspoon. Strayed’s rookie hike along the Pacific Crest Trail is also inspiring a record number of fans to lace up their hiking boots and follow in her footsteps. Embracing the growing interest, the Pacific Crest Trail is sharing the best-selling author’s exact route, or you can channel your inner Strayed and go your own way.  960 1280

Fox Searchlight  

‘The Grand Budapest Hotel,’ Görlitz, Germany

‘The Grand Budapest Hotel,’ Görlitz, Germany

Wes Anderson’s award-winning film The Grand Budapest Hotel transported us back to a time when travel was grand and dripping with glamour. While you can’t check into this fictional hotel, you can visit the picturesque prewar town in eastern Germany where the movie was filmed, Görlitz. It’s no stranger to the big screen, thanks to its Old World charm and preserved historic architecture; Inglourious Basterds, The Reader and The Book Thief were also filmed in Görlitz. Built in 1910, Görlitzer Warenhaus, a department store that had become rundown and abandoned, was restored to its former glory and made over into the grand hotel you see in the film. 960 1280

Fox Searchlight  

‘Boyhood,’ Big Bend, TX

‘Boyhood,’ Big Bend, TX

Not only did Boyhood, a film shot over 12 years with the same actors, have us rethinking our own life trajectory, but it also has us rethinking a visit to Texas. Forget line dancing and BBQ; the scenes of Texas in this film that caught our attention were the larger-than-life desertscapes of Big Bend National Park. The sublime sunset shots over the Lone Star State’s limestone cliffs reawakened our childhood wonder and love for the open wilderness.  960 1280

Nickrlake/ iStock/ Getty Images  

‘The Lego Movie,’ Legoland, Carlsbad, CA

‘The Lego Movie,’ Legoland, Carlsbad, CA

If your kids dragged you to see The Lego Movie or you remember spending hours as a child creating Lego homes, you know the power that this iconic plastic building block has to inspire imaginations. Now, you can bring your childhood fantasy to life by spending a night in a hotel that features models made of more than 3 million Lego bricks. A kid hotel heaven, California’s Legoland Resort lets families stay and play a Lego’s throw away from the park and even take a behind-the-scenes tour of “sets” from the animated film with the Lego Movie Experience. 960 1280

  

‘The Trip to Italy,’ Italy

‘The Trip to Italy,’ Italy

A Trip to Italy? We’re in. A road trip through Italy feasting on the country’s carb-loaded dishes? We’re definitely in. Watching an odd couple banter and eat their way from northern Italy’s Piedmont region to the sun-soaked island of Capri has us ready to jump in a Fiat and follow their olive-oil-soaked trail. Or at least dig into some pasta al pesto. 960 1280

Nikki Bidgood  

‘The Hobbit,’ New Zealand

‘The Hobbit,’ New Zealand

New Zealand tourism owes a big thank-you to Peter Jackson, the creator of the Hobbit film trilogy, for bringing the country’s otherworldly beauty to the big screen. Last year’s latest installment of the epic fantasy, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, is continuing to lure even more fantasy and travel enthusiasts to Middle-earth, aka New Zealand, to see filming locations. The mecca of all Hobbit Tourism is Hobbiton, a private-farm-turned-movie-set where you can tour 44 hobbit holes to see how the furry-footed creatures live. 960 1280

Ian Brodie  

back packing, Southeast Asia, Thailand
Backpack in Southeast Asia

Backpack in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is ripe for backpackers, as it’s light on packing and the wallet. We’ve lost count of the number of transformative travel tales we’ve heard after someone experiences food stalls in Vietnam, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and a Full Moon Party on Thailand’s Koh Phangan. (Word to the wise: Skip the fiery jump rope unless you’re unfazed by singed hair.) 960 1280

Pixza/Moment Open/Getty Images  

Camp in the Middle of Nowhere (i.e., Glacier National Park)

Camp in the Middle of Nowhere (i.e., Glacier National Park)

There’s an old saying that being outdoors is good for the soul (or something like that), but you will feel more alive gazing at the reflection of Glacier’s namesake snowcapped mountains in a serene alpine lake. There are 1,000 campsites to choose from, but with a little planning (and a permit), you can head into the backcountry to truly feel at one with nature. 960 1280

NPS Photo/Amanda McCutcheon  

Go Volcano-Boarding in Nicaragua

Go Volcano-Boarding in Nicaragua

Your 20s are the time to try new things, and we’re pretty sure you’ve never sledded down the (active!) Cerro Negro (“Black Hill”) volcano at 30 mph — are we right? What’s more, Nicaragua’s charming colonial towns, Caribbean islands, emerging food scene and new eco-friendly resorts beckon from just a short flight directly south. 960 1280

Christian Heeb/AWL Images/Getty Images  

Celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Beads, booze and Bourbon Street — there’s nothing like Mardi Gras in the Big Easy. Just make sure to balance out your French Quarter imbibing with some late-night beignets from Café du Monde, all sorts of po’boys, and jazz on Frenchmen Street. 960 1280

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Christian Science Monitor/Getty Images  

Take the Coming-of-Age Europe Trip

Take the Coming-of-Age Europe Trip

London, Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam — the possibilities are endless with a Eurail pass or cheap Ryanair flights. The Euro trip is a rite of passage for coeds studying abroad. Stay in hip hostels to save cash and meet cool people, and don’t be afraid to spin off for a solo trip to Vienna. Just don’t have any star-crossed-lover Before Sunrise expectations. 960 1280

Stefano Oppo/Photolibrary/Getty Images  

Experience Tomorrowland in Belgium

Experience Tomorrowland in Belgium

A music festival is a must in your 20s. While Coachella has some cachet, Belgium’s 3-day festival is on the next level. Because it draws the world’s top DJs and thousands of people, it’s safe to say you’ll make friends from all over the world — especially if you’re camping. Stay for a few days afterward to explore Belgium by train. The plethora of frites, chocolate and, yes, more beer will aid in your recovery. 960 1280

Jonas Roosens/AFP/Getty Images  

Free Fall in Queenstown, New Zealand

Free Fall in Queenstown, New Zealand

You have 2 choices: Will you skydive out of plane or bungee jump off a bridge? Whichever you pick, nothing compares to the natural beauty and adrenaline rush that New Zealand’s “adventure capital” provides. Afterward, come back to Earth by relaxing at a fantastic vineyard or partaking in Queenstown’s bustling nightlife.  960 1280

AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand  

Sail Around the Coast of Croatia

Sail Around the Coast of Croatia

Sail. Party. Repeat. That pretty much sums up the Yacht Week — which has routes all over the world, Croatia being among the favorites — but we think the breathtaking scenery, motorbike adventures, spontaneous cliff jumping and potential to find far-flung travel buddies also have something to do with its growing popularity. 960 1280

Edupereiralima/iStock/Getty Images  

Sign Up for Surf Camp in Costa Rica

Sign Up for Surf Camp in Costa Rica

Anyone who’s taking their first surf lesson has only 2 objectives: to stand up on the board and to make it all the way in to the shore. Odds for both are significantly better if you attend a 5- or 7-day surf camp. In addition to daily instruction, many camps, such as Anamaya, offer organic meals and oceanfront yoga classes. Tack on a trip into the rain forest for white-water rafting, zip-lining or a volcanic thermal spa treatment, and you’ll return exhilarated and refreshed. 960 1280

Ian McDonnell/Vetta/Getty Images  

Raise a Stein at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany

Raise a Stein at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany

There’s no time like the present to Proust! Plant yourself at a long table under one of the brightly painted beer tents for a Hofbrau and a pretzel the size of your head. The mayor taps the first keg, kicking off the week’s festivities, but later sightings of lederhosen and “das boot” will likely be relegated to tourists (by that point, you won’t care). 960 1280

Eurasia Press/Photononstop/Getty Images  

Watch a Caribbean Sunset With Someone Special

Watch a Caribbean Sunset With Someone Special

There’s nothing that makes you feel more like a grown-up than that first romantic getaway. The perfect spot for your long walks on the beach? Vieques, a small island off the coast of Puerto Rico. Check in to El Blok, a hip, new design hotel, and live out your Little Mermaid fantasies in a kayak for 2 on the Bioluminescent Bay. 960 1280

Oliver Gerhard/Getty Images  

Trek Through the Himalayas

Trek Through the Himalayas

Millennials have a penchant for craving authentic experiences. What better way to immerse yourself in the friendly Nepalese culture than to stay on an organic coffee farm? Organizations such as WWOOF connect travelers with local farmers, whom they help out in exchange for food and accommodations. In your downtime, you can play with goats, hike and rest up for the trek of your life! (Experienced Sherpa required.) 960 1280

Feng Wei Photography/Moment/Getty Images  

Midnight Sun, Arctic Circle
Midnight Sun, Arctic Circle

Midnight Sun, Arctic Circle

The sun shines at … midnight. Take in the magical sight of the midnight sun this June in places like Hornstrandir, Iceland’s northernmost peninsula, just a few miles from the Arctic Circle. Here, the sun is visible for 24 consecutive hours, as the sun barely disappears below the horizon. 960 1280

Getty Images   

Nude Bathing, Iceland

Nude Bathing, Iceland

Keep Father Time -- and maybe a few wrinkles -- at bay with a nude dip in a balmy hot spring. That personal prescription for wellness comes straight from Icelandic lore, and true to form, Icelanders take a nude dip in hot springs and the surrounding sea every June 24. They also live long lives. Coincidence? 960 1280

Getty Images  

Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic

Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic

See the Purple People Eater, Sushi the Flying Fish and other colorful balloon characters soar through the skies of California’s wine country. Since its start 23 years ago, this annual summer event in the town of Windsor, CA, has gone on to draw balloon pilots from all over the country. You can also enjoy a tethered ride, hovering 50 feet above the ground. 960 1280

star5112, flickr  

Destination Wedding in …

Destination Wedding in …

Getting married this month? Don’t just dream of being a June bride, make it a reality in some of the most weather-perfect places to tie the knot this month. Our friends at weathertrends360 have forecasted June’s top 5 clear-sky destinations: Bar Harbor, ME (best time June 21-30); Orlando (June 1-8); NYC (June 21-30); Napa Valley (June 9-16); and San Francisco (June 10-17). 960 1280

Getty Images  

Summer Holiday in Newquay, UK

Summer Holiday in Newquay, UK

If you love to surf and travel, combine both passions with a trip to this seaside town in southwest England. June kicks off the best time of year to visit Newquay, widely touted as the surf capital of the UK. Situated on a gorgeous stretch of the Atlantic Coast, the town boasts 9 long and easily accessible beaches – head to Fistral Beach, home to some of the best breaks in the area. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Saint Tropez

Saint Tropez

If all things French are calling your name, book a trip to Saint Tropez. June is one of the best times of year to savor this glamorous seaside town on the French Riviera, home to beautiful beaches like the golden-sand stretch of Plage Port Grimaud. Plan your last-minute getaway with our travel deals experts. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Gay Pride Celebrations

Gay Pride Celebrations

Celebrate freedom (and some really wild getups) in month-long gay pride celebrations worldwide. LGBT pride parades from San Francisco to Sydney are the highlight of the festivities, which hearken back to the days of gay resistance to police aggression in June 1969 at NYC’s Stonewall Inn, now a National Historic Landmark. 960 1280

Reuters  

Midsummer Festival, Sweden

Midsummer Festival, Sweden

Let the sun shine in! When the summer solstice arrives … and the Earth’s semi-axis is most inclined toward the sun … head to Sweden for the country’s traditional Midsummer Day, in late June. Here, locals carry heart-shaped wreaths as part of the festivities in the Swedish town of Leksand, about 150 miles from Stockholm. 960 1280

Reuters  

Kamehameha Day

Kamehameha Day

Get out your grass skirt out … and get ready to hula! It’s Kamehameha Day! Each June, Hawaii honors the monarch -- depicted here in a towering bronze statue in downtown Honolulu -- who first established the unified Kingdom of Hawaii and brought coffee and pineapple to its shores. Plan your Hawaii getaway with our Big Island Weekend Guide. 960 1280

Daniel Ramirez, flickr   

Philippines Independence Day

Philippines Independence Day

Head to this archipelago of 7,107 islands in the western Pacific for the country’s national holiday marking its call for independence, first proclaimed in June 1898, and finally realized in 1946. Relax in a hillside villa on the small island of Boracay, or book a stay at El Nido Resorts, located on various islands in the area. 960 1280

REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo  

Katmai National Park, Alaska

Katmai National Park, Alaska

There’s only 1 place in the world to see this iconic image: Southern Alaska. And there’s only 1 time of year to see it: Late June through the end of July. Head to Katmai National Park to see some very hungry brown bears enjoy a feast of sockeye salmon that make their annual migratory run from the northern Pacific Ocean into park waters -- Brooks Camp is the place to the see this unrivaled nature show. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

South Florida’s Summer Savings

South Florida’s Summer Savings

You can’t jump into June without jumping into South Florida. Seriously, now is the time to enjoy discounted rates (in some cases, up to 50%) at area hotels and resorts. See how to do Miami and Fort Lauderdale on a budget, and for popular, family-friendly beach vibes, check out our Delray Beach Guide. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

National Caribbean-American Heritage Month

National Caribbean-American Heritage Month

June kicks off hurricane season in the Caribbean, but don’t let that stop you from savoring Caribbean heritage … right here in America. President Obama has named it National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, and among the festivities happening nationwide is the DC Caribbean Carnival, an annual parade and festival held in late June. 960 1280

Alex Barth, flickr  

Queenstown Winter Festival

Queenstown Winter Festival

If you’re hungry for snow, hightail it to this annual festival in New Zealand, which attracts thousands of skiers and snowboarders to the blindingly white slopes surrounding the resort town of Queenstown. A big draw is Coronet Peak, located 12 miles north of town, where powdery terrain comes courtesy of some of the country’s best snowmaking facilities. 960 1280

Queenstown Winter Festival  

Spoleto Festival, Charleston

Spoleto Festival, Charleston

Enjoy one of the world’s major performing arts festivals this June in Charleston, SC. Founded in 1977, the Spoleto Festival was the brainchild of Pulitzer Prize-winning Italian-American composer Gian Carlo Menotti. The 17-day-long fest, named in honor of the ancient Italian city of Spoleto, showcases established and emerging artists through more than 150 performances of jazz, theater, dance, opera and classical music. 960 1280

Julia Lynn  

Jump Into June  15 Photos

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