What's In, What's Out for 2013
In: Northern lights. Out: City lights. The year ahead is filled with up-and-coming travel trends to watch. Find out Travel Channel's picks for what's hot (and what's not) in 2013.
Out: Meet at the Airport Bar
Forget sidling up to the airport bar alone, hoping to make that magical connection with someone during the doldrums of an hours-long layover. The new website MeetAtTheAirport.com gives tech-savvy travelers the chance to, er, hook up with a possibly special someone in advance of bellying up to the bar. Simply register on the site in a few simple steps, and you'll be able to discern other singles traveling through the same airport you're flying through. You'll be able to meet over a coffee or cocktail, or heck, why not really turn things up a notch, and grab a few slices from the food court Sbarro?
Out: Meet at the Airport Bar
Out: Cruise to the Caribbean
In: Cruise to Exotic Destinations
No longer are discerning travelers content to sip a mai tai on the starboard deck while watching tried-and-true ports of call like St. Thomas slip by. In fact, cruisers are looking toward destinations once rarely frequented by cruise lines, like the western coast of South America, Northern Europe, India, Africa and the Middle East -- and the cruise industry is responding in kind. In the midst of a definitive spike in the popularity of exotic cruise destinations, for 2013 companies such as Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean have more exciting destinations on the docket than ever before.
Out: Cruise to the Caribbean
Where once-upon-a-time backpackers to Southeast Asia once heralded Laos for its lush environs, Buddhist culture and fascinating temples, today the nation has become more of a frat party for ill-behaved backpackers getting wasted on a variety of substances and partying along riverbanks. Today, smart travelers are setting their sights elsewhere. In fact, you can barely discuss intrepid travel destinations without someone crying out "Myanmar!" these days. With the lifting of a travel ban imposed on rights activists to the once-fiercely ruled country, travelers have been pouring in.
Out: Western Europe
In: Eastern Europe
Oh, we know that Western Europe will never actually lose mass popularity among travelers, nor should it, but at times its prices can be staggering for Americans dealing with a weaker dollar. As 2013 approaches, more and more travelers are seeking out wonders beyond the Roman ruins and Parisian museums. Eastern Europe, once avoided during periods of extreme political upheaval and unrest, is now bubbling up as the go-to destination for many travelers. Take for example, mountainous Slovenia; it's being touted by travel and adventure publications as the new Alps.
Out: Western Europe
Scores of travelers take advantage of their vacation downtime to indulge in a spa treatment, typically a soothing Swedish or aromatherapy massage. And yet, that's so 2012. The next trend in restorative treatments is hammams, often referred to as Turkish baths. The traditional hammam experience typically involves stripping down, donning a small towel, loosening up in a steam room and getting the living daylights scrubbed and rubbed out of you by your treatment provider while lying on a marble slab. The whole ordeal is often capped off by a refreshing (albeit, startling) dunk in icy cold water.
Out: Non-Organic Foods
In: Foraged Cuisine
Ever since the Copenhagen restaurant Noma was named 2011's World's Best Restaurant by Restaurant Magazine, foodies have been turning a keen eye toward chef René Redzepi's unique twist on dining: forage cuisine. Wondering what on earth that means? Basically, the chef forages through the region to unearth, obtain and cook unexpected ingredients found in their natural habitats, like mosses, lichens and pine needles. Now, come 2013, it's not unusual to find restaurants such as Elizabeth in Chicago and Atera in New York City following suit. Best part: In this heightened embrace of nature, there's no space for pesticide-sprayed foods.
Out: Non-Organic Foods
Out: Thai Islands
In: Philippine Islands
Once upon a time, long, long ago, the young Leonardo DiCaprio starred in The Beach, filmed on Koh Phi Phi, and Thailand's beaches and islands would never be quite the same. As Thai islands have become overrun with backpackers, jacking up prices and leading to oft-crowded party zones on once-secluded beaches, travelers are seeking respite in as-yet-encroached places, such as the Philippine Islands. Head to the Palawan region but head there soon: As tour providers discover the area's growing popularity, more airlines are offering flights to the region, and we'll be again looking for the next epically isolated island experience.
Out: Thai Islands
Out: City Lights
In: Northern Lights
Catching a glimpse of the Northern Light's ethereal, dancing lights display, also known as aurora borealis, is the highlight of a lifetime, much less a vacation, for many travelers. The lights can be seen during periods of heightened solar activity, which happens to peak cyclically, every 11 years. Astronomy experts have predicted the lights will reach their next apex between now and April 2013. While a Northern Lights-spotting trip cannot guarantee a successful sighting -- there are certain Northern Hemisphere locations where sightings are more successful than others, such as Greenland, Iceland and parts of Canada.
Out: City Lights
Out: Pricey Hotels
In: DIY Vacation Rentals
Tired of paying out the wazoo for hotel stays that don't even include the cost of parking, Wi-Fi, breakfast or resort fees? We are too. Luckily, in 2013, there are alternatives for travelers with an open, DIY mindset. Rather than forking over the steep nightly rates of many hotels, travelers, and families in particular, are seeking accommodations through sites such as Airbnb and VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner). These sites allow vacationers to rent furnished condos, apartments or houses directly from their owners. While you might not get daily maid service, you will get steeply discounted rates, sometimes as low as $30 per night.
Out: Pricey Hotels
Out: Ignoring the Mall
In: Sleeping at the Mall
Leave it to the opulent mindset of Middle East hotel developers in places such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to recognize a possible trend and blow it up, large scale. Today, many hotels are opening in or adjacent to malls, making them an epicenter of tourism and commerce. One of these malls, Abu Dhabi's Yas Mall, is expected to house or be in close proximity to 7 hotels. In fact, at least 9 mega-malls (beyond UAE, in countries such as Lebanon and Qatar), are expected to be built across the Middle East by 2014, with hotels springing up in and around them.
Out: Ignoring the Mall
Sexy Style: New York Fashion WeekWhat’s not sexy about models donned in threads from the biggest designers’ fashion-forward spring collections? Get the hottest ticket in fashion, and check out New York Fashion Week, where we’re sure you’ll spot a few celebrities. 960 1280
Bar: Le Bain at The StandardEnjoy a Nutella crepe and adult beverage with some of the most breathtaking views of downtown Manhattan on The Standard hotel's rooftop bar. Le Bain, the penthouse discotheque and rooftop bar, is one of the trendiest spots in NYC’s Meatpacking District, with its crêperie, plunge pool and whimsy decor: a faux grass floor, giant pink waterbeds and waitstaff dressed in tennis outfits. 960 1280
Food Porn: Drizzled CaramelSome say that everything is better with chocolate, but this time of year we think everything tastes better with caramel -- or, better yet, with both! Whether it's fresh-picked apples or frappuccinos, it just wouldn't be fall without the sweet and sticky sauce. 960 1280
Festival: OktoberfestCelebrate Oktoberfest in Munich, from Sept. 22 to Oct.7. After a couple rounds with friends or family members -- of age -- everything around you looks a little sexier with your “beer goggles” on, right? OK, we don’t condone excessive drinking, but we do approve of fun. And just in case you can’t make it to Munich, we’re sure there’s a local version of the festival celebrated in a bar or beer garden near you. 960 1280
Spa: Dolder Grand, SwitzerlandZurich's Dolder Grand Spa describes itself as “classic tradition with a techno beat.” European and Japanese influences have shaped this sexy Swiss spa, which offers Kotatsu footbaths, steampots, indoor and outdoor pools, mineral water, couches and a solarium. The hottest -- albeit cold -- offering? Snow Paradise, a room that offers large bowls of snow to massage onto your body and your partner's. 960 1280
Car: Aston Martin DB5Travel like 007. It may not be the hot new car, but the Aston Martin DB5 will increase its sexy quotient when the new James Bond flick, Skyfall, opens in theaters this November. We thought we’d give you a couple months lead time to save up enough money to purchase this sleek, silver hot rod -- or you can be content with just watching the car maneuver over and through obstacles during the intense car chase scenes. 960 1280
Sport: FootballThe American football season starts in September, issuing in a new year of tense, but competitive matchups between rival teams. Regardless of whether you’re rooting for an NFL, college or high school team, fans enjoy eating pregame tailgating food and watching cheerleaders as they pump the crowd up in between plays. 960 1280
Sexy Slipaway: The Solomon IslandsAn exotic escape fit for royalty? Sign us up! Will and Kate put Tavanipupu on our September radar when they planned a second honeymoon on the private island resort. The romantic night in a handcrafted, but decadent bungalow will be a little piece of paradise for the couple during their busy Diamond Jubilee tour of Southeast Asia. 960 1280
City: Cartagena, ColombiaAfter clamping down on violence and cleaning up crime in the past few years, Cartagena, Colombia, is now the safest city in the country, and is emerging as a trendy hotspot for travelers to Latin America. Cartagenga is a music lover's city, with merengue, salsa and Cuban music pouring from bars, restaurants and city squares. And don't miss the most dangerous thing in the city -- aguardiente, the national anise-flavored drink that packs quite a punch. 960 1280
Fall Foliage: Traverse City, MIEveryone looks better in the fall, with the sun’s soft, sexy rays. So grab your honey and a road map, and make it a fall road trip. Our suggestion: Michigan. During September, the Great Lake State’s 19 million acres begin their show of gold, red and orange hues. Make sure you explore areas like Old Mission Peninsula, on the outskirts of Traverse City. This picture says it all. 960 1280
Exhibit: Universe of DesireTame on the outside, hot on the inside: That’s the Museum of Sex, on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Inside, you’ll learn just about everything you ever wanted (or cared?) to know about this universal topic of interest. On display this September may be the most scintillating angle of all: what everyday people secretly desire. Discover the answer in “Universe of Desire,” an exhibit that showcases erotic imagery based upon the top-100 internet search results related to sex. Maybe leave mom home for this one. 960 1280
TV Show: Ghost AdventuresWhat’s hot on Travel Channel in September? Ghost Adventures returns for a new season on Friday, Sept. 14, at 9|8c. Zak Bagans, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin kick off the new season with an eerie lockdown at Central Unit prison in Sugar Land, TX. Can you handle the lockdown? 960 1280
Restaurant: De Niro's Locanda VerdeFor a hot new restaurant, try actor Robert De Niro’s new restaurant, Locanda Verde, in NYC’s Tribeca neighborhood. The affordable Italian taverna serves a variety of dishes, including grilled octopus, beet and goat cheese raviolini, fire-roasted garlic chicken and blueberry honey upside-down cake. While you’re at it, pair your meal with a tasty cocktail, Italian wine or beer. 960 1280
Music: Monterey Jazz FestivalSpend a weekend in Monterey, CA, to experience the 55th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, from September 21-23, 2012. The Festival – voted “World’s Best Jazz Festival” by reader of Jazz Times Magazine -- features films, exhibitions, an international shopping bazaar and 8 stages of live jazz entertainment spread throughout the 20-acre fairgrounds. 960 1280
Sexy September Travel 15 Photos
Facebook Favorites: Bucket List 13 Photos
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, IcelandBen Stiller directs this film adaption of the short story The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and stars as the hapless dreamer Mitty, who finally takes an adventure outside of his wild imagination. And what an adventure it is -- from jumping out of a helicopter off the coast of Greenland to skateboarding down Iceland’s Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Iceland is taking advantage of the film’s inspiring scenes and is offering Walter Mitty Tours of film locations, skateboards not included. 960 1280
The Great Gatsby, Long Island, NYThis much-buzzed-about Baz Luhrmann film adaptation of literary classic The Great Gatsby spurred a huge interest this year in Long Island’s Gold Coast, where Gatsby lived in his lavish West Egg mansion. Everyone went gaga for Gatsby this year, including New York’s iconic Plaza Hotel, which invited guests to travel “ceaselessly back into the past” of the opulent Jazz era with their new Gatsby-inspired Fitzgerald Suite. 960 1280
Hunger Games: Catching Fire, HawaiiThe second installment in the Hunger Games trilogy, Hunger Games: Catching Fire , is doing just that in tourism. Fans are following Katniss’ footsteps traveling to filming locations on Oahu’s North Shore in Hawaii. The dense jungles and natural beaches there were the backdrop for 75th Hunger Games battle-to-the-death. And Kawela Bay, minutes from Turtle Bay resort (where cast stayed during filming), served as the saltwater lake Quell arena in the film. 960 1280
Big Sur, Big SurBased on a Jack Kerouac novel, Sundance film Big Sur portrays the rugged and evocative beauty of California’s Central Coast. You can’t watch the film and not imagine hopping in your car to take a road trip down winding Pacific coast highways, complete with the sun on your face and the wind whipping through your hair. Donning a pair of Beat-inspired dark shades wouldn’t hurt, either. 960 1280
Gravity, Space TravelAfter watching Sandra Bullock adrift in space in Gravity, the idea of space travel becomes even more intriguing. Luckily, for those that have the budget, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is set to make its inaugural flight to space in 2014. For a mere $250,000, you can finally realize your dream of being an astronaut and travel to the final frontier. 960 1280
Lee Daniels' The Butler, Washington, DCLee Daniels’ The Butler depicts the Civil Rights movement from a unique perspective – the White House butler. The man who inspired the film, Eugene Allen, worked in the White House for more than 30 years. Take a detour off the Mall, and celebrate more African American history on a tour of the U Street neighborhood, DC’s cultural center for the African American community from the Civil Rights movement to today. 960 1280
Inside Llewyn Davis, NYCFilm and music lovers can’t get enough of Inside Llewyn Davis, the Coen Brothers film that follows the 1960s folk scene in New York’s Greenwich Village. Take the “Greenwich Village Rock Tour” to walk the streets and visit the bars that your favorite musicians, like Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix, once did. Warning: desire to break out in song likely. 960 1280
Before Midnight, GreeceGreece isn’t a hard sell when it comes to travel. We are reminded of why this Mediterranean paradise is such a hot spot in Before Midnight, the “threequel" to Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. The filming location of Messenia in the southwest Peloponnese Peninsula has been off the radar for tourists. Until this film came out, of course. Sorry, Santorini and Mykonos, we have fallen in love again. 960 1280
Adore, AustraliaAdore, an Australian film about 2 old friends falling in love with each other’s son is a provocative tale. And the beaches where it was filmed are just as shocking … in how stunningly beautiful they are. Seal Rocks in New South Wales was the setting for the small town coastal paradise where the son swapping takes place, but the film had us lusting after any beach Down Under. 960 1280
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, South AfricaThe passing of Nelson Mandela and the release of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, a biopic about Mandela’s struggle to free South Africa, brings even more interest to the places that played an important role in his life. Just off Cape Town, Robben Island, the prison where Mandela was incarnated for almost 2 decades, offers tours to “honor a legacy of forgiveness.” Visiting the tiny cell where the civil rights leader spent so much of his life is sure to be both a powerful and unforgettable experience. 960 1280
Movies That Inspired Travel in 2013 10 Photos
Madrid“Spanish people are sexy in general, but I love the locals in Madrid. In addition to good genes, they just have this confidence that oozes sex appeal. I think it's enhanced by the city's architecture, which could easily be the backdrop of a fashion shoot or fragrance campaign. It's just very romantic and Goth and moody. Throw in some flamenco dancers, soccer players, accents and dramatic hand gestures -- whatever it is, everything here is sexy to me.” – Jimmy Im 960 1280
Stockholm“Slim, tall and impeccably dressed, the people of Stockholm are more diverse than the blond-haired, blue-eyed stereotype would lead you to believe. Dressed-to-kill publishing types frequent the areas around Stureplan and trendy restaurants like Ekstedt, while the look in music and cafe-mad Sodermalm slants far more hipster. And while Swedes aren't exactly the outgoing-with-strangers types, they do love to practice their English with native speakers -- use it to your advantage to make friends.” – Terry Ward 960 1280
Italy“Despite stretches of living, working and traveling across Italy, I never tire of ogling Italians; they exude a pervasive, innate sexiness. Whether they're -- against all odds -- making red-linen pants look seductive, casually sipping an espresso while perusing La Repubblica newspaper or being freakishly dexterous by simultaneously chattering on a cell phone, smoking a cigarette and eating a gelato while wearing a micro-mini skirt and careening through Rome's streets on a Vespa -- Italianos are dead sexy.” – Valerie Conners 960 1280
Tel Aviv"The the fun-loving, hedonist vibe of Tel Aviv's residents is definitely sexy. They don't need a special occasion to stay out until dawn any day of the week -- whether it's lounging inside a cozy wine bar, sipping cocktails at a glamorous restaurant created by a celebrity chef or rocking out to a deejay at a gritty nightclub. Residents take their leisure time very seriously and seem to pursue pleasure with a passion. Observing how they drink up the present moment despite living in a sometimes rocky corner of the world gives them a seductive charm that's all their own." –- Lost Girl Holly Corbett 960 1280
Argentina“Argentina’s cowboys, known as gauchos, make my world’s sexiest list. On a trip to a ranch outside Buenos Aires, I was one of many women swooning over Luca. He excelled at a gaucho game called the ring race, where gauchos race on horseback to capture a small hanging ring on the end of a metal rod. When they capture the ring, they place it on the finger of a lady of their choosing. Every woman on that ranch, married or single, wanted Luca to put a ring on it.” -- Robin Bennefield 960 1280
Mexico City"As one of the largest cities in the world, maybe the odds of having the sexiest people are simply this city's favor. Or maybe it is the outcome of the mixing of native Aztec and Mayan cultures with old world Spanish that has taken place over the centuries. Or maybe its the language. Even when you don't understand what is being said, it makes your heart beat faster from the mere sound of it. Regardless of the reason, this city's Latinos and Latinas are as spicy as its cuisine, as sultry as its music and as captivating as its history.” -- Troy Petenbrink 960 1280
Rome“Perhaps I’m biased since my father’s from Italy, but a gene pool that turned out Roman native Sophia Loren is nothing if not sexy. And anyone who has seen La Dolce Vita may never look at the Trevi Fountain quite the same again. Add the art, passion, history, fashion and food–-even the language is romantic--and you have a city that pulses with excitement. Trim, tawny Romans dress beautifully and embody the idea of ‘bella figura.’ I’m pretty sure I have a good idea of what many Romans are up to during their daily siestas.” -- Rina Rapuano 960 1280
Brazil“The sexiest people in the world can be found in that renowned epicenter of bulbous backsides, Brazil. The über-toned beach bodies and striking coal-to-cream complexion speak to Brazil’s virtually endless coastline and centuries-old history of intermixing and immigration. And there’s the pervasive friendliness and joie de vivre that Brazilians seem to be born with, resulting in people who are both sexy and sweet.” -- Ernest White II 960 1280
Uruguay“Even though I'm Argentine, I would always take the ‘Buquebus’ over to Punta del Este, Uruguay, during my winter break. I don't know whether it’s because a lot of the polo players, models, celebrities and the super posh vacation there, but every break I spent there was always amongst a sea of beautiful men and women. I now make sure to hit a month-long boot camp before I go, just so I don't feel so out of place!” -– Marianela Pereyra 960 1280
New York City“It may not always be conventional, but sexy is waiting around every corner in New York. I love never knowing whom I'll meet next here, be it a gaggle of top international models or a crazy person channeling alien wisdom. And for me, New Yorkers get extra-sexy points just for living in this tough but glorious melting pot, where beauty and style take an infinite variety of forms, and span the widest spectrums of class and nationality. As Garbo well proved, this is a city where even the most extraordinarily sexy can blend in as just another New Yorker.” -– Dan Allen 960 1280
Lollapalooza (Chicago)Head to Chicago's historic Grant Park for a 3-day, ultimate jam session featuring artists from a variety of genres, including alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock and hip-hop. Past performances have included Charlie XCX, Tyler the Creator, Kings of Leon, Eminem and Lorde. 960 1280
La Tomatina (Bunol, Spain)Tomatoes, tomatoes and more tomatoes are the star of this annual tomato-throwing festival. La Tomatina, possibly the world's biggest food fight, has been held in the town of Bunol in the Valencia region of Spain since 1945. Let loose and start throwing, just make sure to bring a pair of goggles -- more than 100 tons of over-ripe tomatoes will be thrown into the streets!
Happy Birthday, Hawaii!Do your patriotic duty, and honor the Aloha State with a visit this month -- August 21 marks Hawaii?s admittance as the 50th state. Lap up the waves on Oahu's North Shore; and for culinary fare, we've got the inside scoop on 4 ways to eat like a local on Oahu. 960 1280
Elvis Week (Memphis, TN)Shake, rattle and roll! Memphis, TN, marks its annual Elvis Week celebration each August. There's always something for Elvis fans, including the big draw each year, the annual Elvis Tribute Artists contest. Who will be crowned the King? 960 1280
Maine Lobster Festival (Rockland, ME)The annual Maine Lobster Festival kicks off this month, and you won't want to miss a moment of it! Over the course of the 5-day festival, more than 20,000 lbs. of lobster will be served -- lobster rolls, lobster wraps, lobster Caesar salad? Did we say lobster? Plus, see the annual Lobster Crate Race, cooking contest and the Maine Sea Goddess coronation! 960 1280
Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival (Seattle)Get a full dose of culture during Labor Day weekend. Head to Seattle for this music and arts fest -- it's one of the largest in North America. Bumbershoot began in 1971; today the annual gathering draws artists in film, music, spoken word, theater, dance, visual arts and more. Like we said, it's big. 960 1280
US Open Tennis Tournament (Queens, NY)The stars of tennis hit the court for one of the oldest tennis championships in the world. First held in 1881, the US Open is the fourth and final tennis major of the year’s Grand Slam tournaments -- and the only one held in North America. The cash prize can has been more than $24 million. See the high-stakes action in Flushing Meadows, Queens, NY.