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.

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Songkran Water Festival
Songkran Water Festival

Songkran Water Festival

Known as the Water Festival by visitors, this annual festival in Thailand falls shortly after the spring equinox. Songkran (based on a Sanskrit word for “astrological passage”) is celebrated in the country as the traditional New Year’s Day. Along with visiting elders and going to a Buddhist monastery, festivities include throwing of water – in this case, with a little help from an elephant! 960 1280

Getty Images  

White House Easter Egg Roll

White House Easter Egg Roll

President Obama gathers with schoolchildren on the White House lawn for the annual Easter Egg Roll. Held on Easter Monday, the yearly tradition is commonly believed to have started in 1814, organized by First Lady Dolley Madison. 960 1280

Reuters  

Semana Santa

Semana Santa

An important holiday in largely Catholic countries like Mexico and Spain, Semana Santa (Holy Week) showcases colorful parades, Masses, fireworks and elaborate ceremonies, like these celebrants in Roman garb placing crosses on a stone overlook. Semana Santa also coincides with spring break; you may see a sand sculpture of the Last Supper on a Mexican beach during this time! 960 1280

Getty Images  

Holi

Holi

Spring wouldn’t be the same in northern India without this annual festival. Celebrated by Hindus, who throw colored powder at each other, this vibrant festival of colors celebrates the season’s many hues, as well as events from Hindu mythology, such as when a devotee of Lord Vishnu was saved from death. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Nowruz

Nowruz

Widely referred to as the Persian New Year, this annual festival also marks the first day of spring -- which is celebrated on the day of the astronomical Northward equinox (usually around March 21). Nowruz is celebrated throughout Central Asia and here, in Kyrgyzstan’s capital city of Bishek. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Passover

Passover

One of the most widely observed Jewish holidays, Passover commemorates the story of the ancient Israelites’ deliverance from slavery in Egypt – items on this “seder plate” showcase symbolic foods related to the story. The weeklong holiday always falls during the spring season, based on a biblical commandment: “Guard the month of spring, and make then the Passover offering.”  960 1280

Daniel Gonzalez / iStock / Thinkstock  

Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake

Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake

Competitors race down a steep hill -- known as Cooper’s Hill, near Gloucester, England -- as they vie for the day’s ultimate prize: a round of Double Gloucester cheese. This centuries-old tradition is held on the UK’s Spring Bank Holiday, attracting not only locals from the nearby village of Brockworth but also people from all over the world. 960 1280

Emma Wood / Britain On View / Getty Images  

Holla Mohalla

Holla Mohalla

One day after the Hindu festival of Holi, another big spring celebration occurs: Holla Mohalla. During this 3-day Sikh festival, celebrants showcase their martial skills in mock fights (thus, the meaning of the holiday’s name) -- and the art of fire breathing, like here on a street in the northwest Indian state of Punjab. The spring festival is also a time when followers reaffirm their dedication to Khalsa Panth (the worldwide community of Sikhs). 960 1280

Reuters  

Cimburijada (Festival of Scrambled Eggs)

Cimburijada (Festival of Scrambled Eggs)

Eggs, eggs and more eggs -- every year, at the crack of dawn, people from the Bosnian town of Zenica gather by the Bosna River to celebrate the first day of spring. Known as Ciumburijada, or “Festival of Scrambled Eggs,” the event begins with the preparation of a traditional breakfast -- or in this case, a super-sized bowl of eggs for the masses. 960 1280

Reuters  

Walpurgis Night

Walpurgis Night

Named after the English missionary Saint Walpurga, this traditional spring festival is celebrated across Central and Northern Europe -- exactly 6 months after All Hallows’ Eve. Among the places that hold celebrations (which include dancing and bonfires) is the open-air museum of Skansen in Stockholm, pictured here.  960 1280

Sven Nackstrand / AFP / Getty Images  

Las Fallas

Las Fallas

Whimsical characters, known as fallas, are a familiar sight during this annual 5-day celebration. The origin of one of Spain’s most rowdy holidays is uncertain; some say Las Fallas began in the Middle Ages, when artisans burned pieces of wood they’d saved during the winter in celebration of the spring equinox. Over time, under the Catholic Church’s influence, the holiday has developed into a celebration to commemorate Saint Joseph. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Spring Equinox in Teotihuacán

Spring Equinox in Teotihuacán

Every year, on the 20th or 21st of March, thousands of people gather at this enormous, pre-Hispanic archeological site, roughly 30 miles northeast of Mexico City, to celebrate the spring equinox. Between 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., many celebrants climb the 360 steps to the top of Pyramid of the Sun, the largest structure in the area, to get closer to portals of energy. 960 1280

REUTERS/Gerardo Garcia  

Oracabessa
Oracabessa

Oracabessa

Sean Connery was the first actor cast as James Bond, aka Secret Agent 007. Dr. No, the first Bond film to draw fans to movie theaters (in 1962), was filmed in London and Kingston, Jamaica. Most of the filming was completed here in Oracabessa (pictured), a small town in Jamaica. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

From Russian With Love (1963) was filmed primarily in Istanbul, Turkey, including the Hagia Sophia (pictured), where Tatiana Romanova has a pre-arranged rendezvous with Agent 007 to give him the floor plan of the Soviet consulate. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Fort Knox

Fort Knox

In the movie Goldfinger (1964), the dashing British spy halts Goldfinger’s plan to detonate a nuclear bomb inside Fort Knox. US Army post is located south of Louisville, KY. 960 1280

Liz West, Flickr  

Paradise Island

Paradise Island

Be inspired and retrace Bond’s steps on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, where most of the 1965 movieThunderball was filmed. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle

You Only Live Twice (1967) was shot primarily at the Himeji Castle in Hyogo, Japan. On film, this was the location for an undercover ninja training camp headed by Japanese secret service leader Tiger Tanaka. 960 1280

  

Hotel Estoril Palacio

Hotel Estoril Palacio

Before the opening credits rolled in the 1969 Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the Palacio Estoril was where the luxurious hotel scenes were filmed. The historic hotel was the second home of the Spanish, French, Bulgarian and Romanian royal families, and it still remains a favorite with their descendants. This was actor George Lazenby’s first and only time cast in the role of Agent 007. 960 1280

Hotel Estoril Palacio  

Elrod Residence, Palm Springs

Elrod Residence, Palm Springs

In the 1971 movie Diamonds Are Forever, the Elrod House, designed by architect John Lautner, was transformed into the Whyte House, home of reclusive billionaire and casino owner Willard Whyte. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Jamaica

Jamaica

Jamaica doubles as San Monique in Live and Let Die (1973). Secret Agent 007 flies to the fictitious island where he goes beyond his duty to “persuade” Rosie Carver, a CIA double agent, to help him bring down a corrupt Caribbean dictator named Dr. Kananga. 960 1280

Callie Reed, Flickr  

Ko Tapu Islet

Ko Tapu Islet

Visit Francisco Scaramanga’s hideout on Ko Khao Phing Kan in the Phuket’s Phang Nga Province. After the 1974 release of The Man with the Golden Gun, locals and travel guidebooks began to refer to the nearby Ko Tapu islet as James Bond Island. Just beware of Scaramanga’s solar ray secret weapon. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Costa Smeralda, Sardinia

Costa Smeralda, Sardinia

Actor Roger Moore plays the British agent in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). James Bond travels to Sardinia where he learns about Karl Stromberg -- a shipping tycoon, scientist and anarchist -- and his new supertanker, the Liparus. 960 1280

fry, Flickr  

Pao de Acucar

Pao de Acucar

In Rio de Janeiro, James Bond fights with steel-toothed Jaws during a cable-car ride to Pao de Acucar, aka Sugarloaf Mountain in Moonraker (1979). 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Monastery of the Holy Trinity

Monastery of the Holy Trinity

The Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Meteora -- above Kalambaka, Greece -- served as a location shoot in the 1981 Bond flick For Your Eyes Only. A Greek bishop was paid to allow filming in the monasteries. Rumor has it that actor Roger Moore had a great fear of heights, and to do the climbing, he resorted to moderate drinking to calm his nerves. We’re just wondering if it was shaken, not stirred. 960 1280

Dido3, Wikimedia Commons  

Lake Palace

Lake Palace

About half of the movie Octopussy was set in Udaipur, India -- primarily in this floating palace. 960 1280

flickr, Wikimedia Commons  

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

After a mad dash through the streets of San Francisco in a fire truck, a battle between 007 and Max Zorin comes to a head on the Golden Gate Bridge in A View to a Kill (1985). 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Rock of Gibraltar

Rock of Gibraltar

Actor Timothy Dalton’s first movie as 007 was The Living Daylights in 1987. In the opening scenes before the credits, 007’s car flies off a cliff on the Rock of Gibraltar. In true Bond fashion, he’s prepared with a parachute and he manages to land safely in a boat full of beautiful women below. 960 1280

Artur Bogacki  

Key West, Florida

Key West, Florida

In Licence to Kill (1989), the British secret agent travels to Key West, FL, to see his best friend, Felix Lieter, get married. A happy occasion turns ugly when drug lord Franz Sanchez orders his henchmen to kill the newlyweds. Soon after, M meets Bond at the Hemingway House to send him to Istanbul for his next assignment. 960 1280

  

Arecibo Observatory

Arecibo Observatory

In 1989, actor Pierce Brosnan made his debut as the new James Bond in GoldenEye. The climactic fight scenes on the satellite were filmed here, at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. 960 1280

Jose Venegas, Flickr  

Stoke Park

Stoke Park

In Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), the steamy love scene between James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) and Paris Carver (Teri Hatcher) was filmed here in Stoke Park, a historic estate -- now a hotel, spa and country club -- in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, England. 960 1280

Stoke Park  

Guggenheim Museum

Guggenheim Museum

The pre-title sequence in The World Is Not Enough (1999) begins in Bilbao, Spain, at the legendary Guggenheim Museum. 960 1280

Samuel Negredo, Flickr  

Jökulsárlón, Iceland

Jökulsárlón, Iceland

Various exterior scenes where Bond visits the Ice Palace in Die Another Day were shot here, in and around this iceberg-filled lake in Jökulsárlón, Iceland. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como, Italy

In 2006, actor Daniel Craig became the new Bond in Casino Royale. Director Martin Campbell and the production crew traveled to Prague, the Bahamas, Uganda and Italy to shoot scenes for the movie. Near the end of the movie, the secret agent wakes up in a hospital in Lake Como, Italy (pictured), after he was tortured by terrorist financier Le Chiffre. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Atacama Desert

Atacama Desert

In Quantum Solace (2008), Chile’s Atacama Desert (pictured) was filmed to create the scene in the Bolivian desert where villain Dominic Greene reveals his plan to control Bolivia’s water supply. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Sultanahmet Square

Sultanahmet Square

Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Square (pictured), Spice Bazaar, Yeni Camii and Grand Bazaar were closed to film the most recent James Bond flick, Skyfall. 960 1280

Mario Sanchez Prada, Flickr  

National Christmas Tree
National Christmas Tree

National Christmas Tree

Looking for ideas on where to travel in December? Kick off the month with a tour of the National Christmas Tree. Located on the White House’s South Lawn, a towering 40-foot evergreen spruce has been a seasonal fixture of the nation’s capital since 1923. 960 1280

Getty Images  

San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio River Walk

Keep the Christmas spirit going in San Antonio. Every December, more than a mile of the San Antonio River Walk comes alive with over 100 underwater lights, as well as LED rope lighting crossing from one side of the river to the other. 960 1280

Getty Images   

Hobbit Tour

Hobbit Tour

Hobbit fans, rejoice! With this month's release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien fans have a reason to follow the Hobbit trail to New Zealand. Besides being a great time to visit (December is the start of New Zealand’s summer season), the country has a Hobbit movie set tour on upper North Island. 960 1280

Jeff Hitchcock, flickr  

Ice Fishing, Colorado Style

Ice Fishing, Colorado Style

This December, put Colorado on your outdoors adventure map: Colorado's robust winters lure ice-fishing enthusiasts to gear up and head out for the thrill of the catch. Prime spots include Wolford Mountain Reservoir, a 1,550- acre reservoir, about 100 miles west of Denver. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Caribbean Cruise: Early December

Caribbean Cruise: Early December

For an impromptu December getaway, set sail for the Caribbean. The first 2 weeks of December are your best bet for bargain prices on cruises and hotels, before fares rise come Christmas and New Year’s. Combine your warm winter escape with cool events, like the Bahamas International Film Festival. 960 1280

Royal Caribbean International  

San Francisco Ballet's The Nutcracker

San Francisco Ballet's The Nutcracker

The holiday season wouldn’t be quite the same without catching a performance of The Nutcracker. We suggest heading to the City by the Bay to see the sparkling 2-act ballet performed by the San Francisco Ballet, which first introduced Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece to American audiences in 1944. 960 1280

Erik Tomasson  

Rockefeller Center Ice Skating

Rockefeller Center Ice Skating

For the quintessential NYC Christmas experience, take a whirl on the ice at Rockefeller Center. The world-famous ice-skating rink at the famed commercial complex, in the heart of Manhattan, has been a fixture of Rockefeller Center since 1936. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Stonehenge Winter Solstice

Stonehenge Winter Solstice

Take in the winter solstice at Stonehenge. Every year, more than 5,000 people gather at the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, to mark the time when the sun appears at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon. And good news in 2013: Visitors can explore a new visitor center close to the ancient site that's set to open this month. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Santa Claus House in North Pole

Santa Claus House in North Pole

Just where does Santa Claus live? North Pole, AK, of course. Head to this small, wintery city in the heart of Alaska to see Santa Claus House: A storefront, built in the early 1950s, it’s the spot from which the Original Letter From Santa is mailed out, proclaiming the bearer to be “on Santa’s Good List.” 960 1280

Rosie Rosenberger, flickr  

Hit the Slopes

Hit the Slopes

Hit the slopes this month at North America’s most popular ski resort. In addition to being home to more groomed terrain than any other resort in the world, Vail, CO, boasts the country’s largest ski school for all skill levels. For the more seasoned skier, head to Jackson Hole, where over 90% of the trails fall into intermediate to expert categories. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

NOLA Christmas Bonfires

NOLA Christmas Bonfires

Add a little spice to the holiday season with a trip to The Big Easy. Come Christmas Eve, dozens of bonfires light up along the Mississippi River levee to make way for Papa Noel, as locals in bayou country call Santa. Arrive by 7 p.m. to watch the fiery feu de joie (“fires of joy”)! 960 1280

Douglas and Charlene Guilliams of Baton Rouge, LA: A Father and Daughter Photography Team  

Christmas Village in Philadelphia

Christmas Village in Philadelphia

Come December, the City of Brotherly Love transforms itself into a Christmas Village. This annual holiday market in Philadelphia’s LOVE Park features traditional German Christmas market items, displayed by more than 60 vendors in decorated booths and tents. Get your fill of holiday goodies like gingerbread cookies and mulled wine. 960 1280

Christmas Village in Philadelphia  

Chicago's Polar Adventure Days

Chicago's Polar Adventure Days

Learn dog sledding in … Chicago? Yep, for outdoor winter adventure, head to the Windy City’s Northerly Island, site of the 9th annual Polar Adventure Days. Beginning in early December, the family-friendly event includes a toddler zone with outdoor “ice fishing,” an REI winter activity station and a dog-sledding demo with huskies. 960 1280

Chicago's Polar Adventure Days  

Photos

Oracabessa

Oracabessa

Sean Connery was the first actor cast as James Bond, aka Secret Agent 007. Dr. No, the first Bond film to draw fans to movie theaters (in 1962), was filmed in London and Kingston, Jamaica. Most of the filming was completed here in Oracabessa (pictured), a small town in Jamaica. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

From Russian With Love (1963) was filmed primarily in Istanbul, Turkey, including the Hagia Sophia (pictured), where Tatiana Romanova has a pre-arranged rendezvous with Agent 007 to give him the floor plan of the Soviet consulate. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Fort Knox

Fort Knox

In the movie Goldfinger (1964), the dashing British spy halts Goldfinger’s plan to detonate a nuclear bomb inside Fort Knox. US Army post is located south of Louisville, KY. 960 1280

Liz West, Flickr  

Paradise Island

Paradise Island

Be inspired and retrace Bond’s steps on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, where most of the 1965 movieThunderball was filmed. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle

You Only Live Twice (1967) was shot primarily at the Himeji Castle in Hyogo, Japan. On film, this was the location for an undercover ninja training camp headed by Japanese secret service leader Tiger Tanaka. 960 1280

  

Hotel Estoril Palacio

Hotel Estoril Palacio

Before the opening credits rolled in the 1969 Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the Palacio Estoril was where the luxurious hotel scenes were filmed. The historic hotel was the second home of the Spanish, French, Bulgarian and Romanian royal families, and it still remains a favorite with their descendants. This was actor George Lazenby’s first and only time cast in the role of Agent 007. 960 1280

Hotel Estoril Palacio  

Elrod Residence, Palm Springs

Elrod Residence, Palm Springs

In the 1971 movie Diamonds Are Forever, the Elrod House, designed by architect John Lautner, was transformed into the Whyte House, home of reclusive billionaire and casino owner Willard Whyte. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Jamaica

Jamaica

Jamaica doubles as San Monique in Live and Let Die (1973). Secret Agent 007 flies to the fictitious island where he goes beyond his duty to “persuade” Rosie Carver, a CIA double agent, to help him bring down a corrupt Caribbean dictator named Dr. Kananga. 960 1280

Callie Reed, Flickr  

Ko Tapu Islet

Ko Tapu Islet

Visit Francisco Scaramanga’s hideout on Ko Khao Phing Kan in the Phuket’s Phang Nga Province. After the 1974 release of The Man with the Golden Gun, locals and travel guidebooks began to refer to the nearby Ko Tapu islet as James Bond Island. Just beware of Scaramanga’s solar ray secret weapon. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Costa Smeralda, Sardinia

Costa Smeralda, Sardinia

Actor Roger Moore plays the British agent in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). James Bond travels to Sardinia where he learns about Karl Stromberg -- a shipping tycoon, scientist and anarchist -- and his new supertanker, the Liparus. 960 1280

fry, Flickr  

Pao de Acucar

Pao de Acucar

In Rio de Janeiro, James Bond fights with steel-toothed Jaws during a cable-car ride to Pao de Acucar, aka Sugarloaf Mountain in Moonraker (1979). 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Monastery of the Holy Trinity

Monastery of the Holy Trinity

The Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Meteora -- above Kalambaka, Greece -- served as a location shoot in the 1981 Bond flick For Your Eyes Only. A Greek bishop was paid to allow filming in the monasteries. Rumor has it that actor Roger Moore had a great fear of heights, and to do the climbing, he resorted to moderate drinking to calm his nerves. We’re just wondering if it was shaken, not stirred. 960 1280

Dido3, Wikimedia Commons  

Lake Palace

Lake Palace

About half of the movie Octopussy was set in Udaipur, India -- primarily in this floating palace. 960 1280

flickr, Wikimedia Commons  

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

After a mad dash through the streets of San Francisco in a fire truck, a battle between 007 and Max Zorin comes to a head on the Golden Gate Bridge in A View to a Kill (1985). 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Rock of Gibraltar

Rock of Gibraltar

Actor Timothy Dalton’s first movie as 007 was The Living Daylights in 1987. In the opening scenes before the credits, 007’s car flies off a cliff on the Rock of Gibraltar. In true Bond fashion, he’s prepared with a parachute and he manages to land safely in a boat full of beautiful women below. 960 1280

Artur Bogacki  

Key West, Florida

Key West, Florida

In Licence to Kill (1989), the British secret agent travels to Key West, FL, to see his best friend, Felix Lieter, get married. A happy occasion turns ugly when drug lord Franz Sanchez orders his henchmen to kill the newlyweds. Soon after, M meets Bond at the Hemingway House to send him to Istanbul for his next assignment. 960 1280

  

Arecibo Observatory

Arecibo Observatory

In 1989, actor Pierce Brosnan made his debut as the new James Bond in GoldenEye. The climactic fight scenes on the satellite were filmed here, at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. 960 1280

Jose Venegas, Flickr  

Stoke Park

Stoke Park

In Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), the steamy love scene between James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) and Paris Carver (Teri Hatcher) was filmed here in Stoke Park, a historic estate -- now a hotel, spa and country club -- in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, England. 960 1280

Stoke Park  

Guggenheim Museum

Guggenheim Museum

The pre-title sequence in The World Is Not Enough (1999) begins in Bilbao, Spain, at the legendary Guggenheim Museum. 960 1280

Samuel Negredo, Flickr  

Jökulsárlón, Iceland

Jökulsárlón, Iceland

Various exterior scenes where Bond visits the Ice Palace in Die Another Day were shot here, in and around this iceberg-filled lake in Jökulsárlón, Iceland. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como, Italy

In 2006, actor Daniel Craig became the new Bond in Casino Royale. Director Martin Campbell and the production crew traveled to Prague, the Bahamas, Uganda and Italy to shoot scenes for the movie. Near the end of the movie, the secret agent wakes up in a hospital in Lake Como, Italy (pictured), after he was tortured by terrorist financier Le Chiffre. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Atacama Desert

Atacama Desert

In Quantum Solace (2008), Chile’s Atacama Desert (pictured) was filmed to create the scene in the Bolivian desert where villain Dominic Greene reveals his plan to control Bolivia’s water supply. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Sultanahmet Square

Sultanahmet Square

Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Square (pictured), Spice Bazaar, Yeni Camii and Grand Bazaar were closed to film the most recent James Bond flick, Skyfall. 960 1280

Mario Sanchez Prada, Flickr  

Santorini Caldera Lagoon, Greek Islands

Santorini Caldera Lagoon, Greek Islands

I would gift my mother the $10,000, no hesitation. My mother went to Greece a very long time ago for a very short time — a few hours on a layover. Now that she’s a single mother and grandmother, I would accompany her back to Greece and hit all the must-see, off-the-beaten-path spots, including a stop at world-famous chef Lefteris Lazarou’s Varoulko restaurant in Athens. We’ll bypass the Parthenon and the Acropolis Museum (she’s seen them) and board a 100-foot, 2-masted schooner to sail to the beautiful islands of Hydra, Santorini, Mykonos and Naxos, which is said to be the hometown of none other than Zeus, king of all the Greek gods. – Rani Robinson, Managing Producer

Enter to win $10,000 in cash to pay for your next trip!
960 1280

Oversnap/ E+/ Getty Images  

Pailon Del Diablo Waterfall, Ecuador

Pailon Del Diablo Waterfall, Ecuador

One of my good friends got married this year and (being the amazing woman she is) spent her honeymoon volunteering in Haiti; she also spends half her year and all her extra money working toward improving Haitian education. So she's the person I'd give a $10,000 vacation, but a typical luxe beach retreat wouldn't be her and her new hubby's style. Instead, a high-adventure hiking and biking tour through Ecuador and the Galapagos would fit this couple’s outdoorsy personalities. From enjoying the snowcapped mountain views of the Andes to seeing wildlife up close in the Galapagos, this couple would deserve every unforgettable moment. – Kathleen Rellihan, Interactive Producer 960 1280

Estivillml/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

Canal Grande at sunset, Venice, Italy

Canal Grande at sunset, Venice, Italy

I would give a gift of $10,000 to my parents, no question. They both just finished helping me plan my wedding, are nearing retirement and deserve every penny. They had to cancel a trip to Italy a couple of years ago because of an unexpected medical issue. They were heartbroken, and I know they would definitely use the money to finally take their much-deserved vacation to explore Italy. A stop in Venice would be a must for my mom so she could take a ride on a gondola, while the vineyards throughout Tuscany would be calling my dad’s name (although I’m sure there would be quite a few winery visits for them on this trip). They’ve done so much for their children and family, especially over these past couple of years, and they deserve their trip to Italy, plus so much more. – Kristen Kochanski, Photo Editor 960 1280

Inge Johnsson/ AEG Fotostock/ Getty Images  

Car on winding highway, Aspen Colorado

Car on winding highway, Aspen Colorado

I’d give $10,000 to my dad so he could go on the ultimate United States road trip. He’s already camped his way from Maryland to California, but the money would go a long way to ensure he could visit all 48 contiguous states. And maybe I could persuade him to upgrade his tent for a more luxurious camping experience. – Josh Levin, Digital Operations Manager 960 1280

Seth K. Hughes/ Image Source/ Getty Images  

Downtown Beirut, Lebanon

Downtown Beirut, Lebanon

My dad would definitely be a deserving recipient of a $10,000 holiday gift for travel. He works long hours as a doctor and hardly ever gets to take a real vacation. I would send him on a trip to Lebanon, where he was born and raised. He hasn’t been back in more than 40 years, and I know it would mean a lot to him to return. With $10,000, our whole family could go and learn more about his roots, and our own. We’d explore the rebuilt city of Beirut, hike among the famous cedars of Lebanon, and meet relatives we never knew we had. My dad would especially love to visit the traditional souks (markets) and get some of his favorite authentic Arabic dishes — not to mention that oh-so-strong Lebanese coffee. – Hannah Prince, Digital Copy Editor 960 1280

Ramzihachicho/ Getty Images  

Canal in Copenhagen

Canal in Copenhagen

If I had $10,000 to give to 1 person for a trip of a lifetime, I would absolutely give that money to my wife. For years, she has talked about her time as a high school exchange student in Denmark (the food — the people — the fun!) and has never had the chance to go back. This gift would finally give her the opportunity she has waited decades for. Coincidentally, she has a surprising number of childhood friends who now live overseas. What a lucky problem to have for someone who likes to travel! With people to visit everywhere from Singapore to Prague, she could definitely put this money to good use. Oh, and let me be honest here: I selfishly hope to tag along on this European adventure! – Matt Dewhurst, Interactive Producer 960 1280

Visions Of Our Land/ The Image Bank/ Getty Images  

Costa del Sol, Malaga, Spain

Costa del Sol, Malaga, Spain

I would definitely give my mom a $10,000 gift to travel on a luxury cruise ship. She would probably feel more comfortable visiting the Caribbean, but I would encourage her to expand her travel horizons and take an all-inclusive luxury cruise around the Mediterranean that would include stops at ports of call including Lisbon, Portugal; Costa del Sol, Spain; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Portofino, Italy; and Rome. Of course, I’d drop everything to travel with her. My dream would be to whisk her away and be her guide in some of my personal favorite places, such as Paris; Barcelona, Spain; and Salvador, Brazil. She rarely takes time to pamper herself, so a little forced rest and relaxation never hurt anyone, right? And honestly, she probably deserves more than a $10,000 gift. – Kwin Mosby, Managing Producer 960 1280

Wolfgang Kaehler/ LightRocket/ Getty Images  

Wanderlust festival in O’ahu, Hawaii

Wanderlust festival in O’ahu, Hawaii

If I HAD to give someone close to me (other than myself!) $10,000 to travel with, it would definitely be my brother. A yogi, my brother works tirelessly on his craft, teaching on an everyday, almost-every-hour basis, which leaves him with hardly any money and, even worse, hardly any time to travel. That would all change with this $10,000 gift of travel. The first place that comes to mind for someone like my brother — someone who loves yoga, music and adventure sports — is Hawaii during the Wanderlust O’ahu festival. It’s the perfect opportunity to relax, be of a peaceful mind, exercise and take in all the beautiful surroundings Hawaii has to offer. – Ben Breslerman, Interactive Producer 960 1280

Amanda Bjorn for Wanderlust Festival  

Jetliner over New York

Jetliner over New York

I would give a friend a $10,000 gift to travel so that he can join me on my round-the-world adventure trip. We would begin in London and continue on to Budapest, Hungary; Nairobi, Kenya; Bali, Indonesia; Brisbane, Australia; and Honolulu, HI, before heading home. While I’ll be sitting in business class, the $10,000 isn’t enough for an equivalent ticket, so he would be sitting in economy — but that would leave enough remaining money to enjoy some quality food, hotels and booze around the world. – Arthur Hsu, Video Project Manager 960 1280

John Lund/ The Image Bank/ Getty Images  

Tuscany, Italy

Tuscany, Italy

My younger brother is getting married in December, and I'd love to gift him and his fiancée a $10,000 honeymoon in romantic Italy. Whether they choose to do a cycling tour through the Tuscan countryside, complete with wine tastings and cooking classes, marvel at the Venetian architecture aboard a luxurious water taxi, or charter a yacht on the Italian Riviera — or, better yet, all 3 — it would surely be a trip to remember. After honing their culinary skills, I'd expect they'd show their appreciation stateside with a homemade pasta dinner. – Sara Gilliam, Senior Producer 960 1280

Zoonar/ P.Jilek/ Getty Images  

Tuscany, Italy

Tuscany, Italy

My younger brother is getting married in December, and I'd love to gift him and his fiancée a $10,000 honeymoon in romantic Italy. Whether they choose to do a cycling tour through the Tuscan countryside, complete with wine tastings and cooking classes, marvel at the Venetian architecture aboard a luxurious water taxi, or charter a yacht on the Italian Riviera — or, better yet, all 3 — it would surely be a trip to remember. After honing their culinary skills, I'd expect they'd show their appreciation stateside with a homemade pasta dinner. – Sara Gilliam, Senior Producer 960 1280

Zoonar/ P.Jilek/ Getty Images  

National Christmas Tree

National Christmas Tree

Looking for ideas on where to travel in December? Kick off the month with a tour of the National Christmas Tree. Located on the White House’s South Lawn, a towering 40-foot evergreen spruce has been a seasonal fixture of the nation’s capital since 1923. 960 1280

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San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio River Walk

Keep the Christmas spirit going in San Antonio. Every December, more than a mile of the San Antonio River Walk comes alive with over 100 underwater lights, as well as LED rope lighting crossing from one side of the river to the other. 960 1280

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Hobbit Tour

Hobbit Tour

Hobbit fans, rejoice! With this month's release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien fans have a reason to follow the Hobbit trail to New Zealand. Besides being a great time to visit (December is the start of New Zealand’s summer season), the country has a Hobbit movie set tour on upper North Island. 960 1280

Jeff Hitchcock, flickr  

Ice Fishing, Colorado Style

Ice Fishing, Colorado Style

This December, put Colorado on your outdoors adventure map: Colorado's robust winters lure ice-fishing enthusiasts to gear up and head out for the thrill of the catch. Prime spots include Wolford Mountain Reservoir, a 1,550- acre reservoir, about 100 miles west of Denver. 960 1280

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Caribbean Cruise: Early December

Caribbean Cruise: Early December

For an impromptu December getaway, set sail for the Caribbean. The first 2 weeks of December are your best bet for bargain prices on cruises and hotels, before fares rise come Christmas and New Year’s. Combine your warm winter escape with cool events, like the Bahamas International Film Festival. 960 1280

Royal Caribbean International  

San Francisco Ballet's The Nutcracker

San Francisco Ballet's The Nutcracker

The holiday season wouldn’t be quite the same without catching a performance of The Nutcracker. We suggest heading to the City by the Bay to see the sparkling 2-act ballet performed by the San Francisco Ballet, which first introduced Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece to American audiences in 1944. 960 1280

Erik Tomasson  

Rockefeller Center Ice Skating

Rockefeller Center Ice Skating

For the quintessential NYC Christmas experience, take a whirl on the ice at Rockefeller Center. The world-famous ice-skating rink at the famed commercial complex, in the heart of Manhattan, has been a fixture of Rockefeller Center since 1936. 960 1280

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Stonehenge Winter Solstice

Stonehenge Winter Solstice

Take in the winter solstice at Stonehenge. Every year, more than 5,000 people gather at the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, to mark the time when the sun appears at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon. And good news in 2013: Visitors can explore a new visitor center close to the ancient site that's set to open this month. 960 1280

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Santa Claus House in North Pole

Santa Claus House in North Pole

Just where does Santa Claus live? North Pole, AK, of course. Head to this small, wintery city in the heart of Alaska to see Santa Claus House: A storefront, built in the early 1950s, it’s the spot from which the Original Letter From Santa is mailed out, proclaiming the bearer to be “on Santa’s Good List.” 960 1280

Rosie Rosenberger, flickr  

Hit the Slopes

Hit the Slopes

Hit the slopes this month at North America’s most popular ski resort. In addition to being home to more groomed terrain than any other resort in the world, Vail, CO, boasts the country’s largest ski school for all skill levels. For the more seasoned skier, head to Jackson Hole, where over 90% of the trails fall into intermediate to expert categories. 960 1280

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NOLA Christmas Bonfires

NOLA Christmas Bonfires

Add a little spice to the holiday season with a trip to The Big Easy. Come Christmas Eve, dozens of bonfires light up along the Mississippi River levee to make way for Papa Noel, as locals in bayou country call Santa. Arrive by 7 p.m. to watch the fiery feu de joie (“fires of joy”)! 960 1280

Douglas and Charlene Guilliams of Baton Rouge, LA: A Father and Daughter Photography Team  

Christmas Village in Philadelphia

Christmas Village in Philadelphia

Come December, the City of Brotherly Love transforms itself into a Christmas Village. This annual holiday market in Philadelphia’s LOVE Park features traditional German Christmas market items, displayed by more than 60 vendors in decorated booths and tents. Get your fill of holiday goodies like gingerbread cookies and mulled wine. 960 1280

Christmas Village in Philadelphia  

Chicago's Polar Adventure Days

Chicago's Polar Adventure Days

Learn dog sledding in … Chicago? Yep, for outdoor winter adventure, head to the Windy City’s Northerly Island, site of the 9th annual Polar Adventure Days. Beginning in early December, the family-friendly event includes a toddler zone with outdoor “ice fishing,” an REI winter activity station and a dog-sledding demo with huskies. 960 1280

Chicago's Polar Adventure Days