Where to Go in 2016

From a city built by our forefathers to the final frontier, our picks for where to go in 2016 may surprise you.

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What's more picturesque than one of the 7 natural wonders of the world? Victoria Falls in Zambia is the world's biggest waterfall, and its mist served as the perfect backdrop for the stunning models. 960 1280

Getty  

Less than 2 miles from the falls, models lounged by the infinity pool at Stanley Safari Lodge and took in the spectacular views. 960 1280

Stanley Safari Lodge  

Sports Illustrated set sail in Apalachicola on the Florida Panhandle. The quaint town is a far cry from spring break-staple Panama City located 60 miles up the Gulf Coast. 960 1280

Apalachicola Bay Chamber  

SI says Coombs House Inn is the place to stay in Apalachicola -- and it's easy to see why. Its historic Victorian mansions boast 4-poster beds, private verandas and afternoon teas, making it one of the most luxurious bed and breakfasts in the US. 960 1280

Coombs House Inn  

San Blas are remote islands along the Caribbean coast of Panama home to the Kuna Indians. The SI crew stayed aboard an ocean liner to capture the islands' crystal clear waters. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

While in the Bocas del Toro province of Panama, models relaxed in the scenic Playa Tortuga Hotel. 960 1280

Playa Tortuga Hotel, a member of Summit Hotels & Resorts  

Models frolicked on the rocks and white sands of Narrabeen Beach, in northern Sydney. 960 1280

Pavel Sigarteu, flickr  

SI says no other hotel in Sydney "can match the panoramic view you will take in with a drink in your hand, after a glorious day at Bondi Beach, from the Blue Bar on the Shangi-La's 36th floor." 960 1280

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts  

Finally SI made it to Desroches Island in the Seychelles, a stunning stretch of sand less than 1 square mile. 960 1280

Karl Blackwell  

When members of the SI team weren't being catered to by butlers and private chefs in their sprawling villas at the Desroches Island Resort, they could be found relaxing in the open-air Escape Spa. Where would you want to escape to? 960 1280

Michael Lewis  

Helitrax
For Adventure Seekers: Telluride, CO

For Adventure Seekers: Telluride, CO

Experienced skiers can take it to the next level by spending the day heli-skiing, which, like it sounds, is downhill skiing on a course accessible only by helicopter. For $1,235, Telluride Helitrax, in operation since 1982, offers daylong excursions that include 6 ski runs, a guide, equipment and food. Helicopters take groups of 4 to an elevation of at least 10,000 feet, where skiers are surrounded by majestic backcountry terrain while on empty slopes. If that’s not enough, customized tours are also available. 960 1280

Jeff Cricco/Telluride Helitrax  

For Culture Vultures: NYC

For Culture Vultures: NYC

Start the clock by catching a matinee of Hamilton, Broadway’s hottest hip-hop musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton. Plan ahead, since tickets tend to sell out months in advance. Cap off the day with an adults-only sleepover at the American Museum of Natural History, where guests can enjoy live music, presentations and the chance to explore the museum all night long. The $350 price includes a buffet dinner, cots and more. 960 1280

© AMNH\R. Mickens  

For Girlfriend Getaways: Miami

For Girlfriend Getaways: Miami

Sunshine, spa treatments and drinks are all that are needed for a quick getaway, and one can find all that and more at The Standard in Miami Beach. It’s removed from the madding crowd, and guests can luxuriate in a Turkish Hamam and take a yoga classes by the water. Leave time to head to nearby Miami Beach for dinner at celeb hotspot Matador Room, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s latest Miami venture offering Latin-fusion fare. Sit on the terrace for ocean views and lush, foliage surroundings. Follow up with poolside drinks at the sophisticated Delano South Beach, where you can camp out in a lantern-lit private cabana before it’s time to head home. 960 1280
For Foodies: Culinary Institute of America: California, New York, Texas

For Foodies: Culinary Institute of America: California, New York, Texas

Boasting such notable alum as Anthony Bourdain and Cat Cora, many a foodie has daydreamed about enrolling at one of the nation’s best culinary schools. While that’s not realistic for most, what is possible is taking a half-day cooking class. Each location offers a bevy of year-round options, from global street food to holiday favorites. Classes include lunch, CIA apron and chef’s hat. For the ultimate experience, 2- to 5-day boot camps are a must for when time isn’t of the essence. Of course, the upside to taking an afternoon class, particularly at the CIA in California, is the opportunity to have dinner just a quick 20-minute ride away at French Laundry, considered one of the top 10 restaurants in the US. The prix fixe chef’s tasting menu costs $295 -- be sure to book 2 months ahead. 960 1280

By Ɱ (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons  

For Family-Friendly Fun: Mohonk Mountain House

For Family-Friendly Fun: Mohonk Mountain House

This sprawling, fairy tale-esque castle in the scenic Hudson Valley literally has something for everyone. Rock climbing, horseback riding and golf are among the warmer-weather options at Mohonk Mountain House, while ice skating, snow tubing and cross-country skiing are among the winter activities. There’s also an award-winning spa, watersports and a host of fitness classes. (And that’s still not everything.) Trying to cram as many activities as possible into 24 hours is a worthwhile challenge. 960 1280

By Fred Hsu on en.wikipedia (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons  

For Romantics: New Orleans

For Romantics: New Orleans

New Orleans has no shortage of romantic neighborhoods and experiences, and the food-and-music scene has some of the best ways to experience them. Start with a late breakfast at Café Amelie and sit outside in the greenery-filled courtyard for a secret garden feel. Stroll through the historic French Quarter to work up an appetite for the Creole jazz brunch at Muriel’s Jackson Square, or simply get a drink at Muriel’s bordello-themed Séance Lounge (ask about the ghost). Don’t miss dinner at top-rated French restaurant August before collapsing into a plush seat at the intimate Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse 960 1280
For Shopaholics: Los Angeles

For Shopaholics: Los Angeles

Bypass the ubiquitous luxury chains on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and head to unique boutiques selling hard-to-find favorites. Fred Segal, Maxfield, Kitson and Madison are among the old-guard standouts, selling on-trend, high-end designer wares and more. Visit newer trendsetters include Opening Ceremony and TENOVERSIX for well-curated selections of the hottest designers and up-and-comers. Shoe addicts will find nirvana among the wall of shoes at Kathryn Amberleigh. Fans of the offbeat shouldn’t miss Just One Eye, a conceptual space that’s part art gallery, part fashion boutique, or The Well, a combination boutique/hair salon that’s perfect for multitaskers. Before heading out, pop into Poketo for one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone back home. 960 1280

Courtesy of Poketo  

For the Unconventional: Quebec City

For the Unconventional: Quebec City

Even though Quebec City is impossibly charming in the warmer months, it’s downright magical in the winter. Warm up with high tea at the iconic Château Frontenac Hotel in Old Quebec. While it’s tempting to stay there, the highlight is spending a night at Hotel de Glace, a seasonal ice hotel just outside downtown Quebec, and the only one in North America. Book the Adventure Package and squeeze in dogsledding for extra bragging rights. 960 1280
For Animal Lovers: Grand Canyon

For Animal Lovers: Grand Canyon

It’s one thing to experience the Grand Canyon from a prime viewing spot, and another from the saddle of a mule. While 3-hour trips are available, opt for the once-in-a-lifetime overnight ride to Phantom Ranch, a rustic lodge located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The trail ride each way takes about 5 hours and includes rest stops and lunch.  960 1280
For Sports Fanatics: Super Bowl

For Sports Fanatics: Super Bowl

Yes, Super Bowl tickets are notoriously hard to score, even when it’s not the 50th anniversary of the game. Luckily, it’s not impossible with QuintEvents, the official provider of Super Bowl packages. To really go over the top for this year’s game in Santa Clara, CA, on Feb. 7, choose the “On the Fifty” package, which nets you seats on the 50-yard line, the chance to meet players and cheerleaders and get autographs, and access to a private club serving gourmet food and drink before, during and after the game. Best of all, this package can be purchased for just the day of the game -- for a mere $13,000.    960 1280
New York Fashion Week
Sexy Style: New York Fashion Week

Sexy Style: New York Fashion Week

What’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

Getty Images  

Bar: Le Bain at The Standard

Bar: Le Bain at The Standard

Enjoy 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

Le Bain at The Standard, High Line  

Food Porn: Drizzled Caramel

Food Porn: Drizzled Caramel

Some 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

Ginny, Flickr  

Festival: Oktoberfest

Festival: Oktoberfest

Celebrate 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

Reuters  

Spa: Dolder Grand, Switzerland

Spa: Dolder Grand, Switzerland

Zurich'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

The Dolder Grand  

Car: Aston Martin DB5

Car: Aston Martin DB5

Travel 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

Getty Images  

Sport: Football

Sport: Football

The 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

Getty Images  

Sexy Slipaway: The Solomon Islands

Sexy Slipaway: The Solomon Islands

An 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

Getty Images  

City: Cartagena, Colombia

City: Cartagena, Colombia

After 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

Getty Images  

Concert: Madonna

Concert: Madonna

Madonna exudes sassy and sexy as she continues her 2012 MDNA world tour this month throughout North America. The Queen of Pop makes stops in NYC, Chicago, DC, Toronto and Vancouver this month. 960 1280

Reuters  

Fall Foliage: Traverse City, MI

Fall Foliage: Traverse City, MI

Everyone 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

Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau  

Exhibit: Universe of Desire

Exhibit: Universe of Desire

Tame 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

bclinesmith, Flickr  

TV Show: Ghost Adventures

TV Show: Ghost Adventures

What’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 Verde

Restaurant: De Niro's Locanda Verde

For 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

Noah Fecks  

Music: Monterey Jazz Festival

Music: Monterey Jazz Festival

Spend 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

Thinkstock  

Photos

Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan, Myanmar

“I have seen sunsets/sunrises in 75 countries, but never like in Bagan, Myanmar!” — Tom G. 960 1280

Tom Grond  

Fort Myers Beach, FL

Fort Myers Beach, FL

“Fort Myers Beach, where the sun sets over the water!” — Alyssa A. 960 1280

Alyssa Acree  

Malaysian Borneo

Malaysian Borneo

“The best place to watch the sunset is at Bako National Park,” Sarawak’s oldest national park on the island of Borneo. — Seyhan G. 960 1280

Seyhan Geubel  

Moorea, French Polynesia

Moorea, French Polynesia

“French Polynesia, especially Bora Bora or Moorea,” is a great place for both sunrises and sunsets. — Zenaida G. 960 1280

Nate Murray  

Olvera, Spain (Andalusia)

Olvera, Spain (Andalusia)

“Sierra de Cádiz in Spain! I’m a beach person, but watching the sun set over those white mountains is incredible.” — Alyssa A. 960 1280

Alyssa Acree  

Levanto, Italy (Liguiria)

Levanto, Italy (Liguiria)

“Near Italy’s Cinque Terre, made up of colorful seaside villages and rugged coastline on the Italian Riviera.” — Wynne G. 960 1280

Wynne Gavin  

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

The village of Oia on the island of Santorini has long been considered the most romantic place to watch the sunset. 960 1280

Cal Lamprecht  

Daytona Beach, FL

Daytona Beach, FL

“Sunrise on Daytona Beach — my favorite spot, 1 block from my home!!” — Guendelina J. 960 1280

Guendelina Jones  

Tampa Bay, FL

Tampa Bay, FL

Hawaii was a close second, but the beaches of Florida won out as the fan-favorite spot. 960 1280

Jackie Johnson  

Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Guanacaste, Costa Rica

“Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica! Every sunset is different, like a work of art. Each one is unique and filled with a different set of colors.” — Karen D. 960 1280

Jennifer Gardner  

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

“View from the Electricity Museum in Lisbon, Portugal.” — Jessica G. 960 1280

Jessica Getzy  

Middle-earth Mecca

Middle-earth Mecca

A 2-hour drive from Auckland will lead you to the famous rolling hills of Matamata’s countryside. Here you’ll find Hobbiton, the mecca of all Hobbit tourism. Fans can visit Hobbiton Movie Set Tours, where a Middle-earth expert will guide you through the famous Lord of the Rings trilogy film set. 960 1280

Ian Brodie  

The Middle of Middle-earth

The Middle of Middle-earth

A giant sculpture of Gollum, created by local special-effects studio WETA, welcomes the throngs of Hobbit fans at the Wellington Airport in New Zealand. The airport terminal has also been renamed, greeting arrivals with a sign saying, "The Middle of Middle-earth." The whole airport is dedicated to Hobbit-fever -- even luggage is collected from "Baggins Services." 960 1280

Wellington Airport and Weta Workshop   

Port Waikato, North Island

Port Waikato, North Island

About an hour and a half south of Auckland lies Port Waikato, the location for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Weathertop fortress ruins. The beachside settlement is also a favorite for surfers and those seeking a private retreat. 960 1280

Remedy Loame, flickr  

Tongariro Park

Tongariro Park

Tongariro National Park was selected by filmmaker Peter Jackson to stand in as J.R.R Tolkien’s ominous Mordor. This 300-square-mile park on New Zealand’s North Island is full of natural wonders, including active volcanoes and emerald lakes. The park’s popular Alpine Crossing was ranked one of the world’s top 10 day hikes by National Geographic. 960 1280

Jeff Pang, flickr  

Weta Cave

Weta Cave

Visit the Weta Cave Museum in Wellington to see J.R.R. Tolkien’s universe come to life. Hobbit fans can meet some of the characters from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, learn about the movie’s special effects and get a sneak peek at behind-the-scenes videos. This Middle-earth mecca is open 7 days a week, with free admission. 960 1280

  

Mt. Aspiring National Park

Mt. Aspiring National Park

Mount Aspiring National Park, located in the Southern Alps of New Zealand's South Island, was a location for the fortress Isengard in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The park is a popular sport for tramping (the New Zealand term for hiking and trekking). 960 1280

Andrew Conway  

Hobbit-Themed Plane

Hobbit-Themed Plane

Air New Zealand adds to Hobbit-fever with its Hobbit-themed Boeing planes. The “official airline of Middle- earth” also created a special flight safety video that features creatures from the mythic universe. 960 1280

Air New Zealand  

Chateau Tongariro

Chateau Tongariro

With an eerie resemblance to The Shining’s Stanley Hotel, the 83-year-old Chateau Tongariro was basecamp for filmmaker Peter Jackson and his crew, who screened footage in the hotel’s basement movie theater. 960 1280

Emilee Rader, flickr  

Hobbiton

Hobbiton

Hobbiton Movie Set Tours in Matamata gives fans an inside look at the film set for the Hobbit movies. Located on private farmland, the site is also a working Angus beef and sheep farm situated in New Zealand’s richest farming area. 960 1280

Rob Chandler, flickr  

Hobbit Hole

Hobbit Hole

Visit the Hobbiton Movie Set Tours to see where the furry-footed creatures live. There are 44 Hobbit holes on the site, which were recreated in 2011 for more Hobbit filming. The tiny Hobbit holes were remade with permanent materials, so the set can continue on as a permanent tourism attraction. 960 1280

Joshua Eckert, flickr  

Milford Sound

Milford Sound

One of the most-visited spots in New Zealand is Milford Sound, now even more popular due to its cameos in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. This natural wonder on the South Island is part of protected Fiordland National Park and a World Heritage site. 960 1280

Tourism Holdings; thlnz.co.nz  

Westland Tai Poutini National Park

Westland Tai Poutini National Park

Westland Tai Poutini National Park, located on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island, appears in the trilogy’s third and final installment, The Return of the King. The 290,000-acre park showcases a stunningly diverse landscape of glaciers, snow-capped mountains, forests and beaches. 960 1280

Dept of Conservation, flickr  

Lord of the Rings Horse Treks

Lord of the Rings Horse Treks

Glenorchy on New Zealand’s South Island is an area known for its horse riding and spectacular scenery. Trek on horseback 10 miles north of Glenorchy to an area known as Paradise. This rural treasure was the filming location for scenes in The Lords of The Ringstrilogy. 960 1280

Miles Holden  

In: MeetAtTheAirport.com
Out: Meet at the Airport Bar

In: MeetAtTheAirport.com
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? 960 1280

Thinkstock  

In: Cruise to Exotic Destinations
Out: Cruise to the Caribbean

In: Cruise to Exotic Destinations
Out: Cruise to the Caribbean

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. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

In: Myanmar
Out: Laos

In: Myanmar
Out: Laos

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. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

In: Eastern Europe
Out: Western Europe

In: Eastern Europe
Out: Western 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. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

In: Hammams
Out: Spas

In: Hammams
Out: Spas

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. 960 1280

Levent Konuk  

In: Foraged Cuisine
Out: Non-Organic Foods

In: Foraged Cuisine
Out: Non-Organic Foods

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. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

In: Philippine Islands
Out: Thai Islands

In: Philippine Islands
Out: Thai 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. 960 1280

  

In: Northern Lights
Out: City Lights

In: Northern Lights
Out: City 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. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

In: DIY Vacation Rentals
Out: Pricey Hotels

In: DIY Vacation Rentals
Out: Pricey Hotels

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. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

In: Sleeping at the Mall
Out: Ignoring the Mall

In: Sleeping at the Mall
Out: Ignoring 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. 960 1280

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