Travel's Best for 2014

Luxury hostels, Cuba, local brew pubs and the Jersey Shore – they’re all reasons to pack your bags in 2014. See what hot destinations and travel trends are our favorites for 2014.

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Blackberry Farm Walland TN

Blackberry Farm Walland TN

People may not think of Tennessee as a typical spot for an all-inclusive vacation, but BlackBerry Farm is exceptional. "This secluded Smoky Mountains escape is one of the top destinations in the country for foodies and outdoorsy types, and the delicious farm-to-table cuisine is included in the price," says Kelsey Blodget, managing editor of Oyster.com.

Check out our previous list, Travel's Best All-Inclusive Resorts 2014, if you're looking for more travel inspiration for a worry-free getaway.
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Kreis Beall and Heather Anne Thomas  

Carlisle Bay, Antigua

Carlisle Bay, Antigua

Carlisle Bay is an intimate, comfortable and contemporary resort on the Caribbean island of Antigua. "Each of the 82 suites, ranging from studio to 3-bedroom, boasts ocean views and amenities that will have you yearning for nothing, other than more time to spend in paradise," says Susan B. Barnes, travel writer for TravlinGirl.com. Carlisle Bay’s amenities include the Blue Spa, a state-of-the-art health club, a multimedia screening room, 3 bars, 4 restaurants and a pool. 960 1280

  

Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort, Antigua

Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort, Antigua

Jumby Bay Resort has 5 places to dine; the Sense Spa with breathtaking views of the Caribbean; an 82-foot, family-friendly pool; an oceanfront infinity pool; and luxe accommodations that range from rooms and suites to villas and beach homes. "This resort is perfect for couples or families and a little more distinctive than your typical Sandals or other all-inclusive resort," says Anthony Melchiorri, hotel fixer on Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible. 960 1280

  

Marival Resort & Suites Nuevo Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Marival Resort & Suites Nuevo Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

The Marival Resort & Suites is the place to go if you’re looking for an all-inclusive getaway. "Don’t miss out on the great deals," says Kwin Mosby. "Book an all-inclusive room or suite and receive a $250 airfare credit or a spa credit. Bring the family, and you can cut 50% off the regular rate." Talk to the concierge about an array of fun activities in the area, such as a 4x4 mountain adventure or a sunset cruise to the private cove, Las Caletas. 960 1280

  

One&Only Palmilla, Los Cabos, Mexico

One&Only Palmilla, Los Cabos, Mexico

"One& Only Palmilla is one of the top all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon," says Kelsey Blodget. And when they say it's all-inclusive, they mean it. Guest won't believe the numerous unexpected extras are included – from luggage unpacking to 24-hour butler service to snacks delivered to the rooms. Gorgeous room decor incorporates traditional Mexican accents, and some have private pools with ocean views. 960 1280

One&Only  

Parrot Cay and Como Shambhala Retreat, Turks and Caicos

Parrot Cay and Como Shambhala Retreat, Turks and Caicos

"For those looking for a secluded, uber-decadent getaway in the Caribbean, this is hands-down one of the best options out there," says Kelsey Blodget. Parrot Cay by Como is a 30-minute boat ride from Providenciales in Turks and Caicos, with a jaw-dropping beach, a world-renowned spa, free yoga classes and breathtaking ocean-view villas. 960 1280

  

The Ranch at Rock Creek, Philipsburg, MT

The Ranch at Rock Creek, Philipsburg, MT

The Ranch at Rock Creek provides guests with the option to stay in a luxe tent, a canvas cabin, a private log home or 1 of 9 rooms at the Granite Lodge. All rates include the regionally inspired meals and drinks. Participate in the wide array of activities available at the ranch, such as mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding. "This is my kind of all-inclusive getaway," says Kwin Mosby, managing producer for TravelChannel.com. 960 1280

  

Red Mountain Resort, St. George, UT

Red Mountain Resort, St. George, UT

Red Mountain Resort is the perfect place to relax and renew your spirit, offering guests luxurious spa treatments, weekend wellness retreats, outdoor excursions such as canyoneering, and much more. "If you go, be sure to visit the Sagestone Spa, which offers nature-inspired treatments using indigenous desert botanicals and locally sourced, mineral-rich muds and clays," says Shane Green. 960 1280

Al Payne  

The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

"This resort is one of my favorites," says Anthony Melchiorri. "The white sand of Bavaro Beach, which was recognized by UNESCO, is consistently ranked as one of the best beaches in the world." In addition to the beach, The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real has a full-service Yhi Spa with a fully equipped gym, 3 pools, a family concierge, the Kids Zone (for children ages 1-12) and 2 a la carte restaurants. 960 1280

  

Travaasa, Austin, TX

Travaasa, Austin, TX

When it comes to healthy getaways, there are plenty of destinations from which to choose, but few can hold a candle to Travaasa, outside Austin. "Travaasa’s greatest asset may just be its staff, who go above and beyond to make sure each of their guests have experiences that will make memories to last a lifetime," says Susan B. Barnes. 960 1280

  

Alaska

Alaska

“Experience the natural splendor of America’s last frontier on a cruise ship,” says Rainer Jenss. “Book the family on a smaller ship — either with Lindblad Expeditions or Alaskan Dream Cruises — so you and the kids can get a better view of the breaching whales, foraging bears and calving glaciers throughout the Inside Passage.” On land, we recommend a road trip along the Kenai Peninsula’s Seward Highway, starting in Anchorage. Make stops for fun family activities such as fishing in Homer and hiking Exit Glacier, one of several active ice flows in the state. 960 1280

Lindbald Expeditions  

Argentina

Argentina

From the beautiful capital of Buenos Aires to the sapphire glaciers of Patagonia, locals will not only be interested in meeting your family, but they will go out of their way to make your visit pleasant and memorable. “More than once, chefs emerged from the kitchen to play with our infant son, leaving my wife and me alone for a blissful meal,” says Bruce Kirkby, a family traveler who’s featured on Travel Channel’s Big Crazy Family Adventure. Argentina offers family-friendly adventures such as gaucho day trips at the Don Silvano Ranch, hiking in Tierra del Fuego National Park and helicopter tours of Iguazu Falls. 960 1280

Mick Habgood/Moment/Getty Images  

Chicago

Chicago

The Windy City’s world-class museums, art scene and diverse food culture have always been big draws for families. In June, Chicago will become an even bigger family destination when it opens the 606. This trail, similar to NYC’s High Line, will grant locals and tourists access to more bike paths and walking trails connecting the Logan Square, Humboldt Park and Wick Park neighborhoods. “Downtown Chicago is great, but its neighborhoods really are the heart of the city, offering the best food and a slower pace of life more suited for quality family time,” says Keryn Means, a family travel writer and blogger for WalkingOnTravels.com. 960 1280

Adam Alexander Photography  

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Visit the Galapagos Islands for the diverse wildlife, including sea lions, giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies. Families get a rare opportunity to see animals unafraid of human proximity. Kids have unique opportunities to snap a photo of a passing whale and swim above a school of sharks. “Lodging in the past was limited to staying on a boat or in clean but homely local hotels — both great options — but the addition of the area’s first 5-star hotel (the Royal Palm on Santa Cruz) means families who would prefer a more comfortable landing can visit, too,” says Heather Greenwood Davis, a travel journalist and founder of GlobetrottingMama.com. 960 1280

Paul Kennedy/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images  

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana

Take the kids to Glacier National Park to see its namesake glaciers soon, before climate change makes them a distant memory. Home to 70 different species of mammals, this park offers a wide array of family-friendly activities, including hiking, horseback riding, fishing, boating and backpacking. “This park is filled with stunning beauty, abundant wildlife, some of the country’s most scenic hikes and opportunities for families to explore and learn,” says Nancy Schretter. “For the ultimate family adventure vacation, combine a visit to Glacier National Park with a stay at a dude ranch, such as Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge or Three Bars Ranch.” 960 1280

Donnie Sexton  

Kids Sea Camp in St. Lucia

Kids Sea Camp in St. Lucia

Book your 6-day/7-night stay at the Kids Sea Camp in St. Lucia, hosted by a top-ranked Caribbean resort, Anse Chastanet. In addition to hiking, mountain biking and kayaking, parents can take their kids snorkeling or diving. “Four-year-olds can get in the water for the Professional Association of Scuba Instructors’ (PADI) sanctioned training program,” says Rainer Jenss, president and founder of the Family Travel Association. “That’s great news for parents who thought they’d have to give up diving when the kids were born.”  960 1280

Annie Crawley/Kids Sea Camp Inc.  

Panama City, Panama

Panama City, Panama

Skip the crowds of Costa Rica and visit a new family-friendly destination, Panama. We recommend exploring Panama City’s colonial history, architecture and culture. “Casco Viejo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a great spot to pick up trinkets to take home, grab an ice cream and enjoy a stroll through the old Spanish architecture of Panama,” says Keryn Means. In addition to sightseeing around the city, tourists should venture outside its limits to take a boat tour on Gatun Lake, go white-water rafting on the Chagres River or enjoy the sun and waves on one of Isla Contadora’s beautiful beaches. 960 1280

Hans Joachim Hoos/iStock/Getty Images  

Peru

Peru

Peru is one of the top adventure destinations for 2015, and it's a great choice for an amazing family expedition. Go white-water rafting on the Urubamba River, explore the Amazon’s diverse wildlife and culture, ride Peruvian Paso Fino horses through villages, and mountain bike along dirt roads to see Incan archaeological sites. “Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is popular for families with teens and older children, but family-friendly tour operators such as Austin Adventures offer multiple options for reaching this iconic site,” says Nancy Schretter, a family and multigenerational travel expert. 960 1280

Peru Export and Tourism Promotion Board  

Tofino, British Columbia

Tofino, British Columbia

On Canada's west coast, Tofino has it all: endless beaches, camping, luxury lodges, surfing, kayaking and self-guided hikes in the rain forest. “Take a boat tour to go whale-watching and visit natural hot springs,” says Bruce Kirkby. “But for kids, nothing will beat the beaches.” We suggest family-friendly spots such as MacKenzie Beach, Tonquin Beach and Chesterman Beach. For a more adventurous trip, families can hike the Rainforest Trail at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Bear-watching, bird-watching, kayaking, fishing and surfing make Tofino the perfect location for a family getaway. 960 1280

Destination BC/Tom Ryan  

Tokyo

Tokyo

“Between the cartoons (kids) watch at home (think Avatar: The Last Airbender and Beyblade), the pop culture they’re exposed to (Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Girls) and the video games they swoon for (Nintendo and Sega have Japanese ties), Tokyo is where families will find plenty to keep them busy,” says Heather Greenwood Davis. Rent a bike to take in the Imperial Palace grounds, or take a local course in the art of origami or tai chi for a bit of culture. Then, go further. Hop on the new bullet train — which travels from Tokyo through the Hokuriku region — and watch your child’s eyes light up as you approach speeds of up to 300 mph. All aboard! The new train route is open to the public starting March 14, 2015. 960 1280

Dan Wiklund/Moment/Getty Images  

Best Site for Travel Packages: HolidayPirates.com

Best Site for Travel Packages: HolidayPirates.com

"For great package deals, check out the website HolidayPirates.com. They find incredible deals for packages, flights and more departing to and from Europe. I've found some incredible, hard-to-find offers on that website, like $500-roundtrip flights to Europe or $50 flights from Europe to Turkey." -- Matthew Kepnes, Nomadic Matt 960 1280

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Best Times for Off-Peak Travel: Jan. 15 to Feb. 28; Oct. 15 to May 15

Best Times for Off-Peak Travel: Jan. 15 to Feb. 28; Oct. 15 to May 15

"US Airways offers economy round-trip tickets to Europe from North America for just 35,000 miles from Jan. 15 to Feb. 28. If you have their co-branded credit card, that price drops to 30,000 miles roundtrip. American Airlines also offers off-peak discounted award tickets to Europe from Oct. 15 to May 15 for 40,000 miles, down from the usual 60,000. If you have their co-branded credit card, you can even get 10% of those redeemed miles back, up to an annual cap." -- Summer Hull, Mommy Points 960 1280

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Best Hotel Rewards Program: Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Hotel Rewards Program: Starwood Preferred Guest

"Starwood Preferred Guest is a great hotel program, with a vast portfolio of hotels throughout the world. Redemptions start at just 2,000 points and members have the option to transfer points to dozens of airlines at a 1-to-1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus on every 20,000 points transferred." -- Rick Ingersoll, Frugal Travel Guy 960 1280

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Best Phone App for International Travel: Viber

Best Phone App for International Travel: Viber

"Calling, texting and emailing while abroad can rack up thousands of dollars in fees. However, there are great apps like Viber that you can use for free with an internet connection. Viber users can send free text messages, photo messages, video messages and more with other users, and it’s compatible with iPhone, Android, and other major mobile and desktop devices." -- Brian Kelly, The Points Guy 960 1280

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Best-Value Trip: Eastern Europe

Best-Value Trip: Eastern Europe

"For a great-value trip, head to Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine) for very cheap destinations, great food, friendly people and few tourists. It's the medieval Europe you want without the crowds in Prague or Tallinn." -- Matthew Kepnes, Nomadic Matt 960 1280

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Best Car Rental Option: Costco Travel

Best Car Rental Option: Costco Travel

"If you have a Costco membership, you can get good deals from Costco Travel such as no additional driver fees with certain rental companies. If booking abroad, AutoEurope.com gives good rates in Europe. I used it to book a wagon for a trip to Paris which saved me about 40% off booking directly with the rental company." -- Arthur Hsu, Mileage Runner 960 1280

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Best Frequent Flyer Program: United MileagePlus

Best Frequent Flyer Program: United MileagePlus

"United MileagePlus is a great program, as it offers access to an extensive route network and award inventory. In short, they make it easy to redeem your miles. United miles are also easy to earn, with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offering instant 1-to-1 transfer of points to United." -- Rick Ingersoll, Frugal Travel Guy 960 1280

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Best Site for Fare Alerts: Yapta

Best Site for Fare Alerts: Yapta

"If you don’t want to constantly check and recheck websites for the best fares, then sign up for Yapta’s fare alerts. They will automatically keep you updated on the fares you are interested in. All you have to do is set the date(s), city pairs and the price point, and they will alert you via email." -- John E. DiScala, Johnny Jet 960 1280

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Best Site for Blind Travel Bids: BiddingForTravel.com

Best Site for Blind Travel Bids: BiddingForTravel.com

"When I shop around for hotels and car rentals, I don't think there is any better place than Priceline. But keep in mind when you use their Name Your Own Price feature, you can't cancel. Before I make a blind bid, I always log on to BiddingForTravel.com to see what other people's luck was with their bids. It shows how much people paid for which dates and will give you a pretty good idea of which hotel you will end up with." -- John E. DiScala, Johnny Jet 960 1280

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Best Credit Card for Travel: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Best Credit Card for Travel: Chase Sapphire Preferred

"The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers generous sign-up bonuses and flexible points that can be transferred to both airline and hotel partners. The Sapphire Preferred makes it easy to amass points quickly, with 2x points on travel and dining. The original signup bonuses can be worth over $500 in travel after you meet the required minimum spend, within the first 3 months typically." -- Rick Ingersoll, Frugal Travel Guy 960 1280

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