Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Travel Destinations to Explore in 2018

Unless you know exactly where you want to go, there’s an entire world of destinations that you can explore.


Of course, that’s an overwhelming amount of places to choose from, so we asked travel agents to narrow down where you should think about visiting.

One hot travel ticket in 2018 is the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. The games will take place from February 9 and 25 when 3,000 athletes from nearly 100 nations will participate.

“Just to say that you have been to an Olympics once in your life is at the top of some bucket lists,” said Suzanne Sneddon, senior sales and air specialists for SinglesCruise.com. “With brand new state-of-the-art facilities, all-time favorite events like figure skating, bobsledding, skiing and speed skating, plus some new and exciting additions, they are expected to be amazing games.”

Sneddon said that South Korea is a destination combining old and new while catering to global travelers by offering a step into the exotic and historic culture of the land.

“The Olympic venue is very compact, which is a benefit to those looking to attend multiple events,” she added.

If you prefer food and wine to sports, Maureen McKamey—an agent at A1 Travel, a Travel Leaders Network affiliate in Edina, Minnesota—suggests booking a trip to Spain's Castilla y Leon region in 2018.

“While most people immediately think of Barcelona, Madrid or Sevilla when traveling to Spain, you're missing out if you skip this vibrant section of the country's northwest,” she said.

McKamey added that Castilla y Leon is home to a number of Spain's best wine regions, including the famous Ribera del Duero:

“The area also offers Michelin-starred restaurants and a whole lot of history. See the incredibly well-preserved Roman aqueducts in Segovia, admire the gorgeous stained-glass windows in Leon's Gothic cathedral and sip MencĂ­a (with a view) at Palacio de Canedo in Bierzo. It's Spain at its most authentic, and it's definitely worth a spot on your 2018 travel calendar."

One of the most popular places to see lately has been Iceland and Muffett Grubb of Cruise Holidays in Knoxville, Tennessee agrees that it should be on your 2018 travel list too:

“Iceland is a place to visit for travelers looking for unique experiences. Top tourist attractions include the Northern Lights, waterfalls, geysers and a dip in the Blue Lagoon. I am seeing a huge rise in interest from clients who want to visit Iceland and take in some of the exceptional sights, especially for those seeking adventure or outdoor activities.”

Another destination that continues to keep travelers' interest is Cuba.

“Once the forbidden destination that you only sailed around and saw from afar on a Caribbean cruise, you can now visit and experience what this wonderful island nation has to offer,” said Sneddon.

“Opened up to cruise ships with mostly US citizens onboard in 2016, the requirements and regulations of visiting have changed quite a few times already. Initially, people to people programs were required, then independent travel was allowed, and now it is back to the originally organized tours to meet the locals and share experiences with official excursions."

Sneddon recommends you check the status of visiting Cuba before your trip so that you are prepared:

“Stepping off the ship in Havana is not only like going to a different place, it is like going back in time 50-plus years. You will experience historic architecture, grand plazas, cathedrals and churches, museums, promenades, theaters and more.”

She recommends seeing the parade of 1950s US automobiles that have been restored to their initial glory and proudly cruise up and down El Malecon in La Habana Vieja:

“Hiring a driver for a spin in one of these beauties is a must and very reasonable. Also, make sure to have at least one meal in a Paladar. This is a relatively new concept within the last 20 years that allows entrepreneurs to open up a self-owned restaurant in their homes, serving some of the best traditional and local Cuba food you will ever have.”


Finally, for all you Ernest Hemingway fans, Sneddon suggests visiting El Floridita: “Have a daiquiri and get a picture with the bronze statue of Papa, take a tour, a short ride outside the city, to visit Finca Vigia – his home from 1939 to 1960. And visit Cojimar – the small fishing village that was his inspiration for The Old Man and the Sea.”

If these destinations don’t inspire you to travel there, perhaps they have at least inspired you to book a trip to somewhere in 2018.