You’ve done your fair bit of traveling in 2016 but that doesn’t mean you should stow away your passport and suitcase just yet. The travel bug doesn’t go away that easily, and if you’re like us, you’re already plotting the best spots to go to in 2017.
Selected by experts based on travel trends and popularity, the five following destinations are among the hottest to go and visit next year, so get ready to rack up those frequent flyer miles and expand your horizons in the following cities and countries.
If cities had inspiring rags-to-riches stories to tell, Shanghai’s, would be flying off the shelves of your local bookstores leaving classics like the Alchemist and Rich Dad Poor Dad, to collect dust.
Shanghai’s rise to power is impressive. Once a run of the mill Chinese industrial center, it took only 26 years to transform itself into a bustling sci-fi megapolis (as these breathtaking pictures show) and one of the fastest growing cities in the world.
But, it’s not all about skyscrapers and figures. An influx of expatriates from the West has changed Shanghai’s social fabric to the point where western tourists can feel a sense of familiarity here in what was once one of the most alien destinations in the world.
Nowadays, it’s just as easy to find a Starbucks (or any other big name international brand) as it is to find a bowl of hand-pulled noodles and dumplings. Luxury experiences are plentiful, especially if you’re booked into one of the top hotel chains you’ll find there, and many of the staples you’d expect to find in Europe (Jazz bars, pop-up cafés, art galleries etc..) are all here.
But don’t worry, this is still Shanghai. Take a walking tour of the city and discover sites such as the 400 year old Yuyuan garden, the Old Town Bazaar and the Old Town Gods Temple Antique Market where you can buy textiles, old Mahjong sets, and other memorabilia to bring back home.
For a touch of the exotic and a crash course in the city’s colonial past, head to the French Concession and discover leafy villa-lined backstreets, filled with restaurants, cafés, boutiques and numerous museums for a culture and entertainment trip rolled in one.
South Africa – Safari
No continent quite captures the imagination like Africa.
There’s so much to see and do here, that you could dedicate your entire life to doing it all and still need a few reincarnations to see you through.
Or, you could go to South Africa for a crash course.
Touted as one of the best locations for experiential travel in 2017, South Africa, offers a smorgasbord of things to try and thanks to a favorable exchange rate, you won’t have to break the bank to do it all. Even for the luxury experiences.
Go walking with cheetahs, live the thrill of a nighttime safari, explore ancient aboriginal caves at the Bushmans Kloof, experience Cape Town’s sophisticated culinary scene or go wine tasting in the Franschhoek and Stellenbosch valleys of the Western Cape. There are even a plethora of pristine white beaches – and excellent surf spots – to discover.
Dining at the Bushmans Kloof South Africa
South Africa, is the perfect introduction to a rich and beautiful continent that has lots to offer whether you’re backpacking or booking yourself into a luxury resort. Action packed or mellow as you will, there’s something for everyone here and 2017, is one of the best times to go and try it out.
The origins of culinary travel are hard to pinpoint but there’s no doubt that Instagram and Anthony Bourdain have got something to do with it. Regardless, its followers are now legion, and all around the world, travelers are seeing streetside cafés and local restaurants as more than pit stops to their next destination. They’re part of the experience itself, and their lenses are focused on their plates as much as the country’s landmarks and people.
Many might dismiss it as a trend, but we hope it’s here to stay. Because discovering a destination by knife and fork is a great – not to mention tasty – way to learn about local culture and what makes a country tick.
Lauded for its unique cuisine, Peru was ranked as one of the hottest culinary travel destinations this year, and in 2017 it’s predicted to repeat the feat.
Part of Peruvian cuisine’s appeal lies in the countries history.
It’s surprising to think of this little country as an expatriate haven, but following the Spanish conquest in the 16th century, Peru opened its doors to immigrants from France, England, Spain and Germany, but also – and more importantly for the cuisine- China and Japan.
The result of this mishmash of cultures is felt in the country’s dishes to this day.
Spurred by the success of celebrity Chef Gaston Accurio and his international restaurants, Peruvian cuisine, has taken the world by storm, and many travelers now flock to experience its flavors with the country’s beautiful landscapes as a backdrop.
And what a landscape it is.
Machu Pichu – Photo Credit: Belmond Sanctuary Lodge
Home to the mist-shrouded temples of Machu Pichu, the mysterious Nazca Lines, and the picturesque ruins of Cuzco, there’s more than the cuisine to blow you away here.
Aerial view of Mauritius – Photo Credit: Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita
Traveling with your family can go one of two ways.
Either everyone gets along so well that you’re a fit for TV happy family, or everyone’s threatening to sulk their way through the rest of the holidays because they’re bored, tired, or haven’t had enough “me time” at the spa.
You can’t make everybody happy, but when you’re on holiday… well, you have to. For your own sake.
As cross – generational travel is set to become even more popular in 2017, getting the mechanics of it right is important.
After all, the needs and wants of your newlywed 20 something son and that of your mother in law are completely different. But, choosing the right destination can help smooth the process.
Provided everyone likes excellent weather, beautiful beaches, and an infectious holiday atmosphere, the tropical paradise of Mauritius should be the destination that puts everyone on the same page.
The island offers plenty of family friendly activities that should keep everyone of all ages content. And, if the younger ones – or the young at heart – want to let off some steam and mingle in the evenings, the island boasts an active clubbing and restaurant scene with a very safe environment to enjoy it in. So you’re not confined to your resort unless you want to.
Water sports activities are numerous, and if you’re looking for a bonding session with the family, there’s nothing quite like heading out into the ocean for some big game fishing or diving sessions.
Home to some excellent greens, you can practice your swing at an Ernie Ells designed course on the island’s Four Seasons Resort, or take your brood along and show them your passion (the dramatic tropical landscape should coax them out whether they’re into golf or not).
Four Seasons Resort Anahita Mauritius
For couples, Mauritius has garnered a reputation for being one of the most picturesque places for tying the knot, renewing your vows, and honeymoon escapes and most the island’s luxury resorts offer the help of professional photographers to immortalize your moments in heaven.
Luxury tourism is in the island’s DNA and it has a long tradition of being the secret escape of celebrities and statesmen. If you just want to relax, the luxury resorts you’ll find there are designed to be your own slice of paradise, and practice discretion and luxury service that few destinations can replicate. So, if you do decide that confining yourself to the resort is how you want to spend your holidays, you’re in very good hands.
This one’s bittersweet.
Though some don’t believe in its effects, Global Warming, is a reality for many people in the world including the citizens of Venice.
The UNESCO heritage city is gradually giving itself over to the waters of the Adriatic and even if it’s been slow to the task, the advent of Global Warming promises to speed that up.
Canals of Venice
We’re not merchants of doom and don’t believe that the city will meet its demise in the foreseeable future. What we’re talking about, are visible changes to the landscape that’ll affect locals and visitors alike.
Spurred by a desire to see certain destinations in their most pristine form (Antarctica, the Great Barrier Reef, the Arctic etc…) 2017, should see the start of a trend as people rush to enjoy some of the world’s most iconic sites while they’re still relatively intact.
But rising waters or not, you should just head to Venice because it’s one of the best travel experiences you will ever have, and many of the hotels you’ll find there, capture the historical spirit of the city to perfection and are a joy to stay in.