Not that you need any more encouragement to travel right now, but feeling the winter blues always invites a little wishful wanderlust, don’t you think?
So flip through the calendar, sign up for flight alerts, and plan out exactly how you can accommodate your next vacation! We’ve gone ahead and done the research for you on what countries, cities, and sights you can expect to hear all about in 2017.
Whether you want to be in the know or want to simply avoid the crowds, we chatted with Topdeck’s global PR and communications manager Maria Eilersen to see what people have been searching, saving for, and splurging on when it comes to travel.
Here are the main takeaways she had to share:
1. Iceland and Canada will continue to be cool.
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According to Eilersen, Topdeck’s internal data (a pool of the most searched terms from 2015 and 2016) revealed a big jump in destinations with cooler temperatures, something expected to continue well into 2017. Iceland and Canada, two famously “cool” spots, doubled in searches in just one year. Eilersen explains: “Iceland and Canada [have been] deemed top destinations in 2017. It’s also the perfect time to visit Canada because there are tons of celebrations in honor of Canada’s 150th birthday!”
She says Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto will likely run high on the travel radar this year.
2. Expect to see more Greece and Bali.
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Both Santorini and Bali were extremely popular in 2016, according to Topdeck data. “Greece was the most searched for country in 2016 and Bali, which experienced 622% growth between 2015 and 2016, was the most searched term last year! Bali is also a great option for the budget conscious. The Bali Island Hopper is a weeklong trip that is less than $700 and popular for backpackers and anyone looking for a beach getaway.”
3. Shift away from Europe’s big cities.
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Though traditionally deemed “a good idea,” could Paris be in for a tourist reprieve?
According to Eilersen, “European cities like London, Paris, Rome, and Barcelona all dropped spots on the most searched terms list, indicating a shift away from those famously touristy destinations.”
4. More nature, more immersion.
Source: Gypsea Lust
When asked if a greater emphasis on travel immersion versus tourist to-dos could be behind this dip, Eilersen was quick to agree.
She explains: “The advent of Airbnb and WOOF helped shift the focus to authenticity throughout the travel industry. Travelers want to immerse themselves in local culture, which could explain why nature-focused destinations are experiencing such growth and large, overcrowded cities are losing popularity and being replaced with destinations like Bali, Canada, Iceland, Croatia, and Santorini. The top activities in all of these destinations involve the outdoors, indicating a shift to more remote and nature-driven destinations.”
Also climbing the ranks? Africa and the Middle East. Eilersen believe these are growing in interest due to their varied climates, terrains, and unique cultures. She goes on: “To cater to this increase in interest, Topdeck is now offering the 19-day Kruger to Cape Town itinerary, 7-day Kruger, Swazi and Beach trip, and several trips through Morocco and Egypt.”
5. For splurges, think sailing or SE Asia.
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If you really want to go big this year, then Eilersen suggests taking to the seas. “Sailing trips are always a favorite,” she says, “especially in the summer months. [They] give travelers the yacht experience they’ve always dreamed of with authentic food on-board, blue waters, and stops at ports like Dubrovnik, the Greek islands, and Ibiza. [Sailing trips] are ideal for travelers looking for a little luxury.”
Eilersen suggests going for destinations in relatively inexpensive areas including Southeast Asia, Bali, and Thailand, where luxury is attainable often without going beyond your means. She states, “Many travelers are able to afford the nicer accommodations [here] because they’re still much cheaper than most places in Europe or the U.S.”
6. Shoulder season is still best for deals.
Source: Nicole Ziza Bauer
So, what to do with this info? If you want to avoid the crowds, Eilersen suggests sticking with winter and shoulder season months, since April through October (specifically June and August) accounts for the majority of bookings.
“For most destinations, winter is the best time to travel because it’s in the midst of the holiday season and temperatures are generally much colder,” she explains, “which keeps the masses from planning vacation. Besides lighter crowds, winter offers lots of unique activities and sights like Christmas markets, skiing, and the northern lights.”
Another option? “Try the Sail in Greece trip in May or September when it’s less crowded but there is still lots of sun and water that’s warm enough to swim in,” Eilersen advises. “Or, opt to stay on a sailboat in Ibiza rather than the run-of-the-mill resort to experience the island’s ‘other side.’”
Regardless of when, where, or how you get there, we want to emulate Eilersen’s last point: “[Trade] in crowded beaches for secluded swim spots and a tranquil deck to work on your tan without losing the option to join in when the mood strikes.” Yes, please!