50 Best Places to Travel in 2017

Travelling is really a wonderful experience, it helps us relieve from stress and allows us to relax and enjoy ourselves away from our work. But don’t get too excited, before you can actually go on vacation, it needs thorough planning before you can actually enjoy.

 

Putting together our annual list of the best places to travel is a process that takes several months—we survey writers based around the world, talk to our A-List travel specialists, and look at the most exciting hotel and restaurant openings. While news and global events have a large impact on the places we choose, we also pay attention to cities that are worth revisiting: Philadelphia, in particular, may surprise you with the amount of growth and development it has seen in recent months. North America made a strong showing on this year’s list—more than a quarter of these places are within reach for a long-weekend trip from the United States.

We know that people will travel far and wide for incredible food and drink, which is why that was a key factor in our decision-making. In 2017, you’ll want to head to Jerusalem for its exciting Levantine food, Oslo for its coffee culture, Belgrade for craft beer, and Valle de Guadalupe for coveted Mexican wines.

While beach vacations are timeless—you truly don’t need much more than a comfortable resort, warm waters, and a good book to read—tack on a bit more time if you’re visiting these places: Tofino, in British Columbia, has a wild food scene; Honolulu will host its first arts biennial this year; and Málaga has amazing hidden museums.

Technology and globalization can make the world feel small and thoroughly explored. But there are always places to discover—and rediscover—for yourself. Take a look at last year’s list for additional inspiration, and share your own picks with us on social media using #TLBestPlaces.

Angra dos Reis, Brazil

SambaPhoto/Cassio Vasconcellos/Getty Images

Angra dos Reis, Brazil

Brazil’s visa waiver during the Olympics was a success for one big reason: it encouraged travel beyond the big cities. The tourism board hopes to bring back the waiver, and if you’re planning to take advantage, save time to visit Angra dos Reis, between Rio and São Paulo. This popular Brazilian vacation area is where cariocas go to escape the crowds. “It’s where many of the country’s elite have their beach villas,” says Martin Frankenberg of Matuete, who has access to several of these glamorous rentals. Big changes are coming to the region. In May, Brazilian chain Fasano will open a long-awaited 54-suite hotel in a complex that includes a marina, golf course, restaurants, and a spa. The design is striking, with elevated wooden buildings that look like they’re floating, all with open-air terraces and views of the forest and sea. And the government recently pledged $8 million to improve the infrastructure on Ilha Grande—an island that’s so popular that they’ve had to impose a daily limit on visitors. —Stephanie Wu

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Allan Baxter/Getty Images

Belfast, Northern Ireland

With a growing array of open-air bars, arts venues, and restaurants, Belfast is quickly becoming an attractive destination for travelers. Stay at the design-forward Bullitt Hotel (inspired by the Steve McQueen film), which opened in October with casual, well-appointed rooms and complimentary grab-and-go breakfast granola. Check out arts organization Seedhead, which runs street-art tours and hosts pop-up cabarets around the city. The Michelin-starred OX and EIPIC lead the fine-dining pack, but also visit Permit Room, with its internationally inspired breakfast and locally roasted coffee. Noteworthy new nightlife spots include the Muddlers Club, a stylish restaurant and cocktail bar in the trendy Cathedral Quarter, and Vandal, a graffiti-adorned pizza place that turns into a late-night club, on the top floor of a 17th-century pub.—Nell McShane Wulfhart

 

See more: http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/best-places-to-travel-in-2017#belfast-city-hall-northern-ireland

Holiday Cruising Basics

It is the best time to plan your next holiday getaway! Not only you can save money but for sure, you’ll avoid the Holiday rush!

 

Instead of shoveling snow on Christmas, entertaining the in-laws at Hanukkah or unsuccessfully looking for a party on New Year’s, you could be drinking eggnog poolside; singing carols on deck, while overlooking the sea; eating multicourse holiday meals, prepared by professional chefs; and enjoying New Year’s Eve with enthusiasm (and with no worries about driving home). That’s right. You could be celebrating on a relaxing, warm-weather cruise.

Cruising during the holidays is anything but the typical week-at-sea experience you might find during less festive times of the year. Many cruise lines — and officers, staff and crew — embrace the holiday season with a cheery vigor that goes beyond the symbolic Christmas tree, occasional Santa appearances, elaborate turkey dinners and New Year’s Eve midnight countdowns.

But while celebrating a holiday at sea means you can avoid the associated cooking and cleaning — not to mention escaping from crazy relatives or bonding with the family members you actually do like — you’ll have the best experience if you put a little effort into planning the best cruise for your brood and setting the right expectations. From choosing the right cruise to packing advice and tips on what to expect onboard and off, here’s everything you need to know about spending a holiday at sea.

Booking a Holiday Cruise

Disney Holiday Cruise

In general, Christmas and New Year’s holiday cruises are often the most expensive of the year. Cabins at this time are usually in high demand by passengers because schools are on break, and many families want to take vacations during these weeks. Several large cruise lines confirm ships in their fleet are at their highest occupancy at this time. However, some lines do offer flash sales or loyalty club promotions, so check cruise line Web sites, sign up for e-mail newsletters, and reach out to a cruise travel agent to find out about specials. You might be surprised at how affordable a warm-weather holiday can be, even when booking a few months in advance. But before you book that last-minute, rock-bottom rate, make sure you can afford the airfare to your departure port.

Here are a few more tips for booking holiday cruises:

When to Book

In general, if you want to lock in your preferred itinerary, ship, cabin and dining group and have as much time as possible to look for affordable airfare, book early (nine to 12 months in advance). The downside? You might end up paying a premium for this level of security. These days, however, most lines announce their best deals early and will adjust your rate if public fares go down after you book. If price is your foremost concern, you can wait for deals to come out, often within three months of sailing. But you might get stuck in an inside cabin or with your family spread throughout the ship, rather than in adjoining cabins.

Flights

When booking airfare, remember that flights at this time of the year can be outrageously pricey and often are oversold. Try to reserve your flights early (but not too early, as flight times can change after you book), and you might want to consider all your options, such as using frequent flyer miles or buying the cruise line’s air package. If booking on your own, consider a low-cost airline or an airport a little farther from home. You might even want to choose a cruise departing from a nearby homeport so you can avoid flying altogether. Another tip: At this time of year, it’s a very good idea to fly into your departure city a day early. With flights so crowded, a delay or cancellation due to weather or overbooking might cause you to miss your cruise. There’s no guarantee you’ll get on the next flight out if there’s a problem with yours.

Cabins

The holidays are a perfect time to splurge on a balcony, so you can make the most of your warm-weather escape and have more room in your cabin for presents and decorations. Families should consider family suites that sleep multiple people comfortably or book adjoining cabins. Large groups might want to book the head of the clan in a large suite that can be a …

 

Read more: http://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=768

Top 10 Ways to Enjoy a Family Vacation

“Active families will love participating in beach volleyball games in the sand and can even try out surfing waves coveted by some of the area’s best surfers. Don’t spoil all your hard work in the gym when you finally have the time to enjoy life. Always be thinking about your health, even when you’re on vacation. That way you’ll be proud of yourself before, during, and most importantly, after your vacation ends. Try the following activities during your next vacation to get you and your family moving, laughing, and bonding.” 

I used to love to fly. What better way to catch up on my celeb magazines, eat a bag of M&M’s (that’s a must-have at 3,000 feet) and relax? And the best part of flying? Watching all those already exhausted moms and dads with all their kids and their crap shuffle past me, and knowing I wasn’t one of them.

Then I had my first child and became a member of the “Exhausted Travelers Club.” My husband and I were invited by friends to come to France for two weeks with our 1-year-old. Like rookies, we said yes. Do you have any idea what it’s like to fly with a 1-year-old for 12 whole hours, transfer in Paris, schlep across the airport to catch that flight to Nice, only to finally arrive 15 hours after leaving home? Of course you do, because you’ve made the same rookie mistake that I have—you’ve traveled with your children. It was then that I made the rule: Vacations aren’t vacations when children are involved.

Now as the parents of two children, the hubs and I have been anxious to get out of town and to show our kids the world. So I’ve tested the waters in search of the perfect family vacation that actually involves my family. Here’s what I came up with:

1. Don’t Go Far

So yeah, this kind of cuts out the Paris trip you’ve been planning or that Boston to Hawaii journey you’ve been thinking about. Your 2-year-old doesn’t really care where she is. To her, Daytona Beach and Bali are all the same—they’re beaches. Go far enough so you feel like you went somewhere, and close enough to where you don’t need heavy pharmaceuticals just to endure the trip with your kids.

2. This Is Not the Time to Restrict Screen Time

OK, your kids are basically Amish at home and watch TV once every year, but on vacation anything goes—especially if you’re flying. So charge the battery on your Blackberry, iPhone, DVD player, computer and iPad and let those kids watch Finding Nemo 400 times. If they don’t cry on the plane, neither will you.

3. Go Somewhere the Kids Will Love

Sure, you used to look at those hotels with water slides and kid camps like they were for sissies. Guess what? Those hotels keep your kids happy and engaged. So soak up that splash pad and enjoy People mag while the little one yucks it up in the baby pool. Because nothing screams “bad vacation” like taking little kids to museums that mom and dad can barely stand.

Read more: http://mom.me/blog/7910-top-10-ways-enjoy-family-vacation/