Rather than focusing on the whole new year, new you craze, we’re talking new year, new destination. Rather than travelling to classic tourist spots we’ve come up with a list of alternatives to try this year (read: just as cool without the crowds). Whether you’re a beach person, a city hopper or a jungle fan, here are the top 18 destination swaps for the year ’18.
Reporter: Alyssa Brown | Location: Merida, Mexico
Milan instead of Rome
Milan is an awesome destination for anyone who’s into art and design. The fashion scene is incredible and there’s an annual interior design and furniture show that’s a hotbed of action in the international design realm.
Namibia instead of South Africa
If you’re big on wildlife, desert plains, jagged mountain ranges and jaw-droppingly gorgeous scenery, Namibia is the place to be. Located in Southwest Africa, this country is known best for its safari spots, tailored travel concepts and luxurious lodging.
Faroe Islands instead of Iceland
While Iceland has our hearts because of its gorgeous terrain and amazing hot springs, the Faroe Islands have been lighting up our radar like crazy going into 2018. The famous backdrop of Game of Thrones is filled to the brim with puffins and glass houses. An archipelago of 18 volcanic islands between Norway and Iceland, it’s a perfect place to spot the Northern Lights.
Sri Lanka instead of Thailand
Rainforest and jungle cats, this is your spot for 2018. Sri Lanka is rich in lush terrain and beautiful beaches. And since half the reason you wanted to go to Thailand was beachside drinks, you should probably know there's plenty of that around Sri Lanka too.
Widely known as the anti-Dubai, Oman steers clear of relying on mega high-rises and the world’s most expensive cocktails to bring in tourism. Instead, the focus here is on luxury camping in the desert and exploring the unique local culture. Head into the cities where art foundations and museums fill the cultural connection, while water sports and dolphin spotting makes a big splash along the coastal cliffs.
Hamburg instead of Berlin
The night life in Berlin is unbeatable, but Hamburg by day is taking the cake for our 2018 Germany destination. This cool city seems to always be on the edge of what’s next in music, art and style.
Vancouver instead of Seattle
Food lovers, Vancouver is your next favorite travel spot. With top-rated restaurants, forests in the middle of the city, incredible museums, tons of options in waterfront dining and a plethora of awesome hotels, Vancouver is one of the most diverse destinations in the world.
Toronto instead of Chicago
Love summering in Chicago? Check out Toronto next summer instead. This Canadian city is a culturally diverse and wildly interesting harbor town that’s always got something good going on in the world of art and entertainment.
Todos Santos instead of Cabo | Stay at: Hotel San Cristobal
Cabo can be cool with the right crowd, but Todos Santos is next-level. Head to the Hotel San Cristobal
and you’ll be at one with the beach and can spend your days surfing, exploring local gardens and hiking along the coast.
Photo by Lisa Poggi & Gianluca Gasperoni
Why head to the crowded Amalfi Coast in the summertime when Malfa is calm, cool and has all the Mediterranean vibes you love. This little town on the Italian island of Salina is home to the most gorgeous Aeolian Island luxury resort, Prinicipe di Salina
New Orleans instead of Austin | Stay at: The Drifter Hotel
Austin may be known for its music scene, but the music, food and culture of New Orleans is also quite incredible. Don’t just go because you want to party, go because it’s the kind of place where you can feel the soul of the city
pulse right into your own.
The beaches of the Philippines are at the top of our explore list for 2018. With incredible rock formations, stunning reefs and white sandy beaches, this is the ultimate beach destination. Besides, the volcanic activity in Bali might have you rerouting anyway.
Cádiz instead of Barcelona
An ancient port city located in Andalusia, Cádiz is filled with watch towers, old cathedrals and historic castles. The 3,000-year-old city wows with its architecture, culture and history.
San Diego instead of LA
Sorry LA, we’re gonna go there. We’re reppin’ San Diego all the way for 2018. It’s easy to get around, there are tons of amazing restaurants and bars, lots of cool boutiques and easily accessible beaches. Plus, the hotel scene is hot like fi-ya.
Kyoto instead of Tokyo
The old-world charm of Kyoto makes it Tokyo’s polar opposite, though both are amazing cities to visit in 2018. The history of this city is almost palpable when roaming the streets filled with religious architecture, traditional wooden restaurants and beautiful geishas.
The secret gem of the Mediterranean, Montenegro boasts 180 miles of coastline and a landscape that mixes beautiful Adriatic beaches with clear lakes and big mountain ranges. Skip the club chaos of Mykonos and head to Montenegro for a cultural experience you’ll be waxing on about for years to come.
Merida instead of Tulum
Tulum is a very special place, but if you want to try something different, Merida is a stunner. Known as the “White City,” because of its classic white architecture, Merida is dripping with culture, gorgeous architecture and old-world charm. Head to the stunning Coqui Coqui suite for a stay that’s more luxurious and storied than anything you’ll find on the beach in Tulum.
Seychelles instead of Maldives
When the Maldives are feeling overcrowded and too honeymoon crazed, Seychelles steps in as a great 2018 alternative. Perfectly powdery beaches, turquoise waters, gorgeous reefs and some of the best luxury resorts make this destination an absolute fave.