Seriously guys, is there anything better than dreaming of far-away lands?? With 2017 approaching, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about the bucket list items I want to cross off and the passport stamps I want in my pages. I’m preparing for what feels like is going to be an incredible year of new destinations and new adventures. And since you are my readers, I want to inspire you to do the same! If you aren’t sure where to travel in 2017 or haven’t given it much thought yet, you might find some helpful pointers in this post!
By the way … this list is comprised of destinations that are becoming increasingly popular, countries that Americans have only recently been able to visit and places that could use the economic boost that accompanies tourism.
Let’s be adventurous together in 2017.
Iceland has become an incredibly popular destination over the past couple of years. And for good reason – the country offers scenery comparable to that of another planet. Cascading waterfalls, enormous glaciers, blue lagoons, black sand beaches and sprawling hillsides are all trademarks of Iceland’s otherworldy landscape.Iceland is beautiful year round, so when deciding the best time to visit, it depends what kind of traveler you are.
From November to February, you’ll experience frigid temperatures and only a couple hours of daylight. If outdoor adventure and photography is important to you, avoid these months!
Peak tourism season is from May to July, so expect midnight sun and high prices. If budget travel is your thing, skip the summer.
If I were planning a trip ( which I am hehe 🙂 ), I would aim for March or September – these are months where you will not only enjoy lower prices, but you will also have a higher chance of seeing the Northern Lights. And in March, you might see some Orcas on the coast!
If you’re an American citizen, I’m sure you are aware that it is easier than ever to travel to Cuba! Airlines like JetBlue and American Air are now offering direct flights at competitive rates to the island, so even as a tourist, it is fairly simple to get into the country.You should plan a trip to Cuba for a couple different reasons – the first being that Cubans want Americans there. American tourism betters the relationship between our countries, increases mutual understanding and boosts their economy. From what I’ve heard from those who have visited, the Cuban people are incredibly hospitable and beyond delighted to welcome Americans to the country.
Yes, there is virtually no Internet. Yes, the country is decades behind technologically. No, you will not be able to FaceTime your friends while walking through the streets of Havana or update your Snapchat in real-time. BUT you will experience a time capsule of a place – a seriously unique culture and a vibrantly beautiful country. And that’s why you go – to experience it before it changes. An increase in American tourism will bring inevitable modernization and Cuba will never be the same again.
I am in the midst of planning a trip to Cuba for February 2017, so check back here for easy step-by-step instructions for flying successfully to Cuba!
Gooooone are the days of a civil war-torn, drug controlled Colombia. The country has come a long way from the chaotic place it was under Pablo Escobar’s reign. It’s since become a popular destination for travelers ( and the Pope )!
Popular places to visit in Colombia include Medellin, Bogotá and Cartagena.Medellin and Bogotá are Colombia’s largest, most vibrant cities, while Cartagena is a small town on the Caribbean coast. Cartagena has long been a vacation destination of native Colombians, which ( and I always say this – vacation where the locals vacation), is a sign that you will be in a truly spectacular place. Cartagena boasts brightly colored buildings, a wonderful beach scene and a calmness that contrasts perfectly with the busier cities like Medellin.
I will be here in April 2017 and could not be more excited. ( Feeling a theme in the Spanish-speaking countries here … )
Still recovering from last year’s earthquake, Nepal is another example of a country that will benefit greatly from tourism. Make sure you visit Kathmandu and Bhaktupar, UNESCO World Heritage sites where you can enjoy historic temples, carved statues and delicious food. Keep in mind, though, that many of the temples are under repair … but that’s precisely why Nepal needs you there.
And, of course, the Annapurna Region for challenging treks and unbelievable sights. If hiking the Annapurna Circuit isn’t on your bucket list, it should be 🙂
I swear I am not just including this because it’s one of my absolute favorite countries ( you should know this about me ). International tourism to Greece this past year was at a record high because tourists shied away from nearby countries like Turkey and Egypt. This shift in tourism gave the country a much needed economic boost and it’s likely to see another record year in 2017.
If you go, make sure you: see the Acropolis in Athens ( not just from up close ), sun bathe at Red Beach in Santorini, visit Monemvasia ( Greece’s less-known island ), go clubbing in Mykonos and boat through Melissani Cave.
Specifically, Alberta. More specifically, Banff and Lake Louise:
Circa 2004, I obviously would never have recommended someone visit Iran. But in the past few years, Iran has become considerably more stabilized and, if you are an experienced traveler, it should be on your 2017 travel list.
Drop your preconceptions. The country boasts beautiful mountain ranges, stunning palaces and a rich, vibrant culture with renowned hospitality.Don’t take it from me – listen to JP at @borderjunkie ( who, by the way, you should follow right now ). When I asked about his experience in Iran, he said, “Don’t be swayed by the media! Iran is nothing like what’s been portrayed on TV. I’ve never been to a more hospitable country. Incredible culture, awesome food, and the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. Of the 143 countries I’ve visited – Iran is without a doubt my absolute favorite.”
He recommends visiting Shiraz, Persepolis, Esfahan, Yazd and Tabriz. Here is his report card:
Tell me – where are you headed in 2017? Have you been to any of these countries?
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Love this list! So many great ideas! ALL of them are actually on our list. This was a great reminder to get started with our trip planning because we always leave it to the last minute. We are hoping to go to Cuba next month and haven’t started planning yet!
SO happy to hear they are all on your list!! I’ll have to talk to you after you get back from Cuba – I’ll be there in Feb and would love recommendations 🙂
I love this! We’ve been to Iceland twice and will definitely go back again. We are planning our trip to Cuba right now and are getting super pumped about it 🙂
Glad you liked the post! I’m also planning my trip to Cuba 🙂 So exciting.
I would love to go to all of them, but I think Iceland would have to be at the top of my list. I have just see so many amazing pictures come from there and I want to go to the Blue Lagoon.
You should also look at Myvatn Nature Baths – like the Blue Lagoon but far less tourists 🙂
Nice list, Christina! I’m following your advice and checking Cuba off the list in a few weeks. 🙂 I would love to visit Iran; especially to see the ruins of Persepolis!
Ahh enjoy Cuba!! You’ll have to give me some pointers after – I’m going in February 🙂
I would love to visit Canada this year! Especially Nova Scotia as part of an East Coast road trip in the fall! Iran is also high on my list, but might have to wait a year or two.
Glad some of these destinations resonated with you! Thanks for reading 🙂
This is such a great list! I’m heading to Greece this summer for the first time and am so excited. Thanks for all the suggestions of things to do there! I also really want to head to Cuba this year, so I’ll have to find a way to fit that in. I think you’re definitely right that it’s better to go there sooner rather than later!
I am missing Greece so much – you are so lucky to be going! Feel free to email me if you need any advice 🙂 And check out my recent posts about traveling to Cuba hehe – you need to go soon!!
I have been to Bali. I love it. Very nice and cheap