It’s not 2008 anymore: gone are the days of the “staycation”. This year’s travelers have got big plans in all corners of the globe. The summer of 2012 will mean the Olympics, and exotic locations that have undergone significant changes. Here are our top predictions for what savvy tourists have in store this summer.
Due to the European Union’s economic troubles, a decline in demand for Europe might actually drive prices of hotels and attractions down. It’s good news for Americans who haven’t been able to afford a trip across the Atlantic because of stronger currency and overpriced airfare. Less-visited cities like Helsinki, Moscow, and Glasgow are expected to become hot spots for travelers looking to escape the summer heat while also expanding their knowledge of design, theater, and history.
The Pacific States
This summer, Hawaiian Airlines launches nonstop service from New York City, which means angry East Coasters can finally get lei’d and hit the beach without connecting. Alaskan Airlines is also expanding, and plans to become a major player in the West Coast market. Californians: trade your sunsets for astonishing views of the Northern Lights!
Travel in August
Most tourists plan vacations for summer’s earlier months, and that’s exactly why you should wait until August, when both flights and hotels will be much cheaper. With the sole exception of London (where the Olympics will be in full swing), August travel won’t just mean better weather, it’ll mean a less expensive vacation. So don’t feel guilty treating yourself to a spa visit while you’re gone.
According to a 2011 survey, almost 33% of pet owners plan to take their pets outside of the U.S. on an international getaway. Thanks to this surprising trend, now, airports and hotels are lessening the fees for passengers flying and checking-in with animals. That means no more pet sitters, whom you know you can’t trust, anyway.
Reality Show Destinations
Thanks to mega-hits like Top Chef and Jersey Shore, travelers are taking a second look at destinations they may never have considered. Season 9 of Top Chef, which ended this February, focused entirely on Texas and featured cities all across the state. Thanks to the exposure, foodies are flocking down south to experience some of the tantalizing tastes they saw on TV. Alternatively, MTV fans are heading to the Jersey Shore for clubbing, tanning and chasing Guidos.
As the Caribbean destination with the easiest access to the U.S., Americans are finally taking advantage of our nearest territory. The tiny island packs in a vibrant urban atmosphere with contemporary restaurants and nightlife along with stunning beaches, and rainforests. Who knew?
In the true spirit of the Olympics, athletes are willing to go abroad in order to compete in their favorite sports. Particularly, marathoners are forced to travel long distances, since events are rare. This summer, major international cities like Stockholm, Copenhagen, Perth, St. Petersburg, and Quito will be hosting their own marathons, so visitors, locals, and athletes can all join in the festivities.
It’s cheaper than Europe, and its capital has been called “the Paris of South America”. So for those looking to save money while experiencing the unique blend of South American culture with cosmopolitan art and architecture, Argentina is the place to be this summer. Additionally, increased flights to the country have resulted in incredible deals on airfare.
Summer is the perfect time to head to Africa’s southernmost tip, not only because temperatures will drop to a cool and comfortable 75 degrees (the winter season spans from June to August), but also because game-viewing and whale-watching are at their peaks.
According to Expedia.com, Punta Cana, located on the Eastern tip of the Dominican Republic is one of the top five most-searched destinations among Americans. This summer, prices will drop (its peak season is December-April), which means you can take advantage of the swanky resorts, access to pristine beaches and tropical weather for much less. Take advantage of exciting adventures like helicopter tours, rafting, scuba diving and horseback riding. Just a short boat ride will take you to Dolphin Island where you’ll be sure to see some – you guessed it – dolphins!