This year is still young and you're probably starting to think of the wonderful places you could visit this year. But where exactly would be the right spot to either relax at the beach, enjoy a nice city trip or fling yourself into a tropical adventure? Today, I'll reveal my list including those destinations, I'd steer clear of this year and where you could travel to instead.
NOT: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
Despite Lonelyplanet voting L.A. third-place on this years 'Best in Travel – Top 10 cities 2017', I beg to differ. Why? Because Los Angeles is not as great as everyone thinks it is. (You may want to check out my >>one day in Los Angeles<< post). Okay, flying to L.A. has become quite cheap and they may have the Hollywood Hills and so forth but the city is not as impressive as you think after all. The so-called City of Angels is rather shallow and if you're looking for the real California surfer lifestyle, you're definitely in the wrong place.
hot: san francisco, california
The 'City by the bay' is not just a great place to visit for its Victorian architecture, the stately Golden Gate Bridge, lying in the fog, famous Lombard street and taking rides in one of those historic cable cars. It also offers the largest Chinatown outside of Asia to explore, great culture and art such as the fantastic street art between Missions and Bryant streets or the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, happening every Tuesday and Thursday morning inside the historic ferry building. And if you're looking for that surf culture, I was talking about, you should take the short half an hour ride from central San Francisco to El Granada. One of the most famous and also most dangerous big wave surf spots is located at the northern end of the so-called Half Moon Bay, namely Mavericks. During the winter, waves reach a high of up to 82ft. / 25m.
Another big plus: roundtrips starting from London in March, for example, are available from 366€ / $393.
not: new york city, new york
I know, loads of people will hate me for this statement but I think the Big Apple is overrated. It's nice to see but it's not that once-in-a-lifetime experience everyone thinks.
The architecture is great and a free ride with the Staten Island ferry past the Statue of Liberty is definitely worth the time but you'll be fed up quite soon after that. For us Europeans, it's not as cheap as it may has been – ages ago – to go on a shopping spree in the city that never sleeps and walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is not as romantic as it sounds. Especially not during summer. Besides, accommodations are expensive and the food is even more expensive.
hot: new orleans, louisiana
The Big Easy right in the middle of the Southern Sates. Jazz, bourbon, culture and beignets. There are dozens of things to do and explore while you're in New Orleans. Wander through the historic French Quarter, listen to the famous street musicians, eat some gumbo followed by a beignet at the Cafe du Monde – the French version of a cruller. Watch the street artists at Jackson Square. See the beautiful Colonial style architecture of the Garden District, pay the grave of famous Voodoo queen Marie Laveau a visit at the St. Louis No. 1 cemetery or wander between the ancient mausoleums of Lafayette and on top of all of it get a glass of fine bourbon and enjoy the best jazz in town at the Preservation Hall in Saint Peters street. Flights are available from 630€ / $677 from London in May.
not: Mallorca, spain
I know Mallorca is said to have its beautiful corners apart from all the Ballerman and German Schlager music parties near Palma de Mallorca but that is still the reason why most people visit the island. Come on, there are way better ways to spend your holiday than drowning in beer and roasting at an overcrowded beach the day after while fighting the hangover with a bucket of sangria and is it really necessary to embarrass her- or himself in a some kind of weird party masquerade? No, I don't think so. Also, Spain is becoming more expensive this year. Enough reasons for me to say, give Mallorca a wide berth this year.
Instead of Mallorca, you should rather choose Spains little brother Portugal, which has to offer great city life and beautiful beaches.
Lisboas district Alcantara offers an offbeat shopping and restaurant area in a former factory site called LXFactory. Get a great view across Lisboas north from the Aqueduto das Águas Livres, an impressive conduit built by the Romans or take an urban street art tour through the city. Want the imposing nature-experience? How about the red rocky-beach at the eastern Algarve or the western tip of Europe at Cabo da Roca just 12mi / 20km outside of Lisboa?
Culture, great food, party and the beautiful beaches, Portugal has it all - without the German Schlager music ;) Flights are available from 56€/ $60 from London in June for example.
Not: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
The Caribbean white sand beaches, the endless blue and turquoise ocean and the palm trees, lined up at those paradisaic scenes, can be seductive but it is definitely not as great as it looks on those picture-perfect photographs. I'd even say that Punta Cana, especially Playa Bávaro is the Ballermann of the Caribbean. If you're into huge hotel complexes, all inclusive and 24/7 animation program, go get there, be my guest. For the rest, I'd say stay away. If you want to know more about my experiences at Playa Bávaro, check out my travel duel >>Cuba vs. Dominican Republic<<
Hot: Mauritius, Indian Ocean
Mauritius is too expensive? No, not anymore. By now there are quite a few bargains regarding flights and accommodations on the island, far off the African coast.
Mauritius brims over with palm trees, a colorful flora and probably the most beautiful beaches around the globe. It's a diver's paradise and offers French, Indian and Creole cuisine. Stroll across one of the traditional markets or visit the coral sand island Ile aux Bénitiers, there's something for everyone. Flights are available from 554€ / $595 from London in March.
Thailand is said to be a backpackers paradise. It's cheap, it's beautiful, it's the place, every low budget traveler should visit during their lifetime and I agree. To be honest, I don't know much about Thailand. I know that the beaches can be overrun and that you have to watch out, so you won't get cheated by the locals. But I think that Asia has more to offer for a backpacker than “just” Thailand. So, broaden you horizons and look what else this side of the globe has to offer, places that are not shaded by tourists.
Thailands neighbor Myanmar, once also known as Birma, has been voted as number nine of the 'Top countries to visit in 2017' by Lonelyplanet for a reason. Even my Grandpa, who has visited the country in 2005, had been delighted by Myanmar's culture, landscape and people. (Check out his photo gallery at >>My Granddads Journey<<)
Myanmar is still very traditional and you'll come across beautiful temples, ruined cities and rice fields. The people are welcoming and caring, the street food is tasty and cheap. Enjoy a stunning view across Mandalay from the Mandalay-Mountain, visit the historic royal city Bagan and relax at the picturesque bay of Andwe Kywe. Flights are starting at 419€ / $450 roundtrip from London between March and June.
Not: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio is one of the most dangerous city's in the world. High crime rate, drug dealing and Favelas. You shouldn't close your eyes to those facts. Of course, there's the sugar loaf mountain, the famous carnival and the Copacabana. But there are also the show-offs, the gangs, the poverty and it's quite expensive. Finding an affordable accommodation is not that easy and grocery expenses are not comparable with the backpacker's dream location Asia. Rio de Janeiro is probably sort of an adventure but there are other, more aspiring destinations, I'd rather visit.
Hot: Bogotá, Colombia
As one of THE most rising travel destinations in 2017, Bogotá invites you to your Southern American adventure. Some may be deterred by the country's reputation but Colombia has changed into a place full of vivid culture, gorgeous nature and hospitality. Bogotá provides pulsating city life, a high number of cultural events and great places like the historic city La Candelaria or the ropeway to get on top of mount Monserrate. Great food can be found at the Calle 85. So, let Bogotá convince you that the city's dark past really is the past and enjoy the special atmosphere.
Flights from London between March and Mai are available from 433€ /$465.
And that's it, those are my 2017 travel dos and don'ts. Maybe you found some inspiration, either if you want to experience the full city life or find the lonely and beautiful beaches. I hope, 2017 will become a great year in travel for you.
(These are affiliate-links, so you'll get directed to the respective homepage and I am able to save up for my holiday fund; ) )
Until then, happy traveling.