Published on : Friday, February 3, 2017
Orbitz.com travel experts anticipate global powerhouses Washington D.C. and the United Kingdom to be the hottest destinations for travel this year. The Orbitz Insider Index also names Iceland a popular yet affordable escape and recognizes Canada and the central coast of California as the top destinations on the rise. For the 2017 top travel trends, basic fare options will become much more mainstream, allowing passengers to save money on their airfare with a no-frills flying experience. Though, for travelers willing to spend a bit more on a getaway, luxury vacation rentals can now also be booked while searching for accommodations on sites like Orbitz.com.
2017 HOT SPOTS
Washington, D.C. – The nation’s capital attracts droves of tourists every year, but historic events and a thriving restaurant scene may lead to more visitors than usual this year. The biggest draw will likely be the 58th presidential inauguration. Travelers headed to Washington D.C. for the inauguration should expect flight and hotel prices to skyrocket. According to Orbitz.com booking data, the week of the inauguration, the average air ticket will cost approximately $388, up 17 percent compared to the week prior.
This past year also marked the highly anticipated opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall. The museum has been sold out since its opening in September and will likely continue to be a leading attraction for tourists throughout 2017.
“With the inauguration, we had no doubt Washington D.C. would make the hot list for 2017,” said Jeanenne Tornatore, senior editor at Orbitz.com. “But politics and history aren’t the only reasons to visit Washington D.C. this year. Many Americans are making the trip to experience the exploding culinary scene. With the launch of the city’s first Michelin Guide and recognition from Bon Appétit as the best restaurant city of the year, the nation’s capital has cemented its reputation as a top dining destination.”
United Kingdom – In the aftermath of Brexit, the exchange rate between the dollar and the British pound is at a record low, making trips to the U.K. more affordable for American travelers. London is always a top destination but travelers looking for a more rugged adventure should head to North Wales. The mountainous area was named a top global destination for 2017 by Lonely Planet thanks to a host of new adventure attractions including Surf Snowdonia in the Conwy Valley, an inland surfing lake, and the world’s fastest zip line at Zipworld.
BEST VALUE DESTINATIONS
Iceland – Orbitz projects that Iceland will continue to be a travel steal this year. In 2016, tourism surged after budget airlines began offering direct flights from the U.S. to Reykjavik for under $100. With rock bottom pricing and direct flights, it’s no surprise tourism has increased by 30 percent every year for the last four years, according to Iceland’s Tourism board.
Iceland is a mecca for travelers who love outdoor adventure and for the “Instagram generation” enthralled by otherworldly terrain. Iceland features 35 active volcanoes, crater lakes like the famous Blue Lagoon, magnificent waterfalls and stoic mountain ranges. Travelers who visit between March and April or September and October also stand the best chance of seeing the northern lights.
Your Own Backyard – It may seem unconventional, but this year consider booking a trip closer to home to get the most bang for your buck. Not only will you likely save on travel expenses, but you’ll also have the flexibility to take advantage of great deals as they arise.
Programs like Orbitz Insider Prices offer weekly flash sales, which make it easy to skip the months of planning and book a last-minute weekend escape closer to home. Travelers should also consider booking long weekend trips in between the busiest travel seasons to take advantage of off-peak pricing.
DESTINATIONS ON THE RISE
Paso Robles – This beautiful wine region on the Central Coast of California is a hidden gem often overlooked by travelers headed to Napa, Sonoma, San Francisco or Los Angeles. Over the past few years, thanks to marketing campaigns by the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, Paso Robles has emerged as a top destination for wine lovers.
Despite its underdog status, Paso Robles is one of the state’s largest wine-growing regions with 600,000 acres and more than 200 wineries ranging from affordable to high-end. To truly understand Paso Robles’ reputation as a hip California wine region, Orbitz.com recommends visiting the east side of the city for unique wineries like Sculpterra Winery featuring a quirky, abstract sculpture garden.
Canada – Montreal and Toronto are seeing a spike in tourism, one that is expected to carry on throughout the year. According to Tourisme Montréal between January and June of 2016, Montreal saw a 10 percent increase in tourism compared to the same time period the year prior. American tourists are reportedly a large driver of the surge and are flocking to Montreal for the favorable exchange rate and for a taste of French culture without the trip overseas.
Toronto will lead as one of Canada’s fastest-growing metropolitan economies in this year, according to The Conference Board of Canada. Situated on the northwestern corner of Lake Ontario, Toronto offers a host of tourist attractions including its famous landmark the CN Tower, which houses the world’s highest wine cellar. Film lovers should consider booking a trip in September during the world-renowned Toronto International Film Festival.
Basic Fares – Airlines such as Spirit and Frontier have long provided air travel with “no frills,” and now major airlines are following suit. United, American Airlines and Delta have already announced plans to offer basic economy fares this year. This new ticket option will present passengers with more choices for a less expensive fare, but with a catch – added fees with higher prices for amenities such as a carry-on bag or assigned seat. Travelers with a resolution to save money this year should definitely keep an eye out for bargain ticket options.
Luxury Vacation Rentals -Travelers have booked vacation rentals for years but this year consumers will have more mainstream access to book luxurious rentals around the world, ranging from villas to castles and even yachts. For instance, travelers willing to spare no expense in Miami can charter yachts starting at $5,000 a night on Orbitz.com.