Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lori's Top 10 Travel Destinations for 2010

Now that we are smack dab in the middle of the Holiday Season, I bet I know a word that will light up your eyes... ESCAPE. With New Years right around the corner, it is now the perfect time to reveal my picks for the top 10 travel destinations for 2o1o. On your mark... get set.. pack your bags!

#10 - Washington DC

Value for money will still be on everyone's mind in 2010 - so if you are looking for a destination with great attractions, food and everything in between - look no further than our Nation's Capital. The one thing that I love about Washington DC is that all of the attractions are FREE! All of the museums, the monuments and even the National Zoo. The best time of the year to come to DC is in April to catch the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom as the weather starts to warm back up.

#9 - Iceland
Does Value for Money always mean staycation? Not so much. Iceland is the perfect getaway for the adventure traveler who is also on a budget. For every US Dollar you will get around 123 Iceland Krona - so, the conversion rate is on your side! Iceland is known for its hiking and mountain biking. This is the place where you challenge yourself all day on the trails and then soak in a natural hotspring at night.

#8 - Cruising
Cruising still offers the best bang for your travel buck when it comes to island destinations. There are always great deals to be had and new ships to tickle your wallets. I am super excited to check out Norwegian's new EPIC which is set to sail in June out of Miami. This is like a floating Las Vegas with a Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soliel right on board for your entertainment.

#7 - Colorado Ski Resorts
From Sunshine to Ice - my next top travel pick is the beautiful city of Denver Colorado and the ski resorts of Vail. The Vail resorts are almost like one big all inclusive property. If you go onto their website at you can book Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly and Beaver Creek all on one site. Be sure to make a brunch reservation at Keystone's Alpenglow Stube located at the top of North Peak. At 11,444 ft. this is the highest AAA-Four Diamond dining experience in North America where you trade your skis for warm slippers upon arrival.

#6 - Thailand
Travelers will continue their romance with Thailand in 2010. Talk about value for your dollar! The most expensive part of your trip will be your airfare - so shop early so that you can find a rate that works for you. Once you get there, you will experience some of the best and cheapest food and accommodations on the planet. Also, major resorts are offering deep discounts throughout the country to try to lure tourists away from neighboring Laos and Cambodia. Chiang Mai in the north of the country offers cultural immersion with over 300 classes in everything from cooking to kickboxing. Bangkok is a fest for the shopper and is a great jumping off point for the southern beaches and islands. If you thought Phuket was beautiful before the Tsunami, most locals will tell you that the beaches are cleaner and more spectacular then ever!

#5 - China
After hosting the Olympics, China has really opened its eyes to catering to the Western Tourist!You will find Beijing easy to navigate now with most signs translated into English. China still offers great bang for your travel buck - you are simply going to get a lot here for your money. I highly recommend also checking out the Giant Pandas in Cheng Du. At the sanctuary there, for a mere $125 you can have the opportunity to hold a real Giant Panda in your arms.

#4 - Marrakesh
2010 is the year that all of the hotels come to Marrakesh! There is a new Mandarin Oriental, the W Marrakesh and an Intercontinental. However, the most anticipated is the reopening of La Mamounia - known to be the best hotel in the world. La Mamounia recently opened its doors after a $180m renovation and now boasts a new 27,000 square foot spa, 3 new restaurants and 4 staffers to every room in the house.

#3 - Tunisia
Most Americans have never even heard of this diamond of a destination - mainly due to geography...(its sandwiched between Algeria and Libya) However, Tunisia is a land rich in history that offers the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean lapping against white sand beaches. If you are wanting real cultural immersion in an off-the beaten path location - then Tunisia is for you. Traveler beware though - Tunisia was also listed on Frommer's Top 10 List for 2010 - so, I am sure that this little pocket of paradise will no longer be our little secret.

#2 - South Africa
2010 is definitely the year for traveling for events. The FIFA World Cup is set to take over South Africa this summer. The US is playing this year, which makes a perfect excuse for all of you futbol (ok, ok... soccer) fans to book that long awaited safari. Jo'berg makes a great starting point for a safari and games just happens to coincide with the best time to see the big 5 in action. I believe the US has a match in Jo'berg on June 18th against Slovania... so, get planning.

Vancouver promises to be the travel highlight of the year when the 2010 Olympics and Paralympics opens in February. It will surely open all of our American eyes to our beautiful neighbors to the north in British Columbia. Be sure to check out the area known as Gastown where you should have a whiskey (or 3) to toast one of the city's founders - Jack "Gassy" Deighton. Gassy Jack came to this area with his wife, a dog and a barrel of whiskey in hopes of opening a saloon. That saloon was built in Gastown and there is a shiny statue in honor of old Gassy. Did you also know that Vancouver has the highest Asian population in North America? That means that you will be treated to some of the best Asian cuisine in the world here - so, be sure to check out Chinatown and get some dim-sum. Opening ceremonies of the 2010 Olympics are scheduled for February 12th.

Travel On.