With 2017 almost upon us, the travel experts at Cheapflights.com are taking at a look at where and how Americans will travel in the year to come. Changes are afoot and the Cheapflights team shares its predictions in its annual Travel Trends and Hot Destinations for 2017 report.
Some of the new innovations forecasted in the report include high-tech baggage tracking, personalized and portable travel searches and greater access to low-cost airlines. Also on the horizon: the decline of the generic vacation as Americans decide to travel more meaningfully, supporting sustainable tourism and diving deeper into local culture. More travelers will combine work with pleasure with many taking "bleisure" trips that build in time for exploration along the way. More adventurous types will try long-term work-travel as remote employees.
To round out its 2017 predictions, the Cheapflights team has highlighted four travel hot spots where Americans will go in search of fresh adventures:
- Cork, Ireland - A new darling of low-cost airlines, Cork will be an easy and affordable hop from the East Coast by the summer of 2017. And while travelers can easily transfer on to other points across Europe, Cork is a charming spot to visit either as an extended layover or as your main destination. Whether you prefer churches, castles and old-world architecture, a bustling and scenic waterfront, or popping into pubs and fish and chips shops, County Cork has you covered. A visit to Cork's English Market, which dates back to 1788, is a feast for the senses. Acclaimed as one of the finest covered markets in Europe, Queen Elizabeth insisted on a stop here during her historic visit to Ireland in 2011. The most recent proof of the region's allure? West Cork's Clonakilty claimed the 2017 Great Town Award naming it the best town in Britain and Ireland.
- Finland - With saunas, snow and the Northern Lights in the winter, and hiking, beaches, stunning scenery and cultured cities (as well as endless sunshine to enjoy it all) in the summer, Finland should be on everyone's travel to-do list. And 2017 may well be the best year to visit, as its 100th birthday celebration kicks off on New Year's Eve and builds through the summer, right up to Independence Day next Dec. 6. Celebration spots include a giant SnowCastle, housing a SnowRestaurant, SnowHotel and even a SnowChapel for those with marriage on the mind (cold feet, understandable!). There's also a wine festival with five 100th anniversary wines and, of course, a grand ball to mark the birthday itself. If you can't get to Finland in its Centennial year, perhaps you can catch the Traveling Sauna tour here in the U.S.
- Polynesia - If "Frozen" is any measure, even an animated movie can turn a remote location into a popular destination. Just as the "The Lord of the Rings" movies spiked interest in New Zealand, which played the role of Middle Earth, visits to Norway increased by 20 percent after Disney brought the winter wonderland of Scandinavia to life in "Frozen." Now the recently released "Moana" shines the spotlight on the incredibly scenic South Pacific, drawing inspiration from places like Hawaii, Tahiti and Cook Islands. While this may not be the most accessible destination for travelers, we still anticipate an increasingly swelling tide of visits, first from fans and then from those who learn more about Polynesia from the media attention.
- Canada - Our neighbors to the north keep one-upping themselves with reasons to visit each year. In the case of 2017, Canada's no-holds-barred plans for celebrating its 150th birthday will be the draw. (Of course, the continuing strong buying power of the U.S. dollar also keeps fueling its popularity with tourists.) Starting from New Year's Eve, every event will be bigger and better, and every city and town will be getting in on the action with festivities and celebrations. In a country the size and scale of Canada, there will be no shortage of opportunities to join in on heralding the awesomeness of the Great White North.
Click here to view the full report.
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