We asked more than 1,300 loyal readers of the Tripso forums to help us forecast the “hip” and “in” places for 2006. Here are the results.
- Vegas, baby! Vegas is a perennial favorite, offering something for every adult. A few years back, Vegas tried to promote itself as a family resort, and … well, let’s be nice and just say it failed miserably. Today’s Vegas is the Vegas of yesteryear with some fantastic new resorts like Wynn Las Vegas, a great show by Elton John called “The Red Piano” at Caesar’s Palace, and a new resort and casino called Las Ramblas (set to open in 2008) from the latest incarnation of the Rat Pack: Jorge Perez, George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Jim Stuart.
- Central America. Central America is a favorite with our readers, especially Guatemala and Costa Rica. As Ned, one of our Gold Posters said, “Both Costa Rica and Guatemala could become hot spots now. People are looking for something different these days. Both these countries have some fantastic places to visit, especially Guatemala. It appears as though Guatemala is pretty safe again (although it’s always good to be wary when traveling anywhere these days), which opens it up. Both Tikal and Chichicastenango (the entire Lake Atitlan area) are real travel highlights.” Outstanding advice, Ned!
- Southern Caribbean. One of the most interesting cruise itineraries is the “Southern Route,” which gives travelers a taste of the real Caribbean with visits to islands like Aruba, Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Kitts, among others. While popular with the cruise lines, these islands also make for a wonderful land-based vacation. Aruba has the cooling trade winds and could use a little help with its tourism. (Note to our readers: Don’t boycott Aruba. It is really a gem.) Barbados is home to some of the friendliest people you will find anywhere, and their famous flying fish are nothing short of mesmerizing.
- New York City. The Big Apple is coming back into its own after the terrorist attacks of 2001. They say that the city never sleeps, and that’s true — there’s just too much going on for much shut-eye. From the lights of Broadway, to the majesty of Lady Liberty in New York Harbor, to the hustle and bustle of Wall Street, to the beatnik personality of Greenwich Village, New York City will not disappoint.
- Vietnam. This is a tough one to explain, but Vietnam certainly is big on the Tripso forums. One of our newer members, Kykate, chimed in, “I’m voting for Vietnam. I’ve been there three times in the past 12 months, and enjoy it better with every trip. There are great beaches, low-cost shopping, friendly people and a lot of little villages and towns to explore. The food is good, but not gourmet, in most places. With United’s direct service to Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City, it is easy to get there and back.”
Kykate’s sentiments were echoed by another new member, Nobody 122: “I definitely have to agree with this — amazing country, people are some of the most friendly on Earth (ranking right up there with Thais, Australians and Philippinos (sic)), and the idea that a luxury 5-star resort costs about what a Red Roof would in the U.S. makes it all the more compelling.”
My top pick did not make the list: New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. We all know of the devastation from Hurricane Katrina, and right now these areas need a huge boost from tourism. The government is doing what it can, but it’s up to us to support the Gulf Coast economy by spending some money. I know I will be there in February. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
So, there you have it! A few weeks ago, we highlighted the Top 5 Kid Picks for travel and now you have the top picks of the road warriors from Tripso. Here’s wishing everyone a safe and happy 2006!