Vacation inspiration for 2016
The rapidly growing home-sharing service last week released a list of the top 16 up-and-coming neighborhoods to visit around the world based on the growth in vacation-rental bookings between 2014 and 2015. The top five: Chuo-ku in Osaka, Japan; Banglamphu in Bangkok; Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Capucins in Bordeaux, France; and Koukaki in Athens. The only U.S. neighborhoods that made the cut: Kaneohe on Oahu in Hawaii, Oak Lawn in Dallas and Poncey-Highland in Atlanta.
The travel magazine and website picked 24 destinations for 2016. Iceland takes the top spot, in part because Iceland Air has added free stopovers for U.S. travelers heading to or from Europe. Rounding out the top 10: San Antonio, Cuba; Los Angeles; Greece; Vietnam; the Caribbean island of Martinique; Galapagos Islands; Portugal; and Isla Holbox, Mexico. There’s also a fun online quiz to help pick where you should go. Among the 10 questions: what do you pack first in your suitcase, what did you do last weekend and what’s the most important phrase to learn in another language. I took it and got Portugal.
The travel-planning website and mobile app this week will unveil two lists of destinations: rising stars and destinations that saw reduced interest last year and may be worth a second look. The lists are based on the number of traveler reviews and postcards from travelers who’ve been there as well as those creating Gogobot lists for the destinations.
The rising stars: New Orleans; Montreal; Houston; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Memphis; Mexico City; Raleigh, N.C.; Dominican Republic; Sacramento, Calif.; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The declining destinations worth a second look because they will likely have fewer tourists: Bali; Marrakech, Morocco; Lake Tahoe; Venice; Berlin; Madrid; Puerto Rico; Prague; Hong Kong; and Athens.
• Traveling to New York City in the next few weeks? The city’s winter Restaurant Week is Jan. 18-Feb. 5. Three-course lunches are $25 and three-course dinners are $38 at nearly 400 restaurants. JetBlue offers non-service between Phoenix and JFK and has had some awesome fares lately.
• Arizona Snowbowl ski area north of Flagstaff is again offering a free night’s stay at its Ski Lift Lodge and partner hotels with the purchase of two full-price adult lift tickets for $138. Advance reservations are required.