The top destinations of 2015: A new approach to listicles

Robert Reid is one of my favorite travel experts in print or in person, even if he rarely manages to ever stay true to the title of his “76-Second Travel Show.”

Last year he wrote a story for our big sister site Skift about the trends driving different publications’ picks for their respective 2014 top destinations lists. It boiled down to three main angles:

The most popular pick for editors is a place linked to a specific event, anniversary or news-related topic, like the World Cup or the 100th anniversary of WWI (almost half of the total). Next are secondary destinations that appear overdue for a shout-out (over a quarter of the total, including destinations like Nicaragua’s Little Corn Islands, …

Frommer’s lists Top Destinations for 2010

Frommer’s has just released their list of what they think will be the top destinations for 2010. Culled from the suggestions of industry insiders and readers, the list covers every continent, meandering from India to Hawaii, Argentina to Vietnam. Along with listing each place, Frommer’s has also given reasons why each one should be on your list of destinations for the coming year.

How accurate is the list? Last year, the top destinations predicted for 2009 included Washington, DC; Cartagena, Colombia; Istanbul; Cape Town; and Berlin, all of which were popular with tourists, as they have been for several years. Including Berlin may have been a no-brainer. As the 20th anniversary of the falling of the Berlin Wall took place this year, of course the city would be well-visited. Other locations predicted to be hotspots have remained in relative obscurity. How many people do you know who went to Waiheke Island (New Zealand) or followed the Civil Rights Trail in Alabama?

2010’s list will probably be equally hit and miss when it comes to predicting the hot spots for the year. Included on the list is the Big Island of Hawaii, which I recently visited. Frommer’s says the Big Island has everything you need but still retains an untouched feel, and I completely agree.

But other destinations might not rise to the top of many travelers’ lists. Frommer’s says Mexico City will be big in 2010, but unfortunately the city may still suffer from the after-effects of swine flu paranoia. Cuba, another location on the list, isn’t open to Americans yet, but may see an increase in tourists from other countries. And lesser-known destinations, like Kerala, India; Tunisia; and the Isles of Scilly in England may see a boost in tourism thanks to the publicity they receive from the list.

** Be sure to check out Gadling’s picks for the top adventure destinations for 2010. **

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Top 10 hotels in Vietnam

When I first went to Vietnam in the mid-90’s, Hanoi was still a fairly sleepy town where cyclos could go everywhere and the buzz of motorcycles was a once in awhile occurrence. Most places to stay were family-owned guest houses and luxury meant air conditioning and a TV that worked and offered more than a couple of channels.

One morning, I stood on the corner of a street in Hoi An taking pictures of people on bicycles gliding past a yellow building. In Hue, I waited for people to pass in cyclos to see what the cyclos carried. One had a coffin. Each time I’ve returned to Vietnam the changes have been substantial. On my fifth visit, although the bicycles were a fixture, they were dwarfed in number by motorcycles, and cars had become king.

Like the vehicles, the options of where to stay has expanded as well. While the guest houses have still remained a solid option, for anyone looking for more upscale digs, there are plenty of choices. Big business tourism hit Vietnam awhile ago and the results show.

To help people find the best places to stay, Vietnam Travel culled through 16,000 reviews of 350 hotels to pick out the top ten. The ten are in six of Vietnam’s popular destination spots that range from beach locations to historic cities. Each entry is linked to descriptions and photos of the hotels which have me salivating for my sixth trip.

Here are the results that attest to Vietnam’s change when it comes to where to slumber scenery. If you head to Hue, there are three hotels that made the cut. I wonder if you’ll see any one pedaling a cyclo carrying a casket? I doubt it.

This list is in order of which hotels were given top ranking from number 1 to number 10.

  1. Cham Villas, Phan Tiet
  2. Hanoi Elegance 4, Hanoi
  3. Novotel Nha Trang Hotel, Nha Trang
  4. Park Hyatt Saigon Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City
  5. Gecko Hanoi Hotel, Hanoi
  6. Pilgrimage Village Hue-Boutique Resort & Spa, Hue
  7. Grand Mecure La Veranda Resort, Phu Quoc Island
  8. Camilla Hue Hotel, Hue
  9. Orchid Hotel, Hue
  10. Life Resort, Quy Nhon

National Geographic rates best (and worst) islands

National Geographic has just published their newest list of island destinations, both in their Nov/Dec Traveler magazine and abridged online.

Among the top contenders are

  • Faroe Islands, Denmark
  • Azores, Portugal
  • Lofoten, Norway
  • Shetland Islands, Scotland, UK
  • Chiloe, Chile

Ever been to any of them? Me neither. That’s probably what makes them a cut above the rest though — they are as yet unspoiled by tourists like you and me.

What I find interesting is the number of winners that stipulate the beauty with “as long as the cruise ships don’t keep coming.” As one who has experienced the tidal wave of headphone-wearing-flag-following cruise herds first hand though, I can sort of see why they’re saying this. We just need to get there before they do.