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What’s on your 2018 travel list? Here are 18 places—listed in no particular order—that have us excited to pack our bags in the coming year. We made our picks based on cool new attractions, easier access thanks to new flight routes, reactions to major world events, hot travel trends and more. Think we missed a spot that’s on the up and up? Let us know in the comments.

RELATED: 17 great places to travel in 2017

Kerry Ireland, Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael Island, Kerry Ireland

Kerry, Ireland
We all know popular TV shows and movies can boost interest in a destination (Croatia and Game of Thrones, anyone?). Now it looks like County Kerry, Ireland, is positioned for a film-fueled boom, thanks to its featured role in the new Star Wars movie, set to hit theaters in December. The area’s already a top stop on many Ireland itineraries, thanks to the stunning Ring of Kerry scenic loop that takes you along rugged coastline, and past mountain vistas and charming seaside villages where Irish is still spoken. For more on visiting Ireland, click here.

Suzhou, China

Suzhou, China

Suzhou, China
China is now the world’s fastest growing tourism destination, thanks to a big marketing push by the nation’s government. The upside for travelers is that we’re now hearing more about China’s fascinating small and mid-sized cities—including enchanting destinations like Suzhou, the “Venice of the East.” This gem in Jiangsu Province is surrounded by canals and bridges, and dotted with public gardens and pagodas. Visitors can take a boat out on the ancient waterways, explore neighborhoods alive with markets and eateries, take a rest in a traditional teahouse or shop for local specialties such as handcrafted silks and embroidery. For more on visiting Suzhou, click here.

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana
Going, going, gone! When Glacier National Park, a 1,583-square mile wilderness straddling the Montana-Canada border, was established in 1910 it was brimming with glaciers (there were more than 150 during the 19th century). Today, that number has dwindled to just 25 active glaciers and while scientists have long warned climate change will render them extinct by 2030, some say they could all be gone much earlier. Alarm bells aside, now is a good as time as any to experience the park’s majestic beauty which includes more than 700 lakes, hundreds of miles in hiking trails and thrilling wildlife including elk, bighorn sheep and grizzly bears. For more on visiting Glacier National Park, click here.

Island Ometepe, Nicaragua, Central America

Island Ometepe, Nicaragua

Nicaragua
Nicaragua has, over the past few years, started to shed its rough image, giving nearby Costa Rica a run for its tourism dollars with similarly gorgeous beaches, mountains, colonial cities and jungle adventures. But recently, a massive 170-mile, $50 billion canal project set to connect the Pacific with the Caribbean has put environmentalists in a panic, in part because it’s slated to bisect Lake Nicaragua, Central America’s largest freshwater reserve. While the project seems to be stalled, there’s no time like the present to add Nicaragua to your travel plans. For more on visiting Nicaragua, click here.

Pioneertown, desert, California

Pioneertown Motel

Pioneertown, CA
Southern Californians are forever in search of weekend escapes that haven’t been trampled to death by the masses. In Pioneertown they have found it—for now. Originally built by Hollywood as a movie stand in for a Wild West town, it’s back in fashion thanks to the Pioneertown Motel, a desert crash pad and hangout whose buzz of late has been deafening. Artists have turned several of the old storefronts into galleries and definitely don’t miss Pappy & Harriet’s, a honkytonk-like tavern and local fixture with booze served in mason jars alongside decent food. (Paul McCartney once played a concert here.) Best of all, Pioneertown is a stone’s through from Joshua Tree and desert gems like La Copine, the Integratron and Noah Purifoy Foundation. For more on visiting this part of California, click here.

Antalya, Turkey

Antalya, Turkey

Antalya, Turkey
London, Paris and Istanbul. They are Europe’s most visited cities. You’re probably thinking Barcelona or Rome is a close fourth, right? Nope. That distinction belongs to Antalya, a Mediterranean resort town located on Turkey’s west coast and also a fast growing city. Imagine the best of Europe rolled into one sun-kissed destination. It’s got lavish (and over-the-top) resorts like the WOW Kremlin Palace and Venezia Palace Deluxe Resort Hotel, turquoise waters that rival that of the Caribbean, a pristine old city and a mountainous backdrop. It also comes at a fraction of the price of its Western Europe counterparts. Do yourself a favor: Skip Portugal, Greece and Croatia next time around—the Turkish Riviera is ready for its close up. For more on visiting Turkey, click here.

Sveti Stefan Island, Montenegro

Sveti Stefan Island, Montenegro

Montenegro
Overlooked Eastern European countries continue to capture our imaginations as overtourism increasingly affects more popular continental destinations such as Italy, France and Croatia. It’s no surprise, really, that the Balkans are rising: They’re affordable, offer mild climes and are packed with fascinating history. Montenegro, in particular, teases our wanderlust with medieval wonders such as a cliffside monastery and a village in the middle of a lake. Natural beauty abounds, too, with rugged mountains, rushing rivers and sunny beaches along the southern Adriatic coast. For more on visiting this part of the world, click here.

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Floriday Keys, Florida, Caribbean

The Florida Keys

The Florida Keys
We’ve driven the Overseas Highway between Key Largo and Key West a dozen times and this 100-mile stretch of sub-tropical pavement never fails to captivate. Key Largo seems to go on forever, but attractions like John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and kitschy Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen make the endlessness worth it. Things start to get interesting around Islamorada and the Middle Keys (we recommend a pit stop at the Tiki Bar at Holiday Isle and wading into the water at Anne’s Beach), then it’s onward to the spectacular 7-mile bridge and the otherworldly grand prize—Key West! But linking this nose-to-tail journey are endless buckets of sun and ocean for which the state is famous. Think Irma ruined the good times? Not even close. For more on visiting the Florida Keys, click here.

Barra de Navidad, Costalegre, Mexico

Barra de Navidad, Costalegre, Mexico

Costalegre, Mexico
The Costalegre, a stretch of coast between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, entices in-the-know travelers with 43 beaches, capes and bays. Right now, the destination remains sleepy, bohemian and off-the-beaten path, a far cry from the crowded beaches farther north, which are littered with chain hotels. But that is all about to change. In 2018, the new Chalacatepec airport will make the area more accessible. Another project in the works is the Zafiro Master Plan, which will include a Cheval Blanc hotel with branded villas, an 18-hole golf course and up to 525 real estate units. Farther down the line, AMResorts will open their Zoetry brand with Zoetry Chamela Costalegre, consisting of 120 suites on the Bay of Chamela. For more on visiting Mexico, click here.

Singapore

Marina Bay, Singapore

Singapore
Singapore, it’s not just for stopovers anymore. United recently announced a new direct route from Los Angeles to this ultra-modern, city-state island, making it much more accessible to American travelers. At 18 hours, it’s now the longest non-stop from the U.S., but if you’re not too jetlagged, we recommend taking a little time explore the Changi Airport, with its ice skating rink, butterfly garden, free movie theater and more. Once in town, the modern marvels continue with stunning architecture such as Interlace condos and Henderson Wave trail. The street food here is arguably the world’s best, too, with flavors fused from Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisines (try Old Airport Road Food Centre or Chinatown Complex Food Centre for a taste). We’re also looking forward to Singapore in the coming year as the iconic, luxury hotel Raffles—birthplace of the Singapore Sling cocktail—is set to reopen after a lengthy restoration. For more on visiting Singapore, click here.

ABC Islands, Caribbean

ABC Islands

ABC Islands
Multiple hurricanes wrought an inordinate amount of damage to the Caribbean this year. As recovery in many parts continues, sun-seeking vacationers will likely look to tropical destinations outside of the hurricane belt, and the Dutch islands of Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire (known collectively as the ABC Islands) are great candidates. While they all offer calm waters and incredible beaches, each has its own unique charms, as well: Aruba boasts glittering casinos and bustling night life; Bonaire draws crowds for its world-class diving and snorkeling; and Curaçao serves up rich colonial history and a laid-back vibe. For more on visiting the ABC Islands, click here.

Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma, Alabama

Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma, Alabama

Selma to Montgomery Trail, Alabama
In 2016, all eyes were on the National Parks System, which celebrated its centennial in that year. Get ready to turn your attention to the National Trails System, a network of scenic, historic and recreational U.S. trails that turns 50 in 2018. The most famous of all—the Appalachian Trail—stretches 2,200 miles and takes months to complete. Consider instead trekking the Selma to Montgomery Trail, a manageable 54-mile journey made famous by Dr. King and his non-violent supporters who initially made the trek in support of equal voting rights for African Americans. In these politically turbulent times, the trail is a reminder of the hard-fought battle for freedom and equality; consider, too, that 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination. For more on visiting this part of the country, click here.

Brisbane, Australia skyline and story bridge at sunset.

Brisbane, Australia
It doesn’t have Sydney’s flashy icons and thrumming nightlife, Melbourne’s rich Victorian architecture and cultural scene or even Perth’s exotic remoteness, but Brisbane is the Aussie city you should stop underestimating. It topples its rivals in terms of hours of annual sunshine as evidenced by its outdoor dining scene, numerous al fresco events and urban beaches. It’s also within a manageable distance to vacation hot spots like the Gold Coast (think beaches and theme parks), the Sunshine Coast (think resorts and more beaches) and numerous enchanting islands a mere stone’s throw from the city center. But get there soon; the city is welcoming more international flights and 5-star hotels beginning in 2018. In short, the secret is out. For more on visiting Australia, click here.

Asbury Park, New Jersey

Asbury Park, New Jersey

Asbury Park, NJ
Famed for its bustling boardwalk and charming seaside shops, the small town of Asbury Park has seen quite the tourism boom in recent years. The revitalization of the Jersey Shore following Hurricane Sandy has been particularly prominent here. The area has been a favorite of local beach-goers for years, but the addition of trendy new restaurants and bright, funky hotels like The Asbury has drawn a whole new crowd. Spend your day relaxing on one of the best beaches in the state, and then head off to enjoy some coq au vin and cocktails at Pascal & Sabine. Music has always been a focus in the historic shore town, so be sure and catch a show at the Stone Pony where NJ native Bruce Springsteen has been known to show up and play. For more information on visiting the area, click here.

Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia

Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Bolivia’s Uyuni salt flats are an otherworldly destination in the Andes that have long attracted intrepid backpackers. We can thank Instagram, though, for helping to propel the spot into the mainstream, thanks to the eye-catching photography that comes from the eerie perspective created by endless horizon and the enchanting reflections that come from the shallow layer of water that collects during the rainy season (December to April). Make your stay an especially memorable one at the Hotel De Sal Luna Salada, where everything is made of salt—from the furniture to the floors and walls. For more on traveling to South America, click here.

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Willamette Valley, Oregon

The Willamette Valley, Oregon
Nervous that smoke from the recent Northern California wildfires has damaged the region’s yield? 2018 might be the year to give Oregon’s stunning Willamette Valley wine country a fresh glance. Located less than an hour south or Portland (an easy day trip and also deserving of its own weekend getaway) the area contains the same gorgeous sloping hills and lush valleys as other West Coast wine-producing counterparts, while also happening to be one of the world’s best producers of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Do a tasting at world-famous Eyrie Vineyards (although many others are just a as good), pick up your requisite wine and cheese at Red Hills Market and leave room for dinner at the Painted Lady. The Willamette Valley is California, but sans all the Californians. For more on visiting Oregon, click here.

The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Egypt
Egypt checks so many boxes it’s no wonder the country witnessed a 51% spike in international tourist arrivals last year. It’s culturally a part of the Middle East, but geographically rests on mainland Africa; its Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the seven wonders of the world and it’s other ancient treasures including the Abu Simbel temples, Valley of the Kings and Temple of Karnak, among other give it just enough of a whiff of Indiana Jones to make visitors feel like they’re stepping wildly outside their comfort zones. Add to it all a ride on a camel and a visit to the stalls of the Khan al-Khalili market in Cairo and you’ve got one enviable bucket list destination every millennial is dying to check off their list (it doesn’t hurt that the country is very budget friendly). For more on visiting Egypt, click here.

Hogwarts Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Orlando

Hogwarts Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Orlando

Orlando, FL

With so natural disasters and rising political tensions plaguing the world in 2017, many families are likely to look for safe, familiar travel destinations closer to home in the coming year. Orlando embodies that wholly, with the warm, fuzzy nostalgia of Disney World, the adventurous fantasy of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the wonderfully distracting entertainment of Universal Studios Orlando, to name a few. But those looking for something new and exciting won’t be disappointed either: The new year is set to bring new attractions like Toy Story Land to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Fast & Furious: Supercharged ride to Universal Studios and the Great Lego Race virtual reality rollercoaster to Legoland Florida. Several noteworthy resorts are set to debut as well, including Universal’s Aventura, the Margaritaville Resort Orlando and boutique hotel The Delaney. For more on visiting Orlando, click here.

Tagged: Africa, aruba, Asia, Australia, California, Caribbean, China, National Parks

Orbitz Travel Blog Editors

Orbitz Travel Blog Editors

We're the editors of this travel blog, brought to you by Orbitz!

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