Hot destinations, budget-friendly vacations: Expert shares travel trends

WASHINGTON — If reading the newspaper means skimming all but the travel section, and scrolling through social media morphs into studying every post tagged #wanderlust, it might be time for a vacation.

Dust off your passport and pack your bags: Georgina Dee, publishing director of DK Eyewitness Travel Guides, shared some of the best places to visit this year and next:

In this photo taken Wednesday, March 25, 2015, Japanese-style hotel Hiiragiya Inn "okami," or the owner's wife Akemi Nishimura, right, carries a drink in a room in Kyoto, western Japan. Hiiragiya inn is not as old, founded in 1818, but it also boasts an elegant tradition. The bath tubs in each room are fragrant wood and lacquer. The small buckets are handcrafted by a master designated a National Treasure. The food served for dinner looks like artwork, served in tiny decorative portions in expensive ceramic. The screen windows peer out to a garden of rocks and foliage. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
Japan One of the hottest destinations these days is Japan. Thanks to a major push from the country’s government, tourism in Japan is expected to increase 67 percent by 2020 (from 2016). Dee recommends travelers with an appetite for food and culture check out the island nation, which is packed with both ancient and modern attractions. According to U.S. News, Tokyo, Kyoto, Fukuoka and Osaka are some of the more popular places to explore. (AP/Shizuo Kambayashi) (AP/Shizuo Kambayashi)
A trip to Iceland wouldn't be complete without a dip in the Blue Lagoon, a man-made geothermal pool on Reykjanes peninsula.  (AP Photo/Tania Fuentez)
Iceland Another top destination for travelers is Iceland. More than 2 million people (six times the country’s total population) visited in 2017, and most came from the U.S. Lagoons, lights and picturesque landscapes are Iceland’s big draw. (AP Photo/Tania Fuentez) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/TANIA FUENTEZ)
Tourists walk past the Eiffel Tower, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018 in Paris. The visitors descending on the Eiffel Tower at the peak of the August tourist season are voicing frustration that the beloved Paris monument is closed. Since Wednesday, Eiffel Tower workers have been on strike over the new visitor access policy, which they say is responsible for inordinately long queues.(AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Don’t discount traditional travel destinations It’s not just about exciting and emerging spots. Dee said the tried-and-true destinations are still popular among tourists. “What’s interesting, also, is the perennial destinations that everybody loves London, New York, Paris, Rome are still very important in the travel industry, and I think the reason for that is people want to understand the world,” she said. Budget airlines, such as WOW, which services Baltimore-Washington International Airport, offer flights at rates much lower than competitors to Paris, Barcelona, Dublin, Frankfurt and more. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
FILE - This Feb. 24, 2012 file photo shows Petr Skala performing his weekly maintenance of the famous Astronomical clock at the Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic. The clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and it is supposed to be  the oldest one still working. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Destinations on a dime If you’re looking for a budget-friendly vacation, Dee said check out Eastern Europe. Some of her favorites are Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Poland. “Places like that are really opening up, and once you get there, are very affordable,” she said. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
This Sept. 5, 2013 photo provided by Charmaine Noronha shows Noronha (left) and two other passengers from Crystal Serenity on a bike tour during a port call in St.-Emilion in the wine region of France. Excursions like bike tours are popular among cruisers who enjoy active adventures in port, and there are a variety of similar adventures to choose from. (AP Photo/Charmaine Noronha)
Experience, not place It used to be that travelers would decide on a place and then figure out what they wanted to do and see. But now, Dee said, “quite a lot of people are doing it the other way around.” Travelers might choose a destination because they want to learn a new skill (pasta making in Italy) or pursue an interest (art in Berlin). Food-lovers plan vacations around sought-after restaurants; cyclists travel for guided tours through exotic terrain. (AP/Charmaine Noronha) (AP/Charmaine Noronha)
Canoeists paddle into the C & O Canal after launching from the Boathouse at Fletcher's Cove in Washington, Thursday, July 30, 2015. The Boathouse at Fletcher's Cove has rowboats, kayaks, canoes and bicycles for rent. They also sell fishing licenses, bait, tackle and refreshments. You could easily spend a whole visit to Washington exploring the museums, galleries and monuments along the National Mall.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
You don’t need to go far to have an adventure If you don’t have the time and/or money to cross oceans, Dee said there’s plenty to do and see in the U.S. There’s the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, the grandeur of the Grand Canyon and the excitement of New York. “But I think also, you can rediscover your hometown or the town down the road or the big city near you, so (travel) doesn’t necessarily have to be about going to far-flung places. It can help you rediscover the places nearby,” Dee said. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
(1/6)
In this photo taken Wednesday, March 25, 2015, Japanese-style hotel Hiiragiya Inn "okami," or the owner's wife Akemi Nishimura, right, carries a drink in a room in Kyoto, western Japan. Hiiragiya inn is not as old, founded in 1818, but it also boasts an elegant tradition. The bath tubs in each room are fragrant wood and lacquer. The small buckets are handcrafted by a master designated a National Treasure. The food served for dinner looks like artwork, served in tiny decorative portions in expensive ceramic. The screen windows peer out to a garden of rocks and foliage. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
A trip to Iceland wouldn't be complete without a dip in the Blue Lagoon, a man-made geothermal pool on Reykjanes peninsula.  (AP Photo/Tania Fuentez)
Tourists walk past the Eiffel Tower, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018 in Paris. The visitors descending on the Eiffel Tower at the peak of the August tourist season are voicing frustration that the beloved Paris monument is closed. Since Wednesday, Eiffel Tower workers have been on strike over the new visitor access policy, which they say is responsible for inordinately long queues.(AP Photo/Michel Euler)
FILE - This Feb. 24, 2012 file photo shows Petr Skala performing his weekly maintenance of the famous Astronomical clock at the Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic. The clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and it is supposed to be  the oldest one still working. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
This Sept. 5, 2013 photo provided by Charmaine Noronha shows Noronha (left) and two other passengers from Crystal Serenity on a bike tour during a port call in St.-Emilion in the wine region of France. Excursions like bike tours are popular among cruisers who enjoy active adventures in port, and there are a variety of similar adventures to choose from. (AP Photo/Charmaine Noronha)
Canoeists paddle into the C & O Canal after launching from the Boathouse at Fletcher's Cove in Washington, Thursday, July 30, 2015. The Boathouse at Fletcher's Cove has rowboats, kayaks, canoes and bicycles for rent. They also sell fishing licenses, bait, tackle and refreshments. You could easily spend a whole visit to Washington exploring the museums, galleries and monuments along the National Mall.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)


Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2018 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up