8 Surprising Vacation Destinations to Visit in 2015, So Start Planning Your Next Adventure Now
It’s winter and the new year just started, which means two things. 1. We’re curled up with a mug of herbal tea and a copy of Serena. 2. We’re anxiously looking for ways to escape the bitter cold. With days of bleak snow and freezing temperatures in the forecast, now is the perfect time to start planning that dream vacation you’ve always wanted to go on. A quick Google search of “Vacation Places 2015” will turn up millions of hits... so cue information overload and eventual analysis paralysis.
Of course, you can go anywhere you want to go. There are even some places you can go that will allow you to get a small part-time job to fund your stay. But there are so many amazing things to do and landmarks to see in the world, how can you choose just one?
This list is made up of unique places we would love to visit this year, if given the opportunity. Whether you’re into artifacts from 700 B.C., or trekking through the jungle in the morning and sun-tanning along the Pacific in the evening, there’s something for everyone on this list. And if you plan your next adventure now, you’ll have something awesome to look forward to throughout the cold winter months ahead.
Nashville has a delightfully yummy farm-to-table food scene. Innovative local chefs love to blend regional favorites with unique infusions (think grits made of chocolate and mixed with buttermilk and bourbon). If you’ve already done a tasting tour of foodie hot spots like Los Angeles and New York City, Nashville is an awesome destination to try out next. Try Olive + Sinclair, or local favorite Fido (apparently the blueberry pancakes are some of the best around). Let’s not forget that Nashville hosts the Country Music Awards each year, which promises to be bigger and better in 2015.
Image: Thomas Hawk/Flickr
Chiang Mai, Thailand
If you’re looking for cultural significance among the full-moon festivals and beach parties that are popular in Thailand, Chiang Mai is for you. Tucked into the northern mountains of Thailand, this city has hundreds of Buddhist temples for you to explore. You can also further your yoga or meditation practice with various retreats in the winding foothills. Chiang Mai is also one of the best places to meet other travelers from around the world — countless backpackers head to Chiang Mai each year when they’re in need of a few days’ rest and relaxation.
Having personally been to Uluru, I know that nothing can compare to the beautiful star-gazing you can do in the middle of the Australian outback. While you might see a wild kangaroo or two, the real showstopper occurs during sunset. The gigantic rock glows red; it’s easy to see why the Aboriginal people of the area consider it a sacred site. Camp out in Kata Tjuta National Park (home to Uluru) to catch a glimpse of the awe-inspiring constellations. They’re unlike anything you can experience in the northern hemisphere.
Among the narrow, curving streets in the medina, you’ll find many souk s , or markets, where you can buy everything from meat to souvenirs. Remember: Prices at the markets
are negotiable (and sometimes aren’t displayed). Teeming gardens and ornate palaces dating back to the 12th century are spread throughout the city. El Badi Palace will surely take your breath away. Ville Nouvelle has a European vibe, and has many luxury hotels, department stores, and eateries. And let’s not forget that the temperature in Marrakesh stays above 60 degrees year round (a great fact to keep in mind when you’re trying to beat the winter blues!).
If you’re a history buff, begin planning your trip to Copenhagen now. The city’s history dates back to the mid-10th century — archaeologists have found parts of an old mansion that date back to the 900s, when Vikings roamed through the city. Use the city’s bike-share program to get around, and check out the many canals and waterways that divide Copenhagen. Once you’ve gotten your fitness fix, head to Vesterboro, an area about 15 minutes from the city center that’s known for having a great restaurant scene.
Image: Dennis Jarvis/Flickr
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Watching Reese Witherspoon in Wild made me want to go hiking ASAP. Yellowstone National Park is the perfect place to do it. The park is home to the world’s largest collection of geysers and it’s teeming with wildlife, including buffalo, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats (the less friendly grizzly bear can also be found in Yellowstone). Grab a bunch of friends and hit the trails for a few days of exploration. You can even rent an RV to bring a few more creature comforts along with you for your trip. Make sure to register with the Yellowstone National Park rangers so they can keep an eye on your group while you’re out on your hike. They also offer ranger-led walks on various trails for those who want an experienced climber with them.
Image: Michael Privorotsky/Flickr
Panama City, Panama
With its diverse landscape of mountains, rolling hills, rainforests, plains, and many bodies of water, it’s no surprise that Panama is called “The Crossroad of the Americas.” If you rent a car, you can spend a couple of days tanning near the Pacific Ocean, then drive 12 hours and see the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean. When it’s time to hop off the beach and get your adrenaline fix, try white water rafting, parasailing, or even go zip-lining through the jungle. An added perk: The country uses U.S. currency so you don’t have to worry about conversion rates and fees.
Seoul, South Korea
Seoul is a modern city with unbelievably old roots (researchers have found artifacts there that date back to the Paleolithic period!). The government has placed touch screen maps throughout the city to ensure that people never get lost, and Seoul is equipped with Wi-Fi so you’ll always be able to connect with your friends. The city comes alive during the night time, with many bars, restaurants, and corner stores staying open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you want to glimpse into the future of technology and innovation, Seoul is for you! (Be sure to try the renowned pojangmacha , or street food, that is offered at all the major transportation hubs.)