Enjoying the New Year with friends and/or family at destination reunions has gained popularity over the years. In fact, personal finance website WalletHub says more than 107 million people will travel at least 30 miles from home for New Year’s, more than 97.4 million will drive to their destination and more than 6.4 million will fly to their holiday destination, in its recently released report Best Places for New Year’s Eve Celebrations. If you count yourself among those planning travels globally to bring in 2019, here are some fun options suggested by travel advisor Sanya Weston of Your Premier Travel Service based in Michigan.
Live it Up in London
End-of-year celebrations here include soaring Christmas trees, pudding races (where trays of pudding are balanced on your head while you race the line), ballet performances, festive teas, and big light displays. The West End Christmas Lights and a visit to Hyde Park are a must as is a shopping trip on Oxford Street. With the upcoming birth of Baby Sussex, tours with a focus on the royal family are a big draw now more than ever.
Check out the ‘Scene’ in Miami
There’s truly no off-season here, but December is peak season so you can get your fix of dancing, sunbathing, shopping, and people-watching everywhere. You can easily end up doing nothing if you don’t plan ahead because this is a cosmopolitan city with a lot going on, including a ball drop for New Year for which tickets are sold in advance. There are also a lot of new hotel brands from the Caribbean creating some buzz in the city.
Eat, Pray, Love in Bali
No matter how cliché it might sound, everyone returns changed from Bali after experiencing hikes to jaw-dropping views, visits to incredible beaches, and, naturally, ending the day with yoga. “Bali is the health and wellness mecca right now, people have lots of retreats there,” says Weston. “It isn’t a very expensive destination once you get over the flight so you can indulge in upwards of a 4-5 star accommodation experience.”
Rejoice in the Deserts of Dubai
One of the most exciting places to be is at The Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest building, which hosts one of the most spectacular lighting and fireworks displays in the world, accompanied by the iconic dancing fountains, which are located steps from the world’s largest mall. Alternatively, visit the Mall of the Emirates to hit the slopes in an indoor ski run and then hit up a sunset desert safari excursion under the stars.
Revel in Nashville’s Southern Comforts
Considering their lack of snow, Nashville sure knows how to turn on the festive holiday spirit. Check out the Opryland Hotel’s famous lighting display, part of a Country Christmas at Opryland. You’ll find carriage rides, snow tubing, ice skating, and more. “Nashville is a hidden secret,” says Weston. “It’s like a small Los Angeles or New York City but in the South, with the charm of southern comfort and hospitality.”
Savor Juneau’s Winter Wonderland
The Northern Lights are one big reason why you’d head here during the holidays. While there won’t be any deals on prices at the time, it will still be a once in a lifetime experience and there might be surprises in store if you bundle up your travel, stay and local transportation choices when planning. Explore Alaska’s great wilderness by cross-country skiing, snowboarding, downhill skiing, or even a helicopter or sled dog ride.
Go Pura Vida in Costa Rica
Rapids, heights, reptiles—you can pretty much face all your fears in one week here! With 20 natural parks, eight reserves, and countless rivers, lakes, and rain forests, this is one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world. Visit the Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort at the base of the majestic Arenal Volcano in the heart of the tropical rainforest to enjoy the therapeutic hot springs all day long.
Make Merry in Sydney Style
Whether you wish to go cruising on the Sydney Harbor, spend a romantic evening on a number of scenic beaches, or attend annual music shows in the Domain, you can do it all. “Sydney is like Australia’s Florida,” says Weston. “The weather is always awesome.” The Harbor and Sydney Opera House host special holiday festivities, including spectacular fireworks and lighting displays over the water.
Get Some Island Time in Aruba
Besides a two-mile strip of high-rise luxury hotels, Aruba’s Palm Beach has the benefit of proximity to warm inviting waters of the southern Caribbean. The climate is dry, so it’s unusual for any outdoor plans to be ruined by rain. Rent a car and drive into town for meals and other activities or head to Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club where you can feed adorable (and harmless) iguanas crawling around the resort.
Important Tips Before You Go
No matter your destination, Weston has a few quick tips:
- Travel with only what you need that’s essential. Consult with your travel professional on things that are legal, including medications.
- Suitcases that charge your phone are a hazard and a lot of airlines restrict them, so right now is not the time to invest in these types of gadgets.
- Most importantly – Don’t pack expensive belongings in checked luggage. “As Americans, we are very lackadaisical, we think everything is like America when we travel and it’s not,” says Weston. “Many countries don’t have the same infrastructure or processes and a lot is done manually, so your bags will be checked by people and there is nothing you can do about that but pack with care!”
This article originally appeared in Cuisine Noir Magazine.