Top travel destinations for 2014
In its quest for value destinations, deals website Travelzoo lists five locales, including the Jersey Shore and Palm Springs, Calif. With top 10 countries, cities, regions and more, there’s hardly a spot on the globe that Lonely Planet?doesn’t?mention. And BuzzFeed’s 22 “stunning under-the-radar destinations” directs us to a single U.S. gem: Ohio’s woodsy Hocking Hills.
Meanwhile, Tripology, an online travel referral service (and division of USA TODAY) that connects travelers with travel agents, is betting on the usual suspects: Las Vegas; Cancun, Mexico; and Orlando, in that order, based on actual bookings.
Here are some trends and events likely to get us on the road in the coming year:
If 2013 was the year peer-to-peer travel arrangements gained traction, this is the year they will go mainstream. The so-called sharing economy now generates an estimated $3.5 billion a year, and its largest sector is travel.
What started with sites like Airbnb, Couchsurfing and Roomorama, which connect travelers with lodging in private dwellings, now includes peer-to-peer tour services (Vayable, CanaryHop); car sharing (RelayRides, Hubber, Lyft); and meal sharing (EatWith, Feastly, HomeDine). You can even rent bikes and skis (SpinLister) or a spot to pitch a tent (CampInMyGarden).
Some sites are kicking it up a notch in terms of service. Airbnb, which has more than 550,000 listings worldwide, launched a Hospitality Lab headed by Joie de Vivre hotel chain founder Chip Conley to train hosts for a more consistent guest experience.
Onefinestay injects a luxury-hotel sensibility into home stays through “carefully curated” listings and upgrades to registered properties, such as high-end linens and an iPhone with the absentee host’s suggestions for dining and shopping. It launched in London and New York in 2009 and added short-term rentals in Paris and Los Angeles in the fall.
Special events keyed to major milestones are surefire attention-getters. Among the notable commemorations in 2014:
Yosemite National Park celebrates 150 years?of protected status (thank you, President Lincoln). Hundreds of events, most of them in surrounding communities, are planned throughout the year.
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