For some, a rewarding year-end tradition is settling in with a map and a glass of wine, tallying up all the places traveled in the past year — and making a fresh list of cities to visit once the calendar resets.
The editors at a variety of travel sites and publications share extensive lists of hot destinations and top picks each year. National Geographic suggests far-flung cities such as Harar, Ethiopia; Tbilisi, Georgia; Oaxaca, Mexico; and Sydney in 2018.
For their Best in Travel 2018 suggestions, editors at Lonely Planet have put together multiple top travel destinations like Chile, South Korea and Portugal. One surprise mention is Detroit, which is bouncing back after years of decline.
The possibilities of where to go next can seem endless, as well as expensive. In addition to time of year, travel prices "are all about supply and demand," said Hipmunk's CEO and co-founder, Adam Goldstein.
"In this case, demand is in response to things like currency fluctuations and perception of which destinations are 'hot,' while supply is determined by factors such as airlines launching new routes or changing what size planes they're using," he said.
Travel experts have a long list of suggested destinations, and plenty of tips for those looking to get started on planning next year's journeys.
For its 2018 travel planning guide, Hipmunk ran data from millions of flights over an 18-month booking window. They predicted when to find the best deals on domestic and international airfares for popular destinations.
January and February, as usual, will be the most cost-effective months for domestic and international flights, with average savings of 25 to 40 percent to destinations such as Chicago, Nashville, Minneapolis, Zurich, Milan and Singapore. Traveling during the fall "shoulder season" (October and November) will offer significant airfare savings as well.
Eleven cities and towns around the U.S. are sharing more than $1.5 million in preservation grant funds, recently awarded by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to preserve unique features of downtown districts.
Casa Grande, Arizona, features a vintage neon sign park, while renovations are progressing on the historic Formosa Cafe (once a haunt of Hollywood celebrities and organized crime figures) along Route 66 in West Hollywood, California. Separately, the recently reopened 1913 Woodward Theater in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood has reconstructed the building's historic marquee.
During 2018, Paris will host the 10th edition of the Gay Games in August and the iconic Ryder Cup gold tournament in September. March brings the opening of Lafayette Anticipations, a public gathering place in the heart of the Marais that will present a wide variety of events and works of contemporary art, design and fashion. And L'Atelier des Lumieres, an immersive digital museum of fine art located in a former iron foundry, is set to open in April with work by major artists projected on the facility's 26-foot-high walls.
In Fort Worth, Texas, cowhands drive a herd of longhorns down Exchange Avenue in the Stockyards National Historic District. For a taste of Texas-made whiskey and bourbon, visitors can now head to southeast Fort Worth, which is home to Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co.'s new Whiskey Ranch complex. The 112 acre "whiskey wonderland," thought to be the largest whiskey distillery west of the Mississippi, also has a tavern and a historic 18-hole golf course on site.
Celebrate the Erie Canal
In New York state, a multiyear celebration marking the bicentennial of the construction of the Erie Canal is underway along the canal corridor, which includes major cities like Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany.
To celebrate the bicentennial of the completion of the Erie Canal and the 150th anniversary of glassmaking in the city of Corning, the Corning Museum of Glass in May will launch GlassBarge, a canal barge outfitted with glassmaking equipment.
New York's Finger Lakes region, which reaches from Rochester to Syracuse, has also expanded its Craft Your Adventure Beverage Trail to include 29 different stops for craft beer, hard ciders and spirits throughout the region.
A 19 percent year-over-year surge in domestic bookings suggests to American Express Travel that in 2018, many Americans will be seeking adventures and unique experiences close to home.
That includes visits to World Record hot spots in the U.S. such as the World's Tallest Outdoor Rock-Climbing Wall in Reno, Nevada; Bowling Green, Kentucky's Mammoth Cave National Park, which is home to the world's longest known cave system; the World's Largest Living Tree — a giant sequoia named General Sherman — in California's Sequoia National Park; and the volcanic-formed Crater Lake in Oregon, which at 1,943 feet is America's deepest lake.