Get Outta Your Comfort Zone! Top 12 Travel Destinations for New Yorkers in 2017

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Let’s be real guys, we barely made it through 2016. We deserve to start the new year off right, with some impending adventures. But not just any adventures– hot to trot to adventures.

We as New Yorkers are a specific breed. We know what we like, we’re determined to get it, and we don’t always have ample time to research and plan that glorious getaway. 

New Yorkers like to be the first on the scene, set trends, and then tell everyone about it. 

Although much of the world has been discovered and re-discovered, there’s still those nooks and crannies and the potential of uncovering travel gems. And if we can pioneer it? Even better.

In conclusion, we need an escape from the city tailored to our New York needs- plain and simple. So, let’s make 2017 the year of travel. 

Here’s a curated list of the hot destinations you should prioritize to visit in the new year put together by your resident traveler herself, @girlwanderlist. You’re welcome. 

In no particular order, drumroll please...

1. Cuba

lollodele #cuba #habana #past #present #travel #trip #true #wonder #semplice #instatraveling #instatravel #travelgram #instagood #instamood #picshot #streetstyle #street #streetview #love

Why: Because we can now? Oh, and the nonstop flights just opened from New York City to Havana, for cheap, to boot. Step back in time and experience a destination still untouched by tourists.

When: NOW. Go immediately for the love of sangria! Before everyone else does and drinks it all.

Suggestions: Sign up for a salsa class, eat in a local’s home, take a tour of Old Havana in a 1950’s car. It’s all good, just save your receipt for proof upon re-entering the States. Heads up: there's limited to no wifi, and the island is pretty much cash only (and don't forget you're going to need Cuban pesos).

2. Arches National Park, Utah

girlwanderlist ✨An idyllic spot to take a load off, (and much needed) on day 4 of my "5 DAYS: 5 HIKES" adventure. Read the story & get the deets on my boots here: #travel #travelblogger #utah #archesnationalpark #nps100 #dannerboots #girlwanderlist #wildernextgen

Why: Because last year was the National Park Service Centennial and the celebration has carried over (rightly so). Also, it’s right in our own backyard (Well, the USA anyways). And, what's cooler than natural arches. 

When: Early fall- September-ish; it's not as hot, but not as crowded as peak autumn times.

Suggestions: Take in a sunrise or sunset at the Windows Arches. You can thank me later. Also the breakfast paninis at Love Muffin Cafe are ON POINT.

3. Iceland

everydayiceland Waiting around seemingly every corner in Iceland is another landscape that defies all description... 👒 by @timkemple #everydayiceland

Why: It’s still hot, and getting hotter. Get there now. (Ok so it’s actually cold, but you get the point.) Your Instagram will never look better- you’ll be like Dora the Explorer but with better fashion sense and not nearly as annoying... although, we don’t know your life.

When: Like, yesterday. Seriously though, go quick before everyone else and their brother does. Try May or June before the hoards drop in for the summer months.

Suggestions: Rent a camper van and road trip around the island via the Ring Road. If it's an epic adventure you want, then an epic adventure you shall have.

4. Dominica


Why: It's the nature island so it promises pretty things. If you can believe it, it's also somehow still a relatively off the beaten path island in the Caribbean. So there’s that pioneering thing again I mentioned that we love. 

Be Tarzan of the jungle, chuck yourselves into waterfalls, and do it all in a long weekend jaunt to this island beaut.

When: Um, winter, duh.

Suggestions: Getting there is a touch tricky with flights, but Norwegian Airlines is doing a helluva sale to Guadeloupe from NYC, and guess what? Dominica is its next door neighbor. BOOM. Too good to be true? You’ll just have to find out for yourself now won’t you.

5. Montenegro & The Balkans

girlwanderlist morning strolls in Kotor, Montenegro #worldtourists #expediapic #travel #tlpicks #traveldudes #traveldeeper #travelawesome #tourism #instapassport #insta_montenegro #kotor #doyoutravel #fodorsonthego #howisummer #lonelyplanet #bestvacations #beautifuldesinations #bestplacestogo #nakedplanet #montenegro #meettheworld #mybudgettravel #girlwanderlist #instagood

Why: Do you like beautiful things? Stupid question. Medievaly, charming, and downright impossibly gorgeous. Convinced? Good, glad we had this talk. Also, stil relatively cheap and as a New Yorker most of us operate on a perpetual budget.

When: Go a touch off season for great deals and no crowds: May/June or September should do ya good.

Suggestions: Bop over to a neighboring country- yes, country. Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, take your pick- they're all pretty damn close by. 

6. Banff National Park, Canada

cody_the_nelson TOP SECRET (but not really.) September 24. This mountain I had on my radar to do this summer, but with the weather being what it was, it was getting pushed to 2017. But then @explor8ion posted an incredible trip report detailing this trip during larch season, and I just HAD to do it. - The weather was looking good, so I messaged @alisekera to see if she was interested. She had the same peak in mind, so that worked out. Her boyfriend and @wildernesswyatt came as well. My first peak with Wyatt in quite a few weeks. - This trip was one of my favourites I've ever been on. Never technically challenging, but the scenery was unreal. Larch forests that stretched on for miles. Beautiful peaks that are hidden from highway views. Gorgeous lakes. My senses and camera were on overload. - The weather mostly held out on us, minus the first 5 minutes of the day where it rained. A few 11,000ners poked out of the clouds, including Hector and Assiniboine, which is always nice to see. Special thanks to Vern for the renewed inspiration for this mountain. 30km roundtrip. 1900m elevation gain ================

Why: Fun to say, fun to go. Canada! Who knew? Seriously though, New Yorkers are used to having their breath taken away for some not so nice reasons (i.e. subway stank, witnessing things you’ll never unsee, rats running over your bare toes in flip flops at 4am waiting for the C train, etc.) 

So why not lose it for an entirely better reason? STUNNING SCENERY FOLKS. The Canadian rockies can do that for you, pinky swear.

When: Summer unless turning into an icicle is your thing.

Suggestions: Bring your hiking shoes, and if you don't hike then learn. Alpine lake treats GALORE. 

7. Koh Rong, Cambodia

fleshworld Lazy beach, Koh rong samloem. #kohrong #cambodia #kambodja #asia #travel #traveltheworld #travelphoto #instatravel #wanderlusting #exploring #passionpassport #beach #kohrongsanloem #fleshworldphoto #wanderlust #sea #ocean #travelpics #dailytravel #kambodscha #camboya #igersdaily #explore #exploretheworld #traveler #travelgram #sharetravelpics

Why: As New Yorkers we love a good party amirite? This Cambodian island is poppin', but not everyone has caught on yet. So while most others are still bustin' a move in the Thai islands, head over to the newer bash on Koh Rong. The white sand and tropical views will cure your inevitable hangover. Because you will be, hungover. 

When: November to April is dry season, but April gets hot hot hot.

Suggestions: Take the fast boat from Sihanoukville to paradise.

8. Wachau Wine Region, Austria

girlwanderlist Just a regular bike ride with a not so regular view... Weissenkirchen, Austria, Wachau wine region #Austria #danube #weissenkirchen #durnstein #bike #wine #winetrail #wachau #worldtourists #tlpicks #doyoutravel #goprooftheday #gopro #girlwanderlist #discoveraustria #travel #travelzoo #traveldudes #shareyourparadise #mybudgettravel #meettheworld #beautifuldestinations #bestplacestogo #travelawesome

Why: Love NYC wine bars? Well Austria’s about to do ya one better. How about biking through vineyards in your own fairytale dream- YUP, told ya. We as New Yorkers may be hardened by the city but we still believe in fairytales, don’t we? If not then the Wachau wine region is sure to persuade you.

When: Summer whilst the wineries are open!

Suggestions: Stay in Weissenkirchen der Wachau. It’s the adjacent village to the more popular Durnstein, but you’ll avoid the tourists and river cruise passengers that stop in daily, and well, that's worth it.

9. Zermatt, Switzerland

girlwanderlist Cheers to the Earth! She's a real beaut...Happy Earth Day! Scene from hiking Gornergrat to Zermatt, Switzerland #earthday #switzerland #matterhorn #inlovewithswitzerland #wu_switzerland #travel #tourism #travelzoo #tlpicks #bestmountainartists #jetsettering #traveldeeper #wildernessculture #beautifuldestinations #ventureout #fodorsonthego #exploringtheglobe #sublimewilderness #rei1440project #officialtravelpage #theoutbound #traveldudes #outbounderlife #hikemor #worlderlust #letstraveltoday #travelblogger #instagood

Why: Because Switzerland is always in season. ALWAYS. Head to Zermatt if you love skiing and guess what- you can ski ANYTIME of the year. Summer? No problemo let me introduce you to summer skiing.

When: See above.

Suggestions: Head to the Brown Cow Pub for a great burger, and then across the street to Gee’s for some live music and adult bevvies, of course. You can hike with sheep, and did I mention the summer goat parade? Nuff said. 

10. Estonia

visitestonia Vilsandi lighthouse by @tashakosmos #lighthouse #europe #beautifuldestinations #specialplaces #travel

Why: Unique and ready to be explored, get your culture fix here. With city, country, and beach all options from the capital city of Tallinn, it’s also a perfect trifecta. As New Yorkers we like options and the ability to dabble in a little bit of everything. That’s where Estonia comes in to play.

When: Welcome spring with the dandelion festival, because, why not.

Suggestions: Fortress ruins your thing? Head to the beautiful islands off the west coast and frolick to the fortresses. Also, there’s the perfect caption for your insta post.

11. Aeolian Islands, Italy

eolieresort #eolie #aeolianislands #travel #travelblog #italy #italia #sicily #panarea feat #stromboli #holiday #summer #vacanze #estate #life #lifestyle #popular

Why: Islands, wine, and islands. I think we’ve covered all the main criteria here. Relatively undiscovered volcanic archipelago off the coast of Sicily, this chain of seven island goodness is calling New Yorkers by name, most likely in the form of pizza and pasta.

When: Late spring/early summer.

Suggestions: Take the ferry from Sicily or the Amalfi coast. Trek to the top of the volcano on Stromboli island (yes, it's really called that) and watch the sunset from a blockbuster perch.

12. Tasmania

tasmania This has to be one of Tassie's most iconic views: Wineglass Bay and the Freycinet Peninsula from atop Mount Amos. @adamreschphotography started his day off with a (very, very) early morning hike to the summit of this peak in The Hazards for sunrise views over Wineglass Bay and the surrounding peninsula. It's a favourite hike for those looking to push themselves a little bit further and take in one of Tassie's most iconic views from a different angle. For those who want to take it a little easier, the 1.5-hour return trek to Wineglass Bay lookout along a hand-crafted track is much more achievable and equally as spectacular. Thanks for tagging #discovertasmania, Adam. #MountAmos #FreycinetNationalPark #WineglassBay #SeeAustralia

Why: The allure of seeing a Tasmanian devil should be reason enough. But if it isn’t? How about the unspoiled scenery and unparalleled views? Tasmania is your reason to be rugged. 

Sometimes as New Yorkers we like to be alone. Some solid solitude time. This isolated island off Australia can provide just that. Home to world heritage sites, it can only ever be a win in my book.

When: Tasmania resides in the Southern Hemisphere making it the perfect winter destination because, well, warmth, when we’re freezing our buns off here.

Suggestions: Arrive by regular flights from the mainland, or by sea via the car ferry. Freycinet National Park is going to blow your mind. So, there’s that too. Watch the Hazard Mountains come aglow at sunrise or sunset when the pink granite comes alive and you'll never be the same.

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[Feature Image Courtesy Lauren Breedlove]