Thanks to the addition of commercial flights to Cuba for the first time in 50 years, interest to the island nation skyrocketed, with KAYAK reporting a 191 percent increase in searches in this year over last. To capitalize on this this momentum, many airlines are also offering flash sales to Cuba.
“Havana has dominated headlines over this past year, so between that and increased accessibility, we weren’t surprised to see it take the top spot on the list,” said Dave Solomito, VP of North America Marketing of KAYAK, in an email.
America’s northern neighbor is continuing to have quite the year. Between being named both the Lonely Planet’s and the New York Times’ top travel destination for 2017, Justin Bieber’s home country is having a moment on par with the millennial heart throb’s comeback.
In addition to the strong buying power of the dollar fueling the country’s popularity, it is the country’s 150th birthday. Experts recommend traveling to destinations where the dollar continues to be strong, so if poutine and the great outdoors don’t do it for you, consider the savings.
Due to a rise in cheap flights to Europe, as well as an extensive marketing campaign, Bjork’s home country is still to a tourist favorite in 2017.
“Reykjavik continues to be a hot spot – it has placed on the top trending destinations list for our last two Travel Hacker Guides,” says Solomito. This year, the island nation grabbed the number two spot on KAYAK’s annual list, with a 77 percent increase in year-over-year searches.
“There are many reasons why Reykjavik continues to trend, from Icelandair’s free stopover offer to the country’s breathtaking beauty (which will make you feel like you’re on another plant!) to the diverse range of experiences – volcanoes, hot springs and geysers,” continues Dave. “Not to mention – it’s a quick flight from the East Coast!”
The Emerald Isle is also benefiting from low-cost flights. AAA predicts the island will be especially of interest as it is a previously unexplored destination in Europe that is perceived as safe.
Cork, Ireland is also the new darling of low cost airlines, making it an affordable hop from the East Coast , reports Cheapflights.com.
“Whether you prefer churches, castles and old-world architecture, a bustling and scenic waterfront, or popping into pubs and fish and chips shops, County Cork has you covered,” said Cheapflights.com. “A visit to Cork’s English Market, which dates back to 1788, is a feast for the senses.”
New Zealand and Australia
From Auckland to Sydney, the land down under is trending for 2017. While New Zealand’s boom is thanks in part to a strong dollar, the two countries are also benefiting from new flight routes.
“In the last year and a half, several new routes to both cities have opened, offering more options, and often times, lower cost,” says Solomito. “And good news for travelers looking to book a trip to Auckland – the New Zealand Dollar is on the decline, so now is the time to go to stretch your dollar. On the reverse, the Australian dollar is on the rise, but that doesn’t appear to be slowing down interest!”
Travel hacker experts at the The Points Guy predicts that last-chance tourism is on the rise in 2017 as destinations like the Great Barrier Reef or the Maldives come under threat due to climate change.
Although this may sound grim, consider booking an eco-hotel or tour whose portion of profits go towards the environment. There’s nothing like traveling for pleasure, while also doing some good.
Alexandra Talty is a columnist and writer, with a tendency for nomadism. The founding Editor-in-Chief of StepFeed in the Middle East, she is also on Twitter.
Covers personal finance and travel.
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.