Travel is trending.
On Wednesday, travel search engine KAYAK released its list of the top trending destinations — those places where flight searches have jumped the most year-over-year. And on the list, you’ll find everything from culinary and cultural capitals to gorgeous beachfront hotspots.
Among the big trends KAYAK is seeing: two cities in Mexico landed in the top 5, likely thanks to increased tourism efforts and a growing number of cultural festivals and celebrations, a spokesperson for KAYAK tells Marketwatch. And the Caribbean is making a comeback, following a rough hurricane season. Indeed, The Bahamas snagged the No. 4 spot on the list, with other spots like Turks and Caicos, Aruba and Jamaica also seeing an uptick in interest.
Unfortunately, you’ll likely pay a bit more for travel this year: According to the Global Business Travel Association, flight prices in 2019 will rise 2.6% and hotels 3.7%. Still there are plenty of ways to save if you hope to visit some of these incredible destinations.
Here are the top trending destinations, according to KAYAK
Mexico City, up 73% year-over-year
With its vibrant mix of culture, art, history, fashion and food — it’s got the second-highest number of museums in the world, behind Paris, more than 40,000 restaurants, and was named the Design Capital of the World this year — it’s easy to see why people are dying to visit Mexico City. Plus, it’s affordable: Median roundtrip airfare from the U.S. is very reasonable, ranging from a low of $278 in February to a high of $439 in December, and median hotel rates range from $115 per night in June to $147 in February.
Bali, up 65% year-over-year
Bali is the first and only spot ever to make it on KAYAK’s top trending destinations list three years in a row — and no wonder. Known as the Island of the Gods, Bali boasts world-class beaches with both sugar-white and black sand, spectacular palaces and temples and verdant jungles. Flights from the U.S. aren’t cheap — ranging from about $693 in November to more than $1,100 in June, July and December — but median hotel prices in all months come in at under $200 a night.
Ho Chi Minh City, up 49%
This big, bustling city in Vietnam is an enchanting mix of new and old: high-rise buildings and ancient temples, hot restaurants and traditional markets. Roundtrip flights range from just under $700 to upwards of $1,000, but hotels are very reasonable, hovering at around $100 to $120 a night. Many use Ho Chi Minh City as a jumping off point for exploring the rest of Vietnam, whether it’s a bike trip through the countryside or a lazy trip to the beach.
The Bahamas, up 45%
Though flights can be pricey — ranging from roughly $400 to $500 round-trip — those sugar-sand beaches, crystal blue waters and activities like snorkeling and deep-sea fishing have long made the Bahamas a hotspot for tourists. It’s trending once again as the Caribbean recovers from a rough tourist season. But in addition to a pricey flight, expect to pay somewhere between $300 to upwards of $500 a night for a hotel room.
Guadalajara, up 43%
Hip art galleries, modern architecture, unique cultural experiences and world-class cuisine and tequila are just some of the many draws to this large city in Mexico. Affordability is another: You can often get there for under $300 roundtrip, and hotels in most months are under $300 a night.
Other spots making the top 10 (in this order) include Lisbon, Paris, Rome, Maui and Munich. Hawaii’s increasing popularity may be due to the addition of more flight routes from the East Coast. These European cities may be benefiting from a similar trend, as new flight routes and low cost carriers are driving down prices and making these spots more accessible. Lisbon in particular “has seen a flurry of new flight routes added within the last year from major cities including Washington D.C., Chicago and Boston to name a few,” a spokesperson for KAYAK told MarketWatch.
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