Yes, we are still watching the leaves turn and enjoying the gentle chill of October, but it’s not too early to start planning your 2018 travel itineraries. If you want the best deals, you should be locking some price trackers on cities right now and determining when you can get the best deals. But, first, you need to know what cities to visit. Thankfully, Lonely Planet has just released their Best in Travel list for the coming year, and it includes a list of the best value destinations.
After all, what’s the point in saving on a flight if you have to live on water and bread to afford your lodging?
You likely know Lonely Planet, as they are the largest travel guide publisher in the world and dominate the internet. They are respected because they give these lists great consideration, drawing from the input of their most experienced travelers. Then, a panel of in-house travel authorities short-lists destinations using criteria like wow-factor, topicality, and novelty before the locales are compiled in a book for people who want the best travel agenda possible.
“These are the places you shouldn’t miss next year,” asserted Lonely Planet’s US magazine managing editor Alex Howard. “From Alaska to South Africa, our community of travel experts have named the top places to experience. Whether they’re coming into their own, celebrating an anniversary or have seen a resurgence in recent years, all these destinations are worth a visit in 2018.”
What follows is a list of the Lonely Planet’s picks for the top value destinations. You will be inspired. We promise.
10. Hunan, China
Hunan Province is located in the south-central part of the Chinese mainland, and it isn’t the most extensive or most populated part of the country. However, packed into 80,000 square miles is some of the most exquisite natural beauty in the world. And, if things like peach blossom land, Phoenix ancient town, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, and Mount Yuelu aren’t enough, Hunan is also home to the world’s longest glass bridge.
China is a fairly inexpensive destination in general, so you can get food and lodging for under US$10. And, if you want to get really fancy, it’s unlikely you will spend more than twice that for the best that the area has to offer.
9. Jacksonville, USA
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Florida is catnip to tourists. With its climate, beaches, big cities, and attractions, it’s perfect for a vacation. Conventionally, Miami Beach, Orlando, and Key West have gotten all the attention, but savvy travelers are now turning their attention to Jacksonville. Thanks to the coastline, local farms, and St. Johns River, the restaurant scene is booming with fresh, seasonal goods. Plus, there are 22 miles of rolling turquoise waves and soft white sand to enjoy at the city’s easternmost edge. Surfers come here for some of the state’s best waves, but the coast is just as popular with fisherman and families. You can enjoy craft beer at low, low prices and the cheapest hotel rates, as well.
8. Baja California, Mexico
The Baja Peninsula is separated from the rest of Mexico by the Gulf of California, which leaves it sort of sitting all by itself next to the rest of the vibrant country. But, that doesn’t mean it’s totally ignored. People visit Cabo San Lucas in droves. But, the more charming, laid-back towns are the ones you should hit. Vacation in Pescadero or Todos Santos and go to the nearby Playa Las Palmas (you walk through a palm grove to get there) to sit on the unspoiled beach to watch whales. Also, consider the wine region in Valle de Guadalupe. Lonely Planet calls it Napa with a more appealing price tag.