The new year has started with a 'bang!' and I'm lovin' it! Clearly, travel is big on everyone's mind - new goals set, resolutions made, sights set on broader horizons, it's cold outside, all the above - and existing and new clients are looking for bolder adventures in 2020. Fyi, January 28th is National Plan For Vacation Day, set aside to help get Americans to commit their time off for the rest of the year. Did you know that in 2018, 55% of Americans left vacay days unused? Were you one of them?
This week I'll pick up where I left off last week, with your vacation destinations for the rest of the year. We don't want a repeat of last year's lost vacation. I'm determined to help get that number to 0% abandoned leave days.
In July 2020, the must-go destination is Japan, of course, as it hosts the Olympic Games from July 24 through August 9. You and 600,000 international travelers are expected to be there, so if you’re thinking of going, now’s the time to book. If you'd rather leave crowded Tokyo, there are events in other cities, plus the Noboribetsu Hell Festival in Hokkaido, the 400-year-old Gujo Odori Dance Festival in Gifu Prefecture, and Tohoku’s Lotus Festival in Miyagi Prefecture, which transforms Lake Izunuma-Uchinuma into a floral paradise. Japan is easier and less expensive to get to than ever before. Japan Airlines has pledged to connect 500 destinations to Tokyo Narita Airport by April 2020, via Zipair Tokyo, its low-cost carrier.
August is when you'll visit the Arctic, and you should probably hurry - who knows if it will be there next August, since its melting twice as fast as the global average of other melty places; no ice, no polar bears. Visiting the Arctic doesn't mean going to the North Pole or even inside the Circle. Canada's Northwest Territories, Baffin Island, and Alaska all qualify as places you can see fjords and glaciers defining the surreal tundra landscape. In addition to the aurora borealis, you may see narwhal, snow geese, ringed seals, Arctic foxes, caribou, and, yes, polar bears on Manitoba's Cape Churchill, polar bear capital of the world, they say.
September - Poland has long been one of Europe’s most affordable destinations, and new direct flights are making it even easier to access. American Airlines, for example, will run nonstop routes from Chicago to Krakow from May through October 2020; nearly a dozen new hotels will open in 2020, including a Nobu; meanwhile, fairytale towns like Poznan and Swinoujscie are being recognized as emerging travel destinations. The 75th anniversary of the end of World War II is in 2020, and plenty of commemorations are scheduled to take place across Eastern Europe over the course of the year.
In October, when you go to Egypt, you'll finally be able to cross the pyramids off your life list of sights to see; the brand new Egyptian Museum on the Giza Plateau has been delayed for years, so you can add AND cross that one off your list. In 2018 the U.N. World Tourism Organization named the Egypt the world's fastest-growing destination: see the pyramids, take multi-night Nile River/Suez Canal cruises, snorkel the Red Sea's stunning beaches and reefs, and take in the temples, tombs, and churches unlike anywhere else. A new 105-mile hiking trail in the Red Mountains opens this year.
In November, enjoy late fall in eastern Canada, especially the five-mile long Winter Festival of lights on their side of Niagara Falls. Montreal's Luminotherapie lights up that city, and Toronto has street art installations and murals on Queen St. West.
And finally December! Germany is famous for elaborate Christmas markets; a few of the best are in Nuremberg, Munich, Berlin, Cologne, Dresden, and Bamberg, where dozens of nativity scenes span the city, and the festive New Year's market and annual New Year’s Eve concert with fireworks welcome the new year. The city of Bonn is celebrating Beethoven's 250th birthday all year with themed parties, children’s events, exhibits, films, lectures, parades, dance performances, and even a Ludwig-centric sound-and-light show. On December 17, 2020, the 250-year anniversary of the Beethoven-child's baptism, an orchestral performance of the Ninth Symphony, including its “Ode to Joy” segment, is the jubilee’s grand finale.
Now you have ideas for the entire year. Pick your month and if you don't like these suggestions, there's still a whole planet to choose from. I can help you decide. Don't let National Plan for Vacation Day pass you by!
'til next week...