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The 2019 Hot List

We are already one month in to the new year and we here at H&K are already seeing some travel trends emerge. The travel publication world has already sent out their hot destination list for this year but we like to base our list on real traveler data vs what some paid travel blogger/writer is saying.

So here it goes. Here is our travel destination hot list for this year.

1. Italy. Italy, by far, is still on so many traveler's bucket list and it continues to be one of our most requested destinations. And here is what is interesting about Italy; it is a place so many come back and want to book again for a 2nd and even a 3rd trip. It's like once you are there, the people, the scenery, the food and overall culture gets into your blood. What was once just a place you wanted to check off the list quickly becomes a place you can't wait to get back to. And if we had to pick an area of Italy that we seem to find ourselves focusing on, it has to be the Amalfi Coast. We say that Positano is a city the God carved out of the side of the mountain and bestowed all the splendor of Heaven upon it. When you see it in person, you will understand.

Santa Margherita Liguria

2. Ireland. Ireland is fast becoming one of our most requested and booked destinations. Many, for years, feared the weather and balked at the idea of spending a week or more in Ireland. But now the word is out. You will not find a more welcoming Country on the face of our planet. Even the misconceptions regarding the cuisine are all being shown to be just that...misconceptions. While you may not be heading to Ireland for a tan, you surely will be seeing some of the most beautiful countryside anywhere in the world. The ease of in-country travel, the lack of language barrier, and even the ease of clearing customs in Ireland before returning home has caused this amazing destination to become a close 2nd to Italy as far as our most requested destinations. And again, if we had to pick a city or area to focus on, it would have to be Adare (voted most beautiful town) which is an easy gateway to the "Wild Atlantic Way" and some of Ireland's most famous landmarks and sites.

Cliffs of Moher

3. Mexico. So you are probably saying..."Really? Mexico is place that is still considered to be a hot destination?" And our answer to that is a resounding yes. And its not just on our hot list because of the climate. You will be hard pressed to find a more diverse traveling landscape outside of the US than Mexico. It has it all for our clients; the lush tropical landscapes and white sand beaches of Cancun and Puerto Vallarta along with the dramatic desert mountains found along the Baja Peninsula as well as the high mountain regions of Central Mexico where such top destinations as San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato can be found. If you are into history, it is hard to beat Mexico. If you are a foodie, you need to let us show you that side of Mexico. If you are an adventurer, then there is so much for you in Mexico. Its not just a place for the budgetary, all-inclusive seeking traveler. It appeals as well to the most discerning clients as well. And don't even get us started on the argument of safety. "Safe" is no longer a word any should be using in our world today. Is Mexico "as safe" as about any other destination in the world today? Yes it is. If you don't believe us, just google the facts related to crime against tourism and see where Mexico ranks in comparison to other well known vacation destinations. And did we mention San Miguel de Allende? It was on our must see list before Travel & Leisure ever listed it as one of the worlds top places to see last year. Our clients that we have sent to Mexico speak for themselves and the requests we continue to receive make Mexico for sure one of our hottest destinations still this year.

San Miguel de Allende

4. Jamaica. Now don't assume you know what we are about to say when it comes to Jamaica. What is making Jamaica now one of our hottest destinations is the rediscovery that it is NOT just an all inclusive destination. Jamaica was pigeonholed for a long time as just a place you either stop at via a cruise or you park yourself at an all inclusive where you enjoy the so-so food and drink while sitting on the beach. But many of our clients are hearing us talk about places like Round Hill or Half Moon which are 5 star luxury resorts that are not all inclusive. Golfers, tennis players, wellness travelers are now again seeing that Jamaica is a beautiful and vibrant destination full of amazing people and culture that couples well with its tropical backdrop. And it is now emerging once again as a place some need to give another try, but in a different way.

Round Hill Resort and Spa

5. Turks and Caicos. The last but surely not the least of the list is beautiful Turks and Caicos. Yes, it too has been on traveler's radars for a while now, but again it had been neglected by many as well due to it not being an all inclusive haven. Most of the island's top resorts are again NOT all inclusive and that turned many away who thought you could no longer go to a tropical destination unless it had all inclusive resorts. Thankfully we are seeing a turning of that tide. So now many are realizing that some of the best vacation destinations have nothing to do (or close to nothing) with the all inclusive fad. If you are looking for seclusion, luxury, turquoise waters, white sand and a laid back atmosphere, then this is the place in 2019. Resort favorites like Amanyara are waiting for you. It's such an easy destination to get to and also get around in. Great for families who want some quality time away from the hustle and bustle of home life.

Amanyara Turks and Caicos

So there are the top 5 most requested destinations so far this year which is why they are making our hot list. And again, we are not trying to woo you by drumming up a list of places that are trendy on social media or in some popular magazine. These are actual hot destinations based on real travelers. These are the places it seems everyone is wanting to see and even see again.

But there are some other places that are emerging as possible hot destinations that we too should mention such as Iceland. It is now on our client's radar as a place to possibly see in the near future. Peru and South America as a whole is also now being asked about by more than just one or two clients. Same goes for Portugal, Spain and Southern France. These some times overlooked European destinations are now peaking some interest. Adventure travel seems to be the emerging travel category as well. So maybe a safari is on your list? Or a hike up to Machu Picchu?

Destinations that we would now classify as overrated or potentially over-hyped would be:

--Punta Cana. The destination hit a peak maybe 1 or 2 years ago as everyone seemed to again think you had to have an all inclusive resort. We have finally helped so many see that the all inclusive requirement has in essence cornered travelers into specific areas like Punta Cana. But while Mexico and Jamaica offer amazing non-all-inclusive options, Punta Cana has yet to move much in that direction.

--Greece. We still get several client requests for a Greece vacation, but many seem to change their plans once we explain more of what Greece really offers and set the proper expectations. This does not mean that Greece is not a beautiful place to see, but its not like other Mediterranean options when it comes to things to do and see beyond the beaches and seaside scenery. But it is one of those destinations that always seem hot on Instagram.

Ok...there you go. There is our summation of what we are seeing in the way of overall trends and popularity. What's on your list this year?

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