As we roll into the final weekend of October, the lure of the holidays nears and so too does the promise of 2018. For many people, their plans for the new year include some travel. Travel reference site Lonely Planet has a database of writers, influencers, nomads and staff that continue to voice their adoration on various places around the world. Now in its 13th year, Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel’ is one of the leading travel guides, which reaches a global audience and is translated into 14 different languages.
“Lonely Planet has been advising travellers for 44 years,” says Alex Howard, Lonely Planet magazine’s managing editor. “We provide balance and objective opinion, and consult official government warnings regarding the safety of destinations. We genuinely believe that the destinations highlighted in ‘Best in Travel 2018’ offer unique experiences that are best discovered in the year ahead.”
The assessment is based on criteria like a place’s topicality (current events or upcoming happenings that could attract international travel), novelty (unique experiences special to the region), and “wow” factor.
“While some of the destinations are up-and-coming, others are well-traveled but have a timely angle for the year,” notes Howard.
The destination for you
When it comes to travellers actually picking a destination, Howard says it all depends on how much experience they have in a given destination.
“We find that Americans and Canadians, because they don’t have as many bordering and close by countries, tend to start by picking the country if they’ve never been before, particularly if they’re inspired by a list,” says Howard. “For example, many may have never been to South America and our number one [country] this year, Chile, might inspire them to start there. Whereas someone in London might have explored Italy up and down since it’s only a couple hour flight away, but might not have visited Matera before. The idea of ‘city breaks’ is much more prevalent in Europe.”
The top cities to travel to in 2018 never comes without contention, of course, and folks have taken to social media to express their confusion in particular about Canberra, Australia making the list. Howard defends the choice.
“Canberra is one of those great small cities that has something for every kind of traveller: families, foodies, art lovers,” explains Howard. “It offers so much in terms of history and culture and has seen a lot of revitalization in recent years. People might be surprised by how it’s changed in 2018.”
Travelling dollars are key here too, wherein many of the cities that make up the list have witnessed a revitalization or have re-emerged with new pockets of exploration and culture, and with the help of more travel (and travellers’ money) to these locations, cities will continue to strengthen. This can be especially seen with the No. 2 entry on the list.