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Top 12 Travel Destinations for 2017 by the Month

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Bridal Veil Fall in Yosemite National Park. Photo Credit: Brocked Inaglory.

Gone are the days of taking one vacation a year. Travel is no longer considered a luxury. It is increasingly considered to be an integral part of contemporary lifestyles.

When I was growing up, my family took one two-week vacation a year, and, with only two exceptions, that meant spending two weeks camping at Yosemite National Park, which was a roughly seven to eight-hour drive from our home in Oakland, California, before the freeways were built.

To a small child, the trip seemed to take forever. We would leave home in the wee hours, long before sunrise. So there was no scenery to keep us entertained.

Every time we drove through one of those sleepy little towns in the Central Valley, I would hope that one of my parents would suggest that we stop at a diner before continuing on our way.

McDonald's hadn't populated the landscape yet.

Pleasant Diversion

The towns were a pleasant diversion. They provided an interruption from the monotony of the trip, which was all the more monotonous because the first few hours were traveled in the dark.

When the freeways were built, and the towns were bypassed, it only made the trip seem longer – even though it had, in fact, become much, much shorter.

At some point we fell asleep. When we awoke, we were greeted by spectacular scenery. The final stretch of road into the park was pure magic. 

That's when we knew our vacation was underway.

Upon arrival at our campsite, my parents would pitch a tent and set everything up while my brother and I read comic books.

For the next two weeks, we ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner cooked on a Coleman stove or over a camp  fire.

Chilly Mornings

In the morning, it was difficult to pry ourselves out of our sleeping bags. Owing to the dryness of the summers in Yosemite, the mornings were bitterly cold because the temperature plummeted in the wee hours.

It was only the smell of breakfast emanating from nearby campsites that would encourage us to get up.

I can still smell the sausage frying and the coffee brewing. Food seems to taste tastier at high altitudes. Is it true that the pancakes raise higher? 

If the mornings were cold, the afternoons were hot.

We spent them hiking along the park’s many trails, swimming in the icy waters of the Merced River, or making side trips to Tuolumne Meadows or Glacier Point.

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Vernal Falls in Yosemite National Park. Photo Credit: Walter Siegmund.

We spent evenings attending the nightly amateur shows at Camp Curry, which concluded with the much loved but long discontinued fire fall.

Then we would return to our campsite and sit around the camp fire while we chatted and roasted marshmallows.

Cannot honestly say it was a bad way to spend two weeks. In fact, many of my fondest childhood memories are of those of lazy summer days, balmy summer nights, and teeth-chatteringly chilly summer mornings in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Two Exceptions

There were only two exceptions to our two-week vacations in Yosemite. One year we decided to go camping in Big Sur instead of Yosemite. That only happened once. The next year we went back to Yosemite.

The other year we drove to Southern California, where we spent five days at Disneyland and one day at Knott's Berry Farm. From there we drove to Las Vegas by way of Death Valley.

My parents spent their days gambling and their nights attending shows. While there wasn't much for kids to do in Sin City, my brother and I didn’t care.

In fact, we loved the glitz, the glamour, and the gaudy neon signs. As an eight year old, I thought this must be what heaven looked like.

Other than our annual camping expeditions, we didn't travel much except for the occasional day trips to San Francisco across the bay or Stinson Beach in Marin County. Only rarely did we actually spend the night away from home until that trip to Las Vegas.

It must have been something of an epiphany for my parents. They started making the occasional one or two night getaways to Reno or Lake Tahoe, and my brother and I always begged to be taken along.

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Generation Xers have entered their peak earning years. Photo Credit: Destination New South Wales.

How times have changed!

According to AARP Research, almost all Baby Boomers, who were born between 1946 and 1964, traveled for leisure in 2016, and they took an average of four to five trips!

Travel is no longer something you spend 50 weeks looking forward to and two weeks doing. Thanks to relatively low costs and the availability of information on line, people are traveling more and more often, and they are often making the arrangement themselves..

Nearly half of American Baby Boomers traveled both domestically and internationally, with 5% traveling exclusively to foreign travel destinations.

Their motivations for travel included a desire to spend time with family and friends, a chance to relax and rejuvenate, and a desire to get away from the daily grind.

Generation X

Born between the mid-1960s and the late 1970s to early 1980s, members of Generation X are entering or are already in the midst of their peak earning years.

What Generation Xers most want to get out of travel is relaxation. Because many of them have children, they want child friendly destinations.

They particularly like to travel to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations.

Generation Xers might be cash rich, but they are time poor. Busy raising children and caring for ageing parents, they tend to take short trips to nearby travel destinations.

Weekend getaways are particularly popular with this demographic.

Millennial Travelers

Born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, Millennials, are entering their prime traveling years. They are technologically savvy and more likely to trust the opinions of their peers than advertising.

Unlike their parents’ or their grandparents’ generation, who viewed travel as a luxury, Millennials view travel as a necessity.

They are more interested in collecting experiences when they travel than souvenirs. They are also more interested in visiting out-of-the-way places than tourist attractions and famous landmarks.

Inter-generational travel – which is defined as travel across three or more generations – continues to be popular, but not as popular as it was before.

When it comes to expense, not surprisingly, Baby Boomers are the least price sensitive. They like a bargain as much as anyone else, but they do not consider cost as much of a barrier to leisure travel as Generation Xers or Millennials.

If there is one thing that is consistent across generations, that is a desire for hotels with free internet access.

Even Baby Boomers, the most digitally challenged demographic, rank free Wi-Fi as a must-have when booking a hotel.

A lack of free Wi-Fi, in fact, would be a deal breaker for 45% of the post-World War II generation.

A list of suggested travel destinations by month follows.

Monthly Travel Guide

January – Sydney, Australia

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Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia. Photo Credit: Shannon Hobbs.

Celebrate Australia Day! Commemorated on 26 January, Australia Day is the anniversary of the arrival of the first fleet of 11 convict ships from Great Britain in 1788. Australia Day is celebrated with family gatherings, community events, barbecues, and fireworks.

For travelers from north of the equator, there’s an added bonus: a chance to escape winter.

Why wait for spring to thaw out when it’s summertime and the living in easy down under?

February – Taipei, Taiwan

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Photo Credit: AngMoKio.

Make a wish at the Lantern Festival on Ilha Formosa, a.k.a. Taiwanl! Dating back to the Three Kingdoms period (220 – 265 AD), sky lanterns were first used to transmit military information.

Now colourful sky lanterns are set afloat during the Lantern Festival each spring as prayers for good fortune in the coming year.

The Lantern festival will be celebrated on 11 February in 2017 in cities and towns across the sub-tropical island.

March – Reykjavik, Iceland

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Cold travel is one of the year’s top trends, so why not catch the Northern Lights in this Winter Wonderland?

The Aurora Borealis occurs in 11 year cycles, and they are at their most spectacular this winter.

Iceland, meanwhile, has suddenly become hot. It is estimated that more tourists will visit the country in 2017 than its entire population.

And one of the top draws are those thermal hot springs that are sure to warm both body and soul.

April – Los Angeles, California

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Snow-covered peaks overlook the Los Angeles skyline.

Move to the groove at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival! Held over two weekends in April, the festival gets underway this year on 15 April at venues across Palm Springs.

Headline acts will include LCD Soundsystem, Guns N’ Roses, and Calvin Harris.

May – London, England

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Tower Bridges crosses the River Themes in London. Photo Credit: Tony Hisgett.

Root for your team at the Premier League Championships! The Premier League is the most popular football league in the world, with a global television audience of 4.7 billion football fans.

Why watch it  on TV when you can fly to the Emerald Isle and root for your team in the stands!

Just make sure you get tickets in the right part of the stadium. You wouldn't want to find yourself in the midst of enemy territory!

June – Da Nang, Vietnam

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Catch some rays on the golden sands of this spectacular beach resort along the central Vietnamese coast! Then explore the nearby UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Central Vietnam has world-class golf courses, and you can chill out in the quaint town of Hoi An, a former port with layers of Chinese, Japanese, and Southern European influences.

Hoi An is chock-a-block with cafes, coffee houses, art galleries, and boutiques - plus all of the souvenir shops selling the tacky trinkets you would expect in a place like this.

July – Nagoya, Japan

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Explore Japan’s third largest metropolis! The yen is weak, so Japan is now an affordable travel destination.

You won’t want to miss Nagoya Castle, which was featured in three Godzilla movies.

Other must-see attractions include Atsuta Shrine, Nittai-ji, and Legoland Japan.

The Nagoya Port Festival will be held on 18 July this year. There will be fireworks synchronized to music.

It is one of the bustling metropolis' many annual festivals.

August – Milan, Italy

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Milan Dumo is one of the Italian city's most imposing edifices. Photo Credit: Markus Mark.

Get your culture fix at Italy’s Capital of Fashion. Milan is jam-packed with heritage sites, and its many museums hold such treasures as Leonardo da Vinchi’s “The Last Supper”.

You might have to reserve tickets in advance. It is one of the city's most popular sites.

Then pig out on that oh, so satisfying Italian fare!  Milanese restaurants have more Michelin stars than any other Italian city than Naples.

September – Singapore

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Singapore Civic District. Photo Credit: William Cho.

This might be your last chance to witness the Lion City’s Formula 1 Grand Prix!

The Singapore Grand Prix is held along the Marina Bay Street Circuit after dark for two reasons: the temps are cooler, and it's prime viewing time in Europe.

This year’s edition of teh Formula ! will be held on 15-17 September. It will be the event’s 10th edition, and it might well be the last.

October – Seoul, Korea

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Hyang Wong Jeong Pavillion in Seoul, Korea. Photo Credit: Joon-Young Kim.

Celebrate Chuseok in the Korean capital! This three-day harvest festival is held around the Autumnal Equinox. Koreans head to their hometowns, where they enjoy a feast of traditional dishes.

Tjhe festival will be held on 4 – 6 October this year. This might, in fact, be a great time to visit the Korean capital as crowds will be thinner than usual.

November – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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Celebrate the Cambodian Water Festival!  Heralding the beginning of the fishing season, the Water Festival is the second most important holiday on the Cambodian calendar.

Unlike the water festivals in other parts of Southeast Asia, which quickly descend into communal water fights, the one in Cambodia has more in common with the dragon boat races in China.

There are boat races and carnivals. It will be held on 2-4 November this year.

December – Phuket, Thailand

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Anantara Mai Khao in Phuket, Thailand. Photo Credit: Dine by Design.

An increasing number of travelers are no longer satisfied with sightseeing or shopping when they travel. They want to enhance their skills set or learn something new.

So why not take Muay Thai lessons or a Thai cooking class on the Southern Thai island of Phuket?

I did both on my first trip to Phuket several years ago. I enjoyed both classes so much that I did the same on my subsequent trip to the tropical island a couple of years later.

Why visit Phuket in December? It’s the coolest month of the year, with an average high of just 32.5 degrees Celsius (90.5 degrees Fahrenheit).

If you think that's hot, don't even think of visiting in April. It's the hottest month of the year.

Travel destinations were suggested by travel search engine Kayak.com.hk. AARP Research, The Huffington Post, and Viruoso Luxury Traveler were also consulted in the preparation of this post,

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