Just in case you’ve been sleeping for the last 10 days from an unshakeable NYE hangover, it’s officially 2018!
And with a new year comes new travel predictions.
With so many different companies spurting out travel advice on where to go over the next 365 (355 now) days, it’s easy to feel somewhat overwhelmed.
Thankfully, TripAdvisor is here to steer you in the right direction.
Want to know what’s hot and what’s most certainly not? We’ve got you covered.
The highly anticipated Travellers’ Choice Destinations on the Rise Awards are out, so get your phone ready, there’s some Instagram stalking and researching to be done.
But first, a little explanation of what we’re looking at here.
The awards recognise 44 destinations around the world selected by measuring year-over-year increase in positive TripAdvisor traveller review ratings for accommodations, restaurants and attractions, as well as increase in search and booking interest.
“These award-winning places that are growing in popularity provide ample inspiration for Aussies looking for great value on their next getaway,” said Janice Lee Fang, communications director for TripAdvisor APAC.
“The ten destinations were selected for their overwhelmingly positive feedback from the TripAdvisor community who love what each destination has to offer – be it places to stay, eat and things to do for every budget.”
So without any further ado, here are the winners:
Travellers’ Choice Destinations on the Rise — World:
Ishigaki in Japanese, means “stone wall”. Contrary to its name, Ishigaki is an island in Okinawa and is therefore surrounded by water. Home to sandy beaches and coral reefs, the destination is a popular diving spot. Also great for food lovers, Ishigaki is known for its soba noodles – called Yaeyama soba – made of flour instead of the more traditional buckwheat.
- Average annual Ishigaki hotel price: $196 per night
- Highly-rated value hotel: ART Hotel Ishigaki – Low TripAdvisor pricing from $150 per night in June
Travellers find this small town, nestled at the base of Nounou (the Sleeping Giant) Mountain on Kauai, tourist friendly with its diverse array of hotels, shopping centres and restaurants. The Kinipopo Shopping Village is a favourite among visitors for its fun eateries and small keepsake shops. Fans of water sports will have plenty to do with options for kayaking and water skiing.
- Average annual Kapaa hotel price: $320 per night
- Highly-rated value hotel: Aston Islander on the Beach – Low TripAdvisor pricing from $228 per night in June
Known as the safari capital of Africa, Nairobi is an energetic, modern city that serves as a fascinating introduction to both wildlife and nightlife. Music clubs pulse with life, shops and markets bustle, and a mélange of restaurants will tempt your palate in this former Maasai watering hole. Top sights include the Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Centre and the black rhinos of Nairobi National Park.
- Average annual Nairobi hotel price: $138 per night
- Highly-rated value hotel: Best Western Plus Meridian Hotel – Low TripAdvisor pricing from $103 per night in June
Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, is a port city known for its maritime history. These days it is also well known for its arts, theatre and culinary scene as well as a strong craft brewing culture. The city famously has more pubs and clubs per capita than almost any city in Canada.
- Average annual Halifax hotel price: $183 per night
- Highly-rated value hotel: Comfort Hotel Bayer’s Lake – Low TripAdvisor pricing from $111 per night in June
Known as one of Poland’s most beautiful cities, Gdańsk is a port city located on the Baltic coast. Long Market, at the centre of the city, is one of the main tourist attractions with its colourful facades and home to shops and restaurants. Interestingly, Gdańsk is a hub for the world’s amber trade. Boutiques throughout the city sell it, making Gdańsk the ideal destination for those who have a particular fondness for the precious fossilised resin.
- Average annual Gdansk hotel price: $82 per night
- Highly-rated value hotel: Smart Hotel – low TripAdvisor pricing from $80 per night in June
San Jose, Costa Rica
San Jose del Cabo is located on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula and boasts beautiful beaches and stunning colonial architecture. Not to be confused with its sister town, Cabo San Lucas which is known for its wild nightlife, San Jose del Cabo offers a much more relaxed pace.
- Average annual San Jose hotel price: $84 per night
- Highly-rated value hotel: Boutique Hotel Casa Orquideas – Low TripAdvisor pricing from $83 per night in June
The Latvian capital and the largest city in the Baltics, Riga is a fascinating mixture of proud Latvian tradition and influences from various neighbouring countries. Riga’s Art Nouveau centre has won a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. The Old City has an abundance of bars and restaurants and can easily be explored on foot while the New Town is quickly reached by an efficient and modern bus and tram network.
- Average annual Riga hotel price: $85 per night
- Highly-rated value hotel: Hotel Monte Kristo – Low TripAdvisor pricing from $79 per night in June
Rovinj is a Croatian fishing port on the west coast of the Istrian peninsula. The old town, a beautiful tangle of steep cobbled streets and piazzas, sits on a cliff face, with houses packed closely together right down to the seafront. Located south of the old town is Lone Bay, one of the area’s pebble beaches. The 14 islands of the Rovinj archipelago set just off the mainland are perfect for an afternoon of exploration.
- Average annual Rovinj hotel price: $140 per night
- Highly-rated value hotel: Pansion Comfort Exclusive – Low TripAdvisor pricing from $84 per night in June
The resort of Nerja is nestled along southern Spain’s Costa del Sol. Its seafront promenade, Balcón de Europa, offers stunning views of the Mediterranean and surrounding mountains and below it travellers can find sandy beaches and cliffside coves. One popular attraction at the seaside town is Cueva de Nerja, a cave which boasts unusual stalactites and stalagmites and is also known for its Palaeolithic paintings.
- Average annual Nerja hotel price: $124 per night
- Highly-rated value hotel: Apartamentos Pepe Mesa – Low TripAdvisor pricing from $97 per night in June
Casablanca is a port city and the commercial hub of western Morocco. Fans of architecture will be in heaven at the sight of the mix of Moorish style and European art deco buildings. The city is also home to Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in Morocco. The city also has a thriving art and culture scene – many of Casablanca’s historic Art Deco villas have been reborn as galleries and museums.
- Average annual Casablanca hotel price: $130 per night
- Highly-rated value hotel: Art Palace & Spa – Low TripAdvisor pricing from $118 per night in June
For the complete list of Travellers’ Choice Destinations on the Rise award–winners for 2018, as well as reviews and candid traveller photos, click here.