The New Year is upon us, which means amongst many other things that the top travel destinations have been announced by many of the top publications. Usually, there are many discrepancies between these publications every year when naming the top destinations, however this year there seems to be an agreement on the top 10 travel sites outside the United States for the year 2007. With each spot having something unique to offer tourists, it is sometimes hard to figure out which location is best for you this year. Narrow down the choices by looking at factors such as weather, activities, atmosphere, and of course the cost. Don’t forget to consider the difference in currency exchanges as well! Tokyo, Japan has made the list as one of the best travel destinations of 2007. Tokyo offers tourists an urban experience that is both uniquely different and much less expensive than that of London or New York City. Unlike both of these cities, Tokyo is surprisingly easy to explore, even with the language barrier. Most people choose to walk around the city of Tokyo, but if this is not a possibility for you, or you just need a break, the public transit system is extremely manageable. Places not to be missed in Tokyo are neighborhoods such as Shimokitazawa, which is often compared to Greenwich Village in Manhattan. This neighborhood is full of cafes, boutiques, vintage stores and inexpensive noodle shops. Another place to visit is Omotesando, which is the Tokyo version of the Champs-Elysees in Paris. It is a wide boulevard with popular designer stores and is also the home of the Omotesando Hills Mall, which is famous for its beautiful architecture.
For the sport fans out there, a Sumo match should definitely be on the list of things to do as well as a baseball game at one of the two resident team’s stadium. If all of these reasons are not enough to visit Tokyo this year, maybe the exchange rate will make the decision for you. The official currency of Japan is the yen, which is worth less then 1% of the US Dollar, clearly a very favorable exchange rate for Americans.Sri Lanka has also made the list of top travel destinations of 2007 and also has great deals to offer when it comes to exchange rates. This small island off India’s southern tip has been named the “Best Honeymoon” spot of the year, which is not surprising considering all it has to offer tourists. Sri Lanka offers a very romantic atmosphere to tourists with its beautiful beaches, rolling hills, gorgeous waterfalls and Buddhist temples. The Taprobane collection of hotels consist of five tiny luxurious properties scattered throughout the island’s southern half and are definitely the place to stay. The official currency of Sri Lanka is the rupee and it is worth a little less than 1% of the US Dollar giving tourists the chance to make up for the money that they spent on airfare to Sri Lanka, which can cost upwards of a 00 from various U.S. cities.Its no surprise the Dominican Republic has made the list of top travel destinations for the year 2007, since it has been on the list for the past few years. More and more Americans are discovering all this island has to offer including the great exchange rates. With the Dominican peso worth about 3% of the U.S. Dollar, Americans can make their money go a long way when traveling to the Dominican Republic. Although the exchange rates are great, the island has been getting a lot of attention for its magnificent white-sand beaches and the plethora of new luxury resorts as well.
If looking for an all inclusive getaway for a great price, the Dominican Republic is definitely a great option right now. Honduras has been named as one of the top destinations to travel to in 2007 for many reasons, but especially for its snorkeling areas. The Bay Islands of Honduras are little known to tourists; however they offer some of the best and most beautiful snorkeling in the world. The area features enormous coral reefs, underwater caves, volcanoes and of course wrecked ships to explore, in addition to wildlife such as whales, sharks and seahorses. Although the Bay Islands offer little in luxury, travel to them is easy, and relatively inexpensive, especially due to the favor exchange rates for Americans. The official currency of Honduras is the Honduran Lempira, which is equal to about 5% of the American dollar. For those looking for a slow paced, enjoyable vacation in an area that is slightly off the beaten track, Honduras Bay Islands is the place to go. Ethiopia may be the most surprising place to be named a top choice for vacation this year. Many areas of Africa have been explored by adventurous tourists for years now; however Ethiopia has just recently emerged from the shadows and started to attract adventurers.
This country is well-regarded for its rich history as well as for its great wildlife and with an increasing amount of tour companies offering trips there; traveling there has become relatively easy. Although the airfare from the United States can be pricey, the favorable exchange rates between the Ethiopian Birr and the U.S. dollar will help save Americans money. One birr is worth about 10% of the U.S. dollar. North Island is one of the hundred and fifteen islands that comprise the Seychelles, which are located in the Western Indian Ocean. Located about five degrees south of the equator, but outside of the cyclone belt, North Island has almost perfect weather year round making it a favorite destination for sun worshippers and beach lovers. North Island has made the list of top destinations for 2007, as the “Best Splurge of the Year.” The island consists of an exclusive retreat and nature only, making it an excellent destination for those looking for beauty, relaxation, and quiet. The retreat consists of eleven handcrafted villas with two bedrooms and open-air living spaces. The daily menu is based around guest preferences and the catch of the day, making the vacation perfectly suited to your personal likes. Activities such as kayaking, scuba diving, and snorkeling are all popular on the island as well is attending the beautiful, state of the art spa. This destination has been called the “best splurge” with good reason. The airfare alone could almost double anything else on the list, however the favorable exchange rates for Americans could help deter some of that cost. The official currency of Seychelles is the Seychelles Rupee which is worth roughly 20% of the U.S. Dollar. Argentina is located at the bottom of the Andes Mountains and has been named in the top destinations for 2007. The capital of Argentina is Mendoza and is a large wine producing region. The streets are lined with trees and the city consists of many large, open squares. Activities such as winter skiing, hiking, and horseback riding are all popular, however the best reason to visit Argentina is for the annual wine harvest festival. Vendimia, as it is called in Argentina, starts ever spring and features folk festivals, blessing of the grapes and most importantly a variety of wine tastings. Tourists in the area rent bikes and go for rides through the local vineyards. Argentina is relatively inexpensive to travel to from the United States considering the distance and the exchange rate is favorable for Americans, with 1 Argentine Peso equal to about 30% of the U.S. Dollar. Zurich, Switzerland has made the list for top vacation spots of 2007. Aside from Zurich being beautiful and extremely clean, it is the most affordable place in Europe for Americans thanks to the favorable exchange rates. The official currency of Switzerland is the Swiss Franc which is worth about 80% of the U.S. Dollar. One of tourists’ favorite things to do in Zurich is to rent a bike, which is free, and explore the city. A good time to visit Zurich is during September, when the “Long Night of Museums,” event takes place. This is an event where museums around the city stay open all night and visitors can go from one to another, having drinks and snacks along the way, taking in the beautiful art all for a fixed price. If you are not an art lover, then consider visiting Zurich in August for the annual street parade, which is a huge, citywide dance party. Themed floats make their way through the town blaring techno and rave music. This parade is loved by the locals, both young and old. Panama has made the list of top destinations for Americans for the second year in a row. With its spectacular rainforests, breathtaking volcanoes, and gorgeous areas for snorkeling, including the second largest coral reef in the eastern Pacific, it really does have something to offer every visitor. With views of both oceans from some points in the city, Panama City is the perfect central location to stay in, being the center of all the fun and activity.
Panama is relatively inexpensive and easy to get to, with flights direct from most U.S. major cities. The exchange rate is easy for Americans since our currencies are equal. The last location to be named on the top destinations of 2007 is Oman. Oman is a country in Southeast Asia located on the Southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula and has finally emerged into the travel world, revealing a land of friendly people and dramatic landscapes. If seeking a modern country, a cosmopolitan shopping mall and well-equipped water-sports facilities can be found, however if it is antiquity and tradition that you are looking for, ancient trading towns and the smell of the aroma of frankincense is all around. Travel agencies have started to take notice of Oman and tours can be found for very reasonable amounts to see this extremely beautiful country.