NOTE: All thoughts about destinations and the kayak.com websites are my own. But KAYAK paid for the posting of this blog and for me to let people know about the blog via social media.
The Internet is a wonderful thing when it comes to travel. But sometimes a bit terrifying at the same time.
The choices are seemingly endless. Iceland’s hot springs and towering waterfalls look funky and off-the-beaten-track. But the temples and beaches of Thailand are tempting, too. Not to mention the pristine hikes you could take among the Alberta Rockies.
On top of all that, the options for scouting out that perfect summer trip are expanding. And there’s also that pesky Canadian dollar putting a damper on your dreams.
One great way to navigate the murky travel waters is the KAYAK 2016 Summer Travel Hacker Guide. KAYAK searches hundreds of sites at once to arm travelers with the information they need to make the best travel decisions. They’ve looked within the site’s one billion-plus annual searches (how exhaustive is that?) to uncover insights and practical advice about summer travel trending destinations
They also have great and very useful information on how much average flights cost from North America to great spots around the world, as well as charts on average temperatures and rainfalls, since you don’t want to be booking your dream trip during a time when your favourite city is in the middle of monsoon season.
They’ve broken down the searches into several super-handy categories: top 10 trending summer destinations, top 10 trending European summer destinations and, for folks pressed for time, top 10 summer Friday destinations for Friday-to-Sunday stops. Folks who can’t take the heat of summer or who want to visit Australia or other Southern Hemisphere spots when it’s not so crowded will definitely want to check out the Top 10 Winter in Summer Destinations, a fun and unusual list of top places south of the equator.
Number one on the winter in summer list is Rio de Janeiro, which will host the Summer Olympic Games in August (thankfully their winter; not the heat of a Brazilian summer). Number four is Brisbane, a hot Australia city that Canadians will be able to fly to directly on Air Canada flights out of Vancouver as of June.
As a former travel editor of the biggest newspaper in Canada and a loyal Canadian, I get pretty fed up with travel lists that ignore our wonderful country. I’m happy to report the KAYAK folks appreciate Canada and understand what we have to offer. The KAYAK list of top Trending Destinations puts Calgary at number four – but remember, it’s not based on their opinion, it’s based on the fact that Calgary has seen one of the greatest increases in year-over-year searches for summer travel. It’s a very cool and increasingly sophisticated city with magical food (for some reason, my recent visit had me tasting more heirloom carrots than Alberta beef) and the National Music Centre, set to open in July.
Montreal comes in at number six on the trending list. It’s still got the same style and marvelous neighborhoods such as Mile End and Old Montreal. I had a great time motoring around the city on an electric bike last summer, checking out markets and taking the easy way to the top of the mountain for fantastic views.
Toronto comes in at number 10 on the list, which is fitting for a city that will host the World Cup of Hockey this fall and also the Grey Cup for the Canadian Football League title. Also on the list is Lisbon, which uses the Euro but is a city where Canadians can find lovely plazas, great food and wine and very good value for the money.
If you have your heart set on a trip to Europe this summer, KAYAK’s data shows that trending summer destinations are Reykjavik Iceland, Cyprus and Krakow in Poland (beautiful old architecture and very reasonable prices). Dublin also makes the list; a fantastic city with great nightlife and some of the friendliest folks on the planet. I stayed a few years ago at a hotel owned by Bono and The Edge from U2, and how cool is that?
As for the quickie visits, topping the list are two of the most musical spots in the U.S., New Orleans and Nashville. New Orleans is a party any time of year, with utterly magical music emanating from just about every front door and that fantastic mix of cuisine from the Caribbean, France and other parts of the world. If there’s a better, richer city for food in the U.S., I haven’t found – or tasted – it.
San Francisco, just about everyone’s favourite town, also is on the list. It’s a great city with a dazzling array of attractions; everything from those cable cars that climb halfway to the stars to a great baseball park, Fisherman’s Wharf and the museums and attractions of Golden Gate Park. Oh, there’s a pretty famous bridge, too.
Rounding out the top 10 for Friday-Sunday spots is Key West, a funky and fun and fabulous spot where just about anything goes. Check out the famous six-toed cats at Hemingway House, cheer the sunset at Mallory Square or try a tall ship sailing voyage that skims along the calm, green-blue waters off the Florida Keys.