New Year explodes with the possibilities of 12 unknown months stretching ahead.
A great way to make the most of the possibilities is to start digging for holiday destinations which will engage your mind in planning as much as your whole being in the trip.
Where is your Dream Destination?
The New Year puts people in a happier, more hopeful mood and creates the opportunity to break up the daily grind and energize your mind with learning and seeing and doing new things. And you know, you don't even have to travel to do this.
If you're a little low on resources, make your own house a destination then build your travel with internet visits, books, Netflix and great travel DVDs.
But if you have even a bit of leeway, there are several options to choose from which will definitely suit your budget without compromising comfort, convenience or good fun.
Awe-Inspiring Destinations to Try
If you're a traveling family and "home alone" hasn't scarred your collective psyche, here are some amazing destinations you can test out.
Note: $$$ suggests cost estimates excluding airfares based on our personal experience.
1. Disney World, Orlando, Florida $$$$
Or the other assorted Disneys closer to you
This is a great family vacation if you love crowds and have deep pockets. For the Florida monster, cheap flights are available and the winter weather is perfect for fun and frolic under the sun.
Quality family time is spent by parents and children as they enjoy the thrilling rides in the theme park and its iconic structures like the Cinderella Castle, The Sorcerer's Hat, The Tree of Life, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Spaceship Earth, Disney's Board Walk and Downtown Disney.
Both parents and children can enjoy the magnificent productions all over the resort. But you can have fun learning, too. The Epcot Center will prod the scientist in all of you and push families to some great discussions.
And that's not all. There are 33 themed resorts to choose from and each has its distinct style and accommodations. Further, there are a number of sports and recreation activities which the whole family can enjoy. Hey, stop pretending you're too sophisticated for this. It is truly a blast!
2. Denver, Colorado or Whistler in British Columbia $$$$
For those who opt to go on a winter-wonderland expedition, Denver is the place to be. Often referred to as "The Gateway to the Rockies", Denver is the ideal home base for your winter exploration. The City has immediate access to over 28,000 hectares of skiing with trails, lifts and resorts.
It is a famous destination for skiers from all over the world. Its picturesque mountains are a sight to behold and there are plenty of winter sports and activities to do aside from skiing. You can experience the Mile-High History of the City and enjoy the works of art in the Denver Art Museum.
In Whistler, you can relive Olympic triumphs on some of the world's greatest ski hills and then skip to Vancouver next door to visit one of the most attractive cities in North America.
3. Cuba: And Now for Something Totally Different $$-$$$
But, if you can get to Cuba, do it now. You still can see Havana before the tourists mega bucks sanitize it into a standard tourist city. Inexpensive, amazingly varied, a fantastic difference from Cincinnati or wherever and a great talking piece.
Sun, beaches and 1959 cars. Does life get better than this? And you can grab a Cohiba and the world's best rum and pretend you're Hemingway.
4. St. Croix, US Virgin Island $$$$
Love the Sun?
For those who prefer surf and sun, this island in the Caribbean is a sure hit. Among its other superb features, St. Croix has an annual festival which highlights that outstanding Caribbean flavor.
For those who simply want to kick back under the sun, St. Croix has a super range of beaches and hotel accommodations which boast of their rich Danish heritage. Smaller hotels give a much more personal experience and far fewer drunks flopping into the pool. And the hints of Nordic culture can make the experience a learning opportunity as well.
5. Oaxaca, Mexico $$ -$$$
If you want to immerse yourself in folk art and the Aztec civilization, this is the place to go. Located on a beautiful valley, you still can enjoy the "Zocalo" or centre in which the Spaniards built the original city.
When you're there, watch the local families do their "paseo" and allow yourself to be transported to that time when life was lived much more slowly.
To satisfy your art craving, there are many museums and for the history buffs, you can visit Monte Alban the old Aztec centre. Local crafts including carpets and amazingly imaginative psychedelic animals will give you lots of shopping opportunities.
6. Sintra, Portugal $$$-$$$$
Close to Lisbon, this is the place I'd rather stay to see the palaces and castles built at the height of Portugal's prosperity and still be close to Lisbon and its airport. It was the go-to place for Princes and Poets and the famous names in European history and you will meet their memories at every turn.
Public transport can take you to a stunning range of historic sites such as the Pena National Palace, Quinta de Regaleira, Monserrate Palace, Castle of the Moors, Convent of the Capuchos, and Colares. Take your walking boots as the town is on a hillside. Sweater weather in January and February makes it ideal.
7. Cordoba, Spain $$$-$$$$
To have a good understanding of Southern European and Moorish history, this is the place to visit. Once a place where Moors, Jews, and Christians live in harmony, Cordoba has a complex but fascinating story to tell.
From a central hotel, you can walk and explore the Mosque, the Alcazar of the Catholic Rulers, Calahorra Tower, Torre de la Malmuerta, Plaza del Potro and the alleyways of the city which will continue to engage you no end. And the food alone is worth the trip.
8. Hoi An, Vietnam $$-$$$
A multicultural heritage sites and beaches that will break your heart, what else can you ask for? The historic heart of the town is closed to cars so you can enjoy strolling the streets of what was once a thriving seaport.
Shopping is fun as you can have clothes and shoes made even if you're there for a short while.
9. The Maldives $$$$$
If you love upper end resort living and want to be pampered while lounging in your beach chair, this is the ultimate destination. We've been there and it is everything we expected and more including being expensive. Luxury costs.
Most of the resorts are isolated on individual atolls. They often have their own reefs where you can snorkel and dive right from the beaches. The visibility for snorkelling and diving is fantastic and the range of fish and reef life is beyond imagination.
10. Sri Lanka $$-$$$
Beaches abound in Sri Lanka and it is still relatively cheap to enjoy first class resorts. Lots of history to get you out of the water.
Go and visit Kandy said to have the Buddha's tooth, Sigiriya referred to as the Palace in the Sky, Galle, Peradeniya Botanical Garden, one of the best we've ever seen, and the tea plantations. Shopping for jewelry is a great experience.