While the holidays are perfect for cozy, family staycations, they also bring out the wanderlust in a hefty chunk of the population. We were curious about which destinations are trending this year, and you might be as surprised as we were by some of the top contenders. Here is a list of the top 10 hot spots based on flight bookings for the fourth quarter of 2017 and analyzed by American Express Travel experts.
Interest in this Caribbean island, which escaped the wrath of recent storms, is up more than 30 percent this year. Located off the coast of Venezuela, Aruba offers most of what families are looking for, especially in winter – inviting sandy beaches; clear, turquoise ocean; water sports; and a relaxed ambience.
With its mix of South American and European culture, this Argentine capital boasts a cosmopolitan vibe. High fashion, noteworthy art and historic architecture are a great fit for families with kids old enough to appreciate international culture. Best of all, the city boasts a sub-tropical climate — summer and winter are flipped with the hottest month December through February.
Think Reno/Tahoe is just for gambling? Actually, the city is in serious growth mode and features plenty of outdoor fun nearby. Surrounded by the Sierras, Reno Tahoe offers great skiing at Squaw Valley, Mt. Rose, Homewood and Diamond Peak. And parents and young adult children can take advantage of Nevada’s vibrant craft beer movement by enjoying gastropubs in the Midtown district.
The Swiss know how to do winter. Picture snow-capped mountains, fondue dinners by the fireplace and picturesque winding streets with little shops and inviting cafes, and you get the idea of why bookings to Geneva are up 60 percent over last year. Over the holidays, Christmas markets attract visitors and locals alike and feature attractions for parents and kids.
This booming city in South Korea made it on to mainstream radar, so much so bookings have nearly doubled this winter. Kids are welcomed with family-friendly hotels; the Wolmi theme park with high-adrenaline rides and an indoor playground; and interactive, educational fun at the Incheon Children Science Museum.
Interest in this city, located on the southern coast of Spain — also known as the Costa del Sol — exploded this year. Attractions include sandy beaches, seaside promenades, historic citadels and resorts galore.
An ocean-side city with a vibrant food scene that blends native Incan traditions and European cuisine, delivered with a modern twist, Lima offers a rich cultural experience for families with older kids.
This bustling northern city, which marks its 375th birthday this year, offers a mix of urban sophistication and historic attractions, all served up with a French accent.
Picture a skyline with Gothic buildings sitting next to skyscrapers, and you get a sense of this city’s appeal. Frankfurt has more than 2,000 years of history to attract visitors of all ages.
Located on the border of Washington and Oregon, laid-back Portland offers a hipster vibe and a quirky charm. Attractions include the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum and the Oregon Zoo.
Halloween is right around the corner, which means its time to start making plans for spooky and scary stops for having fun with the family this fall. New York’s Cayuga County is always a fun visit for family travelers, but if you plan on being in the area this October, you will definitely want to explore its haunted history with some choice spots along New York’s Haunted History Trail. This curated list of haunted and spooky stops throughout New York features incredible locations showcasing the perfect combination of the state’s beautiful charm and fascinating history.
As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
The next two seasons see Franklin, Tennessee, come alive with festive events, fun pop-ups and colorful lights. Family travelers planning a trip to Tennessee this fall or winter must make time for Franklin, a city just south of Nashville with plenty of history and festivities awaiting.
United Airlines is in the midst of a major initiative to modernize its fleet over the next several years. After first announcing the plan in 2021, planes fitted with United’s signature interior are finally beginning to appear across the airline’s narrowbody fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes. United flyers are sure to notice these enhancements from the moment they step on board: Each new or updated plane sports remodeled seats, seatback entertainment screens for everyone, Bluetooth connectivity and more, all adding up to a better experience on every journey.
Mysterious glowing seas? Yes, actually! Through October, Florida’s Space Coast waters within Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River and Indian River Lagoon glow with blue-green bioluminescence — a phenomenon resulting from the presence of comb jellies and dinoflagellates (tiny, single-celled marine plankton that exist in some freshwater locations).