It’s a common MO for travelers to flock to heavily-populated cities to check out the ultimate tourist hot spots, but one of the latest vacay trends involves doing the exact opposite: putting your Eiffel Tower dreams on hold in favor of more off-the-beaten-path experiences.
Airbnb just released its top destinations to visit in 2019 after culling internal data from users’ searches, bookings, and wish lists—and the results don’t lie. Next year, the most sought-after places to visit and explore aren’t the Londons and Tokyos of the world.
The top location on the list? Kaikoura, New Zealand, which showed a 295 percent increase in year-to-year bookings and a 210 percent increase in year-to-year searches on the platform. And get this: There are rentals you can book for as little as $89/night.
Back in 2016, the coastal town of 3,800 residents took a massive hit after it was heavily damaged by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. Two years later, the place is totally booming, and it’s easy to see why. Located on a rocky peninsula, the area provides a taste of the sea and mountains. And not only do visitors get to share their experience with its many friendly non-human locals—including sperm whales, dusky dolphins, and fur seals—but there are endless possibilities to keep you busy while you’re there.
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I don’t know about you but I am a sucker for a good sunrise! @Regran_ed from @inestausch_photography – Kaikoura, New Zealand 🇳🇿 〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️ “Own only what you can always carry with you: known languages, known countries, known people. Let your memory be your travel bag” – Alexandr Solzhenitsyn 〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️ #kaikouracoast #kaikoura #newzealandlife #earthvacations #vacationgoals #creek #newzealand #travelling #freedom #happylife #travelbag #earth #beautifulearth #protect #protecttheearth #inestausch #inestausch_photography – #regrann
With so much nature to check out, you can unleash your inner outdoorswoman and go biking, hiking, kayaking, and swimming. There’s even a lavender farm where you can enjoy the ultimate relaxation sesh by walking through entire fields of the pretty purple plant. But don’t skimp on the cute, homey spots in town, including the millennial pink Mayfair Theatre (currently under renovation) for movie buffs and Poppy’s Handmade Ice-Cream Parlour & Cafe to a dessert fix. .
Sure, there’s nothing wrong with spending your vacation snapping pictures next to famous landmarks. But nothing beats being able to get some R&R with your new marine-life friends in a beautiful, nature-filled oasis.
Want another lesser-known destination to visit? Meet Ishigaki, Japan. Or, consider going on a wellness cruise.