Black travel is booming. With so much excitement to get out and explore the world, it’s no surprise people are more open to exploring different travel options. While there are many popular destinations that are frequent favorites, many travelers want to discover something new. With winter in full force, it’s time to start thinking 2015 travel.
While Jamaica, Paris and New York City are perennial fan favorites, EBONY.com has outlined a few destinations that allow travelers to step outside their comfort level while exploring life and culture off the beaten path. From the U.S. to Africa to the Caribbean, here are some top travel destinations to add to your wish list.
This historic medieval city is filled with charm and mystery. Travelers are instantly captivated by the sight, sounds and smells of the “red” city. Is it your first time abroad, or don’t know where to begin? Explore the history and culture of Morocco through its famed museums, including Dar Si Said Museum and Maison de la Photographie. Or visit a sultan’s palace, shop at a souk market, or experience authentic Moroccan cuisine. If you’re interested in breathtaking photography, this city is perfect for you. When in Marrakech, roam around and take in all the sights firsthand, such as its stunning mosques and the world famous Mamounia gardens.
Aside from being the hometown to Drake, Toronto is a vibrant, bustling city featuring some of the world’s finest restaurants, leading nightlife, luxury hotels and cultural attractions. From the CN Tower to the Eaton Centre, visitors can explore why Toronto is thriving as a hub for cocktails, culinary and culture.
It’s easy to get lost roaming the city while exploring some of the up-and-coming local art galleries such as Don’t Tell Mama, A Nerd’s World, Videofag and Art Metropole, or eating at El Catrin, Geraldine or Pearl Diver. You can also toast to your travels by raising a glass to the city’s libations with tastings at BarChef, and Food and Liquor, then dance the night away at Canada’s hottest music venues The Garrison and El Mocambo. Not to mention, Toronto is one of the best cities for a spa-cation getaway. So why not enjoy some “you time” while enjoying treatments at the Elmwood Spa or the Intercontinental?
Cape Town, South Africa
From breathtaking views of Table Mountain to the historic legacy of Robbin Island and Nelson Mandela, Cape Town should be on the top of your list for 2015 and beyond. The city, located at the southern tip of Africa, has become one of the leading destinations in African travel, and rightfully so. Boasting some of the world’s best hotels, delicious international cuisine and cultural attractions, this vacation is worth every penny.
Be sure to visit the Old Biscuit Mill market to try some breakfast bites and snacks, Lion’s Head for a picturesque view of Cape Town, Hout Bay for a wonderful view of the ocean and mountains, or indulge in the country’s award-winning wine country.
Dominica is an adventure traveler’s dream. Most notably known for its ecotourism, expect a vacation filled with hiking, diving, whale watching and canyoneering adventures. The natural views on the island are awe-inspiring—from rugged mountains, lush rainforests and rushing rivers in the Eastern Caribbean, it’s sure to take your breath away. As it’s a Caribbean island, expect friendly locals and delectable cuisine as you enjoy the seclusion of this destination. Whether traveling for the popular World Creole Music Festival or for a romantic honeymoon to Secret Bay, get your camera ready. You’ll want to capture every moment.
If you’re one of the lucky travel hackers that snagged a low fare to Abu Dhabi on Etihad Airways, Dubai is sure to be on your 2015 list. Just a little over an hour from Abu Dhabi, Dubai has gained popularity over the years, becoming one of the world’s leading travel destinations. With famous attractions such as the Burj Khalifa, the world’s only seven star resort, gold and spice souks, Jumeirah Beach, the Big Red sand dune and Ski Dubai, this is a perfect destination for the traveler who appreciates luxury, adventure and style.
Despite being known as the political, economic, cultural, culinary and spiritual capital of Thailand, Bangkok is appealing to both the luxury and budget traveler. When planning your visit, every traveler should include the kingdom’s capital city, Bangkok, or Krung Thep (“the city of angels,” as it’s known to the locals).
Many tourists who travel to Bangkok are immediately overwhelmed by the sheer size of the city and the vast number of attractions Bangkok has to offer. From the Grand Palace in the heart of Bangkok’s Rattanakosin Island, to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the Temple of Dawn, and Wat Pho, these iconic destinations are top attractions to visitors looking to appreciate Thailand’s unique cultural traditions. Additionally, this is the perfect destination to indulge in the fact that our currency is worth so much more there. (Europe this is not.) From $10 massages, to authentic Thai food, you get more bang for your buck in Thailand.
Mexico City, Mexico
The appeal of Mexico City is unexplainable. The destination offers a wide number of diverse experiences that make you want to skip Cancun and Riviera Maya to explore the city’s historic attractions. Unknown to many, Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world, boasting numerous museums, ruins, archaeological sites, historical buildings and bustling markets to occupy a visitor for months on end. From the Palacio Nacional and the Museo Frida Kahlo, to the delectable Mexican cuisine, this is truly a historical treasure.
From ghost tours to African-American history exploration, why not skip Atlanta this year and experience the southern charm of Savannah? Must-see sites include a visit to the City Market, strolling on River Street, an Underground Railroad historical tour, ice cream at Leopold’s or a visit to the Beach Institute, the oldest school for African-Americans. Even The Real Housewives of Atlanta discovered the charm of Savannah last season. So why not add this true southern hotspot to your 2015 travel bucket list?
This iconic Asian city is magnificent. From bustling city life to swanky shopping to well-known hole-in-the-wall Japanese restaurants, there is something for everyone. Don’t know where to start? Explore the Tsukiji fish market (the largest in the world), attend a sumo wrestling match, visit the Meiji shrine, walk through the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden or visit the Mori Tower—a 52-floor observation deck called Tokyo City View. Tokyo is filled with cultural and historic attractions, high quality of hospitality and rich culinary experiences, so make sure you indulge during your Japan getaway and don’t get lost in translation.
This west coast city is truly a California gem. Most notably known for its diversity, up-and-coming culinary scene and friendly hometown culture, Oakland is blessed with the proximity to a major city, but also the quaintness of suburban culture. In town for a weekend? Grab some friends and head to First Fridays, a lively street festival hosted the first Friday of every month. Enjoy a show at Yoshi’s Jazz Club or take a romantic gondola ride on Lake Merritt. As new restaurants are popping up each month, you’ll also want to check out the foodie culture, visiting restaurants such as Oliveto, Haven or the Paragon at the Claremont Hotel.
New Orleans, LA
Often referred to as the most “northernmost Caribbean city,” New Orleans seems to be a country within itself, featuring vibrant jazz music, historic culture and delicious Cajun cuisine. Whether for Mardi Gras, the Sugar Bowl, or simply to experience Bourbon Street, there’s something to capture your attention any time during the year. When you’re in the Crescent City, be sure to pick up a few beignets from Cafe du Monde, attend a Saints game at the Superdome, visit the historic Treme neighborhood or stay at the prestigious Hyatt Regency New Orleans.
This European city has it all: amazing nightlife, breathtaking city views, delicious Mediterranean food and over 2,500 years of history. What more can you ask for, right? With popular attractions such as the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar, you can enjoy the cultural heritage of the popular metropolis and also enjoy some of the best nightlife in the world. Like to shop? There are shops galore. Are you a foodie? There are various different cuisines that incorporate the counties different ethnic cultures, including Ottoman food, Turkish food and traditional meats and fish. Go ahead and explore all that Istanbul has to offer.
Chances are that Australia has been on your must-visit list for years. While the distance may seem a bit far, this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip everyone needs experience. From luxurious and adventurous escapes to world-class dining and award-winning wine tastings, Australia offers something for every traveler. Take a romantic stroll at night over the Goodwill Bridge that connects the Maritime Museum with the Botanical garden; visit the world’s first koala sanctuary, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary; or take a swim at the South Bank. With amazing climates year round, it’s always a perfect time to plan your visit to Australia.
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Turks and Caicos have some of the best beaches in the world, period. From the powdery white sand beaches to the authentic island cuisine to the pristine turquoise waters, Providenciales is truly the crème de la crème in the Caribbean. If you’re looking for a relaxing vacation, romantic getaway or fun time with your gfs/homies, Turks and Caicos has it all. Be sure to spend some time at the modern and luxurious Gansevoort Turks and Caicos, taste test the island at the Caribbean Food and Wine Festival, take a jetski tour around the island, or simply enjoy an afternoon snorkeling excursion on a private boat trip.