The Top Destinations for 2017 and When to Book Your Trip, According to KAYAK

Originally published by Travel + Leisure.

Martinique, one of KAYAK's top trending beach destinations for 2017. Photo: Sylvain Sonnet/Getty Images

Travel search company KAYAK released its 2017 Travel Hacker guide on Wednesday, revealing top and trending destinations—and how to visit them for less.

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“The [guide] is a bit more granular than last year,” David Solomito, KAYAK's vice president of marketing in North America, told Travel + Leisure. This is the third time the company has released the guide, which is based on more than 1.5 billion annual searches. “We've added back our when to book section, which gives high level time frames for the sweet spot to book to different parts of the world.”

Top destinations

The travel guide identifies the top destinations for 2017 in several categories: trending, most popular, beach, wallet-friendly, and family.

KAYAK's top trending destinations for 2017 are:

  1. Havana, Cuba
  2. Reykjavik, Iceland
  3. Auckland, New Zealand
  4. Bali, Indonesia
  5. Tokyo, Japan
  6. Cartagena, Colombia
  7. Lisbon, Portugal
  8. Medellín, Colombia
  9. Calgary, Canada
  10. Sydney, Australia

“We thought with the favorable exchange rate, there'd be a lot more European destinations on the list, and there really weren't,” said Solomito. Last year, six European cities were in the top 10 trending destinations. Instead, Cuba—enjoying renewed attention after President Obama worked to thaw the relationship between the U.S. and the island nation—came in at the top, following by Reykjavik, Iceland, which has also seen increased interest in recent years.

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The dollar-to-euro exchange rate may have had an affect on other destinations, though: “When you look at trending beaches, two of the Caribbean islands—Martinique and Guadeloupe—are on the euro,” said Solomito.

In case you're looking to escape some winter weather, the full list of trending beach destinations according to KAYAK includes:

  1. Maui, Hawaii
  2. Martinique
  3. Guadeloupe
  4. Phuket, Thailand
  5. Auckland, New Zealand
  6. Bali, Indonesia
  7. Colombo, Sri Lanka
  8. Maldives
  9. Okinawa, Japan
  10. Sydney, Australia

When to book

Among the KAYAK guide's most useful features is information on when to book, depending on your destination.

For travelers in North America, flights to destinations on the continent are priced best, on average, two to four weeks out. Flights to Central and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, however, are all best booked two to three months before travel.

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Those are just general recommendations, though, so KAYAK has included a tool that gives more specific information depending on your home airport and desired destination.

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