Summer may (unofficially) be over, but that doesn’t mean you’ve missed your chance to explore a new destination.
Fall is a great time to travel — there are often fewer crowds, lower prices, and milder weather in some of the most popular tourist destinations around the world.
If you’re looking to take a vacation this fall but aren’t quite sure where, take these suggestions from Jamee Lubkemann, vice president of American Express Travel.
The rewards-focused travel portal provided us with a list of some of the most popular destinations for fall travel this year, using internal booking data to compile it. The platform focused on destinations that saw a large increase in customer interest over the last year, comparing bookings for September through December 2016 to the same months this year.
Here are some of the most popular places to travel this season:
Increase in bookings: 150%
“Cognizant of today’s geopolitical climate, Americans are shifting the conversation from apprehension to understanding and are openly exploring destinations in the Middle East – tourism is booming, [and] airlines are creating more routes,” Lubkemann said.
Beirut was once known as the “Paris of the Middle East,” in a nod to its French-inspired architecture and vibrant dining scene. As one of the oldest settlements in the world, it’s an especially popular destination with history buffs.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Increase in bookings: 148%
A trip to Tel Aviv could include everything from beach lounging and museum hopping to falafel and hummus sampling.
“Tel Aviv is modern, vibrant, and cosmopolitan,” Lubkemann said.
Increase in bookings: 86%
Morocco as a whole is trending with modern travelers, but with the promise of new construction projects like Parc de la Ligue Arabe and Grande Theatre de Casablanca, the port city of Casablanca is the place to be right now.
Explore the spice markets and admire the Moorish architecture while you’re there.
Increase in bookings: 39%
“Often referred to as the Silicon Savannah, Nairobi is known as an innovation tech hub for Kenya. But beyond that, it has evolved to become a gateway to immersive coastal safaris and travelers are increasingly flocking to the destination for its thriving multiethnic food scene,” Lubkemann said.
If you venture just outside the city, you could find yourself in the Great Rift Valley, with its rich history and fascinating geology.
Increase in bookings: 82%
This resort town on Mexico’s Pacific coast is known both for its beautiful sandy beaches and its historic core.
Many of its 19th-century buildings have been restored and repurposed to serve its growing culinary and arts scenes. Mazatlán is considered one of Mexico’s best nightlife destinations as well.
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Increase in bookings: 18%
Belize’s reefs are famous for the excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities they offer.
The Central American nation is also well worth a visit for its ancient Mayan ruins and unique cuisine, with dishes like conch fritters, ceviche, and fry jacks, which are pieces of deep-fried dough that are typically served for breakfast.
Increase in bookings: 55%
According to American Express Travel, American tourists still favor many of the sites they have long visited, like London.
“London’s scale means there is always a new neighborhood ready to become the next ‘it’ location. From Shoreditch – coined London’s Brooklyn — to Southwark, an area that is undergoing huge redevelopment and has already seen the opening of Shangri-La Hotel At The Shard, there are plenty of hot new restaurants, galleries and special events on the horizon to keep even the most avid-London traveler intrigued,” Lubkemann said.
Increase in bookings: 55%
It’s an especially great time for luxury travel to Paris, as the Hôtel de Crillon and The Ritz have both recently reopened following renovations.
Lubkemann added: “And while the Eiffel Tower is still a draw even after many visits, luxury travelers are enjoying places like Haut-Marais, a lesser known section of the ever popular Marais featuring art galleries, pop-up stores, cocktails bars, new bars and restaurants and guided visits to the Fontainebleau or Vaux-le-Vicomte castles.”
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