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Top 2013 Destinations? These Might Surprise You.

It’s 2013! The end of January is hurtling toward us, like myself toward an airport bar for a gin and tonic. 2012 was pretty fantastic considering the diverse locations I hit; Istanbul (I didn’t need that third pair of Turkish slippers, I am big enough to admit that now.), Rio (Are you ready for the Olympics? Who knows but with caipirinhas that good who cares!) and Miami (I left my heart at the Ultra Music Festival). With these trips in my rear-view, what are my destinations for the next eleven months? Below are my tips, go forth and travel ladies. You won’t regret it.

The Surprising Old Favorite

One of my 2012 travel revelations was a hometown favorite, England. When the Olympics descended upon London and everyone used the games as an excuse to visit my apartment — this was in no way related to over-inflated hotel prices and my ever-present stash of red wine — London burst back onto the global stage as a cultural, musical, historical destination. But while my town will always be a travel goal for foreigners, I really fell in love with my own stomping grounds. Us British exercise our passports with enthusiasm, but now it is time to show my own country some love. You should do the same, wherever you are! Discover that town you never knew or visit that Aunt in whereverville, it could be pretty special.

Get More Passport Stamps

When I win the lottery (yes, I said when), the one thing I won’t do is a purchase a villa and disappear. The world may feel small when you bump into your ex in the corner store on a bad hair day, but earth is pretty damn big. Spread some wings, exercise your passport, and don’t get a frequent return stamp when you could just be a frequent flyer. However there’s nothing wrong with returning to a place you love and renew a relationship with a city you cannot forget. Last time I went to Rio, after crippling flight costs, I had to squeeze the caipirinha limes out for the cachaça and the vitamins and then eat it. It was hard times. But my most recent trip to Brazil was filled with the things I wished I’d done the first time, including downing overpriced cocktails with wild abandon, getting elaborate tattoos on the beach no one will ever see in London, and not stealing hotel towels for warmth.

Put ‘Em in the Game, Coach

Destinations with political turmoil, election chaos and airports closed due to natural disasters, flooded hotels and evacuated office buildings? It may sound crazy, but these circumstance don’t always mean your destination is off the travel menu but you may have to amend your order.

Egypt: The country’s phenomenal diving resorts, like Sharm El Sheikh, are insulated relatively well from the chaos of central Cairo. These vacation spots seem likely to keep flourishing and pump money into the local tourist and small business economy of their damaged, post-revolution industry. Still, central Cairo is probably best avoided at this moment unless you have a wary and local guide.

Sri Lanka: For improving security, serving up consistently awesome food and topping the list of friendliest people in the world, Sri Lanka is a winner. Take a trip to the elephant conservation centre at Pinawalla or the tea trails of central Sri Lanka where the finest tea is cut for the extreme consumption levels of the Parlour editors, you know who you are …

New York: Hurricane Sandy might’ve broken down buildings and Internet lines but not the human spirit. There is nothing and no one in this city who says the Big Apple isn’t saying come back, so drop some dollars at some of the world’s best bars and support their recovery.

I Never Really Thought About …

I’ll give you $20 if you can name the capital of Croatia … I know, I struggled the first time around too, but this place is not, what many have unfairly dubbed, Italy a budget. Just try rock climbing on the Dalmation Coast or dance under the stars at the Garden Festival which turns a pretty little village on the coast into a week long festival every summer and you’ll be a convert too.

South Africa 

My cousin is now flying the super rich around West Africa but she used to work at the George Flight School, a company that takes passengers whale watching along the South African coastline. I couldn’t recommend this experience more and if you board one of their tours, you must take a video during take off. It’s a strange thing seeing the runway as you ascend and land. The scenery is epic and you will not find a wider panoramic view, it’s breathtaking.                

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