Last updated: 07:00 AM ET, Fri January 01 2016

TravelPulse's 2016 Travel Wish List

Destination & Tourism | Staff Picks | January 01, 2016

TravelPulse's 2016 Travel Wish List

Believe it or not, but even some of the world’s most traveled human beings still have places on their travel bucket list.

See if you agree with our staff’s picks for the places they most want to see in 2016.

ROBIN AMSTER, Senior Writer, Travel Agents, Host Agencies and Consortia

I’ve got a long, long list of places I’d like to visit but top of mind is Africa.

I traveled to Zimbabwe in the mid-nineties, when that was still possible, and it whet my appetite for a return trip to explore other African countries.

As an animal lover and someone immensely concerned with preserving the planet’s wildlife and environment, I’m drawn to the continent and the opportunities it offers to see animals in the wild.

I also remember wide expanses without a person or a house or a building of any kind in sight and silent, starry nights I hadn’t seen anywhere else in the world. Unimaginable peace; it was stunning.

JASON LEPPERT, Senior Writer, Cruise Travel and

JOSH LEW, Senior Writer, Airlines and Air Travel


JASON: There’s been a lot of talk about Myanmar in cruise circles recently, and after watching a 4K video sampler from the Jacob + Katie Schwarz YouTube channel, I’m absolutely mesmerized by the region’s breathtaking landscape and architecture. A number of river cruise companies (AmaWaterways, Avalon Waterways, Belmond, Pandaw River Expeditions, Sanctuary Retreats and Viking River Cruises, for example) now offer itineraries to the area as it gains in tourist popularity, and I’m ready to go now.

JOSH: A new government is in power, but Myanmar is still going to have that undiscovered vibe for the next few years at least. I don’t think things are going to change as quickly as people expect. Ten to 15 years ago, before all the gap-year kids and package tourists, the other countries in Southeast Asia offered that same kind of “got-there-first” excitement for backpacker types. I’d love to travel in Myanmar with nothing but a guidebook and a vague plan, and enjoy that kind of “explorer experience” one more time before modernization kicks in.  


On my travel wish list for 2016 is further explorations of my adopted home state of Florida. Closer to home, I’d like to go on a sportfishing trip, an Everglades airboat ride (and spot some gators), as well as a roadtrip to the Keys. Then there’s Kennedy Space Center. Being a huge NASA geek with family connections to the space program, going here is a significant pilgrimage for me. However it’s not just the giant moon rockets and other vintage hardware that I will be gawking at, but the new NASA and private spaceflight happenings as well. Witnessing a launch is right up there on my bucket list, especially the upcoming manned deep-space missions.

TIM WOOD, Editor-in-Chief

I already have a 2016 trip on the books for Manila, so that checks a box off my list.

Compared to some of our staff veterans, I am still a greenhorn on the travel circuit. But I am looking to gain some ground in the year ahead with three very specific targets.

I have been an unapologetic Carnival Cruise Line fanboy, but I’d like this to be the year I finally see what makes Royal Caribbean so special. I’d like to find a way to see the new Ovation of the Seas – hey, might as well dream big.

I’m a tennis junkie, and yet, seeing Wimbledon has always eluded me. I want to see London for more than an overnight and I hope to make the best Grand Slam tournament the reason for a longer trip.

And although it’s almost cliché at this point, I very much want to see the real Cuba, not just the glimpses of Havana we saw on “Conan.” I want to get outside the city, visit the baseball academies and the less touristy parts of the country.

Hopefully, I haven’t jinxed my wish list by actually typing it.

RICH THOMASELLI, Senior Editor, Custom Content

Two places I would love to go in the new year – Italy and China.

Italy is a no-brainer. Half my family is from there, and we still have relatives living in northern Italy. The history alone makes it a must-see as far as I am concerned, and with airfares expected to dip there might not be a better time.

China intrigues me. I am intrigued by the culture, by the people, by the expansiveness of it all. The idea of exploring what is still, to many, an uncharted land is fascinating.

PATRICK CLARKE, Senior Writer, Hotels and Resorts

U.S. News and World Report named Maui the best place in the U.S. to visit in 2015-16 and I couldn't agree more. As someone who prefers summer to winter and often daydreams about being at the beach, swimming in the ocean and soaking up the sun, I can't imagine a better destination to experience in the New Year. Being able to visit Maui Brewing Co. and try some world-class craft brews would just be icing on the cake. 

GABE ZALDIVAR, Senior Writer, Business Travel, Gear and Tech

I’ve always wanted to meander into an unassuming Italian restaurant, the kind that locals rave about behind closed doors, and devour the good stuff. I equally carry a bucket-list affection for staying up to ungodly hours of the night just to taste the freshest fish on the planet at the famed Tsukiji Market.

If 2016 is anything like the past couple of years, good planning as well as amazing happenstance will send me to some remarkable places. The hope, if I am greedy enough to wish it, is to see a giant chunk of Italy and Japan. I will gladly take one if any of you are offering.

DONALD WOOD, Senior Writer, Breaking News

In 2016, there are many amusement parks across the United States adding brand-new roller coasters and attractions. My goal for next year is to visit and ride as many new attractions as possible, including the Lightning Rod roller coaster at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.; the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood in California; and the Total Mayhem coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J.

BARRY KAUFMAN, Managing Editor

After taking my son to the opening of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride in 2014, I made the mistake of telling my daughter I would take her on the next trip. And even though she is a giant Harry Potter fan I didn’t take her to the opening of Diagon Alley because I’m a monster. In my defense, she was in France at the time. So my travel wish is to finally, two years later, take that trip with my daughter. Maybe she’ll let me come with her to France this time.

JANEEN CHRISTOFF, Senior Writer, Western Hemisphere Destinations

I have been dying to take my family on a river cruise and I feel as if 2016 is my golden year if I want to be at the forefront when multigenerational river cruising goes mainstream. I also want to take a river cruise to Southeast Asia. I love all of its food and fabulous textiles as well as its friendly people.

Wales and Africa are also on the list. There is so much adventure travel opportunities in Wales — ziplining, canoeing, white-water rafting, mountain biking, walking trails and that’s just the beginning. And with Africa, I want to show support for a country is about so much more than Ebola.

And finally, Alaska. The Adventure Travel World Summit is taking place in Anchorage this summer. It's theme: Go big, go bold. I can't wait to honor that theme. 


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