TPG Staff Picks: What’s on Our Travel Wish List for 2018

Feb 1, 2018

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The New Year marks a fresh start to redeeming points and maximizing travel. And if you’re like us here at TPG, you already have your eye on more than a few amazing places to visit in 2018. But don’t just let your list get long; go forth and explore the fascinating corners of the world. If you’re still looking for some inspiration, check out our 2018 travel wish list and start planning your next getaway.

Israel

“My year ahead includes trips to Israel (I’ve never been!); Bora Bora (I’m eyeing that new SFO PPT nonstop later this year and haven’t been there yet either); and maybe Cannes for the Lions conference in June (I’ve been to Cannes, but never to Lions).” — Brian Kelly, The Points Guy

Japan

“After almost booking ANA’s out-of-this-world NYC to Tokyo round-trip business class award for only 75,000 Amex points, my travel plans are set on Japan this year: Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka in particular. That incredible redemption rate for 2018 is for the ‘low season’ — which includes January and April — and while I’d love to go during Japan’s famous cherry blossom season, I’d have no problem at all bouncing around some ramen shops during the winter months. With all the food I’d be eating, that lie-flat would be a welcome perk when I return home in a food coma.” — Wallace Cotton, Community Manager

The world famous crossroad in Shibuya, Tokyo with commuters at dusk. Photo by TommL / Getty Images

Iran

“Traveling to Iran is an aviation geek’s dream because of decades of embargo. The country’s airlines still fly airplanes that vanished long ago from US and European fleets — so that’s where I want to go this year. Famous hospitality, an ancient culture and ultra-rare plane finds … what’s not to like?” — Alberto Riva, Managing Editor   

Australia

Australia’s Whitsunday Islands are calling my name. It’s been a bucket list destination ever since I first visited the country years ago, so I’m using a trip to my in-laws as an excuse to finally pull the trigger. If the crystal clear blue waters and white sand beaches aren’t paradise, I don’t know what is.” — Jane Frye, Nights & Weekends Editor 

Egypt

“Ever since I was very young, I’ve been fascinated with all things Egypt. The country has so much to offer — from the Pyramids of Giza to the gorgeous beaches on the Red Sea. Things seem to have calmed down there recently and with hotels offering attractive rates, I think this year may be the one that I finally visit.” — Nick Ellis, Assistant Editor

Around Aswan, the beautiful contrasts of the towering rocks and dunes of the Sahara Desert sit nicely with the deep blue of the Nile River. Photo by Matt Champlin // Getty Images

Sicily

“I’ve been fortunate enough to visit (and revisit) cities throughout Italy — including Rome, Venice and Milan — plus, I road-tripped throughout Puglia in the south. My dream trip, which I’m hoping to take this spring, is to the biggest island in the Mediterranean: Sicily. I can’t wait to explore the piazzas and cathedrals — and taste the wine, cannoli and arancini. Tips welcome!” Cindy Augustine, Lifestyle Editor

Greece

“Greece has been on my list of must-visit places for a while. Through my studies, I’ve learned that Greece is the cradle of democracy and home to the Olympic Games as well as the ancient cities. But what those textbooks left out was the majestic beauty of its thousand islands. The white-sand beach and clear blue water of Mykonos Island is calling my name this year.”  Alexa Noel, Editorial Intern

Oia in Santorini
Village of Oia in Santorini. (Photo by Artie Photography/Getty Images)

South Africa

“South Africa has been on my list since I can remember and I haven’t been yet. We sponsor a PeaceJam conference there every year in October so I am hoping this is the year I get to go! On top of the PeaceJam conference, I’ve always wanted to go on Safari. Last but not least, the wine country is supposed to be amazing.”  — Becca Denenberg Marketing & Events Manager 

Brazil

“The reason I have yet to visit Brazil is that Americans previously needed to visit an embassy or consulate (or pay for a third-party service) in order to get a visa. Fortunately, that’s about to change, with Brazil soon issuing e-visas for US passport holders. So Brazil is now near the top of my list — Rio in particular, since I have a colleague there and it seems overall more appealing than Sao Paolo. While I don’t yet have concrete plans to visit, I’d say there’s a pretty good chance it’ll happen in 2018.” Zach Honig, Editor-at-Large

sbk_20d pictures//Getty Images
Photo taken from Itapajipe Bay. This state is in northeastern Brazil, South America. Photo by sbk_20d pictures //Getty Images

Hong Kong

“There are so many places on my list, but if I had to pick one, I’d go with Hong Kong. Between the mouth-watering food (soup dumplings for days!), gorgeous hotels and incredible history, there’s so much I want to explore there.” — Samantha Rosen, Social Media Editor 

Copenhagen

“Well, my first choice for travel is Cuba. However,  since there are currently US travel restrictions, I’ll set my sight on Copenhagen. I’ve always wanted to visit, and I know I can get there for relatively cheap from NYC. I want to wait until it’s warmer so I can explore the city and the surrounding countryside — maybe even visit a few of the neighboring countries — and immerse myself in Danish culture.” — Jeffrey Preis, Editorial Intern

Azore Islands and Norway

“I’m looking east from New York at two destinations: the Azores and Norway. I’ve been dying to visit Norway and take one of Norwegian’s dirt cheap sub-$200 fares from New York’s Stewart Airport (SWF) to Bergen (BGO). The Azores, a small string of Portuguese islands in the middle of the Atlantic, made our list of top places to travel in 2018. It’s untouched beauty and the new nonstop Delta flight from New York (JFK) made it easily top my list.” — Brendan Dorsey, Assistant Editor

Lagoa do Fogo and green valley on San Miguel island of Azores
Lagoa do Fogo and its green valley on the San Miguel island of Azores. Photo by Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Namibia

Namibia has been on my radar as long as I can remember. All of the pictures I’ve seen from Windhoek and beyond look stunning and otherworldly. Plus, Air Namibia’s nonstop from Frankfurt (FRA) is incredibly intriguing as a flight option. Although the A330-200 doesn’t look luxurious by any stretch, it would be a neat experience I’m hoping to cross off my bucket list this year.” — Emily McNutt, Associate Editor

Croatia

“The photographer in me can’t wait to visit Croatia this summer. While I’m doing a bit of the ‘touristy thang’ with some friends by hitting up Yacht Week out of Split and attending Ultra Europe over July 4th week, I also look forward to visiting the Plitvice Falls and checking out King’s Landing — I mean Dubrovnik. Hvar and Diocletian’s Palace also look like a shutterbug’s dream.” — Katherine Fan, Freelance Writer 

Featured photo of Old Jaffa town in Tel Aviv, Israel by boriail/Getty Images

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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