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New Year, New Experiences – Roomongo’s Top 5 Picks for 2018

New Year resolutions. It seems for just about anyone you ask, traveling more ranks right up there with losing weight and quitting smoking. And needless to say, of those Big Three, it’s the only fun one. Even going somewhere you’ve already been and doing something you’ve already done is more fun than the everyday humdrum, but if you’re going to hit the road, the air, or the high seas in 2018, you may as well spice things up with a new experience.

To that end, we share our favorite new travel finds for the new year. Contrary to Disney’s claims, it’s a big world after all, so there’s a lot more where this came from, but we hope you’ll get some inspiration and take the plunge on one or more of these trips, or discoveries of your own. And when you get back, let us know how it went!

What’s New in the Caribbean

The coming year will be all about rebirth for the iconic island chain. The hurricanes and the devastation they left behind have faded from the headlines, but the Caribbean’s recovery work continues with rapid progress. Also, it’s important to remember that over 70% of the islands were unaffected by the storms, as affirmed by Frank Comito, chief executive and director general of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association. The blissful island life continues to welcome, delight, and restore visitors in these fortunate destinations, even as they reach out a neighborly hand to help their damaged neighbors regain their footing.

Our favorite “what’s new” entry for the Caribbean in 2018 is a charitable one. The renowned Natural World Safaris will donate a portion of its breathtaking Swimming with Sperm Whales experience to the recovery work on Dominica, a favorite with adventure seekers. Patrick Dykstra, a marine specialist and photographer for the BBC, will guide the 7-day trips that have 6 departures from January to March. In addition to helping fund Dominica’s recovery, you’ll have bragging rights to being among the very few people on the planet to swim with sperm whales, and amazing photos by Dykstra to show for it. Conservation is of utmost importance to your charismatic guide, who only partners with certified sustainable local companies for his safari tours. Bonus – as always, a portion of this adventure also goes to marine conservation funding.

As for the ongoing reopenings of Caribbean resorts and attractions, the updates are so frequent you’ll want to bookmark this site and check-in regularly to see what’s happening on your favorite islands.

New Intrepid Travel Trips for 2018

Intrepid had about as humble a start as any company can. There were two bearded backpackers, a typewriter, and a kitchen table. Now they have 1,000 staffers across the world leading over 100,000 people each year on over 800 trips around the globe. But their spirit remains the same – responsible travel with small groups taking big adventures off the beaten path focusing on experiencing humanity’s myriad fascinating cultures while giving back to the lands they visit. Wow… feeling inspired yet?

In 2018, Intrepid Travel’s offerings will expand to include a whopping 65 new trips in Europe – Africa – Central, South, and North America – Australia – Oceania – the Middle East – and Asia. It’s pretty exciting to find that even diehard nomads who’ve been wandering the Earth since 1989 can still uncover new experiences to guide us through. All their new trips are listed here and we have to say, there’s a good chance we’ll be joining one of them soon. See you there?

African Travel Focuses on Conservation, Sustainability, Child Education for 2018

The opportunity to take one of the great Bucket List trips of all time and make the world a better place by going for it? Totally awesome.

African Travel, a one-stop-shop escorted tour operator that’s been voted “Best in Africa” by Travel + Leisure, travAlliancemedia, Recommend magazine and others, has a phenomenal new reason to draw top accolades. Partnering with the TreadRight Foundation  on the #AfricanTravelCares program, starting in 2018 the tour group will make a donation toward rhino and elephant conservation, as well as sustainable development, for each guest who takes one of its program-affiliated tours. Additionally, every guest who takes an East Africa trip with African Travel will fund a child’s education for one year. Like we said, Totally Awesome.

The tours associated with this program include a 10-day South Africa experience, an 11-day East Africa tour, and an 11-day combination trip to South Africa and Victoria Falls. Learn more about the amazing vision and early successes of the #AfricanTravelCares program, and how to be a part of it.

Australia Debuts

Speaking of Bucket List trips, there are so many new experiences in The Land Down Under for 2018 that we’re going to have to settle for sharing just a few favorites.

1) The Great Tasmanian Traverse: The first of its kind in Australia, this 5-week epic adventure with Tasmanian Expeditions combines the group’s 5 most popular tours: Penguin to Cradle, The Overland Track, Frenchman’s Cap Trek, Franklin River Rafting, and the South Coast Track. You’ll travel by foot, raft, light plane, and yacht to explore Tasmania from the quiet rural communities of the North, to the wild and isolated reaches of the South. The traverse will take place February 18 to March 26. Get all the details here.

2) Photography Tour with Acclaimed Landscape Photographer Peter Walton: Departing Darwin for Kakadu National Park in May with World Expeditions, this 6-day Northern Territory trip will focus on the artistry of photography, specifically the nuances of composition, lighting, focus/interest points, and choosing the right lens. Additionally, you’ll get a primer on photography software to give your images an artistic finish. If you’re ready to graduate from amateur to semi-pro photographer while having a stunning Aussie adventure to boot, click here to get your plans underway.

3) The GoBoat: Direct from Scandinavia and another first of its kind in Australia, the GoBoat is making its debut appearance outside of Europe at Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin. It’s a self-driving, quiet, and eco-friendly electric party boat that carries up to 8 passengers while touring the Australian Capital Territory’s showpiece water playground. The coolest part? That “self-driving” bit. You don’t need any experience or a boating license to have this super cool new experience in Oz. Check it out and book your private cruise here.

As a bonus to all three of these new travel offerings in Australia, when you come back you’ll have something all your own to tell your jaded “been there, done that” friends about. High five, mate!

New York City’s “Show of the Year”

The city that never sleep also never stops changing — there really is no such thing as “been there, done that” when it comes to New York City. It’s no surprise then that 2018 rings in a long list of new restaurants, bars, galleries, tours, museum exhibits, hotels, and more. But rather than attempt the impossible feat of listing them all, or settle for a hopelessly limited selection among hundreds of new offerings, we decided to identify and share the Mother of All NYC Experiences for 2018.

How did we make our selection? It really wasn’t hard given the following reviews:

  • “Contains more masterpieces-per-foot than we might ever see in New York again” —WNYC
  • “This is the show of the year.” —Observer
  • “A stupendous metaphysical-visual exhalation … Just go.” —New York Magazine
  • “The must-see show of the season … an art historical tour de force” —New York Times
  • “Monumental” —Village Voice
  • “A magnificent show” —New Yorker

Hopefully, your breath is by now duly baited. The one new thing you must see in New York City is Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman & Designer, on display through February 12, 2018 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Selected from 50 public and private collections in the United States and Europe, the stunning exhibit includes 133 drawings, 3 marble sculptures, his earliest painting, and his wood architectural model for a chapel vault. Among the drawings is the complete series he created for his friend Tommaso de’ Cavalieri, as well as a monumental cartoon created for his last fresco in the Vatican Palace. Go here to get a sneak preview of the “towering genius of Western art’s” once-in-a-lifetime exhibition, and to get all the info you need to make your visit happen.

And go here to grab a hotel at a great price with cash back rewards if this will be an overnight trip for you – which it’s totally worth!

And with that, we wish you a Happy New Year and many happy new travel experiences. We’d love to hear all about your discoveries as you wander our beautiful world in 2018. Come back here to tell us your story or connect with us on Facebook!

 

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