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2024 Trending Destinations

Off the
Beaten
Path
Off the
Beaten
Path

American Express Travel’s annual Trending Destinations showcases must-visit vacation spots, identified by global American Express® Cardmember travel bookings and expertise from Amex Travel’s team of 6,000 Travel Consultants. With travellers, particularly Millennial and Gen Z, putting an emphasis on adventure and new experiences, this year’s list goes beyond the typical vacation hot spots with American Express Travel’s 2024 Trending Destinations: Off the Beaten Path.

Earlier this year, the American Express Travel 2023 Global Travel Trends report found that 89% of respondents want to travel to destinations they’ve never visited before. The 2024 Trending Destinations list provides inspiration for just these types of trips by identifying some of the world's most visited places and providing an off-the-beaten-path alternative. Whether you’re looking for an adventure in a new city, or just want to beat the crowds, we’re helping Platinum Cardmembers book the trip that is right for them.

Platinum Cardmembers can unlock a variety of benefits and savings when booking air, cruise, tour, and hotels through American Express Travel. Notably, Cardmembers can receive a complimentary suite of benefits that offers an average total value of GBP 400 when booking a Fine Hotels + Resorts hotel through Amex Travel.

Average value based on Fine Hotels + Resorts bookings in 2022 for stays of two nights. Benefits include daily breakfast for two, room upgrade upon arrival when available, $100 USD amenity, guaranteed 4PM late checkout and noon check-in when available. Certain room categories not eligible for upgrade. $100 USD amenity varies by property. Actual value will vary based on property, room rate, upgrade availability, and use of benefits.

American Express Travel’s 2024 Trending Destinations
If you like Blue Mountains, Australia
If you like Istanbul, Turkey
If you like Sapporo, Japan
If you like Amalfi, Italy
If you like The U.S. Virgin Islands
If you like Riviera Maya, Mexico
If you like Sedona, United States
If you like The Maldives
If you like Agra, India
If you like Dolomites, Italy
If you like the Blue Mountains, australia

Adelaide Hills

Australia

Seeking an Australian rural retreat? While many opt for the popular Blue Mountains of New South Wales, consider the Adelaide Hills. Just outside of Adelaide and a three-hour flight from Sydney, this fabled wine region has charming villages and a bustling culinary scene.

The Adelaide Hills are ripe for visiting. This stunning South Australian region produces some of the continent’s finest cool-climate Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, not to mention delicious fruits and vegetables. Its many excellent restaurants, cellars, and tasting rooms make it one of the most palate-pleasing getaways in Australia.

Winding roads weave among vineyards and bushland, and nature hikes (like the one up 727 metres Mt. Lofty) offer a rare chance to see a koala in the wild. Take your pick of charming tree-lined villages, including historically German settlements with attractive stone buildings, outdoor cafés, and craft shops. And German-style microbreweries also offer a nice alternative to the region’s excellent wine options.

If you’re looking to incorporate a city break, nearby Adelaide has superb restaurants and the South Australian Museum, home to one of the world’s richest collections of Aboriginal culture.

Getting There: Fly Qantas into Adelaide Airport and rent a car or take a taxi to Adelaide Hills.

If you like Istanbul, Turkey

Bodrum

Turkey

The fascinating history and modern energy of Istanbul can be enjoyed on a smaller scale in Bodrum. Sometimes called “Little Istanbul,” this city of 50,000 features bustling bazaars, fresh seafood, active nightlife, and beaches on the sparkling blue Aegean.

In-the-know international jetsetters descend on the Bodrum Peninsula every summer for its white-sand beaches, chic poolside bars, and all-night discos. Even if you don’t have access to a superyacht, you should join them.

The place to start is the port city of Bodrum, where a Crusades-era castle looks out over the sea and musicians perform in an ancient Greco-Roman amphitheatre. Wander the city’s mazelike bazaars (and be prepared to bargain) for exotic leather goods, handmade soaps, and flat-woven Turkish towels – purchases that help support the local community. 

Menus understandably skew towards seafood, like freshly caught fish and octopus, served with vegetables grilled in olive oil and paired with approachable Turkish wines. Bodrum is an ideal base for exploring the Turkish Riviera, which gets less crowded and more glamorous the farther you get from town. And no visit is complete until you’ve hired a traditional wooden sailboat, or gulet, for blissful hours of sunbathing and swimming surrounded by the sea on all sides.

Getting there: Fly into Milas-Bodrum Airport.

If you like Sapporo, Japan

Niseko

Japan

Japan’s epic snowfalls and renowned hospitality traditions make it a winter destination like no other. Sapporo, capital of the northernmost island of Hokkaido, boasts great museums and a famous Snow Festival, but for a slopes-forward alternative, head farther afield to Niseko.

There’s terrain to suit all levels in Niseko. Niseko United comprises four resorts (serviced by thirty lifts) and more than 2,000 skiable acres. Unlike in other parts of Japan, going off-piste is encouraged here, enabling advanced athletes to swoosh through tree groves and thigh-deep champagne powder.

The infrastructure is world-class. Gondolas and hooded chairlifts provide a welcome respite from the snow-globe conditions, and the collection of friendly ski villages run the gamut from smaller and less touristy Annupuri to bustling Grand Hirafu, with its international après scene.

The ski resorts here might be the only ones known for dining. Many of them showcase Hokkaido’s seafood bounty—king crab, sweet and buttery sea urchin—whether in familiar sushi format or in teeming rice bowls. Handmade soba noodles are widely available, and tasty soup curries, a regional specialty, are hard to beat after a cold day on the slopes. Bars purvey a fabulous range of local beers and finely crafted Japanese whiskies, and no Niseko ski day is complete without a soak in the traditional hot-spring-fed baths known as onsen.

Getting there: Fly into New Chitose Airport and take a ski bus to Niseko.

If you like the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Porto Cervo

Italy

The island of Sardinia offers a remote and low key alternative to the iconic Amalfi Coast: the Costa Smeralda, or “Emerald Coast,” home to the tiny, pastel-hued town of Porto Cervo. The journey is worth it for the world-class beaches, celebrity glamour, and mouth-watering cuisine.

This northeastern section of Sardinia offers something different from the usual Italian village. Situated midway between Europe and North Africa, it has a rugged landscape of Mediterranean scrub, gnarled junipers, and rocky coastlines overlooking turquoise-green waters.

Porto Cervo, with its yacht-filled harbour and jumble of terracotta roofs, is the natural place to begin your Sardinian vacation. Designer boutiques cater to well-heeled, in-the-know visitors, and you’ll eat well here: local specialties include everything from handmade pasta and fresh sardines to spit-roasted suckling pig and a paper-thin flatbread called pane carasau.

Head inland to visit Bronze Age ruins and wineries producing floral Vermentino, a light-bodied Sardinian wine. The region around Porto Cervo is mostly about seaside pleasures, though. Soak up daytime rays on the area’s famous powdery white-sand beaches, like glamorous Grande Pevero or secluded Principe, then hire a boat to explore the many islets and coves. Once you get out there among the private yachts, keep your celebrity-spotting eyes peeled: the Costa Smeralda is a genuine A-list magnet.

Getting there: Fly to Nice Côte d'Azur Airport and take a scenic train ride and short ferry to Porto Cervo.

If you like Riviera Maya, Mexico

San Miguel de Allende

Mexico

The Caribbean-facing Riviera Maya entices travellers with its beautiful scenery and vibrant food and culture. But if you’re not a beach person, consider travelling inland to San Miguel de Allende, one of the world’s most colourful and stimulating cities.

Built on silver-mining fortunes and reborn in the mid-20th century as an artist colony, the town of San Miguel is a lively creative hub set against a backdrop of colonial Spanish architecture. This small city’s unique charms have made it an expat favourite. Flower-draped historic buildings line the cobblestone streets; live performances and English-language art workshops regularly happen; and textiles, pottery, and other artisanal products are sold at craft shops that support the local community. Alongside the many art galleries are some quirky and engaging theme museums: La Esquina is devoted to toys, for example, while Another Face of Mexico focuses on ceremonial masks.

Get your bearings at Parroquia San Miguel Arcangel, the rosy-pink neo-gothic church that is the city’s most famous landmark. The people-watching is excellent, as it is in the many surrounding parks and gardens. 

Rather than being known for a single dish or cooking style, San Miguel’s restaurant scene is a medley of skilled chefs and cuisines. The lively nightlife is fueled by the mix of locals, foreigners, and visitors from Mexico City, 270 kilometres south—and, of course, by the tequila that flows freely at rooftop bars. Awaken your senses after a night out, with a day trip for high-desert hiking and natural hot springs.

Getting there: Fly into Mexico with Aeromexico and connect onwards to Guanajuato International Airport. Then, take a taxi or shuttle to San Miguel de Allende.

If you like Sedona, United States

Santa Fe

United States

Sedona, with its red rock landscapes and vibrant art scene, has long been a popular vacation spot in the American Southwest. Just a state away, Santa Fe, New Mexico beckons with its own blend of culture, history, and natural beauty.

Perched at the foot of the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Santa Fe has a multitude of experiences for those seeking inspiration and adventure. The city's distinctive adobe Pueblo-style architecture forms a picturesque backdrop that has long inspired artists, writers, and creatives from around the world. Strolling through the narrow, winding streets of the historic district, you’ll find galleries filled with work inspired by Santa Fe’s unique natural setting. For more of a museum fix, check out the Museum of International Folk Art on Museum Hill for the world’s largest collection of international folk art.

After exploring the town, fuel up by enjoying the city's vibrant culinary scene, which takes cues from its multicultural heritage. Book a table through Resy to dine on the mouthwatering dishes of New Mexican cuisine at Paloma where Hatch green chiles reign supreme or indulge in international fare prepared by world-class chefs sharing Santa Fe’s unique creative sensibility.

Getting there: Fly into the United States with Delta Airlines and connect onwards to Santa Fe.

If you like The Maldives

Seychelles

Indian Ocean

The Maldives, with its private islands and luxurious overwater bungalows, has come to symbolise the exclusive end-of-the earth beach vacation. You’ll find a similar paradise in the remote Seychelles—along with expansive biodiversity, varied topography, and multicultural vibrancy.

Situated about 1,600 kilometres off the coast of Kenya, this Indian Ocean archipelago is made up of 115 islands. Some of these are hilly and rocky, while others (including the best ones for snorkelling) are low-lying outcrops of coral. The crystal waters and white-sand beaches here are among the world’s best, especially for honeymoons and other romantic getaways. But with its rainforest hikes and many nature reserves, the Seychelles are great for adventure and family travel, too. 

As in the Galapagos or Madagascar, you’ll encounter native species, including a subspecies of giant tortoise that can grow up to 225 kilograms! It’s also nice knowing that some of the dollars brought in by tourism are going toward helping the preservation of rare creatures like these—and to support the local government which has launched a sustainable-tourism certification system specifically for use in Seychelles.

Most Seychellois descend from the island chain’s original European and East African inhabitants, and proudly maintain a Creole culture that also incorporates Arab, Chinese, and South Asian influences, which can be enjoyed in the local cuisine. It’s an inspiring mix—one that you’ve got a better chance of getting into if you’re out and about in Mahé, where ninety percent of the population lives.

Getting there: Fly Emirates into Seychelles International Airport.

If you like The U.S. Virgin Islands

St. Kitts and Nevis

Caribbean Sea

Love the laid-back vibes and white-sand beaches of St. Thomas and St. John? You’ll love St. Kitts and Nevis. This two-island nation has sparkling seas, friendly locals, and history that adds a serious cultural layer to any fun-in-the-sun getaway.

St. Kitts is busier and more built-up, while Nevis has more lush nature (and not a single traffic light). Both are great places to do some “limin,’” local slang for sipping rum drinks and hanging out.  After a day on the beach in St. Kitts, hit up “the Strip” on Frigate Bay, with its lively oceanfront bars and restaurants. The cuisine on both islands is a tasty mix of French, Indian, and Caribbean influences, two of the signature dishes being fish roti and a flavorful goat stew called “goat water.”

Hike rainforest nature trails of either island, keeping an eye out for chattering vervet monkeys. Another great way to see the wild side of St. Kitts is by train – it’s home to one of the last railways in the West Indies. The region’s colonial (and post-colonial) history is all around you here.

A quick ferry ride away, Nevis, also full of history, offers a blissfully low-key Caribbean experience. The 93-square-kilometre island is the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, and the museum devoted to the American founding father is worth a visit.

Getting there: Fly into Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw International Airport and take a taxi to St. Kitts or a ferry ride to Nevis.

If you like Agra, India

Udaipur

India

Agra understandably ends up on bucket lists, largely because it is home to one of the world’s most famous monuments, the Taj Mahal. In Udaipur, Rajasthan’s uber-romantic city of lakes and palaces, the sense of historical grandeur is just as magical.

The biggest single attraction of “the white city” is its main palace complex, a granite-and-marble riot of cupolas and balconies that looks like something out of an exotic fairytale. Like many of Udaipur’s celebrated buildings, it sits on one of the city’s seven canal-connected lakes. The most swoon-worthy of these monuments, a 17th-century island palace called Jag Mandir, rises from the glassy waters as though it’s floating.

There’s more to this former Rajput capital than photogenic architecture, though. Rajasthan is renowned for its handicrafts, and you can shop for everything from silver to fine saris, and wooden furniture to the region’s famous miniature paintings, helping to support the local community. The winding streets also serve as stages for folk dances and puppet shows. Though Udaipur doesn’t offer much in the way of bars, the food is delicious—and heavier on meat dishes like laal maas, a chili-spiced mutton curry, than other parts of India.

One must-do is dinner at one of the rooftop restaurants with views of Lake Pichola. Another is a sunset boat ride on that same iconic lake. It’s worth briefly leaving city limits, too, for tours of the sprawling fort at Kumbhalargh and the 4,460-square-metres temple at Ranakpur. Both historic sites are exceptional, even by the sky-high standards of this magical part of India.

Getting there: Fly into Udaipur Airport (aka Maharana Pratap Airport) and take a taxi to Udaipur.

If you like The Dolomites, Italy

Zermatt

Switzerland

Contemplating a European ski vacation? Many opt for the Dolomites, with its rugged alpine scenery and high-spirited Italian atmosphere. But it’s hard to beat picturesque Zermatt, the traditionally charming Swiss ski town where everything runs like clockwork.

Home of the iconic Matterhorn, Zermatt has been welcoming visitors since the earliest days of skiing. While the town is steeped in tradition, with many businesses operated by the same family for generations, it’s constantly looking to the future, too. The town’s constant reinvestment in lifts and gondolas, for example, continues to make for a seamless alpine experience. 

Zermatt is famously a car-free town, where non-walkers get around by electric taxis and buses. The process of getting there by train (from Geneva or Zürich) is equally smooth, not to mention scenic—one reason people flock here in summer. Zermatt’s standards for everything are high, including food. Its restaurants take signature Swiss dishes like raclette and fondue seriously. You’ll also find a wide range of international cuisines, and any dish relying on the fabulous local dairy products is almost guaranteed to be excellent. Some of Zermatt’s best spots for meals, hot cocoa, and end-of-day Champagne are on-mountain, essentially allowing you to ski or ride right up to the door. For a taste of the pulsing nightlife, start on Bahnhofstrasse, the main drag, where those who wish, can stay out into the morning, just as the adjacent cafés and luxury boutiques are opening.

Getting there: Fly into Zurich Airport and take a scenic train ride to Zermatt.