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The Top Travel Destinations for the New Year (Part One)

For the last decade or so, celebrating the New Year has become synonymous with making a list of resolutions to change things we don’t like about ourselves. But this year, we’re foregoing all of those to-do lists that we never finish and making a 2019 list primed for adventure. So for all of you bohemian lovers out there, get ready to pack your bags, grab your passport, and make this year one of growth and culture (and amazing food and shopping) with part one of our top 10 favorite unique travel destinations.

1. Kauai

Kauai, Hawaii

Of all of the Hawaiian islands, this should one be at the top your list. It is the ideal mix of scenery unlike anything you’ve ever seen and a level of comfort (which is always nice, especially if you’re traveling with kids). With the most beautiful hikes, waterfalls, and beaches, you will have no problem filling your time with whatever activities you can think of.

What To Do

Start your trip on the right note by picking one day to get up early and head to Waimea Canyon. The canyon is 14 miles long and 3,600-feet deep, bringing the most stunning views, but don’t let that spook you — there are a wide variety of trails that range from easy to difficult, so you can choose what you’re most comfortable with and then stumble upon some hidden gems that you can’t see from your car.

Ke’e Beach offers views of the Napali cliffs and a great beach, ready for you to settle in with a good book. When you need a quick break from the sand, it’s also a great spot for snorkeling, but make sure you stick around for the sunset views.

Where To Stay

What To Eat

Feeling glam? Check out Tidepools, one of Kauai's best restaurants for a fancy night out (and the perfect chance to pull out one of your new mumu dresses) with stunning views to keep things magical.

Enjoy a relaxed brunch at Sam's Ocean View for $5 mimosas all day — AKA the pinnacle of a great vacation.

Of course, you can't miss out on poké when you're staying on the ocean, so try Ishihara Market and then bring your favorites with you for a beach picnic.

What To Pack

Make sure to have a hat on hand, like the Palma Boater from Lack of Color to not only protect your skin but keep you oh-so-chic while you’re at it.

With beaching taking up a good majority of your time here, you can't forget to bring the perfect swimsuit. Our favorite is the Go With The Flow One-Piece for the most flattering fit and the unique front cutout.

When heading to and from the beach, bring in some beach-inspired color by slipping on the Royal Palm Sarong. You can wrap it as a skirt or wear it as a dress, perfect for a midday trip for lunch.

Whether you're hiking, beaching, or strolling, these Quay sunglasses will stay comfortably on your face, protecting your eyes while also keeping you looking gorgeous.

And don't forget the beach dresses. Nothing goes better with vacation than a day-to-night dress that shines. Shop from any of our newest dresses.

2. Bali

Bali

When thinking of dream travel locations, Bali consistently tops the ranks. This gorgeous Indonesian island will quickly become your favorite place and will bring you to so many adventures that you’ve never experienced before. Flights to Bali can get pretty expensive, but if you set a Google Flights alert, you can keep an eye out for when they drop in price and jump on it. Of course, you don’t have to become fluent in Balinese but come in knowing “om suastiastu” (hello), “tolong” (please), and “terima kasih” (thank you) to get you by.

What To Do

The temples of Bali are something that you simply cannot miss. Make sure your list includes Tirta Empul, where you can enter the holy mountain spring (keep in mind, you’ll have to go into the water in your clothes, so bring an extra outfit), Uluwatu Temple for the cliffside views and a sneaky monkey population, and Tanah Lot Temple for its unique location that can only be reached during a low tide.

There’s no lack of beautiful beaches in Bali. For the ultimate day of relaxation, Sanur Beach is a must-see. You can spend your whole day here easily, with local restaurants nearby so you can fend off the inevitable afternoon hangries. You’ll also see a lot of kites flying high at this beach, so relive your childhood and buy one from one of the nearby vendors to join the colorful crowds.

Where To Stay

What To Eat

Suckling pig is about as Indonesian as you can get, but if you're a pork connoisseur, you really can't pass it up during your journey. Warung Babi Guling is an easy choice for the best of the best.

We aren't going to say that dessert is all about the pictures, but when you can get the perfect Insta post while also treating that sweet tooth, Caramel Patisserie and Cafe will quickly become your go-to spot.

Cocktails are best when served on vacation, and even better when served at a rooftop bar. Hit up Rock Bar for ocean views and tasty sips like you've never experienced before.  

What to Pack

For long days in the sun, sunglasses are a vital necessity. But don’t forget that you’ll also be snapping hundreds of new Insta pics, so pack these retro-inspired Quay circle sunnies to take care of all of your eyewear needs.

Bring some color to your adventures with the Mexicali Rose Maxi dress. Whether you're grabbing drinks with your best friends or you're enjoying the sights and scenes of this new destination. this will be a fabulous way to keep as comfortable as you are chic.

3. Tulum

Tulum, Mexico

Tulum is located just south of Cancun, but brings a completely different feel, with Mayan ruins, jungles, and the best white sand beaches with tons of bohemian-inspired shops to keep your wallet busy. Not to mention, Tulum is one of Mexico's top destinations for yoga retreats and boot camps — you won't have to look hard for juice bars or a yoga class to cure last night's tequila.

What To Do

No trip to Tulum and the Yucatan Peninsula is complete without exploring the Mayan Ruins. Depending on how much time you have, there are several to choose from:

  • Ruins of Tulum - Located on the coast, these 1,000-year-old ruins will instantly transport you to a new world. Make sure you pack a swimsuit though — after exploring the ruins in the hot sun, you’ll be thrilled to jump into the ocean to cool down.
  • Coba
  • Muyil
  • Ek Balam
  • Xel-Há
  • Chichén Itzá

Swimming in an ocean is all well and good, but there's something so spectacular about exploring Mexico's cenotes after a long day of trekking around the ruins. Within driving distance from many of the ruins, you can explore the underwater caves as a great, adventurous way to wrap up your day. Each one brings a completely different vibe and environment, so try to make it to as many as you can.

  • Grand Cenote
  • Cenotes Dos Ojos
  • Sac Actun
  • Cenote Tankach-Ha
  • Cenote Zacil-Ha
  • Cenote Calavera
  • Cenotes Labnaha

Start each morning with a yoga class to find your zen no matter where the rest of your trip takes you. Sanará is a yoga studio found right on the ocean, giving you the most idyllic space that will leave you never wanting to go to any other yoga studio again.

Where To Stay

What to Pack

Take your meditation to the next level by using your favorites of these essential oils from Courtney and The Babes. And really, just keep them close by every other day, too, because you can never have too many good vibes.

With Tulum's artsy and bright vibe, you won't ever want to take off the Skippy Shorts. Let the shorts steal the show by keeping things a bit more subtle on top with this Chaser tank top. You can also slip this top on over a sports bra with yoga pants for the more athletic part of your trip.

Keep your bright theme going by slipping your essentials — phone, keys, wallet — in the Bohemian Mama x Moonwater Co. crossbody purse. It's also the perfect way to keep what you need with you while shopping your way through the city.

4. Sayulita

Sayulita, Mexico

With Mexico being relatively easy to get to, we couldn’t limit our travel guide to just one Mexican city. Sayulita will give you a completely different feeling than Tulum and is one of the less touristy beach towns that you’ll find in Mexico. Besides enjoying margaritas all the livelong day (which you most certainly will be), you can fill your days with plenty of other activities.

What To Do

No beach vacation would be complete without hopping on a surfboard and trying to ride the waves (or just trying to stand up, which is pretty impressive as it is). Check out surf school if you want to go in with at least a little bit of an idea of what to do, and have a fun way to get acquainted with your fellow travelers.

What To Eat

With limes and salt, margaritas could count as a full meal in theory — right? Well, whatever the answer, check out Le Zouave de Hafa for the best (namely, that spicy margarita that we're still dreaming of).

The mark of a good vacation is taking time for a leisurely breakfast, with ChocoBanana being at the top of our list. That's right, Arrested Development fans, besides your classic huevos rancheros and smoothies, you can walk away with a Bluth-style frozen banana dipped in chocolate.

If you're visiting a beach town, stay on the beach as long as you can by enjoying dinner at Don Pedros. You can enjoy anything from ceviche to filet mignon while the kids can stick with pizza for something a bit more their speed.

Where To Stay

Airbnb rentals are the way to go when you're in Sayulita, with many offering golf cart rentals, pools, and one-of-a-kind architecture. Besides seeing neighborhoods that you might otherwise miss by sticking to traditional resorts, you’ll also get a chance to interact with those who know Sayulita’s best-kept secrets: people who live there.

What To Pack

Of course, you’ll be showing up with a suitcase full of the brightest dresses and rompers, but for a day doing something you know and love, Sayulita has plenty of shopping for you. With so many stores, art galleries, and beach vendors, you'll never have a shortage of shopping opportunities. Just grab a margarita or a Pacifico from one of the many stands on the streets, and get to it.

While wandering the city, keep things flowy and lightweight to stay comfortable with this dress from Spell & the Gypsy. We know that maxi dresses for beach vacations aren’t the most groundbreaking concept, but it’s a classic choice for a reason! Just pair them with the Paramount Slip-On Loafers to keep strolling around blister-free.

5. Thailand

Thailand

Not feeling the crowds that come with Bali? Then Thailand is a must! Tourism continues to grow in this land of a thousand smiles, and for good reason. Even though flights are still a bit on the pricey side (Google Flight Alerts again!), once you're there, you're golden. Be warned though: when you go, you'll never want to leave (and this may be a repeat destination). The best part is that there are so many different places you can see while you're in Thailand, so just pick a region and go!

Bangkok

Bangkok, Thailand

Most widely known for crazy Bangkok nights, this enormous city still tops our list for one of the best outdoor markets in the world. Chatuchak Weekend Market is overflowing with artifacts from all over the country and some of the best vintage you can find. Whether you hit it on your way into the country or on your way out, make sure you locate the nearest post office to ship home your goodies.

Where To Stay


What To Eat

Bangkok is home to (in our opinion) the best street food there is. Skip the dinner reservations and hit up the street food to find the best noodles, curries, meat, and veggies. You won't regret it.

What To Pack

As with most huge cities in Southeast Asia, Bangkok is hot. Actually, no…it’s sweltering. So come prepared with light, airy tops like this Mandola Top from Tigerlily and dresses that can sustain the heat like the Love You Midi Dress from Free People or the Marquisa Dress from Tigerlily. Don’t forget our favorite jumpsuit from Stillwater that will keep you cool and looking sharp. One item that is crucial for any vacation is a comfortable (and cute) sandal. Free People’s Mont Blanc is perfect for days spent exploring the city, markets, the beach, or taking you out at night.

Northern Thailand

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai is most famous for its more than 300 Buddhist temples and amazing cuisine. Located 700 miles north of Bangkok, Chiang Mai translates to mean “New City” as it became the capital of Lan Na in 1296. One of the most famous temples in the region (and definitely one you must see) is Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Perched above the city, this ornate golden temple shines in the Thai sun. Expert tip: Book a sunrise tour with Untouched Thailand and start your day with an alms giving before you head up to the temple just in time to see the sunrise bounce off the golden statues.

Another thing not to miss while in Chiang Mai is a visit to Elephant Nature Park. Book a tour in the Old City for a day you will never forget. If you have the option to visit the smaller Elephant Park with the waterfall and the baby elephant, we highly recommend.

And don’t forget to drop into a yoga class at any one of the studios in town — the perfect way to prepare your mind for the next day’s adventures.

Where To Stay

Makkachiva - A gorgeous boutique hotel located right in the heart of the Old City. Book a room with a balcony and you can sip wine watching the sunset on the temple across the street.

Anantara Chiang Mai - If you’re looking for luxury, you can’t beat the Anantara. Indulge in their incredible spa while the kids enjoy the pool, and then take a short walk to Chiang Mai’s famous Night Bazaar.

What To Eat

While you're at the Night Bazaar, pick up some of the best of Chiang Mai’s street food. And make sure you set a night aside to make the trip to B Samcook Home16. With a beautiful atmosphere and a tasting menu that you'll be talking about for years to come, this is worth dressing up for a memorable night out.

For views of the city and some options for your vegetarian and vegan needs, Xanadu Pub & Restaurant is an easy choice that you can hit on a whim.

What To Pack

Even though Chiang Mai is set among the mountains, the heat is still comparable to Bangkok. For days spent exploring the temples, be sure to dress appropriately by covering your shoulders and wearing long pants or skirts. Toss the Tulle & Batiste’s Jamawar Rose Kimono in your handbag and you can go from temples to cocktails with ease. Our favorite dress for keeping you cool all day is definitely the Sardinia Dress from Cleobella. And don’t forget the perfect bag to travel with — the Kita Dua Taksu Bali Backpack will keep all your belongings safe.  

Pai

Pai, Thailand

If time permits, we highly recommend renting a motorbike and hitting the Road To Pai to cruise around the 762 turns through rolling farmland, hills, and forests. Leave your luggage with AYA Service office in Chiang Mai and they’ll take it up to Pai for you. Pai is known as a place of meditation and you can find numerous meditation retreats around town or catch a band in one of Pai’s many hip bars with a mix of tattooed travelers and families looking for the local vibe.


Southern Thailand

Phi Phi Islands

Thailand is home to a variety of noteworthy islands in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. We’ve included notes on a couple of our favorites, but this is by no means inclusive of every place to visit (there are just too many gems). One thing we do recommend if you make it to the Andaman Sea is to fly into Phuket from Chiang Mai or Bangkok and stay in Old Phuket Town for a night before meeting the captain of your sailboat and spend the next week sailing around the islands in the Andaman Sea. This is by far the best way to experience these islands and an adventure you’ll remember for a lifetime.

Koh Tao

Koh Tao, Thaialnd

Translated to mean "Turtle Island," Koh Tao is the smallest of the three islands in the Gulf and also our favorite. This island is hot on the map for divers and snorkeling with its huge reefs and crystal blue waters. Many come to get certified from one of the many dive schools in just a couple of days. Not into diving? No problem, you won't get tired of the pristine beaches and cheap Changs that flow from morning to night.

Where To Stay

  • Haadtien Beach Resort - One of our favorite hotels that is set on a private beach on the southern part of the Island. Perfect for families, couples, or friends, this hotel offers a variety of different bungalows to suit your and your family's needs. And with an oceanfront pool, the kids will be occupied while you soak in the Thai sun.
  • View Point Resort - As the name suggests, this hotel is on a higher point of the island. The roads to get here are tough, but the views are worth it. With an impeccable eye to detail, nothing is overlooked at this hotel. Rooms are large, the staff is amazing, and the meditation mount provides one of the best views you can find on the island.

Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan

  • Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villas - The Anantara collection will not disappoint. It comes with a hefty price tag, but if you're already making the investment, this place is worth the splurge. Perfect for couples and families, they provide nightly beachfront activities including dancing, movies, and games all located on one of the best beaches on the island.

What To Pack

You’ll likely be living in your bathing suit once you leave Northern Thailand, so be sure to pack a few of our favorites, including the Elisa Tiger bikini top and bottom from Tigerlily. Those Mont Blanc Sandals from Free People will also come in handy when you’re jumping on and off the motorbike or boat for dips in the ocean. And of course, nothing goes better with a bikini than vintage cutoff Levi's and a Lack of Color boater hat.  


Part 2 >> URUGUAY >> Read More