The top destinations to visit in 2012 – USATODAY.com

Frommer’s today released its 2012 list of top destinations (not to be confused with Lonely Planet’s 2012 pick hits, which comes out Friday – stay tuned).

Albania

As it has for the past two years, the guidebook publisher/travel website allowed readers to chime in on where they want to go next year. And the winner by a landslide? Turkey, with 51% of the vote among a list of 10 destinations, including Paris, Italy and Hawaii.

There’s a reason these lists come out in the fall, when thoughts initally turn toward where to go next.

“It’s to get people thinking about looking at a new way to see the world,” says Frommers.com editorial director David Lytle. “Travel should be inspiring, even as a five-day vacation.”

The list is compiled by Frommer’s writers and editors, and tends to go for outside-the-box locales, places that are hosting a high-profile event, or spots that have undergone revitalization, Lytle says.

The top 10 for 2012 and why, according to Lytle, they made the list:

Curacao – This often overlooked Caribbean island has affordable rentals, “as opposed to traditional flop-and-drop all-inclusives.”

Chongqing, China – An alternative to the usual Chinese destinations (Beijing, Shanghai), it’s a 19th-century town that has undergone rapid modernization, thanks, in part, to its position as the last stop on the Three Gorges river tour.

Fukuoka Japan – This feudal Japanese town on the north shore of Kyushu province is a place to go after you’ve done Tokyo and Kyoto. Plus, its inclusion on the list is a reminder that not all of Japan was affected by the earthquake.

Beirut – The city has experienced a renaissance in recent years, as many European travelers know. “It’s an urban hotspot full of smartly dressed people who have intelligent conversation,” Lytle says.

Ghana – Unlike some other African nations, this country has enjoyed long-time stability. As a former center of the slave trade, it’s also on the heritage trail for African Americans.

London’s Greenwich neighborhood – Just 20 minutes from Central London, this Thames-side town has undergone a renaissance. And post-Olympics is a good time to visit London, since it’s bound to be gussied up for the event, with bargains after the party’s over.

Girona, Spain – This Costa Brava town is popular among Brits, but is largely undiscovered by Americans. It’s also an easy-to-get-to beach getaway from Barcelona.

Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia – It’s a quiet, charming area, perfect for recharging your batteries.

Kansas City, Mo. – Its food and music scenes are lively. It sports a number of really good museums. Plus, it’s central locale makes it relatively close to a lot of Americans.

Yucatan Peninsula – There’s more to this region than Cancun. Moreover, it’s been relatively free of drug-related violence that has touched border towns and the some of the Mexico’s western reaches.

This year, Frommer’s added some demographic picks to its list. They are:

Family Destination: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Cruise Destination: Tromso, Norway
Beach Destination: Hanalei Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
Adventure Destination: Moab, Utah
Food & Drink Destination: Lima, Peru
City Break Destination: Chicago
Endangered Destination: Aysen Region, Chile
Value Destination: Albanian Riviera
Destination to Get Lost: Whitsunday Islands, Australia

The top destinations to visit in 2012 – USATODAY.com.

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