Get packing—travel pros filled us in on the hottest travel spots.

<p>Mark Brodkin/Getty Images</p>

Mark Brodkin/Getty Images

Pent-up demand and a heightened appeal of wanderlust are creating an influx of both domestic and international travel this year. Travelers are ready to take the leap to pursue long weekend getaways, cruises, bucket-list trips abroad and historical vacations that boast enriching and educational experiences. If you’re looking for some travel inspiration this year, we’ve checked with travel pros for some top vacation ideas. So, pack your suitcase, grab your passport, and travel big this year.

Related: 5 Unforgettable Road Trips You Have to Try This Summer

Ogunquit, Maine

<p>DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images</p>

DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images

If you don’t want to venture out of North America, this New England town in Maine offers a peaceful charm. Home to miles of scenic sandy beaches, sprawling rocky cliffs, and tree-lined streets, Ogunquit is a vacation spot on the southern coast of Maine. If you’re looking for a place to stay, The Dunes on the Waterfront is set to re-open with a complete renovation for the 2024 summer season. The property features 36 cozy accommodations set on 12 acres of oceanfront lawns, including vintage New England whitewashed cottages spaced apart for ultimate privacy, and a two-story hotel-style building, all complete with outdoor sitting areas. And if you’d like to make the vacation into a road trip, after visiting Ogunquit, venture south for stops in Boston or Newport, RI.

U.S. National Parks

<p>Mimi Ditchie Photography/Getty Images</p>

Mimi Ditchie Photography/Getty Images

National parks continue to be popular domestic travel destinations and demand is increasing, said Kelly Connor, an AAA travel adviser in Marlton, New Jersey. “The National Park Service reported 325.5 million recreation visits to 400 national parks in 2023,” Connor stated. “The increase in visitors signals a return to more typical vacation travel post-pandemic, as travelers take in the beauty of national parks and enjoy the great outdoors.”

Popular national parks include Grand Canyon National Park (AZ), Yosemite National Park (CA), Yellowstone National Park (ID, MT, WY), Great Smoky Mountains National Park (NC, TN), and George Washington Memorial Park (DC, MD, VA).

Cruises to Alaska

<p>John Elk/Getty Images</p>

According to Colleen McDaniel, spokesperson with Cruise Critic, Alaska is a hot ticket this spring and summer season. “We’re continuing to see growth in interest around cruises to Alaska, particularly as more lines than ever sail the region,” she said. “And because we’re seeing such immense demand, the Alaska cruise season is starting earlier and ending later, as cruise lines add sailings to accommodate the interest.”

Cruise lines are making it easier than ever to visit Alaska exactly how you’d like—whether that’s on a larger, mainstream ship where kids will be entertained from dawn ’til dusk and entertainment options onboard are plentiful, or a smaller more luxury line, where you can explore the Last Frontier by day, and return to a five-star quality experience onboard in the evening, McDaniel says. “And you can still travel to the region by more rugged, expedition ships, if that’s your style, too,” she indicated.

A trip to Alaska “can be a romantic trip, a family trip, a group trip or an adventure of a lifetime,” McDaniel says. For a luxury experience, consider Crystal Cruises to experience Alaska: “The Crystal brand is returning to Alaska for the first time since 2019, and it’s offering a number of seven-night itineraries from Vancouver to Seward, or vice-versa,” she adds. “These itineraries visit some of the biggest favorites in the area, including Sitka and Juneau, and also offer scenic sailing.”

London

<p>Caroline Purser/Getty Images</p>

Caroline Purser/Getty Images

Whether you’re a fan of the Netlfix series The Crown, or prefer to follow the present-day British Royals, London is a great trip idea for 2024. Several East Coast hubs offer direct flights and with some flexibility in your travel dates you can snag favorable airline fares. “London, typically among the top European destinations for U.S. travelers, is an attractive option,” Connor says, also noting how the city is easy to navigate using public transportation, and boasts history, art, royalty, afternoon tea, and traditional fish and chips. “Must sees include the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Thames River, London Eye, Borough Market, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Trafalgar Square,” she adds.

To streamline your visit, consider purchasing the London Pass by Go City; and book tours through respected local tour operators, like Evan Evans. For lodging, check out the boutique hotel The Londoner, a stylish retreat set in the heart of the of Leicester Square, which makes for an ideal home base for your London trip.

The Greek Islands

<p>Franz Marc Frei/Getty Images</p>

Franz Marc Frei/Getty Images

Social-media posts entice visitors across the globe to see the enchanting Greek Islands, which offer temperate climate, leisure, and recreational pursuits on both land and sea, and culinary immersions that are hard to beat. “Our travelers love visiting Greece in the spring and summer months to discover the ancient ruins in Athens, soak up some sun in Mykonos and, of course, indulge in delicious bites in Santorini,” says Adam Armstrong, CEO at Contiki.com. “From the rich culture to the picturesque blue waters and ancient streets, it’s an ideal destination for a group of friends looking to explore charming villages and lounge on white sand beaches by day and dance at lively tavernas at night.” Plus, as one of the more affordable European countries, he says many travelers will choose to visit for a graduation or birthday trip. “And Contiki’s Greek Island Hopping itinerary makes it easy for travelers to visit multiple islands on one trip,” Armstrong adds.

Marvel at the Northern Lights

<p>Noppawat Tom Charoensinphon/Getty Images</p>

Noppawat Tom Charoensinphon/Getty Images

According to a recent survey conducted by Expedia, nearly half of Americans are interested in a bucket-list trip to chase the Northern Lights this year. Christie Hudson, Expedia’s spokesperson said this is due to visibility being particularly strong in the next 12-18 months.  According to Hudson, these are the destinations seeing some of the biggest interest based on Expedia flight searches: Lapland in Finland (+370%); Canada’s Churchill (+110%); and Alta in Norway (+100%).

Quebec City

<p>Posnov/Getty Images</p>

This enchanting city provides visitors the appeal of a European vibe without a transatlantic flight. According to Hudson, Quebec City searches are up 75% year over year and it’s just a quick two hour flight from the East Coast. The city offers culinary delights, history and a thriving arts scene. After a day of sightseeing and enjoying your foodie experiences, settle in at the beautiful Fairmont Le Château Frontenac for a luxury stay.

Tokyo

<p>Jackyenjoyphotography/Getty Images</p>

Jackyenjoyphotography/Getty Images

Hudson says one of the destinations that continue to see momentum ever since borders reopened is Tokyo. “Los Angeles to Tokyo was one of the fastest growing routes last year based on Expedia flight data, with demand up 430% year-over-year,” she continued. “Japan is a true year-round destination, with cherry blossoms blooming in the spring and ski resorts beckoning in the winter months.” To plan the best trip, it’s best to choose a tour operator or experienced travel agent who can help create the itinerary of your dreams.

Related: Should You Get a Travel Agent to Book Your Vacation? Here Are the Pros and Cons

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