In our opinion, any vacation is a good vacation, but there’s no denying that the Instagram age has raised the stakes for social-media travel brags. If you’re planning a trip and want some ideas for totally-worth-it spots that promise a good time and of-the-moment buzz, read on.
Kelly Lack, the creative lead at the gorgeous new travel app Spot (and a bona fide Instagram heavy-hitter in her own right), clued us in to five hopping destinations to watch this year, along with the can’t-miss stops in each one. And since nothing amps up the excitement for a coming trip like shopping for outfits and accessories to throw in your bag, we’ve compiled a handy packing guide for each destination.
Which one floats your boat? Tell us in the comments!
Palm Springs, California
The Vibe: “Palm Springs is this retro wonderland — a time capsule bathed in that hot desert sun,” Lack says. “You can be as hedonistic as you want, embracing the endless pool party and living in a fringe bikini, cocktail in hand (with another on the way). Or, you can pull it together and tour the incredible mid-century houses or hike the sunburnt mountains that provide a constant backdrop to the city. I recommend a bit of both. Regardless, it’s one helluva good time.”
Insider Itinerary: “A new hotel called Arrive recently opened, which has all the necessities from ping-pong to an ice-cream shop to nighttime movie viewing from the pool. For shopping, The Shops at 1345 is like 12 stores in one (Daydreamer LA and Soukie Modern among them), And Yucca Valley is worth a day trip for vintage clothing shops that will make your head spin with their keen curation and small-town prices. You’ll want to score a table at the newish Mr. Lyons Steakhouse, then cap off the night with umbrella drinks at Bootlegger Tiki.”
Clockwise, from top left: Chromia & Crystal bronze and turquoise head chain, $28; Therese Kuempel Jewelry turquoise cluster cuff bracelet, $70; WKNDS silk caftan, $395; HaKNiK leather crescent-moon hair comb, $12; etnikabali fringed leather purse, $88; Palomita Jewellery brass rings, $17 for a set of 6; flavour knit crochet bikini top, $90; Amelie Mancini cactus pouch, $48; Triskelion Sandals silver lace-up sandals, $48.
Todos Santos, Mexico
The Vibe: “Just up the coast from Cabo San Lucas, Todos Santos is like the anti-Cabo — no massive all-inclusives or cheesy spring-break bars. It’s a proper little town with shops and cafes in old colonial buildings and a handful of pretty boutique hotels, but it still feels languid and off the grid, like a tumbleweed might roll past at any time. A boho contingent of surfers, vagabonds, and oddball artists have made this their spot. It’s tacos and cervezas at mom-and-pop stands, siestas under nodding palms, and barefoot ease and elegance.”
Insider Itinerary: “If you want to stay in town, it’s got to be La Bohemia, with its whitewashed walls and traditional textiles, then pool dips at Hotel Guaycura’s beach club (where you can chill for the day), shopping for jewelry at Atelier Naica or leather goods at Etnica, and cocktails at airy La Morena. At some point, drive out to El Pescadero for fresh fish and organic produce in open-air Hierbabuena. Or you can base yourself out there, at the rustic-chic Rancho Pescadero with on-site surf lessons and yoga.”
Clockwise, from top left: The Resort Market one-piece, $120; Oliki agate necklace, $34; Kamera Hawaii leather bag, $240; Emily Rose flower crown, $248; Piyama tassel dress, $48; Boo and Boo Factory geometric plant necklace, $68; ljcdesignss raffia clutch, $45; PoppyCoast starfish barrette, $12; MabuByMariaBk gladiator sandals, $193.
What to Pack: Breezy dresses, jewelry and bags with bright colors and pompom details, and your cutest yoga gear and surf stuff for active moments.
New Orleans, Louisiana
The Vibe: “If it’s possible for a city to seem alive, this one does. It’s like your batty but effortlessly chic great aunt, hilarious drunk uncle, hipster bro, and artsy cousin all rolled into one. It’s dark and dreamy even at midday, and covered in subtropical overgrowth. And it loves a good party. One of my great friends who’s a Louisiana native says that New Orleans gets cold sweats if a few weeks pass without organized chaos or a parade of some kind.”
Insider Itinerary: The city is mad for its tried-and-true traditions — indulgent Friday lunches, King cakes at Mardi Gras, second-line parades — but there’s cutting-edge stuff happening all over the place. New hotels (people are saying the Ace New Orleans might be the company’s best one yet) and an exploding art scene are making over the former warehouse district. And the list of must-try restaurants is longer and more nuanced than ever: Shaya’s modern Israeli cuisine and Compere Lapin’s twists on Caribbean are comfort food gone global. Oxalis, with its serious whiskey menu and small plates, is a favorite spot of Solange Knowles. I may or may not be starry-eyed and paging through New Orleans real-estate listings as we speak.”
Clockwise, from top left: Mu Du London wool felt hat, $51; Case Ocean agate-print phone case, $15; KARIZMA london lace-up monokini, $15; Zana Products leather and cotton bag, $38; The Singing Trumpet swallow-print head scarf, $10; Rosa Pietsch laser-cut acrylic necklace, $120; Gift Shop Brooklyn nylon tote, $238; Imelda Shoes leather sandals, $108; Tangens Designs convertible viscose and cotton dress, $183.
What to Pack: Sleek, go-anywhere black basics; bold, look-at-me jewelry; and sexy, strappy everything.
The Vibe: “Iceland is this incredible mix of staggering natural wonders — sky-high cliffs, black-sand beaches, ripping winds, waterfalls — and really cozy, homey moments — new lambs, sweet cabins with smoke puffing out of the chimneys, nubby sweaters, thick mugs of hot coffee. You’ll feel far, far away at the edge of the world, but with all of the comforts of home.”
Insider Itinerary: “If you go, take a couple weeks and drive the Ring Road around the whole island. This is non-negotiable. You’ll pass bays filled with icebergs, pastures of Icelandic horses with surfer-blonde manes, and so many waterfalls you’ll lose count. Your nights will be spent in little inns with on-site restaurants plating up food that’s better than it should be. Quirky-charming Hotel Budir and Hotel Aldan need a Wes Anderson movie to star in. The Blue Lagoon is touristy but worth it, though finding off-the-radar hot springs like Laugarvatn Fontana and the pools at Grettislaug is an Iceland must. Bookend your road trip with a few days in Reykjavik, where the Kex Hostel is hip yet historical, and has a seriously great bar. For caffeinating, Reykjavik Roasters is coffee-house hip; for dinner, Snaps and Dill are the tables to score; and for drinks it’s Mikkeller & Friends for craft beer and Apótek for cocktails.”
Clockwise, from top left: arajera moon phase ear climber, $17; Christina Nicole mountain range keychain, $72; Ingugu wool leggings, $118; Kate Rowland plywood and acrylic brooch, $33; Crupon leather sandals, $75; The Link Collective cotton furoshiki cloth, $48; Dani Barbe pyrite and clay ring, $128; Lee Coren landscape wristlet, $48; Modernaked five-panel burlap cap, $45.
What to Pack: Iceland in summer is all about cool outdoorsiness — and layering. Throw in some mountain-inspired accessories for fun, and give a nod to the Northern Lights (visible come fall) with celestial jewelry.
The Vibe: “Positano is THE trip for lovers, for honeymooners, for anybody you want to fall madly in love with you, because that’s near impossible here. You’re strolling citrus-scented streets, hand in hand (there are no cars). You’re snapping photos of each other backed by the Crayola-box houses. You’re feeding each other gelato. Essentially, you’re the living embodiment of la dolce vita.”
Insider Itinerary: “This is not really the place to seek out the ‘hip, new [blank]’ (though the famed Le Sirenuse hotel did recently open a terrace bar next door). It’s more about timeless, nostalgic romance — living carefree for a week, or a long weekend, at least — but has never been more popular. (Thanks, Pinterest.) Notoriously expensive, Positano does have a few more affordable options, Hotel California Positano and La Rosa dei Venti among them. It’s hard to go wrong here — the town is self-contained on the hillside — but lunch and beach lounging at Da Adolfo restaurant (reached by boat), hiking to the top of the mountain via the Path of Gods, and contemporary Italian at Casa Mele should be on your list.”
Clockwise, from top left: Jill Brodeur leather pouch, $70; 1979 swimwear high-waist bikini, $180; Grecian Sandals leather lace-up sandals, $44; Cherry Blossoms Dress viscose maxi-skirt, $89; Justine Hats cotton hat, $90; Imelda Shoes leather platforms, $144; Monday Morning Studios cotton ticking tote, $125; Apple Pie Intimates high-waisted panties, $28; Always Rooney leather luggage tag, $15.
What to Pack: Nautical classics in crisp whites and blues, a smattering of polka dots and stripes, and at least one throwback bathing suit that makes you look like a screen siren from the 1960s.
Still searching for your next great getaway? Shop more of Lack’s trending travel picks.
Lead image: The Resort Market