We've just announced the five worldwide destinations where it believes North American travelers will get the best travel deals in 2014. Our prediction is based on extensive evaluation by Travelzoo Deal Experts of travel and tourism trends, currency fluctuations and national events that might impact the price of travel. Travelzoo's 2014 Wow Deal Destinations are Ecuador, Europe's rivers, India, Jersey Shore, and Palm Springs. We expect that travelers will be able to save up to 50 percent on a vacation in these Wow Deal Destinations next year, compared to 2013 rates.
The Ecuadorian government is expected to boost its tourism budget by 73 percent in 2014. Moreover, we expect the country will work hard to reclaim some of the South American mindshare as travelers focus on neighboring Brazil and World Cup 2014. This will create a deal-driven environment for travelers. In addition, recent airfare sales to Quito and Guayaquil have hovered around $399 roundtrip, which is less than the cost of some U.S. domestic flights.
Ecuador is a land of diverse experiences. In just one trip, you can see the Pacific Coast, the Andes, the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands. Plus, with some great travel deals on the horizon, it is the perfect time to see the country before it becomes over-commercialized.
Cruise lines are expanding their river fleets in Europe at a record-breaking pace. At least 20 vessels are scheduled to debut in 2014, including those from Viking River Cruises, Avalon Waterways, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, Tauck River Cruises and AmaWaterways. With more cabins to fill, this can mean only one thing: great deals for travelers.
The itineraries of river cruises are extremely varied and available all year round. Think Christmas markets, the tulips of Northern Netherlands, or a visit to historical cities like Arles, Nuremberg, Basel and Belgrade. The cruises are typically all-inclusive and often come with free perks like guided port city tours. Travelzoo deals have helped travelers save more than $1,500 on European river cruises.
The rupee has plummeted in value by more than 20 percent within the past year versus the U.S. Dollar. This makes it one of the cheapest countries in the world for Americans to explore and enjoy. In addition, India is experiencing a hotel boom as major hotel chains, such as Accor, Carlson Rezidor, Hilton, Hyatt and the InterContinental Hotels Group, prepare to open more than 50 hotels combined. This increased competition will likely lead to reduced room rates in 2014.
Travelzoo has been publishing more and more organized tour deals for India as tour operators look to partner with hotels and pass on savings to the consumer. In many instances, the cost of these tours are the same as what a traveler would pay for airfare alone -- making them a great deal for first-time travelers to the country.
The Jersey Shore
Count on aggressive travel deals as the state looks to rebuild its tourism business after Superstorm Sandy (October 2012).
Governor Chris Christie stated that the region was up and running and ready for visitors this past summer, but tourism business was slow to return. As businesses continue to recover, Travelzoo expects to see even more deals as the Jersey Shore looks to win back travelers in coming months. Recently Travelzoo has published Jersey Shore hotel deals with up to 45 percent savings.
A bevy of new hotel openings and multi-million dollar renovations are creating increased competition and better Palm Springs hotel deals for travelers. Plus 10 airline carriers including Virgin America, Alaska Airlines, US Airways, American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines all fly to Palm Springs International Airport, which means there are opportunities to score great airfare deals as well.
Palm Springs is reinventing itself from an old-school Frank Sinatra destination, to a hip and trendy hot spot for the young at heart. Expect to find pool parties and restaurants recognized by the Wine Spectator's 2013 Restaurant Wine List Awards, as well as a music scene driven by Coachella.