The trick to becoming a truly great traveler is getting ahead of the trends. Booking a trip to this year's hottest destination (or worse, last year's) will often mean steep prices, long lines, and aggravating crowds. It's far better to see which way the wind is blowing early and visit the next big thing before everyone else does.
So how do you find these unspoiled gems and soon-to-be-mobbed locales? Data can help, and Airbnb has tons of it.
As the go-to platform for tons of travelers, the company has vast caches of information on which vacation spots and experience are starting to see an uptick, allowing them to spot trends before they make it to the cover of major travel magazines.
Helpfully they publish the data in their year-end review, noting which cities have surged in popularity over the previous twelve months so you can choose to get in early on the next travel hot spot.
What's been big this year? "Laid-back beach towns, mountain retreats, and mid-sized cities" top the company's list of destinations seeing an recent upsurge in interest. Here are the top ten, along with the percent increase in bookings on Airbnb (and a few notes from me):
Gangneung, Korea - 2175 percent [No mystery here - this city will be hosting the Olympics in February]
Bournemouth, UK - 353 percent
Edmonton, Canada - 284 percent
Indianapolis, IN - 256 percent
Da Nang, Vietnam - 255 percent
Columbus, OH - 254 percent
Famagusta, Cyprus - 234 percent [As a Cyprus resident, I feel obligated to point out that Famagusta has been controlled by the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus since a Turkish invasion in 1974. The island is beautiful but please educate yourself about its politics before planning your visit.]
Bilbao, Spain - 234 percent
Hanoi, Vietnam - 212 percent
Matinhos, Brazil - 209 percent
From little known beach towns (including one in a country not typically known for it's sunbathing weather - the UK) to rebounding heartland cities, it's an intriguing list of places to consider checking out before all your friends do.
Looking for more ideas? Here's Airbnb's infographic of 2017 trends and 2018 predictions, including a list of perpetual site favorites like Paris and New York, and data on which types of lodging and experiences travelers are increasingly seeking out.