2017 has undoubtedly been a big year for travel. The past 365 days have brought travel bans and laptop bans, new and noteworthy hotel openings, U.S. State Department alerts and warnings in popular tourist hot spots, game-changing travel tech features, airline overbooking disasters, policy updates surrounding Cuba, and unexpected businesses dipping their toes in the cruise market (while some destinations, like Santorini and Venice, curb cruise arrivals). Unfortunate natural disasters and attacks have shaped the travel industry -- namely, security procedures -- in the last year, too. As we approach the end of 2017, we’re looking back at the year’s top travel stories. So, whether you missed it the first time around or want to give some of your favorite pieces another read, here are 15 of our most popular stories from the year past.
1. 8 Amazing Nude Beaches You Can Find in the U.S.: Europe may be the first spot to come to mind when considering the idea, but from relaxed clothing optional spots to dedicated nudist beaches, the U.S. coast has plenty of options when it comes to ditching the trunks and bikinis for the birthday suits — if you know where to look.
2. The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for All-Inclusive Brands: Oyster’s handy road map to major all-inclusive brands, where we break down their overall vibe and distinguishing characteristics.
3. 12 of the Best Small Towns in New York: New York is mostly famous for the Big Apple and the Hamptons, but there’s so much more to the Empire State.
4. 7 Caribbean Beaches to Avoid If You Want a Peaceful Getaway: Consider avoiding these beaches to get that relaxed escape you deserve.
5. 24 Things You Should Know Before Traveling to Japan: We’re sticking to the basics: all the things we think you need to know to help make sure your trip to Nippon is fun and only full of good surprises.
6. 6 Cold, Hard Truths About All-Inclusive Resorts: Travel experts know that even the most luxurious all-inclusive resorts can come with hidden charges and road blocks to relaxation. The key is to know before you go.
7. The Most Underrated Places to Go in 2017: We recommend booking a trip before word gets out—and remember, you heard it here first.
8. 6 of the Best Places to Retire in the Caribbean: There are plenty of places in the region that offer not only gorgeous scenery, but also good healthcare and a reasonably sized expat population to keep those social circles strong.
9. Face-Off: Cancun vs. Punta Cana: We’ve matched these major tourist players off in a handful of categories, including accessibility, beaches, culture and activities, dining, nightlife, and more.
10. Top 5 Ships for Cruise Ship Haters: Take a look at the common gripes we hear about cruise travel and the ships that offer the perfect rebuttal.
11. Top All-Inclusives for Mega-Resort Haters: Believe it or not, there are plenty of resorts that are characterized by their boutique features (no wristbands, no restaurant reservations required), quiet vibe, personalized service, and great a la carte menus — all while still presenting the perks of an all-encompassing, everything-included rate.
12. Is It Safe to Travel to Mexico?: Mexico, including its tourist-laden hot spots, has been under the spotlight for safety concerns, leaving many hesitant about taking that south-of-the-border escape. Here’s what you need to know before planning your next trip.
13. 12 Things You Should Know Before Traveling to Aruba: We’re here to help you make the most of your trip.
14. Places That Aren’t on Your Bucket List (But Should Be): If you’re looking to explore places that most of your friends probably haven’t heard of, check out these under-the-radar spots.
15. Where to Travel in Europe in Your 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s: With so many different countries and cultures, Europe is likely to be a lifelong source of wanderlust for many travelers. So where should you travel and when?
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