I t seems like just yesterday you were ringing in 2017 with your faves, making vision boards and committing to those New Year’s resolutions. Although you might not have the abs you’ve always wanted, as you enter the last quarter of the year, it’s not too late to plan the epic vacation you promised yourself.
If you want to round up the homies for one last “treat yo’ self” moment in 2017, now is the time to plan. Figuring out where to go and what to do is much easier when you’re not under the gun, and mapping out your adventure abroad before the fall hits guarantees choice locales and rates. Consider these destinations to have an epic New Year’s Eve overseas.
Known as a party city throughout the year, the true bang in Bangkok is definitely on New Year’s Eve. DJs from all around the world come to the region to play for thousands at themed events, including glow-in-the-dark soirées and foam parties. A more laidback approach to the countdown is at a rooftop restaurant with cocktails in hand, which will give you an unobstructed view of the fireworks spectacle. Because Thailand has such a unique culture, be sure to carve out time to roam the streets, visit a few temples, and venture to either Chiang Mai or the southern islands for an immersive cultural experience.
Nightlife in downtown Reykjavik has exploded over the past decade. The revelers turn it up a notch for New Year’s Eve with a street celebration that includes bonfires, food, and live music. As the clock strikes midnight, fireworks take over the night sky and the outdoor partying continues through the early morning, when locals and visitors take their last sips and stumble home. In anticipation of your hangover, schedule a trip for the following afternoon to the Blue Lagoon for a day of rejuvenation and relaxation.
Who doesn’t love being first? Because of its location near the International Date Line, Sydney, Australia, is the first major city to hit midnight on New Year’s Eve. Given this, Sydney hosts one of the largest celebrations in the world, kicking off with a huge fireworks display in the city’s harbor. To beat the crowd, book a NYE cruise and enjoy the light show from the water. Being literally on the other side of the planet not only guarantees bragging rights, but also means the trip of a lifetime. Remember, December and January are summer months down under, making it an even better time to explore all day and party hop all night.
Cape Town, South Africa
Known for its unparalleled natural beauty with both gorgeous mountains and pristine beaches, Cape Town, one of the most southern points in the world, is also a great escape for your New Year’s celebration. You can party en masse during the six-plus-hour celebration at the V&A Waterfront, which includes dancers, bands, food and drink vendors and climaxes with a fireworks show. Or take a cable car to the top of the historic Table Mountain to enjoy panoramic views of the show. Round out your trip with a safari experience. You only have to travel 30 minutes outside the city to get up close and personal with lions, elephants, zebras and hippos.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
New Year’s Eve is when locals in Rio truly let their hair down. The masses get together on the famous Copacabana Beach symbolically dressed in all white, ready to let go of the stress of the year and start the new year off right. The night of music, drinks, food, and dancing culminates with fireworks on the beach. Join the revelry, or skip the crowds and book a beach-facing hotel or home rental to enjoy the festivities from the comfort of your own space. The next day, start your new year fresh by joining the locals in the tradition of washing away the past on the shores of the beach.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Often referred to as the party capital of the Caribbean, Jamaica ups the ante on New Year’s Eve. The birthplace of reggae and dancehall music also boasts beautiful beaches, amazing cuisine, and friendly locals. That alone makes for the perfect setting to ring in a new cycle with loved ones. As for the turn up of a lifetime, there are a few dope options, like going barefoot and dancing your way through a six-mile-long party at Treasure Beach, partying with local and international celebs at the legendary GoldenEye resort just outside Montego Bay, or making the two-hour drive to Kingston for the Harbour Fest and Fireworks display.
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