What Happened to Dream Vacations?

Tulsa, Philadelphia, Orlando and Cleveland – all American cities, but what do they have in common?

Each is listed as one of the 52 Places to go in 2015 according to the Special Issue of the Travel section in the New York Times.  Much different from last year, when they mentioned more far flung and exciting destinations, including visiting the world’s largest cave.  That article was one of the reasons why we traveled to Vietnam last March and made a stop in the area, despite having to arrange our own trip plans, as no tour offered that region of the country as part of the itinerary.

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Entrance to Hang En in Vietnam

What’s with the random state-side places in parts of the country that offer questionable weather, minimal sights and seem to be focused on modern art?  You’ve got me.  Maybe there’s a recognition that we should appreciate what’s in our own backyard.  Maybe the Times doesn’t have a budget to give a list of places one dreams of.  Maybe the editors want readers to actually go to some of the places (and get some ad revenue for the local listings).  I don’t have a concrete answer for you.  But I know that I’ve already been to most places on this year’s list, and I don’t even think there was much effort put forth to explaining why you should choose those particular destinations — I certainly could have come up with a few better and more-detailed reasons to visit Philadelphia, for one obvious example.

As for me, for starters, I’m heading to Maui — always a top island in any travel magazine list — and one where I’m virtually guaranteed sun, waves and a (non-active) volcano, plus good food and adventure.  I can’t speak to Tulsa, but I’ll let you know the latest I learn about this dream spot (and I’m getting there on miles- so it won’t even break the bank).  Maybe the NY Times could learn more from its readers this year and do a better job of getting out of its comfort zone and figuring out why we want to read this section of the paper (and pay for it).  Or else, as I suspect, just as with Automobiles, there no longer will be a Travel section published by 2016- or maybe that is already foretold since it’s called a “Special Issue” …

-Kara

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