Meet the Nominees for the Best “NewNowNext” Destination in the 2011 NewNowNext Travel Awards

 

Travel isn’t just about calm, relaxing getaways or being pampered. It’s also about getting adventurous and exploring places that expand your horizons — and that hopefully no one else has fully discovered yet.

Sometimes, it’s great to discover a place that’s either off-the-beaten path or making unexpected strides in what it has to offer. A destination in your backyard like Columbus or even Istanbul may be familiar on one level, but when a new arts scene begins to boom or when a city just keeps finding more to offer, it’s worth recognizing.

Of course, there are those more far-flung places which are breaking out in a more primal way. Are you up for a jaunt to Baku, Florianopolis or Cartagena? Trust… You will be.

And don’t forget to VOTE!

 

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN
Travel writer Adam Graham calls this Caspian Sea city “arty.” Freelance travel writer Charles Runnette, who’s never been anywhere close says, “It’s this year’s Ulaanbaatar.” This filthy (oil) rich capital of Azerbaijan boasts an ancient walled city which dates back to time of the Achaemenid Empire, around the 1st century AD, and a nightlife scene Lonely Planet has singled out among the top ten in the world. Oh and then there’s world’s tallest flagpole. Seriously, Baku. (Vote via Twitter using #NNNTA_Baku.)
CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA
“It’s a Spanish colonial fortress of a city on the edge of South America with all the necessary elements for a NewNowNext destination: Pristine beaches, phenomenal nightlife and delcious food. Have you had an arepa on the beach in Cartagena after a long night at a Colombian nightclub? That’s right, you haven’t lived.” – Charles Runnette (Vote via Twitter using #NNNTA_Cartagena.)
COLUMBUS, OHIO
Yes, Baku, Cartagena… Columbus. But really! It’s a major and thriving college town, a center to big-time business like Abercrombie & Fitch, it’s got a rollicking bar scene, and a burgeoningly hipsteriffic arts and cultural community. Seriously, it’s delivering a lot of innovative and welcoming perks that make for a killer weekend. Hello, Columbus! (Vote via Twitter using #NNNTA_Columbus.)
FLORIANOPOLIS, BRAZIL
Florinaopolis was on many of our NewNowNext Travel Awards academy members’ radar. Here’s gay travel expert Ed Salvato’s take: “It’s a very pretty, sophisticated island beach resort on Brazil’s southern coast. It’s where Rio’s ‘Cariocas’ go to the beach.” And trust, they’re who you want to be beaching with. (Vote via Twitter using #NNNTA_Brazil.)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY
This global gem is an emerging favorite all around. Travel writer Heidi Mitchell had no trouble recommending: “Definitely Istanbul, for the art scene, food, and culture. It’s the crossroads of Asia, Europe — and it’s even a ton of fun to be in alone.” And Emma Sloley agrees: “It’s becoming the essential must-see European stop, and the hotel/nightlife scene there is going crazy.” (Vote via Twitter using #NNNTA_Istanbul.)
ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA
“When I mentioned I was going to St. Petersburg,” offered travel writer extraordinaire and Plum TV host Mark Ellwood, “it staggered me that four of my editors were all going this year, too. That’s a city-on-the-verge.” (Vote via Twitter using #NNNTA_StPetersburg.)

VOTE FOR NEWNOWNEXT DESTINATION NOW!

John Polly is a former editor at NewNowNext. He now makes the magic happen at World of Wonder.
@JohnPollySays