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Fodor’s Go List 2018

November 30, 2017, 3:49:02 PM EST

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Behold: our 2018 Go List.

We compiled it with the hopes that it might be a reminder to hold strong to your enthusiasm for exploration. To be a part of something enormous. To observe and experience. To allow your mind to expand and your heart to enlarge. To travel, witness life and earth, savor the varieties, and marvel the majesty. To look around you. To be alive. To get going. And to always, always, always remember what a wonderful world this is.

—Jeremy Tarr, Digital Editorial Director & Rachael Levitt, Managing Editor

Marrakesh, Morocco

This romantic desert oasis is set to be one of 2018’s most fashionable vacations.

Morocco

PHOTO: Leo Vargas


Why It’s Wonderful: With a view of the towering Atlas Mountains, Marrakesh is a dreamy maze of spice-scented streets filled with vendors, cafes, and hidden palaces. It’s a city full of secrets and the best way to explore it is by getting lost. You never know what you’re going to stumble upon—a livestock market, a secret garden, an organic rooftop cafe, or an ancient shop filled with handmade treasures. Shopping is a draw in Marrakesh, but the city offers much more than a souk full of souvenirs. The lush Jardin Majorelle, outside the walls of the city center, is a respite from the sensory overload of the medina. La Bahia Palace and Ali Ben Youssef Medersa are a step back in time through Marrakesh’s royal past, with breathtaking architecture and attention to detail. This year, fashionistas will flock to Marrakesh to visit the long-awaited Yves Saint Laurent Museum, showcasing the designer’s home and studio in Marrakesh, and visit the home of perfumer Serge Lutens on an exclusive tour with the Royal Mansour.

Where to Stay: There are two kinds of hotels in Marrakesh: cozy riads within the walled medina and luxurious sprawling retreats in the desert brush surrounding the city. If it’s your first time visiting, stay in the medina or you’ll miss the true Marrakesh experience. Riad L’Orangeraie and Riad El Fenn are both chic options. If you don’t want to deal with the crowds or finding your way home at night through dark and windy streets, Ksar Char Bagh and the Royal Mansour are over-the-top palatial resorts that will make you feel like royalty.

Insider Tip: If you have more than two nights to spare, spend at least one exploring the Atlas Mountains. Only an hour from Marrakesh, Kasbah Toubkal is a delightfully authentic hike-in (don’t worry, it’s less than a mile) retreat with unbelievable views of Morocco’s highest peak. If you’re more interested in the desert than the mountains, Scarabeo Camp offers a luxe glamping experience less than an hour from the city.

When to Go: Marrakesh is worthy of a visit year-round, but it can get beastly hot in the summer months. Visit in late fall or early spring, when there are fewer tourists and temperatures are cooler. If you decide to visit from May to September, make sure your accommodations have a pool.

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Cook Islands

Leave the resort to see what the South Pacific really has to offer.

Cook Island

PHOTO: Inikep | Dreamstime.com


Why It’s Wonderful: If you want overwater bungalows and overpriced everything, by all means, hit Tahiti or Bora Bora. But if you are looking to explore island life in the South Pacific, zip around Rarotonga, the largest of the Cook Islands, on a moped, or hop islands by boat. Visit Maori markets, hike the lush inlands, explore caves and lagoons—all at a fraction of the South Pacific costs.

Where to Stay: The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa Hotel is a large, clean, full-service resort in-line with beach resorts the world over, complete with spa and gym facilities and cultural and culinary events. But for the more adventurous travelers, bungalows, beach houses, villas, and apartments are plentiful and super affordable.

Insider Tip: If the two buses that circle the ring road aren’t easy enough for you—just flag them down, and they’ll drop you anywhere—rent a scooter or hail a tuk-tuk to get around.

When to Go: The Cook Islands doesn’t really experience a rainy season, but it can be slightly cooler in the winter (June-August).

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