Just like our tastes in fashion, our tastes in destinations are in constant flux, subject to the trends of the time. While cities like Paris and Rome will never go out of style, 10 years ago, nobody would have thought that places like Sri Lanka or Cuba would be so popular today.
Politics, conflicts, bad marketing and lack of tourism infrastructure left the following destinations behind when it came to attracting visitors. But in the last few years, business has been booming, according to stats from the UN World Tourism Organization.
Get to these ten destinations before everybody else does.
So Cuba is at the top of your bucket list? Well, join the club. In the last year or so, America’s most forbidden of fruits has become a lot less forbidden, and now everyone is rushing to the Caribbean island in an attempt to "see it before it changes" (sorry, too late).
Cuba is now bursting at the seams with more tourists than it can handle, and for good reason: beyond the classic cars and fat cigars, Cuba has magnificent beaches, gorgeous architecture and a lyrical soul.
Travel to this archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean really took off about five years ago, when Prince William and Kate Middleton honeymooned here. And ever since, the rest of the west has been wanting a taste of royalty.
It took a few years for the Seychelles to really hit their stride, and now record numbers of tourists are flocking here for the postcard-perfect beaches, luxurious hotels and remote vibe.
Ten years ago, Thailand was basically the domain of shoestring backpackers and new-age hippies looking to find themselves à la Eat Pray Love. Then everybody else saw their photos of epic sunsets and impossibly perfect beaches on Facebook and joined the fray.
Now, Thailand is known as much as a cultural destination and culinary hub as it is for its laid-back vibes and natural beauty.
For years, Myanmar was one of the most secretive and mysterious countries on earth (not quite North Korea, but not all that far off either). Only a few years back, visiting Myanmar was shady, to say the least, and getting into and out of the country required a bit of finesse.
But ever since the end of military rule in 2011, tourists have been flooding this Southeast Asian gem to gawk at the magnificent temples of Bagan and experience the tranquility of Inle Lake.
Really, the only amazing thing about Iceland’s recent rise as a tourist hot spot is that it took so long. This tiny island nation has about as much natural beauty per square meter as anywhere on earth – complete with more than 130 volcanoes, countless glaciers and moonscapes in every direction – and it’s only about a 5-hour flight from New York.
Responsible for helping Iceland’s tourism boom has been the increase in budget carriers like WOW Air ,and a long-standing promotion from Icelandair that allows travelers free stopovers on their way to mainland Europe.
It’s not that Japan was ever exactly a tourism underdog, but ever since 2013, the amount of people visiting the Land of the Rising Sun has exploded thanks to depreciation of the yen, increased flight routes (and low-cost carriers), and the promotion of cultural sites.
Japan's star has also risen along with our obsession with food; now that everyone has become a self-proclaimed "foodie," Japan has used its rich culinary tradition to attract those of us who will travel across the world to slurp up all the legit ramen and scarf down as much local sushi as we can get our chopsticks on.
The novelty of traveling to Colombia has come and gone. A decade ago, the country was known for little more than Pablo Escobar and narcoterrorism, and all your friends thought you were crazy for booking a flight to anywhere outside Cartagena.
Now, everyone and their mother has gone to Colombia for the vibrant culture, colorful architecture and stunning beaches. Perhaps Colombia's greatest attribute is that it's one of the most ecologically diverse countries on earth; you can drive from rainforest to snow-capped mountains to tropical beaches to desert all within a day or two.
Perhaps no country (other than maybe Cuba) has had as rapid or as shocking of a surge in tourism as this landlocked country sandwiched between vacation heavyweights Brazil and Argentina. With no beach, relatively little tourism infrastructure and no real marketing of any kind, it’s baffling how rapidly Paraguay’s stock has risen.
But there are plenty of reasons to visit this hidden gem, namely its natural beauty (in the form of lakes, rivers, waterfalls and a section of the Pantanal – the largest wetlands on earth), a lack of crowds and the fact that it’s a great budget destination.
Maybe calling Tajikistan a "tourism hot spot" is a bit of a misnomer, but from 2014 to 2015 alone, this Central Asian country nearly doubled its amount of visitors. Recently improved tourism infrastructure – and reduced number of alleged shakedowns from police and border guards – has put this rugged country back on travelers' radars.
Most come for the virtually untouched hiking trails, breathtaking views of the Fann Mountains and a sense of an off-the-beaten-path adventure.
For years, Sri Lanka was hiding in plain sight, a not-so-hidden gem just south of India. Years of civil war, as well as tsunamis and a lack of tourism infrastructure kept visitors away.
But since 2010, the number of tourists coming to this island country has increased by double digits every year. And it's for good reason, namely the endless beaches, world-famous spices and tea, hospitality, epic surf, abundance of elephants, delicious food and bargain prices.