Now that the holidays are over, many families are starting to dream about their 2013 travel escapes. To spur some vacation ideas, I decided to consult with our trusted travel experts to get a peek at what’s expected to be hot spots for 2013. Since AAA is the largest travel agency in North America, our travel counselors weren’t short on destination ideas that will match a variety of interests and budgets.

These European destinations are predicted to be popular international destinations in 2013:

• England. London’s always an attractive destination for travelers. It will be even more so in 2013 now that the London Olympics are over, and with expectant visitors hoping to get a peek at Duchess and mom-to-be Kate Middleton. The newest member of the royal family is expected to arrive sometime this summer.

• Paris. Another European mainstay, this French gem has it all: culture, food, and history. Known for romance, the City of Light is home to some must-visit sites, including the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and Napoleon’s Tomb.

• Ireland. In 2013, Ireland will celebrate The Gathering, a year-long celebration of all things Irish through heritage, sports, food, and drink. Visitors can expect to be wowed by majestic castles; breathtaking scenery and the delightful people — not to mention a dizzying array of Irish beer.

For those staying in North America, the following destinations are expected to be among the most popular in 2013:

• New York City. As one of the most-traveled cities in the United States, New York caters to every traveler with the arts, theater, culture, and world-class dining. Even multiple visits to the city will only scratch the surface of this much-beloved Metropolis.

• Northern California. San Francisco is the first city people think of when discussing Northern California, but a variety of nearby small cities and towns offer other equally charming parts to a visit. Mild weather enables visitors to experience wineries, museums and the waterfront.

• Canada. Oh, Canada. Some of the fun in visiting our neighbor to the north is actually getting there. Some people may enjoy a cruise to Alaska and take an extension in Canada, while others may prefer to take advantage of one of 44 different itineraries by rail.

In addition to destinations, AAA Travel also noted three travel trends in 2013: culinary trips, philanthropic trips, and group travel for women. Last year, AAA launched Today’s Traveling Women, a social club for women who love to travel. The popularity of this group is expected to grow this year.

Regardless of where travelers may venture, there are a few things you will want to do as soon as possible: plan ahead, book early, and enlist the help of a travel professional.

Linda Gorman is the communications and public affairs director for AAA Arizona. Reach her at (602) 650-2716 or

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